A few months ago I began looking for a beefy vehicle to replace by dying Subaru outback. I want a vehicle to take me off-road camping which a lot of enthusiasts have not dubbed "overlanding". The F150 landed at the top of my list after numerous searches, spreadsheets, and test drives. I wanted to further explore the truck, so I rented a 2019 F150 Ecoboost 3.5L 4x4 Supercrew and went to Moab. Here I will distill my experience down into a review.
You're probably wondering, why Ford? I was convinced the Wrangler, Tacoma, and 4Runner are the only true offroad overlanding rigs. No one drives an F150 on dirt. It's a contractors truck. Long ago I fell in love with Jeep and Toyota's iconic designs and the adventurous ephemera they built. I owned a 4Runner before my current Outback, and I have friends with Wranglers and Tacomas who I often travel with. All other SUV's and trucks were out of the question. I had to have one of these.
It was only when the compromises I'd have to make with comfort, performance, and safety set in that I realized maybe there's something better than the Jeep and Toyota options. Do they really make the best affordable offroad vehicles? I was victim to great marketing. I put dozens of 4x4 SUV's, trucks, trims and engine variants from all the big auto manufacturers on a spreadsheet, and a properly configured F150 quickly emerged as the best overlanding rig. At least on paper.
We rented a 2019 F150 Supercrew Cab 4x4 Ecoboost 3.5L engine and took it offroading in Moab, UT. We followed our rental agency's rules. We had permission to take it on US forest service, BLM, and National Park dirt roads, but it wasn't clear if harder Jeep trails Moab is famous for were allowed, so we avoided them. We were also cautious, and traveled with another 4x4 vehicle to avoid expensive recovery towing should anything go wrong.
We put it through the paces on Shafer Canyon Trail, high clearance dirt roads of Arches National Park, and numerous poorly maintained BLM roads.
Here's my report: