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Discussion Starter #1
Can those who have a short bed truck help me figure out if it's enough space for a raft, frame, and gear for multi day trips?

I'm looking at getting a tacoma 4 door truck for a family of four after totaling my car (and a deer) last year coming back from a San Juan trip.

I really don't want to get the full 6' bed with 4 doors if I don't have to as it's too much truck for me 90% of the time.

Thanks!
 

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Can those who have a short bed truck help me figure out if it's enough space for a raft, frame, and gear for multi day trips?

I'm looking at getting a tacoma 4 door truck for a family of four after totaling my car (and a deer) last year coming back from a San Juan trip.

I really don't want to get the full 6' bed with 4 doors if I don't have to as it's too much truck for me 90% of the time.

Thanks!
We manage- with a topper and roofrack it really isn't too bad. That being said, I just bought a trailer for the raft.
 

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We have a Nissan Frontier 4 dr short bed and we have made it work but its difficult at times. We almost always carry a trailer now. You can fit the group gear in the back of the truck but it gets kinda crazy when you start including all of the personal gear and bags. Its not a problem if its just 2 people in the truck so you can use the backseat for personal gear but that doesn't happen for us much.

So....yeah, it can be done but adding a trailer is our preferred method. That said, I haven't seen a reason yet to upgrade to a full length bed for a 4 door.

Phillip
 

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Discussion Starter #4
yeah - maybe adding a roof rack for those trips would make it possible. I also planned on getting the bed extender - I assume that helps.
 

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I guess I'm old school but in my book 6' is a short-bed truck!

I've never had the luxury of a boat barn so I always pack as compactly as possible. I've done multidays from CRVs and Outbacks plenty of times--it all depends. A raft weighs about the same as a person, so sometimes they end up buckled into a Civic. Even a 6' bed is too short if your gear pile is huge and you don't know how to pack. Whatever you get, a roof rack is key for oars, paddles and frame pieces.
 

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even a six.5er is small. those four foot beds don't even qualify as a truck, thought it ought to tow well enough.
 

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I have been hauling a rolled up raft, frame and oars in my Tacoma access cab with a 6' bed for years with enough gear for a long expedition. With the truck getting close to 300k, I just bought a new Tacoma and got the double cab, as grandkids are now too big for the jump seats. That said, I thought about the shorter bed and scrapped it for the 6'. I don't think there is enough room in the short bed.
 

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I have a short bed Tacoma. I don't think it would have enough room for raft and gear. Unless you are a Tetris champion.

Get the "long" bed, or a trailer.
 

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FWIW I can pack my rolled up 14' NRS, frame and camp gear for 3/4 people for a weekender into my subaru legacy sedan if I use a cargo carrier. I can only take 1 passenger though if I do this.
 

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I have a long bed newer tacoma with a high shell. I can fit everything for two people on a long trip in the back. It makes is easier to put the frame on a rack and I am using all the rest of the space if I am going for a multi day. This is with a E-140 rolled, oars, cooler, dry box, ammo cans, water jugs, PFDs, drybags and the rest misc stuff in the back. I think I could do it with a standard height shell but it would be tighter and not as easy to load. If you pack light and have a small boat I'm sure the short bed would work, although tight.
 

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I'm looking at options as well. My 98 Taco has loads of miles and the wife, kids and dog are taking up more and more space every year. I roll the raft for transport for travel over 120 miles and like to throw a snowmobile in the back every now and then.

I think the shorter 5 Ft bed is a silly idea in Colorado. It might be better off road, but that is about it. Toyota in their infinite wisdom, makes Tacos with 1) 4 door, 5 Ft bed, manual and auto trans 2) 4 door, 6 Ft bed, auto trans. I know the debate about manual vs. auto, but I want a 4 door, 6 Ft bed and manual trans.

Talking with the dealer the other day, he seems to think the Tacoma is getting a model refresh for the 2015 year. Rumors of a clean diesel highlux surface every few years, so this years rumor is the Tundra may get a Cummins. That's great, but a diesel Tacoma that gets 35 mph would be even better.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Bummer, I was hoping with the bed extender that it would work well, but my gut tells me there would be no access to the cooler and drybox on the long drives out to Utah.

I have a trailer, but trying to get away from needing to use it after being in the accident with it last year. It caused some major headaches getting that thing back to Colorado - luckily I have some good friends.

I have a hard time believing that a 4x4 truck will ever break 30mpg, but that would suck to have that come true the year after buying a new model. Most likely that is a few years away at least.
 

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If you want to avoid a trailer you could just get the short bed with a shell. I can get my boat, cooler, dry box, fireman, ammo cans, and water jugs in the short bed without much work. With a shell you have the luxury of stacking soft goods high and deep. You could probably work it to have access to your cooler if you really wanted. Get a rack on top to carry your frame and oars. Voila.

