DECKED and First Lite were both born in Idaho to solve problems that came up when we were doing what we love. In the spirit of hunting season, we're featuring the First Lite company hunting truck as our October Build Of The Month.
First Lite entrusted the 4x4 pros at Stage 3 Motorsports with the build. They drew up a list of accessories and upgrades that would improve performance and got to work. See full build details here.
This F-150 XLT came off the line as a practical pickup truck but still had untapped potential. First Lite knew this truck had to be something of a Swiss army knife, as it's a company vehicle that gets used in a variety of scenarios. It had to be capable on frequent hunting trips, but also cover extended highway miles and handle towing duty, including a custom whitetail hunting trailer.
The first thing Stage 3 tackled was the suspension. For the front, they sourced Bilstein 8112 coilovers, which improve offroad performance while remaining civilized on the road.
For the rear, they installed Bilstein 1800 rear shocks and SumoSprings bumpstops for improved behavior while towing. The result is a mild lift (between 1.5" and 2") that retains proper rake and doesn't compromise handling.
Next up was front-end protection. Collisions with other vehicles, roadside hazards and even startled game animals is a real possibility when dedicating so much time to hunting. The Midnight bumper from Ranch Hand combines a steel bumper with a full grille guard in one integrated unit, and its rugged construction will protect the truck and passengers in the event of a front-end collision.
The bumper/grille guard is optimized for OEM light placements. It also offers slots for sensors, cameras, and additional lighting, so the First Lite team can customize as they see fit.
No hunting rig is complete without additional illumination. Stage 3 opted for a pair of Rigid Industries' 4" lights. These can be flicked on when cruising back roads and used to spotlight game or find an overgrown turnout.
While they were at it, Stage 3 replaced the standard F-150 XLT headlights with a slightly different version from the XLT Special Edition. "It just cleans up the look a little bit, adds that dark gray metallic bezel on the inside, and blends more cleanly with the grill."
First Lite made sure their truck got some new shoes. They downsized from the stock 18" wheels to a 17" set from KMC. These were wrapped in Falken Wildpeak A/T tires. The result is more sidewall for aggressive offroad driving, but no unnecessary noise or feedback issues on the highway.
First Lite opted for a Go Fast Camper, as it provides a lightning-fast but hassle-free shelter solution. The DECKED Drawer System provides secure, weatherproof storage and doesn't interfere with their ability to carry several tags' worth of harvested animals at a time.
The finishing touches are some Husky floormats to keep the interior clean, a custom wrap with First Lite branding, and "plenty of blood stains from wild game."
Full list of detailed modifications can be found on Stage 3 Motorsports site here
Front Suspension - Bilstein 8112 front coilovers
Rear Suspension - Bilstein 8100 rear shocks & 1000lb Sumo Bump Stops
Wheels - 17" KMC Chase wheels
Tires - 34” Falken Wildpeak A/T tires
Front Bumper - Ranch Hand Midnight bumper and grill guard combo
Headlights - XLT special edition headlights
Lighting - Rigid 360 series 4" round LED lights
DECKED Drawer System
Husky Liner floor mats
Go Fast Campers Platform Camper
Custom First Lite wrap
Plenty of blood stains from wild game
Take some inspiration from this purpose-driven build, and share your own hunting rigs with us on social media using #deckedusa and #unsuckyourtruck. Special thanks to the First Lite team for sharing their truck with us. Keep your eyes peeled and we'll see you on the road!