Three Weeks Living In My GFC Topper & SuperLite RTT

Red 3rd Gen Tacoma Overland Build With Black GFC Topper & SuperLite

The Most Versatile Setup For My Needs & Wants – 3 Week Road Trip

When I first planned this trip with Konrad to install my GFC Camper Topper, it was only supposed to be a week long. The original plan was to head to Denver from Texas and have TRU Automotive for install. From there, we would head into the mountains to wheel and camp for a few days before heading home.

Read my remote GFC install experience at TRU Automotive.

Typically, I would have been game for that. However, I got to thinking – why stop there? I’ve got a 9-10 hour drive to get out of Texas alone. So, I wanted to make the trip worth my while. I made a few phone calls to coordinate with friends and suddenly, this trip would span three weeks and across three states! Keep reading as I bring you along for the ride (pun intended).

Route Planning

Overland Road Trip Route Planning

My week in Colorado with Konrad was pretty much planned out and set. From time of arrival to time of departure, we had a rough plan for what we would be doing and where we would be heading. The second week was still up in the air.

I usually take a yearly trip with a group of good friends, roughly 8-12 of us, and we plan a full week of wheeling and camping. As a result, this is how we would spend that second week. We planned on heading out to Moab, Utah to wheel and camp for a full week. We’ve made this trip together in the past, so we had some pretty epic camp spots lined up for when we arrived.

That third week fell into place when a buddy of mine from Arizona just happened to be off of work after I left Utah. Flagstaff was the perfect place to finish this epic road trip.

Colorado

GFC Topper Install At TRU Automotive in Denver

As I stated earlier, this trip was heavily predicated on installing a GFC topper and the SuperLite tent. I have quite a few friends up in Denver, so I decided to get there a couple of days early and settle in.

The installation process was fairly quick for both of our vehicles, and TRU Automotive had us in and out of the shop before the morning was over. Instead of heading straight out and wheeling that day, we went to the Airbnb for some R&R after being up for over 24 hours. The REAL adventure started early that next morning!

Wheeling With R4T

Trail Tacoma Wheeling In Colorado With R4T

We woke up around 7AM the next morning and headed towards the southern part of Denver to link up with Tuan and the Runnin4Tacos (R4T) crew. They planned this trail run out, so I may be wrong, but I believe we were heading down to Long Water Gulch near Divide, Colorado. This run ended up being pretty epic, and those dudes know how to have a good time!

Snow Covered Trails

Early Spring Snow Wheeling In Colorado

The trail was blanketed with snow, which is pretty cool considering I come from southern Texas. This wasn’t fresh powdered snow, but it was still awesome nonetheless! Once everyone was aired down, we were off!

This trail isn’t technical by any means, but it has some pretty epic views! The scenery is phenomenal! If my memory serves me right, I believe our peak elevation was around 9,000 feet.

3rd Gen Tacoma On Long Water Gulch Trail

We climbed up the trail to the peak, and the trail just sort of flows along the peak of the mountain till you come down on the backside. So I had a 360⁰ view of mountain tops!

Even though the trail itself wasn’t technical there were a few obstacles to hit, but there were bypasses to them all. You could pick your lines to make the trail more difficult if you want.

The obstacles were few, but that didn’t stop the R4T crew from turning this seemingly easy trail run into a difficult one!

R4T Off-Roading In Colorado

Coming down the backside of the mountain about half a mile from our campsite there is a small obstacle that has a bypass to it.

One of the R4T guys chose to test his grit and picked a bad line. He ended up rolling his 3rd-gen Tacoma on its side! Luckily, everyone was okay, and he emerged from the truck without a scratch.

Everyone jumped in to lend a hand to get his Tacoma back on four wheels. The R4T anchored their vehicle on the rocks above and tied off a winch line to his frame. He got back into the driver’s seat to take control of the vehicle just in case it started to roll downhill because we were still on a pretty steep slope coming down the back side of the mountain. They began to slowly pull it back over while myself and a few others were on the opposite side pushing it.