My '06 Nissan Frontier Crew gets a steady 22 mpg. Got a good chuckle from the poster who said a short bed is not even a truck. Has served us well for Utah desert roads, hauling wood for our stove and rafting trips just fine. Guessing these mud flaps we have probably disqualify us even more:



Phillip
 

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I have a 2nd gen tacoma access cab with the long bed and I can fit my 14' cat frame fully rigged in the back with tubes rolled up and strapped on top. Room for 4 people. Of course, back seat is small but I don't sit back there so....not my problem if your hitching a ride with me.

Just going to say that a 4' bed does not allow you to lay down or even fit a pair of skis in there long ways....no way you'll fit raft and gear for 4 in there with out some serious basket/rack on the roof. Which will kill your mpg more than the trailer will...The 4 door long bed is only 1 foot longer than the 4 door short bed....just fyi
 

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For clarity, the short bed is 5 feet while the long bed is 6 feet.

I sleep in the back of my shortbed and I am 5'10. If I lived in the back of mine in any free spot like I did in the early aughts then dropping the tailgate wouldn't work. But most people don't roll up to Walmart looking to do that.

As a ski instructor....never had a problem transporting multiple skis in the back of my short bed Nissan.

The Access Cab and Double Cab are actually the same overall length, if attached to Toyota trucks. So it seems the main issue is wether you want comfortable passenger space or extra bed length. We went with prioritizing passenger space; after years of traveling in our friends jump seats I just couldn't do that to mine or anyone else's back anymore. We also knew we would need this truck to last through our future kid's early years so having 4 door access was key.

Its fair to point out though....a Tacoma with shell increases rollover potential significantly. For years that combo was rated as one of the worst in that safety category (haven't looked into it in years since I no longer have a shell or Tacoma).


Phillip
 

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I've got a four door, 6' bed Tacoma with Thule telescoping bed racks and it works great for my 14' raft, dry box, yeti 120 and everything else I need for our family of three. I put the frame and oars on the rack. I added rear airbags to stiffen the suspension, that helps a lot because the stock suspension would squat when loaded for trips.

I can't imagine having any less room with the short bed--it's enough room now, but barely. I also use a cargo net over the bed to secure everything.


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Discussion Starter #19
Awesome - thanks for the input. I didn't realize the difference was only 12" - I thought the short bed looked more like 4'.

Definitely looking only at prerunner (4 full door) due to 2 kids and long travel distances.

Cheers
 

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DCLB FTW... 6' bed is so much better. DCSB are better wheelbase for wheeling, but the DCLB is plenty capable, and i only wheel on the way to the river or a campspot anymore. LOVE the tacoma except i do get shitty mileage. Lots of weight with topper,bumper, and sliders. (then theres the boating gear...)
I also have a big family- 4 girls,(3 stepdaughters and a 3.5 yr old daughter) so 3 in the back seat including a toddlers car seat sometimes, and wife up front. they def. fit but its tight....

My input: the Tacoma automatic Transmission is awesome. fricking solid, 5 speed sealed tranny, (no dipstick) you can downshift and drive it pretty much like a manual if you want to (i am still used to downshifting to save my brakes.) DCLB TRD sport is only available with Auto tranny, and LSD rear. the LSD is actually better for snow driving and everyday usage. (e locker better if you are stuck. ) i have yet to get stuck....

I have a snugtop hi-liner. It is a very solid top of the line topper. I am really happy with it. came from the factory with yakima racks. you cant put an external steel rack with snugtops because they have a slight overhang to hide the lip of the bed. I sprung for all the goodies like side windoors, and it is a worthy investment in the truck.
I also upgraded my suspension to accommodate the heavy loads, as the stock toyota leafs are stupid weak. I did Old Man Emu Dakar Leafsprings, and upgraded shocks Coils and upper control arms.If you are going there, i highly recommend OME products. they are designed/built by ARB in australia, for expedition (loaded with weight) style use rather then flexi- crawling type use.
You can do some research here: www.tacomaworld.com.
it is a really good resource for used parts , DIY fixes , mods, upgrades and all kinds of internet shenanigans. It's literally the buzz for Taco-heads.... dont say i didnt warn you.. :mrgreen:
Check out the 'mods and tutorials' header for all kinds of cheap and free fixes and mods. also the classified section for parts and trucks. people are upgrading parts like we go through kayaks, and sell em cheap... I got most of my lift, ARB bumper and other stuff used.... O and there are group buys for discounts on new stuff.
I would be very interested in the Hilux someday, but i am set til then....

Last thought, if wasnt worried about the big fam, i would absolutely go for the access cab standard (6') bed. best of both worlds then, and you can get it with the TRD offroad (E locker) and manual transmission.
 
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