Luggage Racks & Box on the Purple Prius Eater

Four out of six wheels on the Horizon Tour will be the Purple Prius Eater; a lifty and nifty 1998 Toyota Tacoma 4×4 2.7L four banger.

Bought in Colorado from a fellow moto lady, immediately driven to Portland, then used to relocate to SoCal, she’s clocked almost 60,000 miles in four years. Having just had her 190k birthday, equipped with a new engine and tons of other maintenance work, she’s amidst build-out and fulfilling her destiny as an adventure rig.

For the six month (or more) long trip, the Purple Prius Eater will carry myself, my dog Akila, my new Honda Rebel motorcycle (yet to be named), as well as function as the home base and office.

Daily needs and some basic creature comforts require some modifications to the truck. In preparation for this day I’ve spent some $6,000 on a new engine, drive shaft rebuild, new suspension, and a deluge of other mechanical stuff. It’s like that song The Gambler, “know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em”. But I’m looong past being able to fold. So I’m all in… I’ll just have a new truck one piece at a time.

The first addition was the ARE canopy with extra headspace scored off craigslist. The guy also had the Defender Rack with four Rigid Industries spot lights that I picked up at the same time. The rack mounts were for a truck with rails on the roof, so I had to save it for later. I picked up the canopy on a nice sunny Portland day and had hopes it didn’t leak badly, took a hose to it and noticed my bed liner caused a gap in the front where water dripped in. So after taking a knife to the front of the bed liner and removing the strip along the front rail, I used 1″ vinyl weatherstripping with heavy duty adhesive backing and applied it all around the bed rails.

Good news! The weather proofing worked around the bed rail, but on the next rainy day (which come frequently in Portland this time of year) I found out the left window was leaking. The man-door on the canopy’s rear hatch also has damaged bulb seal weather stripping, so it was time for me to find an ARE dealer and go see what sort of fixes I could come up with.

I headed over to Northwest Auto & Truck Accessories in NE Portland near the airport and found myself exactly where I needed to be! After doing research on cargo boxes online for weeks, I landed right in the middle of everything I needed.

The guys were extremely helpful, and I went from getting my window fixed and ordering bulb seal to buying a Thule Pulse M 614 cargo box, had them move my canopy luggage rail to the appropriate location for said box, installed used locking Yakima rails on the cab, and topped it off with my Defender rack. Fixing the driver’s side pop-up window seal was $90, and now we’re leak-free!

Went through a box of tumblers for the Thule locks to match my new cargo box to the cross bars I already had. Success! Now I have one less key to keep track of on my janitor looking keychain…

I still have quite the list of things to do, but the list is getting whittled down… my swing-out tow hitch motorcycle carrier is in progress, which is the next biggest step!

✘ Canopy
✘ Weather-proof canopy
✘ Tow hitch
• Swing-Out Tow Hitch Motorcycle Carrier
✘ Cab roof rack
• Hook up Rigid spot lights
• Reverse LED flood light bar
✘ Relocate canopy luggage rack
✘ Cargo box
• Raised bed platform and storage area
• Solar shower
• Potable water storage
• New tail lights
• Curtains
• Deep cycle battery and charging system (solar or off vehicle)
• Fold/swing out table