Things are starting to get real. I think I’m almost done buying stuff for the trip. See details and pics below.

Recent purchases:

  1. Tuffy locking storage box for the back of the FJ
  2. Garmin Montana 610 GPS (works for hiking or road travel)
  3. International and Inter-America Driving Permits (from AAA)
  4. Detailed road maps for almost everywhere I might drive
  5. A couple travel-on-budget books
  6. Travel tool kit in low profile box

Fortunately all of these will come in handy even after the trip, or if I can’t go for some reason.


Tuffy Security Drawer

I’m extremely happy with this purchase. I spent a lot of time researching for something I could use as another layer of security in the back of the FJ. #1 in case someone smashes the window – make it a little harder to get into the more valuable stuff while the alarm is going off. But mostly #2 – for roll on/roll off (RORO) shipping. Apparently your entire car will be gone through by anyone on the boat looking for valuable stuff. The hope is this locking trunk will be enough to hold them off on semi-valuable stuff (like tent, tools, etc). The valuable stuff will be with me of course.

unpacking and early install went vey smooth


So anyway I looked at all kinds of truck toolboxes, to figure out if I could drill holes and mount them from the inside. But of course then you have to worry about rattling and squeaking with something that might not be designed to be inside a car. I called a company about fabricating something. They wanted $800. Then I remembered I should probably check out to see what they have, and simultaneously it dawned on me that I should stop trying to jury-rig truck toolboxes and google exactly what I want: “locking storage box fj cruiser”. And boom. Found this, which perfectly fit the bill of what I want.


the drawer guides from hell

It went pretty smooth until pushing the drawer in. The manual said to insert very carefully – which we did. But I didn’t exactly know what I was doing on my side. As we pushed in we heard ball-bearings popping out. Ugh. Took us a bunch of tries of chasing down ball bearings, putting bearings back in, shoving drawer, popping out ball bearings, repeat. Finally Chris took over both sides and got it working. The drawer itself has a bit of a ding on the upper right corner from shipping. I think this might have made the drawer bend in a little, which made the tracks very hard to get into their housing on each side at the same time.

We finally got it in – minus one ball bearing that we couldn’t find – which is probably going to bug me forever. But if I can live with my car getting a dent from a stray softball a few days after I bought it new, I can live with a missing ball bearing I guess.


thanks for the help Chris!

But all’s well that ends well. Drawer seems happy now. Everything feels solid, no rattling. One cool thing is with the back shut and the small tinted windows, when you look inside the car you can’t even tell there’s a false floor. Hopefully this will decrease the likelihood of smash and grab.


Garmin Montana 610
Garmin Montana 610


International & Inter-America Driver’s Permits


buttloads of maps


South and Central America travel books
reasonable load of travel books


Stanley mobile tookbox


One purchase I almost made but backed out: a Garvin trail rack to go above the spare tire with two gas cans.

Not the exact rack, but you get the idea.

I decided I’d like to open the back window and I rarely would leave things outside the car. So I was buying a $900 gas can holder. To their credit, even though I had paid half and had it shipped to 4-Wheel Auto Parts, they gave me a full refund. That’s some good customer service. Very appreciative.