Video: How To TRANSFORM Your Truck Into a Rad Camping Rig on a Budget! Baby Yota Project Ep.8

2002 toyota tacoma 4x4 overland camper build

Our Baby Yota project truck is becoming a sweet little camper – on a budget.

The Baby Yota project truck, a 2002 Toyota Tacoma 4×4 standard-cab, short-bed, is truly beginning its journey to becoming an inexpensive and very capable overland vehicle. That’s our goal: turning a fairly basic truck into something much more utilitarian and rugged. When we officially finish this light build, we are going to auction it off with all of the proceeds going to the Mountain States Children’s Home.

Images: TFLtruck

You can find Chapter 7 of the Baby Yota project series (here).

This is our eighth episode of the Baby Yota project series, and we have mostly been evaluating and tuning up the truck – until now. We cover the first three steps in this transformation. Kase and David are now about to add its first batch of modifications, starting with replacing the plastic bed covering with a spray-in bed-liner.

A better bed for the Baby Yota project truck.

This first step required us to remove the tailgate and the previous drop-in plastic bed-liner. Often, these bed-liners are troublesome as water and debris can get caught underneath, causing bed damage. Fortunately, we got lucky and discovered some debris, scratches – but no rust.

After that, we had to tape off the vehicle (which was tedious) and began sanding. Once we finished the sanding, we had to meticulously clean the sanded bed with acetone. After that, the fun part.

Using a Raptor Liner, the boys clean, sanded, re-cleaned, and sprayed in the bed-liner. This is a project that most people can do in a weekend, and the results speak for themselves. Davis said, he liked the finish and that, “it’s the middle ground, between the real-deal (professional job) and a rattle-can.”

… Fabrication by David..

Our friend David is an architect and carpenter by trade (among other things), so his skill definitely saved us time, money, and resources. Spending about $120.00 on wood, he fabricated a multi-configurable bed storage system that you can sleep on.

Now, his work is professional, with top-notch results; however, many of us can build something like this on a budget. He states, more than once, that this is something he wanted to show all of you. It was done with plywood, a nail-gun, glue and screws.

We like soft-tops

Finally, to keep the occupants and gear dry and clean, we added a soft-top by Softopper. Some people have commented in the past that they are upset with the way it makes our other vehicles look. Sorry folks, it is the most versatile, lightweight option. We now have a lot of experience with this type of top, and it is extremely utilitarian. For one thing, if we need to haul something large, it folds easily. It’s very lightweight, which is good for a vehicle like this with an anemic 2.7-iter engine.

Check out this exciting DIY video!

Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.