Not Your Average Moving TruckNot everybody thinks they can pull off an extended overlanding trip with the entire family. To that point, it may be the first time in overlanding history to hear that someone well known started his journey driving in the dirt in a Mazda Protogé. For Ken Hoglund, that’s what it’s about, trips with the family and off-road roots from a sedan taking photos. Hoglund is a resident of Bluffdale, Utah, but grew up in California. He’s an overlander, an amazing photographer, an even better father of four, and drives his wife crazy building out his ’15 Toyota TRD Tacoma. We caught up with Hoglund while waiting at his local shop, State Automotive, where he was getting some last-minute checks on his suspension and new Long Range America 33-gallon gas tank in preparation for his upcoming White Rim Trail trip. From humble beginnings photographing his skateboarding cronies to his time in college as the team’s hockey photographer and newspaper photo editor, Hoglund has had a passion for all things photography. To date Hoglund a bit, he tells us “everything back then was done in film and digital was just starting to become a thing.” Today, even the most novice iPhone users can capture a decent photograph, just not quite like Hoglund does with his trusty Canon. If you follow him on Instagram or YouTube, you know exactly what we mean. Hoglund’s photo album spans multiple states, wildlife, and scenery. He’s photographed bald eagles in Utah, whales in Alaska, and has even had some close encounters with wild horses on the Pony Express. Hoglund’s father was an avid outdoorsman and opened his son up to hiking and the Boy Scouts as a child. This is where Hoglund found his love of nature, beautiful landscapes, and began his close relationship with Mother Nature.
“When the Hoglunds go out for adventure, it’s a family affair.”
From a Mazda to an Off-Road BeastAs Hoglund explained, “The Mazda had me limited with how far I could get into the wild, so I was in need of something a bit more capable.” That’s when Hoglund decided it was time for something that could help him not only trek into rarely chartered territories but also give him the ability to pursue the best photography. His wife’s only requirement was that he find a vehicle capable of fitting three car seats in the back. Torn between a Nissan Frontier and a Toyota Tacoma, he finally settled on the Toyota. In May of 2015, Hoglund purchased a brand-new Toyota TRD Off-Road Tacoma. He tried to tell us the Taco’s first mod was a set of BFGoodrich KO2s. In reality, the truck’s first real modification was that kids three-seater along the back row. You watch; it won’t be long before we see fabricators offering modular storage panels for car seats. What better way to strap in your daughter’s desert storm–colored baby bottle or your son’s Fisher-Price Ham radio?
“Have some semblance of a plan or goal. Know what kind of adventuring you want to do, and build with that goal in mind.”
Upgrades When NeededHoglund slowly became the poster boy for someone who actually used their truck for its intended purpose. His perspective was, “I didn’t want to replace things on the truck until it was absolutely necessary.” He’d take the truck to the shop to swap things out (like the suspension) and was told on multiple occasions, “Yeah, you got some good use out of this.” The 285/70-17 BFGoodrich KO2s were the first thing he swapped on the truck the same year he bought it. However, the TRD Tacoma wouldn’t see any significant changes until the following year. Let’s not forget, Hoglund didn’t intend to build an overland vehicle. He just wanted something that would get him from point A to point B … even if point B was in the depths of rarely charted territory in Utah. By the time he took his Tacoma in for a suspension upgrade to Old Man Emu BP-51s, he was told that he had completely trashed his stock set. This guy was pushing his truck to the limits!
“You can’t sit around and wait for the adventure to come to you; you need to get out and create the adventure.”