Women’s History Month: Celebrating Women In The Off-Road Community

Lifted White 5th Gen 4Runner With White Color Matched Low Profile Front Bumper & Baja Designs Pod Light Bar On Roof Rack

We Interviewed 14 Women Who Wheel – A Hobby For Everyone!

As a woman in the off-roading community, I’ve found myself in complete awe of the amazing ladies who excel in their passion for off-roading. Seeing them build their trucks from completely stock to fully capable vehicles, traveling to some of the most remote places across our country, or simply enjoying the thrill of the ride—they are nothing short of inspiring.

I mean, seriously, talk about impressive! These women are not just breaking stereotypes; they’re smashing them to bits. Whether tackling rocky slopes or muddy trails, they’re proving that off-roading knows no gender. And it’s not just about the adventure—it’s about the support too. These women uplift and empower each other, creating a sense of community that’s truly special.

So, as we celebrate National Women’s History Month, let’s spotlight these 13 incredible individuals who are paving the way for future generations. Here’s to the trailblazers, the risk-takers, and the fearless adventurers who remind us that the off-road world is for everyone. Let’s hit the trails, ladies. The adventure awaits!

1. Brooke (@thewild_runner)

Women Who Off-Road & Overland

What inspired you to get involved in off-roading and overlanding, and how has it shaped your journey?

I grew up riding through the hollers and hills of West Virginia! I was always riding with Dad, my brother, or his friends. I learned how to drive my first stick shift in a Toyota Tacoma, and I’ve never been the same since!

I ended an almost decade relationship, an engagement, & an elopement but kept the cabin trip in Colorado. I loaded up my dog, Peaches, in the 4Runner & that week was spent in Colorado in solitude, exploring what was to me, all the high I needed to become addicted to traveling solo! However, I’ve moved around my whole life and have never been content with staying in one place.

Since then, I’ve found a love for exploring with my 4Runner.

Can you share a memorable experience or adventure you’ve had while exploring the great outdoors?

I have so many great memories of exploring. It’s hard to pinpoint just one.

As far as the off-roading community goes, I will say one experience does stick out. I went to Utah on a solo trip with Peaches, and on the first day, the 4Runner slid into a huge sand hole! There wasn’t anyone around, and I could see for miles. I was far off the road, and my truck was basically sitting straight up and down vertically.

I climbed back in it and thought, “I really messed up this time,” but I’ve always been calm in all off-roading situations because getting upset will get you nowhere. I’ve been in a lot of sticky situations.

All of a sudden, I see a Subaru-looking tiny car. I waved it down and ran to the bottom of the hill. Luckily, the guy’s wife saw me. I was so tiny from the road that she thought I was a sign. The man had only a garden shovel and a little shovel for geode hunting. He said, “I’m from Alaska, and where we are from, we don’t leave anyone stranded!” I agreed, as I wouldn’t either.

The man and I dug with our shovels & hands, and he was eventually able to tug me out. We dug for hours. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was for this man and his wife to come across me. I would’ve been there for God knows how long! Peaches and I drove out and continued to explore Utah!

How do you strive to empower and support other women in the community, and why is this important to you?

I support women, period. We have enough people around us trying to tear us down, and we already give ourselves enough grief! I stand for any woman trying to better herself in any form! I love seeing them kick ass off-roading too! It’s a thrilling hobby to have. I love that my truck started all of this, and here I am today, still giving other women the confidence to buy their own Toyota and wheel the hell out of it!

2. Sierra (@vixenoutback)

4th Gen 4Runner Overland Build - Women Who Overland

What inspired you to get involved in off-roading and overlanding, and how has it shaped your journey?

My dad inspired my love for cars that can’t go fast but can go anywhere! Growing up, my dad had a 1st gen 4Runner, an old Jeep, and a beautiful 1967 Ford Bronco! He let me sit as a passenger when he hit trails at the Bronco Bash or with friends.