Early Spring Wheeling In Western Colorado

Once upright, they let the truck sit in place for the better part of 30 minutes while he pulled and checked the spark plugs.

He then coasted the truck down the steep grade with the ignition off to the bottom of the trail (which was only about 60 yards) where it leveled out flat again. After about an hour of waiting, he cranked up the engine and the Tacoma started right up! That was a true testament to Toyota’s durability.

Camping

Overland Build Toyotas

We finished off the trail and made it down to an icy creek where we planned on setting up camp. The R4T crew headed back to Denver, so we said our goodbyes here.

Winter Camping In Colorado

This camp spot ended up being pretty epic! The views surrounding us were incredible coupled with the creek that ran right by our campsite. It ended up dropping down to 16⁰F that night and snowed on us. I will admit that I was a little worried about how the SuperLite would perform in the colder climate considering it is a lightweight tent. I was pleasantly surprised though! With the proper gear, it’s enough to keep you warm and comfortable in sub-freezing temperatures.

Black GFC Topper With SuperLite RTT

I had my zero-degree sleeping bag with my heated blanket stuffed inside of it and plenty of extra blankets to throw on over me. Surprisingly, I was toasty all night long. Konrad on the other hand was rocking his new Two Track Nation diesel heater, so he slept cozy! The following morning, we packed up and hit the road to our next destination.

2 Week Overlanding Road Trip

The trek back out was the same way we came in, but here is a dope shot that I got on the way back out.

Chinaman Gulch

Carnage Canyon Trailhead In Colorado

Once back on the road, we drove into town to gas up and grab a quick bite to eat. From Divide, we hit the road and were heading out to Buena Vista, Colorado to wheel Chinaman Gulch. This trail is a ball joint buster and lives up to its reputation. You’ll find out why later on in this article.

Off-Roading Near Buena Vista, CO

Buena Vista is such a beautiful area surrounded by snow-capped mountains. From the trailhead, the trail splits into two sections: Carnage Canyon and Chinaman Gulch. The former is a rock garden suited for vehicles much more outfitted than ours. I would consider it to be a designated rock crawler trail. The end of this trail feeds into Chinaman Gulch further up. We opted for the other trail which served as a bypass.

Chinaman Gulch Trial

The trail is in and out and is fairly technical but manageable! The snow and ice just made it that much more fun. Once up the trail it branches off and does a loop. At the top, there was a group of Jeeps coming down. They warned us that up ahead the trail got extremely icy and was blocked by snow, forcing them to turn back.

Chinaman Gulch Trail Near Buena Vista

We stopped at the top and had some snacks while enjoying the views and decided to be smart about it and turn back.

Once at the bottom, we stopped to air back up and I gave my truck a once-over to look for any noticeable damage. At the time, I didn’t notice because it wasn’t leaking yet, but later I would find out this trail had claimed my driver’s side inner CV axle dust shield.

This marked the end of Konrad’s trip. Mine, on the other hand, was just getting started! Next, I was headed out to Moab, Utah to link up with the next group of friends.

Utah

La Sal Mountain Range

The drive through western Colorado into Utah is by far one of my favorites to date. Passing through all the mountain towns makes it such a gorgeous and scenic route! As you head down the highway, you’re surrounded by the iconic red plateaus with the snow-capped La Sal Mountains off in the distance behind Moab.

Just as I met up with friends in town to head out and secure a camping spot, the leaking CV axle was discovered. I decided to be smart about it and stay in town that night because our camp spot was about an hour out and involved some moderate wheeling. The last thing I wanted was to be out on the trail with a busted CV axle.

Trail Damage Repairs

Fixing Leaking CV Joint In Parking Lot

I booked a room at the Best Western Plus Greenwell Inn right in the heart of Moab. The new plan was to leave my truck in the parking lot while we went to secure the camp spot for the rest of the crew.

We set up some tents and chairs to hold our place but in the past two years of camping at that location, I have only ever seen one vehicle pass through. So, we were feeling pretty confident that no one would come through. Also, his tent and chair were Walmart specials, so he wasn’t too worried about theft.

