Feedback About Off-Roading with Full-Sized Trucks

I’ll be getting a trailer and tow vehicle soon and I’m looking for feedback on experiences using a full-size truck for off-roading. I’m trying to finalize my decision between a new Ford Ranger that I’ve confirmed through extensive research will do what I need or going to a used full-size Chevy Silverado or similar for the easier towing experience and lower price. No need to go over the benefits and negatives of both choices as I’ve beat that to death!

Anyways, I’m specifically looking for those who have used full-size trucks on fairly aggressive and tight at times 4x4 roads. Think Engineer Pass and the Alpine Loop, Imogene Pass, Stony Pass, etc. Nothing as crazy as Black Bear, I did that in my stock 4runner and know its challenges. I’m hoping to find somewhere to store my 4runner in the San Juans so hopefully, I’ll have that capability when needed, but sometimes I’ll be traveling in places where I won’t have it with me.

What setup are you running? What has your experience been? What issues have you had? Would you change or recommend anything?


Though I’m familiar with those locations in name only, I have spent the last 25 years 4WD in the desert and canyons to the west and south. First 10 years with a 1995 Tacoma, middle 10 years with an early model Tunda (about the size of today’s Tacomas), and the last 6 years with a RAM Hemi 2500. The biggest difference I notice is in turning radius in tight quarters. There’ some backing and filling involved with the RAM in places that didn’t even register with the Tacoma and barely with the Tundra. Looking back, my pick of the litter has to be that beloved Tunda, or in today’s parlance the modern Tacoma. The RAM is comfy, powerful and sure-footed, but the power-to-weight ratio seemed better with the Tundra and it had less inclination to get boggy when the ground was soft.

All three are canopied (still own both the Tacoma and the Tundra), and I’ve spent many a night on a cot in the back of each. I bring it up because there were times in each of them that I wished for a clear view out the back, as in when I had to back out of situations where the terrain got too tough. With your experience in a 4Runner you probably already know what I’m talking about. But for the ease and comfort in sleeping under that canopy, I’d have opted for an open bed instead. I’m basing that on time in the same terrain in various open trucks from the ranch, but it was never enough to make me peel the canopies from my personal trucks.