My mom always took me camping. Almost every weekend, we would find a fun place to camp, set up a tent, and make smores around the fire. These memories as a kid inspired me to get involved in the offroad and overland communities.

My first car at 18 was a 2003 Subaru Outback. I soon realized my need for a car that could be built out and help me explore more. I purchased a 2006 Tacoma, 2WD. I soon realized the necessity for 4WD, and that is when I realized a 4Runner was my perfect option! I purchased my 2006 V8 4Runner soon after and have loved it ever since.

Can you share a memorable experience or adventure you’ve had while exploring the great outdoors?

I have had many amazing experiences while adventuring! My 4Runner has held strong through some sticky situations. However, my favorite memories are always those with friends, whether camping, offroading, or hanging out at King of the Hammers. The best memories are always made with those you love!

One of my special memories was with my boyfriend and dog Luna when she was still alive. We took her to our favorite camping spot for a weekend camping trip. She used to love sleeping in the tent with us and exploring nature. We took her on a hike, played fetch, let her chew sticks, and breathed in the fresh air. Those little memories make me smile when I remember how amazing of a dog she was.

How do you strive to empower and support other women in the community, and why is this important to you?

By being real, I strive to empower and support other women in the off-road and overland community! Helping women enter the community, supporting them by asking questions, helping them make connections, and being an authentic and wholesome example is essential to me.

It is very important to me that the offroad and overland communities have women out there who are wholesome and authentic so that little girls can look to positive role models and understand their importance within the community and the world. I am excited to see the women-owned portion of the community grow with more positive role models through these next few years! 🙂

3. Taylor (@meandering.may)

5th Gen 4Runner With GFC RTT With Orange Tent Material

What inspired you to get involved in off-roading and overlanding, and how has it shaped your journey?

Honestly, I think it’s a hobby that I just fell into! I never set out to do this or build a truck, but it’s been a huge part of my life, and I’m so glad I did. My husband traveled for his job and was gone for months, which required us to travel to see him. The more time I spent behind the wheel, the more I enjoyed the road trips. Those travels soon turned to dirt, and I’ve been hooked ever since!

Can you share a memorable experience or adventure you’ve had while exploring the great outdoors?

There are so many memories I don’t even know where to start!

I’ve been fortunate to see so many beautiful places here in the States, but one of my favorite trips was south of the border in Baja. It’s just so wild and untouched down there. So many beautiful places to camp and be completely lost in nature, in a good way, of course.

How do you strive to empower and support other women in the community, and why is this important to you?

I think jumping into a male-dominated hobby can be intimidating for women and even more intimidating for a mom who does this solo because that’s a VERY small percentage of this community.

I want other women to know that they can do it! You don’t need fancy gear or to know it all to get out there and enjoy this hobby. While we might be a small percentage, there are a ton of wonderful ladies out here ready to cheer you on!

4. Alyssa (@holdmycoffee_az)

3rd Gen Tacoma Driven By Alyssa - Women Who Wheel

What inspired you to get involved in off-roading and overlanding, and how has it shaped your journey?

I’ve always enjoyed being outdoors and taking small adventures. I’ve always wondered where that road goes, what’s behind that mountain, and how deep you can go into the forest or desert.

I fell into off-roading when I bought my Tacoma in 2018 to explore some trails around Arizona. I had no idea how deep the off-road world was until I started attending trail runs and clean-ups, making friends, and learning about truck mods.

I’ve learned more each year, developed stronger off-road skills, and added more to my build and overland setup. I didn’t have a plan when I started off-roading, but through the years, I’ve developed many friendships and been supported by others. Now, I support and connect other individuals with disabilities who want to get outdoors, and I support and connect women with each other, groups, and events.

Can you share a memorable experience or adventure you’ve had while exploring the great outdoors?

