Gear For Land Cruiser Camping – Tools

Gear For Land Cruiser Camping - Tools

There are four basic areas we will be discussing for the subject of camping from your Land Cruiser; Food – Water – Shelter AND TOOLS! 

Gear For Land Cruiser Camping

 Words & photos: Rodney Wills – Like backpacking; Food, Water and Shelter are three of the four main categories and in a lot of ways, these all crossover to both two and four wheel camping. If you want to simi-deep dive into those categories, start with my favorite book, “The Complete Walker IV” by Colin Fletcher and Chip Rawlins. We will come back and discuss this book further and how it relates to overlanding, wheeling, camping and adventures as such. But for the purposes of this particular article we will move onto the tools category. 

Tools – The FSM & Peli’Case 

If you are just starting your overland adventures in Land Cruising, most likely the most important kit collection to assemble will be your tool kit! From day runs, weekend worriers to week+ long remote trips, having your tool kit ready at all times is simply a mindset model of self sufficiency. While the kit will consist of a plethora of tools, one item most folks overlook is a factory Toyota Service Manual. In addition to the factory Toyota service manual for your Land Cruiser, we will also discuss recovery gear, the tools themself and the means in which you organize and carry your tools, gear and that paper service manual that is the size of phone book… depending if you old enough remember those and too, if your town was big enough to warrant a 8.5″ X 11″ X 3″ 3.5-pounds of bound paper.  

When I purchased my 1992 80-Series Land Cruiser back in 2008, I didn’t know anything about the rig, much less the difference between my newly acquired 3FE engine and the more sought after 1FZ-FE engine. Luckily I was already in the habit of carrying “additional” tools on my adventure motorcycle as I was deeply entrenched into the forum riding solo on many desert excursions. But for the newly acquired Land Cruiser, the first crucial “tool” I purchased was the 1992 Toyota FJ80 Land Cruiser Factory Service Manual.  

Too, my days of participating in SCCA Rally, we were required to carry both tools and a factory service manual, so this is where the habit has been formed. Acquiring such manuals is a bit of a task, but typically I’ve visited EBAY and found the FACTORY service manuals which are more comprehensive than the Haynes or Chilton versions.

But how do you carry such a massive manual in the field? (Older Land Cruisers = not so massive manual) But the point is, before you toss all hope out the window, once you get past the fact that you WILL carry such a thick book in your Land Cruiser, the “how” is quite easy! 

In my rally car, just tossing a 8.5” X 11 X 1.5” 3.3-lbs paperback book in the car is not going to fly… Well, technically that is exactly what you do NOT want is a 3.3-lbs paper object flying around in the vehicle. You want to be able to actually use it when you need it and missing half the pages is simply not worth the expense of the factory service manual. 

Enter my slight obsession with Pelican Case protective cases! Not just for carrying my factory Toyota Land Cruiser service manual, but all of my tools as well. And aside from a lot of my camera gear, Pelican cases have been an industry standard for both the movie and events industries. 

Before I would intentionally “afford” myself a Pelican case just for the sole purpose of carrying my service manual, I purchased a Stormproof Case (now owned by Pelican). I put my rally car’s service manual in the box and then strapped the case to the floor of the car.

Now the 2-pound paperweight was secure because the car was known to fly!

Land Cruiser Specific

Let’s tone it down a bit! Overlanding, 4-wheeling, off-roading, adventure crawling, whatever you want to call it, carrying a factory service manual is simply a good idea. Maybe you have a photographic memory and have already scanned all the pages or maybe you are “super Land Cruiser certified,” but the 99.999% of the rest of us are not! Having the book is a good idea. 

FJ80 FSM in plastic bag, into old laptop computer bag into Pelican 1550 case into ADV80. 

Maybe you’re not the most comprehensive wrencher, but most likely you will find yourself in a situation, armed with the service manual and someone will come along who may be more mechanically inclined. This person will only need the proper instructions on how / what procedure to perform. Or maybe it simply takes you eight hours to perform the four hour task, but at least you have proper instructions! There is no such thing as LUCK! It’s called Learning Under Correct Knowledge! 

You never know when your 80-Series is going to fly, so always fly prepared!

GOING IN DEEP – This is the story that GOT ME!

Back in August 25, 2012 – Jonathan Hanson of Exploring Overland published “The One-Case Tool Kit, Part 1”
(Link down below for extended reading)

This is the story that GOT ME! It sent me down the “rabbit hole” so – so many times! And here it is, 10+ years later and I am still going back to this very series of articles! My two big “takeaways” from this 4-part series of posts are “quality tools” and “THE PELICAN CASE.”

And not just any Pelican, but the 1550 Pelican Case! Jonathan states, “I’ve finally wrapped up my project to assemble a comprehensive one-case field tool kit—and I’m really glad I restricted myself to a Pelican 1550.” I took that as my signal to search! I had eBay searches going for days – weeks! Finally – I found myself five of them all at once – one deal! So I purchased them, one for me and four for my buddy as he was building his “98 Jeep ZJ “SHTFV.” They are BRIGHT YELLOW but the price was RIGHT! Yes, I could have purchased new, but I was-am… “THRIFTY!” 

I scrubbed the screen printed company name off the bright yellow Pelican Case and slapped the company logo for who I was working for at the time onto my newly acquired 1550! The black Pelican Case is my first Peli’ for my photo gear from the late ’80’s – early ’90’s.

While working for Axial (2010-2018), I shot all the videos.. We had some nice camera gear and  we filmed in the dirtiest of conditions for authenticity. I secured all of our camera gear in Pelican Cases!

Jonathan Hanson of Exploring Overland published the following articles: 

The one-case tool kit, part 1

The one-case tool kit, part 2

The one-case tool kit, part 3

The one-case tool kit, part 4


While attending the 2001 WRC Network Q Rally of Great Britain, I stayed the following week and witnessed this WRC Prodrive Rally Tool Kit in action again while servicing the Group-N and Gravel car that Travis Pastrana was training in. Seeing this tool kit in action has forever scared my soft-matter memory hard drive! 20+ years later and I have yet to actually detail out my tool kit as such! I need some Anti-Procrastination!


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