Tricking out my Tundra

About the author

Kevin VanDam

Kevin VanDam

In the world of professional bass fishing, Kevin VanDam is at the pinnacle and arguably the best in the world.

If you like tricking out vehicles, you'd love what I saw at the Specialty Equipment Market Association show I attended in Las Vegas last week. My vehicle sponsor, Toyota, was there unveiling its new concept pickup truck, "Tundra Sportsman," and asked me to fly in to make a presentation to the media. The SEMA show is the largest trade show to hit Las Vegas each year. I was all eyes walking around looking at the exhibits and seeing the cool aftermarket stuff that's out there for dressing up your vehicle. I got some great ideas I want to add to my Tundra before I head out on the 2011 Elite Series trail next spring.

Anglers who love hunting as much as I do will be impressed with the Tundra Sportsman. It's purely a conceptual vehicle (meaning it's not for sale at this time), but it demonstrates what you can do to a Tundra. You will see one at a Bass Pro Shops near you, as the vehicle will be displayed at several stores around the country this winter. Toyota partnered with Bass Pro Shops and its RedHead Pro Hunting team to create the ultimate hunting pickup truck. Toyota describes it best, saying it "pushes the creative boundaries of truck utility, and through the use of hunting theme, it reminds consumers of how Tundra and Bass Pro Shops complete the outdoor experience." And, man, does it ever!

Loaded with performance upgrades, this vehicle has a lift kit and a custom exhaust that routes pipes up the center of the bed and over the roof deck, plus an air-intake snorkel so you can drive it through high water. The wheels are 18-inch Teflon coated so mud doesn't stick to them. The bed of the truck has been divided into three zones to include gun and bow storage, clothing storage and a built-in galley along the tailgate area to include running water and a cook stove. The driver's side of the bed opens vertically and swings out 90 degrees to provide easier access. It includes steel gun cases and a pistol case. You can hunt just about anything off the top of the truck, where an 86-square-foot platform with collapsible hand rails support living/sleeping quarters — a two-man tent — and a camouflaged hunting blind. The interior has a command center complete with GPS and a weather tracking system. The seats are waterproof, and it has a 10-speaker JBL sound system that includes waterproof speakers for the bed of the truck. Now that's a vehicle for serious hunters! Speaking of which,

I'm getting ready for Michigan's deer gun season that opens next week. For me and many of the Elite pros, this is when fishing isn't on our minds. It's a time to get out there and chase that big trophy buck, which is what I intend to do for the next couple of weeks. Remember, it's all about the attitude!

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