I have so many beautiful memories from trails and overlanding over the years. It’s hard picking which trip is my favorite, but one of my top trips has been this past summer. I met up with Sarah (submission #7) in Idaho, and we traveled across four states, drove trails every day, explored two national parks, saw animals in the wild, found amazing cliff views, and even saved my truck from breaking down in Wyoming. It was one of the most memorable overlanding trips I’ve experienced!

How do you strive to empower and support other women in the community, and why is this important to you?

Having strong female bonds and support in the off-road community is so inspiring! And it’s important to me because we are in a male-dominated space. Doing things that put you out of your comfort zone is empowering. And it gives us confidence and helps us grow as women in the community.

I’ve participated in multiple female groups, attended camping trips, and supported other groups across the country. I also work on my truck and video it to show that women can be confident and tackle projects themselves. I’m grateful to the women who have inspired me to step out of my comfort zone and grow, and I hope I can do the same for other women.

5. Britnie (@heradventurelife)

5th Gen 4Runner Overland Build In Canada

What inspired you to get involved in off-roading and overlanding, and how has it shaped your journey?

So, I came across this community needing a secondary vehicle as we had started our little family. That vehicle was a Tacoma, but I quickly realized I needed something with more space, which is how I got into the 4Runner.

When we had the Tacoma, I posted a couple of photos of our mini offroad adventures, and that’s how my “suggested feed” turned into all things overland, etc. It was a whole world I never knew about, but it was the world (and passion) I needed without knowing it. And basically, the rest is history!

Can you share a memorable experience or adventure you’ve had while exploring the great outdoors?

I can’t really aim for a specific moment or time. It has been amazing as I do it with my family and watch my kids explore and grow outdoors in a way that few people can’t or don’t.

Seeing them experience the world as we do by offroading and overlanding makes my entire world full of happiness, which will forever be my greatest memory.

How do you strive to empower and support other women in the community, and why is this important to you?

I want to show women (especially if we are new to this community) that we can do it and keep up with men. There is no shame in being slow or asking “silly” questions. We all start in a different spot, but you will learn faster if you keep going!

Yes, there can be backlash, especially on social media. But you ignore it and continue this journey if it is your passion! I have made so many amazing friends because of this, and I am so happy I followed through even with the thoughts of “I can’t,” or, like I said, negative nellies on social media, etc. Do you, and have fun!

And for any women reading this right now, feel free to reach out anytime if you need someone to talk to. If it’s advice, questions about my build, how I do this with young kids, literally anything I am here to lend a hand the best I can!

6. Aly (@ladyredrunner_)

Woman Owned Red 5th Gen 4Runner Overland Build

What inspired you to get involved in off-roading and overlanding, and how has it shaped your journey?

Just the thought of exploring places that regular cars can’t usually get to. We spent three years in Washington state, and I saw incredible places. Also, learning new skills while off-roading was a lot of fun. Learning recovery, how the 4Runner works, testing the limits, ALL OF IT! I love the rush!

Can you share a memorable experience or adventure you’ve had while exploring the great outdoors?

The most memorable adventure would have to be my first real “snow run.” Getting up to the point of being unable to go forward due to the snow being so deep was a RUSH. A little panic attack later, learning how to get out of that situation was a huge learning experience for me.

I would have given up if it weren’t for my friends teaching me. I love that my friends pushed me past my comfort zone in every adventure. It made me the confident driver I am today!

How do you strive to empower and support other women in the community, and why is this important to you?

I strive to empower other women because someone is always knocking us down. In a hobby that is very male dominant, it can be very intimidating for us women. Do what you want to your rig, and don’t care what others say! Be strong and do what makes YOU happy.

7. Sarah (@kittenbear)

4th Gen 4Runner - Sarah (@kittenbear)

What inspired you to get involved in off-roading and overlanding, and how has it shaped your journey?

I bought my 4Runner six years ago at the peak of my hiking/climbing/canyoneering passion.

I needed something that would get me to harder to reach trailheads and explore more of the unknown! In that process, I met so many amazing people and learned the ins and outs of my truck, what else it could accomplish, and how fun it was doing it. From there, my adventurous hobbies only grew.

