200 Series Build: A Story of Continued Good Fortune

200 Series Build: A Story of Continued Good Fortune

I consider myself particularly lucky to have owned this 200 series Toyota Land Cruiser from new, and it has been really enjoyable to see the vehicle evolve over the last six or seven years. When I purchased the Land Cruiser, it was late 2015, and the refreshed 2016 LC had already hit dealer lots. As a result I was able to negotiate an amazing deal on this “less desirable” older model. Were it not for that fortunate timing, I may have never owned a 200 Series LC.

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For the first few years, I commuted to the office daily and generally enjoyed the vehicle’s reliability, comfort, and all-weather capability. During this time, I spent evenings fiendishly researching how best to outfit the 200 series for extended overland travel –hoping one day that I would have an opportunity to pursue this lifelong interest. In 2020, as COVID disrupted the world order and my normal routine, I was no longer heading into the office and I started to modify the Land Cruiser. Despite a global pandemic, I had gotten lucky again it seemed.

The next bit of good fortune arrived when I met the founders of Roko Vehicles, a vehicle outfitter group based just outside of Boston, MA. They were instrumental in helping to advise, and then build, a vehicle that met all of my needs. The project began with OEM steel wheels, AT tires, SLEE skids and sliders, as well as a Prinsu roof rack. I was invited to join them and a few other modified 200 series LC owners up in Vermont for a weekend of camping and offroading. I was instantly hooked, but I knew that if I was going to be able to keep up I would need to add some additional capability.

 200 series land cruiser build

With increased flexibility at the office, and the ability to work from literally anywhere, I connected with the Roko team again to prepare for my first ever cross-country trip. My priorities were to maintain the Land Cruiser’s inherent reliability while adding some more offroad functionality to explore more distant areas while traveling solo. To facilitate truly remote work, the vehicle needed the electrical infrastructure to power a laptop, a portable monitor and mobile hotspots driven off of the cell booster. I also knew I would have to remain organized and carry all the fuel, water, and food that I would need along the way.

For this phase of the build I added OME BP51s with SPC UCAs, larger 33 inch KO2 tires, ARB drawers and fridge, a dual battery setup with Redarc charger, hidden inverter, and a host of accessories for recovery and self sufficiency. About a week after this work was complete I set out on what would become an 11k mile round trip adventure, starting in Boston and driving across the United States and back. In those five weeks I experienced whiteout blizzards, treacherous mountain passes, red rock deserts, vast sand dunes, muddy rainforests and no matter what I encountered my Land Cruiser, as prepared by Roko, always kept going. I never suffered a single issue with anything.

200 series land cruiser road trip

When I returned from my cross-country trip at the end of March in 2021 I was interested in improving my camp setup. In the past I would pitch a ground tent, or I would sleep on an Exped in the back of the Land Cruiser, but I knew it was time to take it to the next level. I will be the first to admit that rooftop tents seemed ludicrous, expensive, and bulky. Dynamically, there is no worse place to add a few hundred pounds than the roof. Yet as I continued my research I found that, with the appropriate modifications, I could camp more frequently, in more comfort, and with less stress. Did my fuel consumption suffer? Yes. Am I significantly more restricted now in terms of using parking garages? Yes. Is it a trade-off that I would make again? Absolutely.

The hypothesis turned out to be true, and I would venture to say that I have camped more nights in the last 12 months than I had in total in the five years prior. The Alucab 3.1 tent is the perfect size for two, it is extremely durable in its construction, and has never let me down. As with most of the additions that I have made to the Land Cruiser, it was expensive, but I genuinely believe it is unique in its quality and post-sales support —two things I consider to be of paramount importance when you plan to genuinely use gear in the wild.  

200 series land cruiser road alucab

I camped all summer, rain or shine, and prioritized being outside with my friends and family. Rather unexpectedly, the next bit of luck came when I was taken off the waitlist for the Land Cruiser Destination Club (“LCDC”) event which was being hosted in Ouray, CO. I drove west again, covering another 2,000 miles one-way to attend this Land Cruiser-centric gathering. It was there, in the majestic San Juan mountains, that I really got to experience just how capable these vehicles are. I connected with Land Cruiser owners from all across the United States, and spent time getting to know the fine folks at Slee Offroad. I knew when I saw their rear bumper that I wanted to add it to the build, but supply chain shortages, and lack of availability resulted in several complexities. Eventually I agreed to return to Colorado in early 2022 to have the rear bumper installed at their shop Golden. I took this as opportunity for a second cross-country trip and planned stops in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Oregon, and California.

200 series land cruiser mountains

In March, 2022, I embarked on my most recent roadtrip, spending a few weeks in Colorado while the work was completed at Slee, before heading north for Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Parks in Wyoming and Montana. It was another lifechanging experience, one that I genuinely believe was enhanced by my Land Cruiser –there are so few cars I would want to cover that sort of mileage in, particularly with the extremes of weather along the way. After these National Parks, I continued west, reaching the coast in southern Oregon, before heading south into the prolific redwoods of Northern California. By complete coincidence, and as a continuation of my lucky streak, my company had organized an offsite event in the area, so I was able to connect with colleagues, while still camping in my Alucab tent. It was perhaps the perfect ending to another extraordinary adventure. 

200 series land cruiser aerial

As I write this I am back in Boston. I will be returning to Slee to pick up the Land Cruiser in the next few weeks, and I have to decide where I will explore next. Should I head for Southern California? Or the coast in the Carolinas? Or perhaps it is time to finally put the finishing touches on a trip to Baja or Alaska? Regardless of the destination I am confident I will get there (AND get home) when I am driving my Land Cruiser. I believe that is the true joy of owning a vehicle like this.

Cheers to more adventures, near and far,


Vehicle Details

  • 2015 Toyota Land Cruiser


Suspension, Drivetrain, Wheels & Tires

  • OME BP-51 Suspension
  • OME 2723 Rear Springs
  • SPC Upper Control Arms
  • Nitrogear 4.88 regear (REM polished)
  • ARB Air Lockers (F/R)
  • Safari Snorkel
  • Toyota OEM Tundra Steel Wheels
  • BFG KO2 275/70/18

Armor & Recovery

  • ARB Deluxe Front Bumper
  • ComeUp 12.5 w/ Flatlink E
  • SLEE Rear Bumper w/jerry can basket
  • SLEE rock sliders & skid plates

Interior & Electrical

  • ARB Drawers, one stationary and one roll-top
  • ARB 50QT fridge w/ ARB canvas bag
  • Alucab fridge slide
  • SLEE primary battery tray with oversized Odyssey starter battery
  • SLEE second battery tray with ODP-AGM35
  • Redarc BCDC 1240D
  • SLEE air compressor tray with ARB Dual Compressor
  • National Luna 18+12 Clear/Red cargo lights (2)
  • Weboost cell booster
  • Xantrex hidden 806-1210 Inverter
  • Blue Sea outlets and fuse box

Exterior & Lighting

  • All exterior trim paint matched to OEM Toyota Black
  • Full exterior XPEL paint protection film and ceramic coating
  • Prinsu full length roof rack
  • Baja Designs LP9 Pro (Amber)
  • Baja Designs Squadron-R SAE fog lights (Amber)
  • Alucab 3.1 RTT
  • Alucab Shadow Awning


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