Want to buy or build a truck for off-roading/exploring


New member
His everyone, I used to have a 4-door Rubicon on 35s. I did a bunch of exploring in Colorado and Utah and it was perfect. I had to sell it a couple of years ago but am in the market again for a vehicle. However, this time, I want a full-size 1/2 or 3/4 ton. I'd prefer the versatility of towing and hauling stuff for home improvements so a truck is more ideal.

I am open to gas or diesel and used or new I have owned a diesel before (mainly to tow a camper...both long gone) but not built to go off the beaten path much. Gas- the Hemi RAM sounds the best and with diesel, the GMC Duramax/Allison sounds the best. I'm still flexible. The Tundra is another gas option, of course. I have been going back and forth for weeks and still unsure if I should get a manufacturer-lifted truck like the AT4 or just get a basic one and lift it afterwards.

Use- driving to the mountains, and off-roading in Utah and Colorado. I do don't do any really tough trails but have done trails like Black Bear, Alpine Loop, and Imogene Pass in Ouray, CO. I have done some of the trails and backroads in Moab as well and many mountain passes and trails in Colorado. I mainly try to go to see the scenery and take pictures. I also like to traverse the passes like Schoefield (Marble to Crested Butte) and want to do Pearl Pass.

Do you guys have any thoughts? It will be my wife, my toddler, and me. Sometimes it will just be me.


Active member
What made you pick the GMC diesel as the best?

I have a 1 ton RAM diesel and it's the complete opposite of a daily driver, but if I was in the new truck market again I would be looking hard at the Ferd F250/350 with the Gas 6.8L/7.3L and 10-speed. Pick your trim level based on your budget.

If you plan to want real daily convenience out of your truck, take a look at an F150 or something (there's even a tremor for sale in the classifieds right now). Bed height alone makes a lot of modern heavy duty trucks a lot less convenient. Lifted on 37's my RAM's bed floor is almost chest height on me. Make sure you check this out in person on these trucks.

This is nothing new to some people, but I also like recommending to go and drive all of the vehicles you are even remotely interested in.


Active member
You've had a Rubicon you liked but want more truck utility, so why not look at a gladiator? Comes in gas or diesel, can be plenty setup from the factory for what you want to do, and it doesn't sound like you have enormous payload or towing requirements that would require a 3/4 ton. Gladiator plus a utility trailer might be all you need.

We've taken our ram 2500 over the alpine loop but I definitely wouldn't take it on black bear pass. It's just too big and the stress and inconvenience to others isn't worth it. Also, a heavy diesel truck on the off camber loose shale shelf roads of SW CO is not always a comforting experience.


SW Colorado is my favorite area as well. And I live in UT so Moab, San Rafael Swells, Cap Reef etc are places I frequent as well.

With only one child, a midsize would work. But if you’re planning for more kids, dogs, or just bring lots of stuff (when we had our first, the baby stuff was easily 2x both of our stuff combined), just get a full-size. It’s stress-free packing. Safe and comfortable.

I’ve been pleased with the F150’s I’ve had. I’m shopping for a new truck and F250 Tremor with 7.3 is at the top of the list.


New member
First- Happy New Year!!! May 2023 be amazing for you all!

Lots of very useful information in this thread, and I am really glad you all have posted. There are some things I did not think about but will now. Also, I live a little west of Denver. We also have a tiny ski condo up in Breckenridge so are up there most summer and fall weekends. The Gladiator is a pretty good option but it would be nice to get a little more interior room. We do also carry extra stuff for our toddler.

I will be towing a camper maybe 6-8 times per year so not regularly. I just liked that Duramax/Allison combo so much (compared to my Cummins HO/Aisin) because it was so quick and smooth shifting. That is why I lean towards the GM if diesel. It is just easy to drive and quick. I do agree that a heavy diesel or heavy truck may not be the most comforting situation on those shelf roads, so I will also start looking at the 1/2 tons and reset my thinking. I'll also take a look at the Gladiator and go drive a few vehicles. From a practical standpoint, the Gladiator and 1/2 tons are probably more ideal.

Should I even look at the smaller 3.0 Duramax and RAM diesels fox the fuel mileage or skip those? I have never driven one nor do I know that much about reliability. From the few drives I have done, the RAMs and Fords (gassers anyway) drive smoother and softer than the GMs/Chevy 1/2 tons. However, the GMC was a 2500 Denali and it drove really smoothly. The RAM 3500 was a lot stiffer but fine on the highway...a bit jarring when unloaded so not going 3500 again for sure.

Lastly, we have an older 2005 4Runner and an older 2009 GL450 that are our daily drivers. I would hardly get anything on the trade so we may keep both of those.


New member
Oh, we both work from home now so we do not have a commute. Most of our errands are within 10-15 miles. The main mileage is when we go to Breckenridge on weekends and our/my trips to Utah and SW Colorado.


Active member
Couple thoughts: the older 4runner with a couple new mods sounds like it would be an ideal trail rig for the exploring you're talking about vs a $60k+ new truck that you'll wince at every scrape. Maybe focus on different vehicles for fighting i70 to Breck each weekend vs SW CO excursions.

What's the parking situation at your Breck place? Diesels take a long time to warm up if you're parking them outside in the winter. Turbos (gas or diesel) do make getting through the tunnel effortless, so maybe look at the 3.5 twin turbos from Ford and Toyota. The 3.0L GM is also supposed to get really good mpg, but run the numbers for total coast of ownership with current gas prices. If you're worried about transporting lots of kid stuff, you might want to consider an SUV instead of a truck bed to keep strollers etc out of the weather. A full size SUV like a Tahoe or Sequoia can tow in the neighborhood of 8000-9000 lbs.

autism family travels

Active member
I have a 2017 F150 XLT FX4 package right now and it's the best truck I have ever owned. Great on gas (5.0) no turbo garbage, lots of interior space, super comfortable and overall a great buy! I do small construction jobs like building sheds, decks and stuff and the truck serves me well! Highly recommended. If money is not really a concern, I would go with the new tremor 150.


I wouldn’t consider a gm hd truck at all, too much low hanging fruit, look at the def tank. Plus I prefer a simpler easy to work on solid front axle for an hd truck. That Allison transmission is no longer made by Allison, gm bought the rights to put the Allison name on its 10 speed it designed with ford. So with that said if you like the 10 speed shifting, and want diesel power and torque take a look at the ford. Or wait until the new ram hd comes out and see what they offer for the next transmission… it may be very interesting.

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