Can you share a memorable experience or adventure you’ve had while exploring the great outdoors?

I’ve had so many memorable experiences it’s hard even to pick one! But I think one of the most memorable memories was when we were on the infamous Black Bear pass. We had a pretty big group, and after making it down the steps, someone mentioned over the radio that someone was leaking something.

We got to Upper Ingram Falls and stopped to check the vehicles when we realized our friend’s Jeep had thrown a rod. He had no engine, power steering, or brake booster, and ahead of us were the switchbacks that required multiple-point turns.

We went over options and decided to try to get him down. Over the next few hours, the Jeep was winched around corners, pulled over small hills, and dragged in reverse, only inches away from 1800-foot cliffs. Eventually, the Jeep got to the bottom safely, and it was towed away back towards home, and we continued on. It was a terrifying experience but one that will never be forgotten. And at least it happened in a pretty beautiful place.

How do you strive to empower and support other women in the community, and why is this important to you?

I absolutely LOVE getting out on solo trips. I often hear women mention how they are hesitant to go out alone because, let’s face it, the world can be scary.

As often as I can, I encourage other women to take the first steps in getting out and exploring things independently. I always answer whatever questions I can about how I started and what I do to feel safe. I also try to help with any mechanical issues, fixes, or upgrades on my friend’s vehicles that I’ve learned over the years and can help teach them if possible.

And for those who don’t know, I am a photographer and love taking pictures of badass trucks! So, if you ever see me out in the wilderness or we end up on an adventure together, come say hi, talk to me about your adventures, and let’s get some amazing photos and memories!

8. Nat (@t4rlady)

3rd Gen 4Runner Off-Road Build - Woman Driven

What inspired you to get involved in off-roading and overlanding, and how has it shaped your journey?

I got into offroading after hearing so many stories from my Grandpa of his adventures in Africa driving Landcruisers. My dad taught me to drive in his 96 4Runner, which started my love for the 4Runner. My family has loved Toyotas forever, and that runs through me as I build my rig!

Can you share a memorable experience or adventure you’ve had while exploring the great outdoors?

While exploring in my rig last summer, we were the first group through the high alpine and break trail through the snow to make it to the peak. It was amazing to be the only ones on top of a mountain with snow on the ground in July.

How do you strive to empower and support other women in the community, and why is this important to you?

I’ve enjoyed chatting with wives and girlfriends while discussing the joys of having your own money pit. The Toyota offroad space has tons of room for women to enter; we must make a welcome space for them. I’m usually one of the few ladies on my local trails, and seeing another woman is always amazing.

9. Kris (@theee.kris)

1st Gen 4Runner Built & Owned By Women

What inspired you to get involved in off-roading and overlanding, and how has it shaped your journey?

I grew up in Hawai’i, on the beautiful island of Kaua’i. As a child, I grew up doing as much as possible in the great outdoors. We have the best of both worlds on the island, with much to do in the mountains and ocean shorelines.

One vivid memory I have as a child was a buggy my dad built. I was probably around 4 years old when he took me on buggy rides, which I absolutely looked forward to. As I got older, we used to camp out on beaches that were not accessible by a roadway. The only way in was to “ride sand” all the way to the beach.

The sandy beaches on Kaua’i have some of the most beautifully soft and fine sand. It is a challenge to drive even with the most capable 4WD rigs. We’d sometimes be on the sand for what felt like hours, making our way to the camp spot. We frequently get stuck and must dig our tires out of the super-soft sand.

Every adventure was an absolute blast, from the lush forests up in the mountains to the soft sandy beaches! Being exposed to the off-roading lifestyle from a very young age only encouraged me to really pursue this hobby as an adult.

When I made Washington State my home, I met many more people who were into this hobby. Much to my surprise, many trail systems here remind me of some of the areas I grew up in on the island. So, being out on the trails here in the PNW makes me feel right at home.

