August 17, 2023 4 min read

Your name: Chase Prowse

Location: Chattaroy, Washington

Rig Nickname: Magellan

Make & Model:  2021 Toyota Tacoma 

HEST products:  HEST Dually Long, HEST Camp Pillows

Critical dimensions for your bed platform: Alu-Cab Khaya Camper

Length: 84"

Width (at narrowest point): 54"

Is this your daily driver or getaway car?


What do you like most about your rig? 

Being different than the herd with a very purpose built design that shows in the finished product. Everything was planned out for reasons from the tire brand and size to the lift with nothing done that was not necessary. The truck works and has that understated “ I have a job to do” appearance that conveys the owner’s mission requirements.

On your average weekend adventure, what is the gear set up you bring with you? How did you navigate gear storage needs into your rig set up?

The Khaya is well designed to store your gear and provisions where they are needed in a compact and organized fashion. Beyond the basics I carry tools specific to the rig. Extensive recovery gear and my adapt and overcome attitude. Every adventure injects change and you have to be able to navigate those challenges.

Any cool custom details you’re proud of? 

So many things on this build were challenges that had to be met. Adapting the Tacoma platform to the Khaya was one of the bigger ones. With the expertise of the Land Cruiser Shop and the help of Elka Suspension we were able to tune in a custom suspension system that would balance the truck out resulting in sublime handling on both highway and off road driving. The best way I can describe how this truck handles anything thrown at it is planted. Absolutely no surface irregularities upset the direction or poise of this truck. It is as comfortable to run long stretches of Interstate as it is to blaze twisty undulating mountain roads. In combination with Nitro 5.29 gears it is also not the typical slow truck fast house either. Rolling hills are not even noticed and a 7% grade is a 70mph see you later non event without breaking a sweat. Onward the ARB dual cylinder compressor would not fit anywhere previously utilized on earlier Tacomas due to changes Toyota made so Daniel mounted it up inside the wing of the ARB bumper. This actually works better keeping the compressor out of the way and protected. I had Diode Dynamics fog lights that did not fit in the bumper so I had to fabricate my own mounting system. Every project it seemed came with challenges and I was building this during a pandemic with supply chain and shipping delays.

Coolest place you’ve taken your rig to?

Every place has been perfect. The most memorable recently being the Selkirk Mountains over Labor Day weekend. We had multiple washouts on the way up and nobody around for miles. Once we found a place tucked back in the trees along a creek we had the pleasure of enjoying an evening thunderstorm and heavy rain listening to the wolves howl in the distance.

Any projects in the pipeline to get your rig even more adventure ready? 

There will always be a running list. Always improvements to be made, adjustments to how we do things or changing gear out for improved products.

Biggest challenge in your build out? 

Adapting the platform to handle the gear safely and confidently once the decision was made to go for it.

Tips for others looking to do the same to their vehicle?

The Tacoma is a very capable if not modest platform. Capability wise it has a proven reliability record, endless aftermarket support and is a great base for an overland rig for those requiring a midsize truck. 

In loading a Tacoma with a Khaya I would strongly encourage you to use a long bed for proper weight distribution. You want the weight to be as even as possible and shared by both axles. short beds due to the rear axle being at the very front put more weight behind your rear axle which can tensile load your frame. Frames are not designed for tensile loads and the balance and handling will be compromised and even unsafe at higher levels of loading. The mounting system on the Khaya is a pair of cradles that bolt through your bed into your frame which is the strongest and most secure way to load your frame and the camper will not move in any direction off road.  

The other consideration is gearing. Stock Tacoma suffers from economy focused programming of the transmission which constantly keeps too tall of a gear and under the power curve of the engine. Tuning can help but ultimately the hardware needs to be addressed. 5.29 gears sound really low but they work because 5th and 6th are overdrives and compensate wonderfully. I still hover around 2200rpm at 70mph because my torque converter can actually lock up in 6th with the lower gears. Gears were a requirement for me and I would recommend them even on a stock Tacoma. ARB air lockers at both ends because understanding the differences between long travel coil spring suspensions and a leaf/IFS system I would now be relying more on contact pressure than articulation. With the load I wanted to have absolute control in off camber and loose situations where losing traction would complicate a technical obstacle.

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