After getting back to town and resting up, the plan was to wake up bright and early, assess the damage, and swap the CV axle out with the spare I brought. We still had all day until the rest of the group showed up, so I felt confident I could get my truck back up and running by then.

We pulled off my driver’s side CV axle and discovered that the CV itself was good, as well as the inner seal ring. The dust shield was slightly warped with various gouges in it, though. I’m not sure how the shield was damaged or how it would cause gear oil to leak. To my understanding, its only function is to keep dust and dirt out of the inner seal which holds the oil in the differential. Nevertheless, I decided to swap the dust shield out to be safe.

With the new dust shield on, the front diff refilled with fresh gear oil, and everything cleaned up, my issue seemed to have been resolved. Well, if it’s not one thing, it’s another. The bushings for the lower control arms on both sides were practically nonexistent! They were making clanking and popping sounds and had tons of movement. I have been rocking these lowers for 90k+ miles, and have done extensive wheeling, so they were shot. Since I still had two weeks left of my trip, I tracked down some new factory lowers to swap out.

The next day, my buddy and I got both lowers switched out fairly quickly and then he set out to meet the group on the trails. I knew I wouldn’t make it to them in time since I still had to get an alignment and I had no appointment set up.

After getting my alignment done at a local Point S Tire & Auto Service, we were back in business!

Fins & Things

Camping In Moab

We woke up early the next morning, cooked some breakfast, and hit the road.

Fins & Things Trail In Moab

Fins and Things is extremely fun and you can choose your difficulty. Honestly, it’s not a very technical trail, though.

We ended up spending quite a bit of time on the trail just fooling around and bleeding into night. The night wheeling on that trail is a lot of fun too!

Fins N Things Trailhead

Once back at the trailhead, we aired back up and drove into town for some dinner.

Hell’s Revenge

Hell's Revenge Trail In Moab, UT

The next day was perfect weather for Hell’s Revenge and we couldn’t have gotten luckier. It was sunny with very few clouds and the temps were in the low 60s all day! We weren’t prepared for what was to come though!

The trail can be daunting at certain points being on the slick rocks and the vertical inclines and declines. At some points, you only see the blue sky because the climbs are so steep.

We weaved our way down the trail till we hit the notorious Hell’s Gate. I have to say, it’s way more sketchy in person! I’m not going to make it out there and NOT do it though! We all took turns making our rounds down the backside and up Hell’s Gate with one designated spotter. Too many people trying to spot at once can easily confuse the driver and cause more problems.

Hell's Gate Obstacle On Hell's Revenge Trail

After I made it up, Ben followed suit. Ben’s 3rd Gen Tacoma is a manual and well, he got stuck on the climb up! He ended up stalling out and in the process, got wedged too close to the wall. We tried to reset him, but he debeaded his rear passenger side tire. At this point, he was too far up to roll back down, so we had to winch him up.

Fixing A Debeaded Tire On The Trail

The recovery process went smoothly and we were able to get Ben up with no issues. Once at the top, I busted out the Pro Eagle jack so we could either reseat his tire or put the spare on. Fortunately, we were able to reseat the tire without issue!

Moab Trail Repairs

After we finished at Hell’s Gate, more shenanigans were had.

Quicksand Tacoma Build Climbing Large, Steep Rocks

We finished out the trail and headed out to a different campsite this time. It’s another hidden gem of ours with some incredible views! The crew split up here because Ben bent his spindle while on Hell’s Gate. He and a few others decided to stick around town while the rest headed to camp. The next day, I was headed to Arizona!

Arizona

Overlanding Near Moab, Utah

We woke up early that next morning and started to pack up. Then, we said our goodbyes to the others and headed back into town.

Utah To Arizona

The drive south from Moab through Southern Utah and Northern Arizona has some pretty amazing views. I have to say, I was not expecting Arizona to look the way it did. Flagstaff was completely covered in snow with mountains all around. I assumed it would be more like Texas, but that couldn’t be further from the truth!