The community I have surrounded myself with has only enriched my off-roading experience and journey. I am learning more about myself and my rig while pursuing my passions. Last summer, my engine literally blew up in my 4Runner. I was completely devastated! My friends (who I refer to as my ohana) rallied around me and not only helped me get my 4Runner back up and running, but, they also taught me everything I needed to know with my rebuild. I wanted to put my hands on every aspect of the build. Thankfully, I have amazing friends who are super patient and are amazing teachers!

What started as an interest in hitting the trails and rock crawling became a passion that brought me much satisfaction and fulfillment.

Can you share a memorable experience or adventure you’ve had while exploring the great outdoors?

The first trail I ever put my tires on was an experience I will never forget. I was in my 1980 Toyota 1st Gen Pickup. A buddy and his friends invited me out. We met at a local ORV park, and that was the first time I drove this truck on an actual trail.

It was a life-changing experience, to say the least! I not only got to experience what it was like in the PNW trail system, but I also got to experience the camaraderie that came along with meeting people on the trail. I made some good friends that day, for which I will forever be thankful.

The whole experience truly changed my life for the better. Some of those people I consider my family to this day. I still remember the first little rock garden I drove my 1980 pickup through. The adrenaline rush was real, and I was instantly hooked!

Shortly after this experience, I knew I needed to build up my current truck or get a more capable rig to tackle larger obstacles. This led me to another buddy with a custom-built 1986 Toyota 4Runner (1st Gen). He had no intention of selling it. Long story short, I became the new proud owner of this 1st Gen 4Runner that would become my new trail rig/rock crawler. The Runner and I have been through our ups and downs, but ultimately, we have the most amazing adventures together!

How do you strive to empower and support other women in the community, and why is this important to you?

I am constantly striving to be an encouragement within this off-roading lifestyle. As a female in a male-dominated sport/hobby, it is very common to feel intimidated or maybe even feel like we’re not knowledgeable about things such as wrenching, driving, building, etc. I truly believe that there is something that I can learn from everyone out there, male or female.

Always having a humble and teachable mindset is super important to me. I hope to empower other women by being an example in the shop, on the trails, and in life. I want to jump in and ask questions, try to learn as much as possible, and celebrate my successes and failures. Failures are perfect opportunities to get better at what we are passionate about.

I love encouraging all women to pursue things that they’re interested in. I always look forward to connecting with those who share the same passions and love being their biggest cheerleader! As much as I love challenging myself on the trails and striving to hit my goals, it is more important to encourage other women to do the same and see them succeed!

It is truly an honor to be among other women with the same passion for off-roading and exploring the great outdoors. I look forward to meeting and seeing more women in this sport/hobby!

10. Maida (@sugarontherocks_az4r)

5th Gen 4Runner With Color Matched Front Bumper

What inspired you to get involved in off-roading and overlanding, and how has it shaped your journey?

My journey into the world of off-roading and overlanding was inspired by a desire for adventure, independence, and a love for exploring the great outdoors. Growing up, I was always drawn to activities pushing boundaries and challenging societal norms. However, it wasn’t until I discovered the off-road world that I truly found my passion! The thrill of navigating rugged terrain, conquering obstacles, and immersing myself in nature ignited a sense of freedom and empowerment like never before! It has allowed me to challenge expectations and inspire other women to pursue their passions fearlessly.

Can you share a memorable experience or adventure you’ve had while exploring the great outdoors?

One of my favorite adventures was the first big trip I ever took with Sugar! It was a 5-day trip to Colorado in July of 2022 with six people I met on Instagram.

Everyone thought I was crazy driving 8 hours to go on a 5-day adventure with strangers I had never met, but taking that trip was by far the best decision I had ever made! Everyone got along great, the weather was perfect, and everything went smoothly.

We crossed off some trails on the bucket list, including the infamous Black Bear Pass, camped in the most beautiful spots I have ever seen, and ate the most delicious camp tacos! I will always cherish these memories and look forward to future adventures!

