• 2019 Nissan Frontier used as base for this low-cost modification
  • Destination Frontier is a capable overlanding rig that costs about $40,000
  • Modifications include 3-inch lift, rooftop tent, light bars, cargo racks and winch
  • 6,720 pound towing capacity from a 4.0-liter V-6 power plant


Often when you look at modified trucks rigged out to be overland adventure vehicles all you see is dollar signs. Some are tricked out with thousands of dollars’ worth of custom fabricated racks and storage management systems. Their lift kits and suspensions can cost more than your kids’ college education. In the past, Nissan has outfitted its own Titan XD with some pricy aftermarket parts to make the ultimate outdoor home away from home with Project Basecamp. This year for Overland Expo West, held annually in Flagstaff, Arizona, Nissan was on a different mission—make overlanding more approachable and affordable. Meet Nissan’s Destination Frontier, an overland-capable truck that all-in costs around $40,000.

Nissan Frontier a capable affordable choice

The Frontier is not only the smallest mid-size truck Nissan sells in the United States, it’s also the most affordable in the segment with a starting price of around $20,000 including destination charges. But don’t think that just because it’s inexpensive it’s not capable. Without any modifications the Frontier packs a 4.0-liter V6 under its hood that makes 261 hp and 281 lb-ft of torque. That low range power, when properly equipped, can tow up to 6,720 pounds.  The model used for this special project was the 2019 Frontier Crew Cab SV 4x4 Midnight Edition that starts around $33,000.

What are the most important modifications?

Overlanding is just that, driving an off-road capable truck or SUV off the pavement and over land. Sometimes terrain can be technical and treacherous, so you want to make sure you’re in the right vehicle. For the Destination Frontier, designers felt that ground clearance and drivetrain protection from obstacles a driver can encounter off road were the most important factors to consider within their budget.

A Nisstec 3-inch lift kit was used to get the Frontier higher up off the ground. Normally, the Frontier sits 8.9-inches above the road, so this solution boosts total clearance to almost 12 inches. Impressive. Add on Nitto Trail Grappler off-road tires to replace the stock all-season rubber and that’s a lot of extra height, traction and sidewall to crawl over all kinds of stuff.

Armor is another key factor in putting together a tough off-road vehicle. The Frontier already comes with skid plates, but the Destination Frontier got extra protection just in case from Hefty Fabworks. A reinforced front bumper and rock rails from the same company were also added to keep the engine, transmission and sheet metal as safe as possible. 

When you’re off the grid the idea isn’t to get stuck, but it’s reasonable to assume you might, or you may come across someone else who needs help getting unstuck. A Warn winch is good in just such occasions, hence, the Destination Frontier gets one mounted to its front bumper.

How long a trip can you take?

Because overlanding isn’t usually a day-tripping experience, the idea is that your rig can be a home away from home. That means sleeping and while it’s okay to sleep in the cab of a truck, anyone who’s done it more than once knows there are better options.

The Destination Frontier gets a super comfortable CVT rooftop tent that you can set up in under three minutes. The tent sits on a Rhino Rack Pioneer Tray, which is mounted to the Frontier using a Leitner Design bed rack that fits right into the bed of the truck. Oh, if only the pioneers had it this easy! This is the ultimate way to sleep under the stars, but above the rocks and anything that might be intrigued to crawl in your sleeping bag and curl up with you.

More than a creature comfort, unless you’re planning on doing a lot of hunting and gathering on your trip, food storage is a must. Enter the Dometic refrigerator and freezer that is on a slider and comes right over the tailgate for easy access.

What else does it have?

Rounding out the overlanding package are special lights from Baja Design and all-weather mats from WeatherTech inside the cab. All this and Nissan built it out in about ten days. One thing to consider is the extra weight might effect gas mileage a bit, the 4x4 Frontier usually gets 15 city and 21 mpg on the highway, but compared to a family vacation at say Disneyland, that increase at the pump might ultimately feel like a small price to pay.  

Making National Parks more accessible, teaching your kids about nature, and unplugging from the digital rat race, Nissan’s Destination Frontier proves you don’t need much money to get outside and stay outside. 

Interested in getting a new Nissan Frontier? See what's available at a dealer near you.

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