Nissan Xterra Off Road Overland

Build Phases for my Nissan Xterra Pro-4X

Update March 2016
We’ve since sold our Xterra and upgraded to a Toyota 4Runner Trail Edition, You can see our updated Build Plan here.

A couple of weeks back, I wrote a post about how we’re starting to build my Nissan Xterra Pro-4X into an Off Road Overlanding rig.

As I mentioned in that post, we’re building an adventure mobile so we can go on longer and more enjoyable adventures while taking some of the comforts of home with us.

But, transforming my Xterra into an overlander that I’d be happy with takes some time, resources, and customization.

Plus — My Nissan Xterra Pro-4X is about half way through a 3-year lease, so anything I do to it needs to be temporary, and easily added to my next vehicle. (Which at this point I want to be a Toyota 4Runner!)

Breaking the Build into Phases

Because of the expense of purchasing and building the rig up, we’ve divided it into four phases and grouped by similar builds and items.

Not only do the phases break apart the expenses, but it also breaks apart the uses. We organized each phase to slowly help us improve our overlanding little by little.

Phase 1: Kitchen

ARB 47L Freezer Fridge
We’ve been researching a lot of fridge/freezer combos for awhile and have finally settled on the ARB 47L Freezer Fridge.

We decided on this one because it’s highly recommended, built extremely well, and is light enough to move around freely — which we will be doing a fair amount of since nothing can be permanently installed.

JK Stove
The stove, on the other hand, we have a ton of directions we can go in. The one we want to get is designed to eventually fit snuggly into a fridge slide that’s mounted into the back of the vehicle.

This is something that is very attractive to me. The slide and stove are sold separately so if we do decide to invest in the slides stove (which is considerably more expensive) we know it’ll pay off in the long term.

Phase 2: Roof Racks, Power, and Lighting

Front Runner Slimline II Nissan Xterra Roof Racks
This is the only major piece of equipment that makes me sad. Of everything we have planned so far, this is the only item we will not be able to transfer to a new vehicle unless for some reason we either choose to buyout my lease at the end or trade up into a new Xterra. Which is not the plan right now.

But I chose this expedition aftermarket roof rack because it totally replaces the stock Xterra racks… which let’s be honest are terrible. You can’t mount anything simply to these things. The rail system on the new rack fits nicely with virtually any aftermarket Item I was to add to the truck. Bingo!

Power is the biggest challenge of modding my rig. Typically you tap into the truck’s internal battery and power system and have to run wires through the roof and other places that will irreversibly change the truck. (which I absolutely can not do.)

So I got a little creative, by purchasing the National Luna Portable Battery this does two things. One, I can have my dealer run a single power wire from my current battery to the auxiliary battery without changing any of the current electrical system or drilling new holes, my current battery will charge the auxiliary one.

From there, all of my additions like the fridge and lights will tap into this second battery which will allow me to keep everything clean and separated. Also by using the back hatch, I can run wires weather sealed from the second battery, through the bottom of the back hatch of the truck and up onto the roof racks all while avoiding drilling holes!

The four lights I chose were for specific reasons, the 40 inch LED light bar is to replace the stock Pro-4X lights that are currently on the rig. I can easily remove and unplug those lights and when the new system is complete just add the light bar to the rack.

The other smaller auxiliary lights are for off roading at night or campsite lighting. The lights can be easily swiveled and angled to illuminate anything we want around the truck. Priority is for the light bar, but shortly after these aux lights will come too.

Finally, the 4X4SPOD system is a dashboard-mounted touch screen that interacts with an interface that all of the other lights plug into, that way I can control each light separately from a touchscreen interface and keep the wiring simple, clean, and efficient!

Phase 3: Sleeping

There are many rooftop tents on the market at the moment, but I really like what this company stands for and their quality of products. I’ve read great reviews from first-hand users who love their tents, plus they just look amazing.

I put sleeping as phase three because we currently have a ground tent that we could sleep in until we eventually build up to this, however, these tents are currently back ordered and out of stock, and demand for them is pretty high.

I’ve been told that in January they expect a new shipment. If that’s the case I’m going to swap this to phase two and bump Roof Racks, Power, and Lighting to phase three. The good news is if that does happen, the tent can be mounted to the stock racks. It’s not pretty, but it can work.

Phase 4: Extras

Phase 4 is a bunch of other items that would greatly improve our overlanding, but don’t necessarily fit into any specific category or buying priority.

ARB Air Compressor
The Air Compressor is pretty important for proper tire pressure, but with its price fairly low I can purchase this at any time if I feel we’ll be going over rough terrain and need to play with tire pressures.

Eezi-Awn 270 Degree Batwing Awning
The Batwing Awning is an absolutely amazing and expensive piece of gear, it mounts to the side of my roof racks and when unfolded covers 270 degrees of the outside of my truck with an awning. Talk about amazing. It’s pretty neat, but not a major priority.

Fridge/Stove Slide
The fridge/stove slide is what we were talking about earlier with the stove, I can’t build a proper drawer or slide system now due to not being able to modify the truck.

But I could eventually make this happen due to the fact the Xterra has a built in rail system in the back of its trucks. It’s a potential possibility if we wanted to go down that route, but the ARB Fridge is small enough to mount and unmount without many challenges.

– – – – – – – – – –

We’re excited to start our build and really take advantage of being outdoors with this rig.

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Question: Whats a modification you would love to do to your vehicle to be able to use it for outdoorsy activities?

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2 comments on “Build Phases for my Nissan Xterra Pro-4X

  1. rcordpa on

    Sounds like a really fun project. You may want to consider upgrading your alternator to support all the add-ons. Can’t wait to see some internal pictures when you have it set up.

    • Mike Revelle on

      Hi Sir! I’ve already considered it and it’s in the plans! — The items I’m upgrading too are all within spec of my current stock alternator, actually my truck barely uses 25% of its power now. But if I need to cross that bridge I’m prepared too!

      Stay tuned I’ll be showing the whole process here!

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