June 10, 2024 4 min read

There's a build-out and then there's a Julian Bialowas build-out. A stealthily-kitted 2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, this adventure rig might look fresh off the factory floor, but past the sleek exterior is a Swiss Army knife of outdoor possibility, ranging from camping comfort to serious wild romps in the backcountry. Is this our favorite mobile base camp yet? Check out the latest HEST Rigs We Dig to find out.  

Your Name: Julian Bialowas and Lisse Lundin

Location: Bay Area, CA—but currently on the road

Make & Model: 2021 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro with V2 GFC Platform Camper

Is this your daily driver or getaway car?

Daily driver and adventure rig—it's the only vehicle we own!

What do you like most about your rig? 

We like how much “livable space” we’ve been able to maintain in the small 5-foot truck bed. Having a lounging space to work during the day and unwind in the evening when the elements are not in your favor is such a game changer for “full time” living in our adventure rig.

We also enjoy the simplicity of camp setup. All we have to do is pop our GFC (which takes less than 30 seconds), mount our Starlink (if it's a work day) and we’re all set up for the night! Everything else (water system, cooking system, food system, sleeping system, etc.) has a permanent home in the rig and is always ready to use.

One of the coolest parts of the rig is how it still fits in (most) parking garages when doing city things (the highest point of the truck sits just shy of 7 feet). We’ve also managed to keep exterior accessories to a minimum, keeping the rig as factory(ish) and nondescript(ish) looking as possible. All our camping gear has a designated space and home within the truck (less is more!)

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?

Everything we need for a successful night out under the stars has a designated home somewhere in the truck—which means all we have to think about before a trip is clothes and toiletries. That makes the packing list for weekend escapes and multi-month trips pretty simple. With that, our favorite and go-to gear that we always have on hand in the rig includes: NEMO Chipper Pads, NEMO Moonlite Chairs, Snow Peak Baja Burner & Field Cooker Pro Set, Dometic Go Faucet & Water Jugs, Dometic CFX3 Fridge, Snow Peak Ti-300 Cup, Snow Peak Hozuki Lantern, Snow Peak x Toned Trout Camp Vest, Nocs Provisions Pro Issue Binoculars, and generic string lights for those rad camp vibes, naturally. 

We also followed a few simple organization principles—my partner, Lisse, works as a graphic designer with Marie Kondo, so we’re a pretty tidy and neat couple. Every item we own has a designated “home,” and should be returned to its “home” after every use. This ensures the truck bed and cab are always clean and inviting spaces. • We shouldn’t have to move anything to get to anything. This may not sound like a big deal, but when you have to do it every single day, it gets old really fast. No one wants to have to move three items to get to that one item you need. This principle really helped us pare down on what lives in the truck and what we bring on trips. We have shockingly little gear with us. It’s helped with both the cab and truck bed feeling very livable, inviting, and generally open and free of clutter.

Any custom details? 

The whole interior of our GFC’s “downstairs” was a custom build out! Deep dive photos and write up here.

Coolest place you’ve taken your rig to?

The rig has been to 48 of 50 US states, all 10 provinces in Canada, the Arctic Ocean, down the entire length of Baja Mexico, a French overseas territory and everything in between—so it’s hard to pick just one. 

Top three spots would be: 

1.  Deadhorse, Alaska via the infamous Dalton Highway. 

2. The picturesque beaches in and around Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, Mexico. 

3. The cliffs and rocky beaches of Newfoundland, Canada.

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

The only outstanding project is modifying and permanently mounting our Starlink Satellite Dish to the roof of the GFC. It’s the only system that still requires storage when en route and set up/tear down at camp, so squaring this away would mean camp setup is as simple as putting the truck in park and popping the GFC.

Biggest challenge in your build out?

Our biggest challenges were finding ways to design systems so they are out of sight, out of mind, and “just work” with little to no oversight required. Our solar system, battery system, electrical system, recovery (winch) system, water system, cooking system, etc. are all tucked away in inconspicuous ways so the truck (mostly) still looks like a factory truck.

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

I’ve documented every single element of our build on the GFC Forum and I’m always happy to lend a hand or give advice where I can. Drop a response or send me a DM. 

Want to submit your rig for our blog? Email us at info@hest.com to get started!