Kirk Smith is currently serving on active duty for the United States Air Force, and is stationed in Las Vegas, Nevada. Looking back, Kirk admits that his fondest memories remain those spent outdoors with friends and family. Whether his retrospection be of huddling around a campfire, or bouncing down a rocky trail while behind the wheel of a badass 4×4, this enlistee is one hell of a devoted outdoorsman.
Living in Las Vegas allows access to more than just slot machines and showgirls, with some of the most scenic overland drives imaginable residing in the sand outside the city. When not on duty, Kirk spends the majority of his free time exploring some of Mother Nature’s most stunning deserts and mountains. While a love for all things off-road only recently surfaced, Kirk tells us that he has always harbored a passion for modifying automobiles.
For the sake of time, we won’t go into listing all of the modified rides Kirk has built; just know that the man has modified every car he has ever owned. As for his decision to daily a 2017 Tacoma TRD Off-Road pickup, the guy basically needed a truck, and since Kirk’s family has always owned Toyotas, reliability and value quickly became a key selling point.
No sooner had Kirk purchased his pickup than one of his friends mentioned that he too had just picked one up. The two Tacoma owners proceeded to take their trucks out in the wild for a quick round of firearm practice, along with some mild 4×4 tomfoolery. While following a slightly more challenging exit trail later that day, Kirk was given his first real dirt therapy session, sparking off a thirst that has never quite been quenched.
Up until that moment in the mud, Kirk had zero intention in modifying his Toyota Tacoma. But faster than you can say, “Hey y’all, watch this!” things like beefier suspension and bigger tires were being diligently researched.
However, close friend and primary builder of the Silver State Overland Tacoma, Shawn Lucero (of Rogue Off-Road), offered a piece of sage advice – don’t be the guy who finds himself tearing his truck apart to make adjustments for what you originally thought might be too hardcore or expensive.
Being the “buy once, cry once” type, Kirk sprung for the top-tier performance suspension package, a decision that he admits has benefited him tremendously. He tells us that to date, the truck’s King 2.5-inch-diameter extended travel suspension remains his favorite modification to the truck, bringing both 4×4 performance and on-road comfort to the equation.
Perhaps the most rewarding part of this story isn’t the truck itself, but how Kirk’s hobby caused him to cross paths with so many amazing individuals. As we speak, some of the closest people in Kirk’s life share his passion for exploration, a community within the off-roading world assembled around adventure and a TRD Off-Road Toyota Tacoma. Forces that have joined to provide a positive experience for both today’s 4×4 enthusiast and tomorrow’s fledgling explorer.
Oh, and regarding the title Silver State Overland… let’s just say that the name “Las Vegas Overland” ushers forth images of skydiving or rooftop cocktail bars instead of rocky terrain and crested buttes. Conceived while standing around a campfire, and named after the state from which it was born, the Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road Silver State Overland has grown into one hell of a build.
Kirk explains that while he has rolled on everything from hybrid all-terrain tires to dedicated crater-crawling compounds, something mud-focused like the Toyo Open Country M/T design never occurred to him. An 80-mile daily commute was surely causing some hesitation at first, but eventually Kirk bought a set, and was immediately blown away by how little road noise they produced.
Not only did Kirk’s Toyo Open Country M/T tires perform surprisingly well on the highway, but they also proved to be grippy in the rough stuff. The Silver State Overland Tacoma team has taken these tires through sand, mud, snow, and rocky terrain alike, all with little sign of slip. “The only con I can come up with is that once you run the Toyo Open Country M/T, it’s going to be difficult to want to run any other tire,” declared Kirk.
Roof Rack: Prinsu Design
Alu-Cab Gen 3 Roof Top Tent
Alu-Cab Aluminum Canopy
Alu-Cab 270 degree Shadow Awning
Gearing: Nitro Gear 4.88:1
Fridge: Dometic CFX75 Dual Zone mounted on Clear-view drop down fridge slide
Expedition Essentials TPAM mount
Expedition Essentials Compressor Bedside Mount with ARB dual compressor
Decked drawer system
Roadshower water tank
Sprint Booster throttle sensitivity booster