The Nissan TITAN XD PRO-4X “Project Basecamp” is an Outdoor Enthusiast’s Home Away From Home
By Sue Mead
If you’re a hunter, angler or outdoor enthusiast, it’s likely you have a penchant for being self-sufficient, are well-versed in survival skills, and purchase top-end goods and gear for your trips into the backcountry. I would also imagine that you research the vehicles you use for off-road or 4 x 4 forays to find models with capability and dependability, whether it be a pickup, an SUV, power sports vehicle, or an RV that can provide not just transportation but also shelter and the ability to camp and cook in the lands where the pavement ends and adventure begins.
I recently had the opportunity to try out a special concept model designed by Nissan to attract overlanding and outdoor enthusiasts dubbed “Project Basecamp.” Nissan has modified this five-passenger 2017 Titan XD PRO-4X with more than 60 aftermarket parts and accessories from some of the leading manufacturers in the overlanding field, creating a self-contained, self-sustaining “basecamp” for hard-core exploring, hunting, or fishing.
Although I have tested all of the vehicles in Nissan’s pickup and SUV stables and its toughened PRO-4X models, I had not evaluated the PRO-4X package on its award-winning Titan XD, with the opportunity to tow a load on a day-long trip that took me along paved roadways and on an off-road track with water crossings and uneven terrain to the base of the Grand Canyon. I’ve flown over this multicolored ribbon of majesty that cuts a 277-mile-long swath through Arizona. I’ve also sat on the rim of the rocks taking in the 18 miles of breadth at its widest point, punctuated by the snaking Colorado River at its basin. But, I had never been at the water’s edge of a place considered it to be one of the seven wonders of the natural world. Project Basecamp took me, a team of Nissan’s experts, and a posse of my automotive journalist colleagues on an adventure that showed us the driving prowess and comfortable motoring of this unique model; it also allowed us to share a meal and a time of relaxation in a swath of America’s splendor. While we didn’t spend the night in the great outdoors, we easily could have with the gear carried onboard Nissan’s Project Basecamp.
“Overlanding is an exciting form of outdoor adventuring, taking participants into sometimes extreme terrain and climate conditions,” said Fred Diaz, division vice president and general manager, North America Trucks and Light Commercial Vehicles, Nissan North America, Inc. “With the fully equipped Project Basecamp, it’s hard to decide whether getting there or staying there is more fun,” said Diaz.
Outside, Project Basecamp gets a beefier look to complement the truck’s aggressive stance. The list of exterior modifications includes custom front and rear Vengeance bumpers, aggressive Calmini fender flares and cab-length rock sliders, custom hood, light bar, and chase lights with fog and spot lights. A Warn winch system with remote mount and quick connect cables is tucked under the custom front bumper. A custom vinyl wrap completes the rugged look.
The overlanding enhancements are more than cosmetic. Heightened off-road traction is provided by 35×12.50×17 Nitto Trail Grappler all-terrain tires mounted on 17-inch KMC beadlock aluminum-alloy wheels. Underneath, the PRO 4X body-on-frame chassis is ladder type, fully boxed, with a double-wishbone suspension with stabilizer bar and Bilstein monotube coil-over shock absorbers up front. At the rear, the suspension is multi-leaf with solid axle, Bilstein monotube coil-over shocks and stabilizer bar. To support its rugged go-anywhere persona, Project Basecamp receives a special Icon 3-inch lift kit for extra tire clearance at each corner, and the suspension gets an extra level of bulletproofing with Hellwig air springs and an air leveling compressor.
Pulled behind Project Basecamp is a custom Patriot Camper X2 Off Road Adventure Trailer with matching vinyl wrap. The trailer has been configured to include many of the amenities that outdoor-lovers could desire, including a 50-liter fridge slide, large kitchen drawers, a pop-out sink, and a single deep-cycle, heavy-duty battery that can deliver power for days. When fully loaded, the X2 can carry more than two thirds its own weight, expertly distributed for increased off-road stability. The X2’s extreme departure angle, overall length, and low, wide track allows for smooth towing and its adjustable air suspension keeps it well clear of rocks and debris.
When you reach your destination, Project Basecamp becomes a mobile campsite with many survival essentials, including a Leitner Designs Overland bed cage, Rhino Rack Pioneer rack system and Foxwing Awning, CVT Tents Mt. Rainier Stargazer tent and vestibule, and Black Forest portable fridge Freezer, along with water canisters and fuel packs from Daystar, shovels, emergency kit from ARB, among other items (see list below).
For now, Project Basecamp is a one-off concept intended to show just how easily the Titan XD PRO-4X can be modified for hard-core off-roading adventures, like hunting in remote areas of the country. Its accessory list is both expensive and extensive, but you can pick and choose your favorite components– and create a Basecamp of your own!
Sidebar: The 2017 Titan XD
More than a half-ton, but not quite a heavy-duty pickup; Nissan says its Titan XD fits in between–call it a “tweener”. The Titan first came to market in 2003, but the pickup hadn’t been a major player in the full-sized truck market that has been dominated by Ford, Chevrolet, Ram — and to a smaller degree — GMC and Toyota. Nissan is now challenging all with the Titan XD that has been award-winning since it came on the scene last year.
The range of trims and models is impressive: there are five grades: S, SV, PRO-4X, SL, and Platinum Reserve in both Single, Crew, and King Cab configurations with a choice of 4×2 or 4×4 drivetrains (except for the PRO-4X model, which is available exclusively as a 4×4). Under the hood is a powerful 5.0-liter Cummins turbodiesel V-8 mated to an Aisin six-speed automatic transmission that creates 310 horsepower and 555 lb.-ft. of torque; it has a maximum tow rating of 12,314 pounds and a payload of 2,091 pounds. Also available is a 5.6-liter Endurance V-8 engine mated to a heavy-duty seven-speed automatic transmission that generates 390 horsepower and 394 lb.-ft. of torque. This powertrain offers a maximum towing capacity of 9,390 pounds and payload of 1,610 pounds. A V-6 engine is expected to join the lineup at a later date.