Dirtbox Overland – “The Couchpound” & Overland Systems Tour

Dirtbox Overland flatbed system and full Dirtbox with a Canopy Camper on a tan Toyota Tacoma viewed from the side.

170 Acre Colorado Facility Hosts a Lineup of Modular Systems

When you pull into Dirtbox Overland and Couch Off Road Engineering’s 170-acre facility outside Denver, Colorado you might think you took a wrong turn somewhere.

That is until you get far enough down the dirt road to turn the corner and be met with a battalion of heavily modified Mercedes Benz Unimogs. They dwarf the would-be massive-looking heavily modified rigs next to them. That’s when you know you’re in the right place.

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Touring The Facility

A lineup for Mercedes Benz Unimogs and off-road rigs with a large outside in the dirt at Dirtbox Overland's Colorado compound with a large garage in the background.

The 170-acre “Couchpound” isn’t only a manufacturing facility and the headquarters for both Dirtbox Overland and Couch Off Road Engineering. It’s a proving ground where each rig, product, and component is put to the test. From boulder crawling (yes, they had literal tons of boulders shipped in) and mobbing down private off-road trails, to testing out their builds at highway speeds and on the rugged terrain of the nearby Colorado Rocky Mountains, everything that comes out of this facility is battle-hardened — meticulously built to stand up to the toughest conditions and use cases.

Like Disneyland for off-road enthusiasts, this is truly the place where all the magic happens. Steel fabrication for the Unimog builds, aluminum extrusion, indoor service bays for vehicles both big and small, and a garage full of what you can only imagine must be one of the world’s largest Unimog collections. Everything that Jay Couch, owner of Dirtbox Overland and Couch Off Road Engineering, and his team need to work on, build out, modify, repair, test, eat, sleep, and breathe off-road vehicles resides at “The Couchpound”.

Engineering Off-Road Machines

Unimog NORAD expedition off road and overlanding vehicle built by Coach Off Road Engineering.

It’s nearly 2024. Overlanding has skyrocketed in popularity and so has the number of truck bed toppers, campers, and rooftop tents on the market. It begs the question… What makes Dirtbox any different from the rest? Does the overlanding and off-road market really need another truck bed topper?

Before I discovered their builds in person, my answer probably would have been, “No. I don’t think we need more truck bed campers or cabover RTTs to choose from.” However, after touring the facility and getting a first-hand look at their line of flatbed systems, canopy campers, and truck bed toppers, my mind has changed.

Each overlanding solution is meticulously designed for functionality and ease of use, down to the smallest detail. They’re crafted using the same hard-wearing engineering principles that Couch Off Road Engineering has incorporated into their military-grade and expedition-worthy Unimog builds.

Jay Couch has spent over 20 years re-engineering, modifying, and fortifying Unimogs to achieve some of the world’s most capable off-road machines. He’s built rigs that have crushed through trees, overgrowth, and roadblocks, sustained users on expeditions in temperatures as low as -150℉ and as high as 120℉, and gained them access to previously inaccessible terrain in some of the planet’s most demanding environments.

Dirtbox Overland is the result of distilling this unmatched level of design prowess and engineering expertise into a smaller scale meant for the average overlander and weekend warrior. Dirtboxes are overlanding systems for truck beds predicated on the concepts and technology used to build the world’s most capable overlanding and off-road units.

Lego-fying The Truck Bed

Up close view of the inside of a Canopy Camper by Dirtbox Overland including molle panels with the bed folded down.

One of the most unique features of their flatbeds, canopy campers, and truck bed toppers? Incomparable modularity.

According to Jay Couch, the goal was to “Lego-fy” truckbed overland solutions. They achieve this goal by employing custom aluminum extrusion, a process that allows them to press high-heated T6 aluminum into die-cut shapes that have been custom-designed for their products.

Imagine pushing a big wad of Play-Doh through one of those fun-shaped plastic tubes as a kid. It’d come out the other end as a long tube bearing the shape of whatever mold it was pressed through. That’s how Couch explains the process of creating their custom aluminum extrusions. Naturally, this also happens right inside The Couchpound. Each platform makes use of dozens of different custom-designed proprietary slotted aluminum extrusions. They make up unique rail systems that lend themselves to the aforementioned incomparable modularity.

The aluminum extrusions run along the insides of the Dirtboxes and the canopy tents. They’re lightweight and help fortify the structure of the Canopy Camper tent. But what really makes this design special is that it allows users to customize the it to fit their shifting needs in a matter of minutes.

Think molle panels and toolboxes that mount on the rail systems and slide on and off at will. It’s even possible to completely reconfigure the Dirtbox Flatbed System by adding and removing panels from the rail system to shift from a typical walled-in truck bed to a true flatbed in a matter of minutes.