How do you strive to empower and support other women in the community, and why is this important to you?

Being a woman in a predominantly male-dominated community has its challenges. It can be very intimidating, but for the most part, gender fades into the background, and what matters most is the shared love for exploration and the thrill of the journey.

11. Cheyenne (@cheymarie_)

MGM 5th Gen 4RUnner With Custom Teal Wheels

What inspired you to get involved in off-roading and overlanding, and how has it shaped your journey?

Landing in the 4×4 world quite literally felt like it happened by chance. I had all the desire to own and drive a 4Runner but had no real knowledge or intent on taking it on anything more than your average dirt road.

My husband and I picked up the 4Runner in May 2021 and immediately drove it straight to the beach! (That counts as off-road right?). We found ourselves in a few local Toyota Facebook groups that started as coffee and pavement meets, which led to an invite to a Toyota off-road meetup.

We found ourselves meeting up with total strangers at a local off-road park to see what the truck could be capable of. I wasn’t prepared for how quickly these strangers became family; they are some of my biggest inspirations in the off-road scene. As well as the worst influences on my wallet!

Can you share a memorable experience or adventure you’ve had while exploring the great outdoors?

Hands down, my most memorable adventuring experience was making the sporadic decision to drive up to Colorado from Texas on a 12-hour notice with some of our closest friends. We hit the road on a Thursday and returned home on Sunday, packing each day to the fullest.

The exhaustion was all too real but worth every bit. This trip was very special and important in a multitude of ways, and having the opportunity to share this adventure with our people is something I will always cherish.

How do you strive to empower and support other women in the off-road and overland community, and why is this important to you?

I hope to always support my fellow women in the off-road community as well as the overall community. Do you need help? Well, how can I be of service to you? Do you need a little cheering on in your corner? I’ve got you! Do you have questions or need recommendations? I’ll do my best to give you the most informative answers! Do you want to be friends? Let’s! Would you like to hit the trails together? Let’s go, girls!

It is so important that everyone feels they have a place in this community; we all belong out there on the trails together!

12. Tedi (@teds_toy)

Woman Owned & Driven 5th Gen 4Runner Build

What inspired you to get involved in off-roading and overlanding, and how has it shaped your journey?

Over the last few years, Toyota has become a huge part of my life (and personality). Funny story actually: my mom began going into labor with me in my dad’s 90’s Toyota Camry, and it ironically broke down on the way to the hospital, so I was nearly born in a Toyota like it was fate.

When I turned 16, I bought my first brand-new Tacoma and fell in love with the feeling of driving a “big truck” (big to me at the time). Living in Arizona, off-roading has such a huge presence and culture, and I inevitably enjoyed more dirt roads than I did paved. I found an amazing group of people through the State48Offroad group on Instagram who quickly became some of my best friends and still are.

I first began off-roading in a two-wheel drive Tacoma and quickly learned that there were many obstacles and challenges I wanted to tackle that I needed 4WD for. I eventually found myself in a 4WD Tacoma and sold that for my current 4WD 4Runner.

Can you share a memorable experience or adventure you’ve had while exploring the great outdoors?

Over the last five years, my friends and I have spent countless weekends exploring anywhere from the desert to the pines in Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. My 4Runner has taken me places I’d never imagined, and it has also become a home to me and my passenger prince: my dog Kylo. I swear, sometimes the 4Runner is more his truck than mine.

It may seem silly that a vehicle can hold such sentimental value to a person. Still, the reality is that every single one of my Toyotas has taken me to places most humans will probably never get to go, and for that, my vehicles will always hold a special place in my heart. Others have always told me that I’m always picking up and going on some adventure, which is the life I’ve envisioned for myself.

How do you strive to empower and support other women in the community, and why is this important to you?

Nothing makes me happier than being on the road, exploring new places, and sharing those memories with the people I care about. Especially being a woman in the offroad community, it can be intimidating to enter such a predominantly male hobby.

