Our first camping trip


When I envisioned camping what came to mind was sitting around a campfire, roasting marshmallows and telling spooky ghost stories. Let me tell you, some nights are like that, but definitely not this one.

Jim and I were so excited when we finally put the Rhino Racks and CVT roof top tent on the Land Cruiser that we decided to do a spur of the moment camp trip at a local campsite. We were running out of daylight and had no time to prepare dinner at camp so we swung by Wendy’s grabbed some food and ate on the way. I remember the beautiful sunset on the way there and the anxious little boys who were ready to have an epic lightsaber battle as soon as we got there.

We set up the tent in the last campsite left in the jammed packed park. I thought it would be a great idea to wear a ridiculous wolf zip up the front adult onesie, BAD CHOICE! So… turns out we got food poisoning from Wendy’s. Jim was up projectile vomiting about three times and I will just tell you he’s the loudest puker in the world. While trying to clean himself up he set off the car alarm two different times and we couldn’t figure out how to shut it off for what seemed to be an eternity.

Jim went up to the showers leaving me with a sound asleep 3 year old and a wide awake 2 year old and I had to go to the bathroom. I waited and waited for Jim to comeback pacing outside the tent. I couldn’t wait anymore and made a run for it after making sure Daniel couldn’t get out of the tent that was about 8 feet off the ground. I ran for the restrooms carrying barefoot Jake. This is the part where that darn zip up onesie wreaks all of the havok. I dare you to try to take one of those off holding a toddler, not let your jammies fall in the toilet and not let the kid touch the bathroom floor I still pat myself on the back for pulling that one off.

Finally we all got back to camp. Daniel was still sleeping like a log, but it took me about an hour to get Jake to fall to sleep. Jimmy on the other hand passed out and kept snoring like a bear. His snoring was so bad hat the old people next to us came out and started banging pots and pans next to our tent. I got ZERO sleep that night making sure to kick Jimmy in the ribs every time he started snoring. I was also scared to death that he was going to barf all over the inside of our brand new tent.

I layed there in the tent peering through the Stargazser waiting for the sun to peek out of the darkness. As soon as 6am rolled around I woke Jimmy up and forced him to help me pack up the tent before anyone saw our faces because I’m sure they would ban our return. I told Jimmy he better sell the tent because I was NEVER going camping again!

We went home and I think I slept for 4 hours straight. I was so upset about the experience that I got Jim to agree to getting an anti-snore device before our next attempt at camping. Things have gotten better and I’m so happy I gave it another shot. Now that I’m learning the tricks of the trade it becomes easier every time. So the point of this blog is that it’s not always marshmallows and fairy tales, but you will always make memories to last a lifetime.

Life is about making memories. Adventure often & love much!

Until next time,


The Build


The first thing we had to do was figure out what type of vehicle was the best fit for our family and would get us where we wanted to go, which was the middle of nowhere. We also had to make sure we could afford the vehicle and all of the modifications that would be need. Another catch was that we had to be done and ready to hit the road in less than four months time. We were planning a trip from Florida to Denver to meet up with Bomber Products then take the Utah Backcountry Discovery Route to Flagstaff.

First we looked at FJ cruisers- too small, 4Runners- too expensive, then we found our girl. Beautiful Fiona, a 100 series Land Cruiser. Man she was sweet and the dealer had no clue what they had. Score!

First things first. Off came the running boards and mud flaps. Then we added a  2.5’’ heavy suspension lift from Slee Off- Road and 285/75/16 Toyo MT tires. After many calls to Derrick we got Rhino Racks and an awesome Mt. Denali CVT roof top tent with more than enough room for all four of us. 

My dad, being the incredible craftsman he is, helped us build a custom 3- drawer system that fit the double burner Camp Chef we already had. We used 3/4” berch and got 3 sets of 500 lb locking slides. By the time we were done I think we added what seemed to be about 1000 pounds of stuff to our old girl.  She’s still a beast! 

Not only did we make it as a family on our amazing trip out west, we kicked ass!!! That 100 made some of the toughest trails seem like a trip to granny’s. She climbed some hardcore stuff out in Moab, crossed some rivers and made a pretty nice place to call home and chill.

Since we built the 100 a year and a half ago we bought a Tacoma that looks like we are prepping for doomsday. I’m not going to lie, that 100 could blow that taco out of the water when it comes to wheeling. I love our old girl and I’m having a heck of a time coming to terms that she needs to find a new home. Our time traveling in ol’ Fiona will never be forgotten.


Life is about making memories. Adventure often & love much!

Until next time,


Jenna's Blog (Overlanding Family Style) — Southern Xpeditions

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Overlanding Family Style

Introduction to my little world

So I am as new to blogging now as I was to camping less than two years ago. To get acquainted you should know that I am married to Jimmy, the bearded Southern Xpeditions dude. We have two crazy little boys that are only 22 months apart, Daniel is now 5 and Jake is 3. Jim and I decided it would be a good idea to jump into this overloading lifestyle with both feet and we have never looked back since. I never thought that our first big adventure would be taking my family on a 4,000 mile trip across the country with a bunch of dudes I had never met, all of which were men with no children. Everyone warned me it was a bad decision, boy were they wrong! (for the most part).

As I have been batting around the idea of starting this blog I didn’t quite know how I should attack it, most fun, coolest places or toughest obstacles to overcome? But me being the way I am, chronologically makes the most sense. I will take you on a journey from where I started, driving a Hyundai Elantra getting 35 mpgs and the closest thing to camping I ever did was stay at a KOA cabin as a kid. 

I really hope you, the readers, get as much entertainment out of the stories and experiences I’m going to share as we all do sitting around the campfire rehashing the adventures, inside jokes and wisdom we’ve gained becoming the Southern Xpeditions family that we are today and that I love so much!

Life is about making memories. Adventure often & love much!

Until next time,


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