Building a Broverlander – Part One

Can you truly build a truck to take to dinner on Friday night and camping on Saturday?

byMichael Bollinger|
Builds photo

Owning a nice truck can be a bit confusing. There are all sorts of unwritten rules and regulations that you must adhere to or risk falling into the proverbial no man’s land. In today's truck culture, ensuring your rig fits into its respective niche is sadly more important than building it to satisfy the intended desires for your ride. So what if you’re interested in multiple genres? What if you have aspirations to mall crawl during the week and camp on the weekend using the same truck? What if you have an equal admiration for both a Silverado HD and a Tacoma TRD Pro? The answer: Build a Broverlander.

Admittedly, pulling up to the valet at a nice restaurant with a complete Overland-spec rig equipped with a roof top tent, MAXTRAX hanging off the side and muddy tires isn’t ideal. In the same respect, you can look just as silly as hitting the trails in a Super Duty with a nine-inch lift and 26x14-inch wheels on 40-inch tires. With that in mind, there needs to be a balance and yes, you’ll have to sacrifice certain attributes from both sides. You cannot have the best of both worlds because in actuality, aesthetics and capability are opposing forces. Building a Broverlander is about finding the happy medium between the two extremes.

I’ve always wanted a truck. More specifically, I’ve always wanted a nice truck. Unfortunately, when it comes to trucks there’s a fine line between redneck and refined and it’s usually in direct correlation with how much is spent. In states like Georgia, Tennessee and Texas in particular, owning a fancy truck is somewhat of a status symbol and these rigs are more sought-after than a mundane luxury sedan or SUV. When searching for a truck to purchase, my main three constraints were that it needed to be powerful and capable, aesthetically attractive and have a refined, roomy interior. I narrowed it down to The GMC Sierra and Toyota Tundra and eventually to the Sierra Denali and Sierra All-Terrain. The only difference between the two GMCs ended up being that the Denali had ventilated seats, sunroof and more chrome - which I didn't want anyway. I selected a Sierra All-Terrain that was already tinted and leveled by the previous owner. I loved it, my fiancé loved it. We took it to dinner, hauled our trailer and easily fit five adults inside, comfortably.  My initial plans were to simply add 33-inch tires and call it a day and at first, that's what I did.

Truck Staff

As pictured, the Sierra features a Rough Country 2.5X leveling kit, 20x10 Hostile Sprocket wheels with a -19 offset and Toyo Open Country R/T 33X12.50R20LT tires. 

Truck Staff

As most automotive enthusiasts can attest to, I grew tired of this look after a couple of months. Don't get me wrong, it looked great but the time had come for further upgrades. At this point in the process, I had to make a list of wants and needs for the next phase.

Phase Two Necessities 

  • Increased ground clearance
  • Ability to accommodate a rooftop tent
  • Daily drivability

For the next phase, the goal is not to take this massive truck rock crawling or mudding. However, the plan is to be able to at least get off the grid utilizing a proper lift, larger tires and some of the best accessories on the market. Stay tuned for Phase Two!