Everything is built to spec. Whether you want to add a slideout kitchenette, a 270-degree awning, a foldout shower and water tank, or something as simple as a custom-designed fold-down table that slides onto your rail system. Like stacking Legos brick by brick to achieve your wildest overland dream rig — Dirtbox Overland has designed their solutions in a way that makes it possible.

Product Lineup

Ford Raptor camped out in the night seen from behind with a Dirtbox Overland Canopy Camper for off-road, overland, and car camping.

Dirtbox Overland launched in January 2023. Their lineup consists of three different options to convert your truck into an overland, off-road, or hauling/work solution to suit varying needs. Each option can be fit to most midsize and full-sized truck beds, including both short bed and long bed Tacomas.

Flatbed Systems

Dirtbox Overland half box on a modular flatbed attached to a Jeep Gladiator with an awning for overlanding and off-roading.

The Flatbed System maximizes the usable space in the back of your Tacoma and makes use of the extruded aluminum rail system. Buyers can choose between three configurations including the flatbed only, flatbed with a half Dirtbox, or flatbed with a full Dirtbox.

  • In typical fashion, the flatbed is far from just a flatbed. It features slide-out drawers around the perimeter for storage space and improves the stock Taco’s departure angle so you can rally harder on the trails.
  • The half box is an adaptable solution for hauling toys or for going from work during the week to play over the weekends. It offers a secure space for gear storage and the added hauling capacity of a truck bed or flatbed all at once. The slide-on-and-off modular panels make the transition seamless and your truck bed totally customizable.
  • The flatbed with a full setup turns your truck bed into a fully housed overlanding and off-road solution. Pair the flatbed with the Canopy Camper to maximize the usable space in the bed of your Tacoma. The flatbed is wider than the OEM Taco bed and the Canopy Camper offers a passthrough from the bed of your truck into the rooftop tent. Complete with mountable water tanks, pumps, and LED lighting.

Canopy Campers

Rear view of Dirtbox Overland's Canopy Camper pop up tent and truck bed topper for overlandning and off-roading.

The Dirtbox Canopy Camper can be fit atop your Tacoma’s OEM truck bed or paired with a Flatbed. The floor is modular and the tent can be accessed from inside the Dirtbox (in the truck bed) via a removable ladder. The bed can be lifted easily to maximize standing room with a push from beneath until the struts take over and do the rest. Lowering it is equally simple; using a pull handle the bed will lower slowly.

The fully welded and riveted aluminum frame is lightweight and built for durability and the three-layer polystyrene tent material is just as hardwearing. It has been tested in Arctic conditions and is rated for temperatures as low as -35°F.

There are countless attachment points thanks to the extruded aluminum rails that make up the structure. Attach heaters, molle panels, or fire extinguishers to the interior, and awnings, auxiliary lighting, or a roof rack to the exterior — whatever you want really.

Truck Bed Toppers

Dirtbox Overland Truck Bed topper for off-road, hauling, and overlanding, inside the Dirtbox compound near Denver, Colorado.

The Truck Bed Topper is just the Dirtbox. No flatbed or rooftop tent included. However, it’s made using the same T6 extruded aluminum that’s robust in durability and light on pounds. It has an optional rear window, winged side panels with seemingly sturdy struts, dimmable LED lighting, and a power switch hooked to two 12-volt outlets.

Final Thoughts

Man stands outside next to orange Jeep Gladiator with a Dirtbox Overland flatbed system, full Dirtbox and extended Canopy Camper with a rooftop tent for overlanding, car camping, and off-roading.

In case you can’t tell from the enthusiasm with which I’ve explained these products, I think Dirtbox Overland is killing the overlanding and off-road topper game. Their systems are equal parts utilitarian and comfortable. With decades of expertise in both off-road engineering and designing livable solutions trickled down from some of the most capable expedition and off-road vehicles on earth, I do feel like the quality, functionality, and durability are premium.

I appreciate the intention and attention to detail that Jay and his partner Tao seem to have put into every aspect of the design — from choosing soft good materials that consider functionality, weight, climate control, and comfort to the build quality that appears unmatched. Every drawer, slide, modular panel, and light switch on every model I toured appeared to work smoothly and seamlessly.

They may be new to the scene but Couch Off Road Engineering has been at the pinnacle of off-road engineering for over 20 years and the expertise is showing. The brand working to build their network of trusted installers across the country and if you’re in Colorado, you can check out their products in person and have your own Dirtbox or flatbed installed at The Couchpound.

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2 months ago

Super rad post. Love to see detailed looks at brand facilities and processes!

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