Sedona

Off-Roading In Sedona, AZ

That first day, I met up with Tedi and hit Sedona. The entire area is gorgeous and I instantly fell in love with it. From there, we hopped on Broken Arrow, which is a crazy fun trail!

Broken Arrow Trail Near Sedona

This trail wasn’t overly technical, but there are some spots where you’ll need to pay extra attention. There is a ton of hiking and sightseeing off of the trail as well. Just watch out for those Pink Jeep Tours!

Devil's Bridge Hike Near Sedona - Panoramic Mountain Views

At the end of the trail, we parked our rigs and hiked up to Devil’s Bridge. The hike itself isn’t very strenuous, but the scenery is phenomenal! If you are in Arizona, then Sedona is a must-see.

I did a lot of touristy stuff while out there which ate up a few days. Most notably, hiking around the Grand Canyon, which was simply incredible! Unfortunately, those days I wasn’t focused on bringing my camera, so I didn’t capture it in all of its beauty.

Cinder Hills

Cinder Hills In Arizona

Cinder Hills is just one massive playground! I’m talking about massive whoops with giant hills! In my case, fields of snow as well.

Snow On Cinder Hills

The backsides of the hills were blanketed with snow, making wheeling much more fun. There aren’t many designated trails, just roam around and do what you feel like. The views were spectacular!

Cinder Hills Panoramic Shot

This was a shot I grabbed at the top of one of the hills. It’s just a 360-degree panoramic view of this!

Final Day

3rd Gen Tacoma & 5th Gen 4Runner At Cinder Hills

On my last day, I didn’t spend any time behind the camera. Instead, I spent it enjoying my surroundings and having fun. After weathering some scattered showers, I decided to head back to Sedona and check out some of the other trails in the area.

When I arrived, it had already rained heavily, so everything was muddy! I had no complaints though. I hit some of the trails, and mobbing through the mud made for a hell of a time. There was a massive snowstorm forecasted to roll in, so I’m glad I got to squeeze this last adventure in.

Final Thoughts

3 Week Long GFC Road Trip

The night before heading home, it snowed as expected and the truck was completely covered! It was a bittersweet feeling as I started the journey back home. Being on the road for the past three weeks and living out of a truck is a hard feeling to explain.

You have to experience it for yourself and I highly recommend it to anyone! Living nomadically is genuinely freeing for your soul. You feel at peace and your troubles seem to melt away. You realize just how small you are and how vast this world is.

Camping With GFC SuperLite On Topper

Considering I have spent all my life ground camping, having the GFC was a major step up! In all honesty, it’s perfect for me. The Topper is so well designed and easily accessible, making camp setup and takedown a breeze.

The bed is completely sealed off from the outside elements keeping all your gear dry. Also, the locking latches keep thieves out, so you can confidently leave your truck in a parking lot. If you prefer a covered bed, don’t waste your money on a tonneau cover or cheap fiberglass camper topper. GFC is one of the best on the market and you can’t change my mind!

I was pleasantly surprised with the SuperLite tent! My biggest concern was the winter camping with the canvas walls. I was afraid that since it was such a lightweight tent, I would freeze my butt off. I could not have been more wrong! Of course, the right gear made the biggest difference, but the tent can be used year-round. It insulates well in the winter and has good ventilation in the summer. Not to mention, the full 180⁰ panoramic view. This is one the lightest RTTs (and original lightweight tent) on the market at only 80 lbs., so you don’t feel top heavy going over obstacles.

Camping Near Moab

If you are looking to dial in your rig and spend some time off the grid, the GFC Topper is the optimal choice, in my opinion. It made this trip infinitely more enjoyable and saved me a bunch of time with setup and takedown. Coupled with the ability to easily store and access all of my gear in the bed, this setup is a game changer. This seemingly little convenience made a major impact over three weeks.

Don’t settle for second-rate equipment. GFC is the way!

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Scout
17 days ago

Great post dude. Crazy detailed. So many photos! Makes me want to get back out there asap. Colorado trip round 2?

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