013 – Brian and Leslie’s AEV Bison ZR2 Colorado and Trailer

This is Brian and Leslie’s 2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 with AEV Bison package. This build relies on the trailer as their sleeping system. It is a very good balance between off-road capabilities and comfort.
Brian is a Supervisory Technician for Colorado’s Public Safety Communications Network (the statewide two-way radio network that supports Fire, EMS, DOT, etc). Together with Leslie, they explore the mountain ranges of central Colorado. They do trails such as Weston Pass, Mosquito Pass, Hancock Pass, and Tincup Pass. For longer tips, they head towards the San Juan Mountains around Ouray and Silverton. They are planning a trip to the PNW next summer.

Let’s see how this rig is built!

Build Details

2021 Chevy Colorado ZR2 with AEV Bison package

3.8 V-6 gas, 8-speed transmission

Mileage: 45,000 miles
Engine mods: Trifecta performance tune and speedometer correction
Exhaust: GM Performance Cat-back exhaust
Front suspension: Lifted and widened from ZR2 package
Rear suspension: Lifted and widened from ZR2 package
Front Diff: Selectable locker from ZR2 package
Rear Diff: Selectable locker from ZR2 package

Tires: 285/70R17 Falken Wildpeak M/T
Skid Plate: Steel from AEV Bison package
Rock Sliders: Steel from AEV Bison package
Front Bumper: Steel from AEV Bison package
Rear Bumper: Steel from AEV Bison package

Air compressor: Viair
Recovery gear: 4x Amazon traction boards, Hi-lift jack
Roof Rack: Prinsu
Bed Rack: Armordillo Cr1
Awning: 23Zero 270 awning with wall kit (on trailer)
Water tank: 13 gallon Ironman 4×4
Additional Fuel: 2x 4gal Rotopax
Fridge: Iceco fridge/freezer (in trailer)

Exterior Mods:
23Zero camp chairs
Hella 500 lights with LED bulbs (forward-facing, bumper and roof)
Auxbeam A-pillar lights, cheap side-facing lights on the roof
Limb riser wires (DIY)
Decked drawer system
2x Plano cases for Recovery gear and tools

Interior Mods:
2/3 rear seat delete

Dashboard tablet and phone mounts
Midland GMRS radio
Powerwerx ham radio
WeBoost cell booster
Android tablet running Gaia GPS
Auxbeam light controller

Trailer: 2021 5×8 Hiker Mid-Range Offroad trailer
Trailer equipment:
Memory Foam queen-size mattress that folds into couch
DIY Solar power with 250W total
100AH Battery
DIY lighting
DIY charging outlets inside and out
Custom box for fidge on the trailer front myself
Custom Permanent propane lines for our stove on a
DIY kitchen slideout
Buddy Heater in the cabin
Lavabox propane fire pit outside.

Planned upgrades:
Installing water tank in trailer
Moving fridge to the truck
Slides for the fridge
Replace the Armordillo rack with a Leitner
Changing the 13gal water tank to a fully-plumbed RV tank

How did you discover overlanding?
Back in 2007 or so, I bought a Toyota FJ Cruiser and happened across the first issue of Overland Journal. What I had always thought of as “Four Wheeling” and “Car Camping” kind of merged together at that point.

What is your favorite piece of overlanding gear you have?
That’s a really tough question. I would say our Squaredrop Hiker trailer with a dual-zone Iceco fridge/freezer. The trailer has completely changed travel for us; we can stop and set camp anywhere, anytime, in any weather – and be extremely comfortable and secure in doing so. We can take it along with us as we travel (like the Rimrocker Trail), or drop it and basecamp as we explore the area from there (like all of the local Moab trails or Colorado’s San Juan Mountains). The fridge/freezer has revolutionized our food situation and cooking ability when combined with the trailer, as we can keep food at safe temperatures on trips of any length and who doesn’t like ice cream to finish the day when it’s 100 degrees out?

Why do you overland?
My wife and I both love it, for different reasons that are totally compatible. I like trail driving and some of the technical aspects (building out our trailer solar array, sourcing water, etc.) while she likes camping and trail cooking generally. We both love to travel to lesser-seen destinations off the beaten path. But when it’s all said and done, it’s just a lot of fun and the people are awesome.

Please let Brian and Leslie know what you think of their build and go see the progress they made over the years on their Overland Bound thread.

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