We sat down with Jason Smith and Patrick Drake from Colorado Overlander to learn a bit more about how they use their DECKED system. As a company that rents fully equipped Toyota TRD vehicles, we think their story and use of our DECKED system can help answer a lot of questions we get every day.
Jason, a California born, reggae listening, Lieutenant, and paramedic has always had an interest in the outdoors and found a sense of home when he made the move to Colorado. Patrick, found his love for overlanding while splitting time between the US and Argentina and looking for ways to adventure. He found that a rugged vehicle, equipped with everything needed to be self-sustained and fully fulfilled was the ticket. Together, they found a way to build a business in the outdoor world that they immerse themselves in and we wanted to share their story.
Check them out!
Instagram: @colorado.overlander & #coloradooverlander
Personal info: whatever you want to tell us about yourselves, what music is blasting in your shop, favorite foods/beers/moments/movies, dislikes whatever!
I have had a lifelong passion for mountain biking, I love being in my garage wrenching on bikes listening to California reggae. I’ve been a proud IPA drinking vegetarian for the majority of my adult life. My wife is a Roaring Valley native, we love getting outside whether it is biking, camping (overlanding), or skiing.
What drew you into overlanding/ starting Colorado Overlander?
My first truck was a 1988 Toyota Pickup, and that’s where my interest in off-roading began. Throughout the years, I have owned numerous Toyota trucks, currently driving a 1976 Toyota FJ40, completely restored by Proffitt’s Cruiser, and a 2017 Tacoma. I am a loyal Toyota off-road enthusiast. Knowing my passion for Toyota off-roading, my good friend Chris Drake invited me to join in on the crazy adventure of Colorado Overlander.
What is Colorado Overlander exactly?
Colorado Overlander is a premier overland vehicle rental company that focuses entirely on the Toyota TRD Pro platform. Our vehicles are fully capable and equipped with the finest overlanding equipment, we provide first-hand knowledge of some of the best overland terrain, and we encourage you to explore responsibly and respectfully.
Best/worst/funniest/scariest overland moment? Business moment? Anything else that comes to mind?
A few years ago my buddies and I started an overlanding trip called the CCC, Classic Cruise of Colorado. To join, vehicles must be at least 30 years old. It entails an annual off-roading trip throughout the state, visiting towns such as Telluride, Ouray, Crested Butte, Lake City, etc by way of 4-wheel drive passes and camping along the way. A favorite moment was when my buddy drove his ‘63 carbureted, 2-wheel drive bug over Ophir Pass, with applause from other off-roaders watching from the side.
Most critical piece of gear or equipment?
Are you a particular specialist or perfectionist etc in any one thing?
I am a diagnosed perfectionist. My friends call it OCD, I call it high standards. I believe in doing things right, keeping things clean, and living a minimalist lifestyle, emphasizing quality over quantity.
Best thing about what you guys are doing today.
For me, the best thing about Colorado Overlander has been the opportunity to work with such an innovative, intelligent, and motivated team. Every day that I get to work on Colorado Overlander is exciting; it is rare to have a group where we all have similar passions and work ethic. Also, the feedback from our customers has been incredibly validating, we know we are providing a service that is highly valued.
Anything in particular that relates DECKED to making your day better, outings better, or whatever comes to mind.
DECKED is essential in keeping our gear organized and protected. DECKED gives us confidence that the gear we provide our customers remains in the best condition. Frankly, without DECKED, we could not provide the same high quality experience we can promise today.
How does DECKED integrate with your Colorado Overlander vehicles
We use the DECKED system in our Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro and our Toyota Tundra TRD Pro. We take a unique approach when renting our overland vehicles by customizing the equipment to meet each renter's specific needs. For example, renter's can choose if they want the truck with a RLD topper and Roofnest Falcon or CBI Bed Rack and Roofnest Condor? To some, these slight differences matter. But regardless of the renter's choices, the vehicles always include the DECKED drawers, D-Box, and Crossbox. DECKED keeps our recovery equipment, kitchen setup, and camping gear protected and well organized. DECKED allows us to facilitate this customizable approach to overland vehicle rentals.
Why you like your DECKED system and/or how it benefits you for both work and/or play
DECKED is durable, reliable, customizable, practical... But it also allows us to turn our vehicles around more quickly. When a renter returns from a two-week overland expedition, cleaning and preparing the vehicle quickly for the next customer is crucial. Within minutes we are able to spray and wipe down the drawers that house our ARB Jack, Treadz recovery boards, Big Agnes chairs & tables, swap out a D-Box (kitchen setup) and Crossbox (lanterns, headlamps, etc), and inspect and inventory the items (first aid kit, fire extinguisher, recovery items) in the corner compartments. The DECKED system is just efficient. (See Attached Diagram)
Why choose DECKED over other storage options?
For us, there wasn't another choice. It was DECKED all the way.