However, throughout the years, I’ve met many inspiring women who have taught me so much, not only about off-roading but also about supporting each other in our personal lives.

They’ve taught me to go after anything that I want in life and that anything is possible with the right support group. These women have been by my side throughout the challenges I faced in nursing school and the heartbreaks I’ve had over the last few years, and they have now been my support system as an ER nurse.

Our friendships are based on so much more than the fact that we drive the same vehicles and enjoy the same hobbies. Sharing our love for the offroad and overland community is just a fraction of the bond I’ve built with many special people. I love meeting new people who share our love and encouraging them to build their vehicles, travel as far and wide as possible, and make long-lasting connections in this community.

The Toyota community saved me multiple times when I’ve been at a low point in life, and I can only imagine it’s done the same for others. The community will always have a special place in my heart, no matter where I go or what I drive.

13. Crystal (@thefurrunner)

Women Wheeling 4Runners With Dogs

What inspired you to get involved in off-roading and overlanding, and how has it shaped your journey?

My name is Crystal Lopez, and I drive a 2021 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro in Lunar Rock. I currently live in Southern California and have a fur family of 4 dogs (Kirra, Kruzzie, Koby, and Spooky)

My Toyota story started back when I graduated high school. My first car was a 2009 Corolla XRS. My hardworking parents bought me the car, knowing they wanted to get me something that would last a long time! I’m proud to say that even after 250k miles, I still own the Corolla today.

It wasn’t until about seven years later, in 2020, that I needed a bigger vehicle. I had finally graduated from grad school and got my first big girl job in counseling. I decided to buy my first house in 2020 and went from 1 dog to 3 dogs during COVID. While we moved into our new home, I realized that my small Corolla did not easily fit three big dogs without looking like a circus car. It was time for an upgrade!

One day, I was scrolling through Instagram and came across a really cool modified 4Runner. After that, I put my dream car on my vision board. When I discovered the new 2021 4Runner TRD Pro model was coming out in Lunar Rock, I knew it would be “the one,” and I had to have it. I called every dealership in my area and hit the jackpot, with one being delivered soon, about 30 minutes from my home. I finally drove my new 4Runner home in June 2021.

I made an Instagram account for my 4Runner even before I bought the car to learn how to make it look even cooler. I wanted to get more inspiration and motivation from other builds in the off-road community. Interestingly, I do remember noticing that there was not a strong female presence in this Toyota/Off-road community. However, that didn’t stop me from wanting to grow more.

In every job position I’ve held, there always tended to be a low female presence, for example, in coaching sports and officiating as a referee. You don’t notice many females in these fields. I always believe I’m up for the challenge to change the trend. If a man can do it, so can a woman. There are few things I’ve learned about each gender, some of the biggest differences I see is that men are generally biologically stronger and engage in more riskier behaviors, while women tend to pay attention more to detail and play things safe because they care a lot about others. I grew up with sisters but had mostly friends that were boys, so I never really saw myself different or less capable, but I did notice that the more you grow older, you feel those differences in how others treat you in your personal and work life, which can be either positive or negative.

Fast forward to 2 and a half years later, in 2024, I’ve made some of the best relationships with friends in the off-road/overland community, gone on amazing adventures, and learned so much about Toyotas. Some days, I spend hours and hours on YouTube learning about different modifications and trails to explore. I’ve been blessed to have worked with Toyota directly for a televised commercial and with other companies to share our story, our passion for our 4Runner, and all the beautiful things it offers us. And if there’s anything important that I’ve learned so far, “It’s not always about the destination that matters, but who is with you along fur the ride!” It’s about the lifelong memories we create with friends and family, including our fur babies, whose time is limited with us in their short lifespan.

Toyota has changed my life forever and I only want to help other people, especially women, to develop that same passion as well. My Instagram bio states my WHY, “Making people fall in love with Toyotas and dogs.” I believe my 4Runner healed me. It gave me confidence when my mental health was low. It opened the world to some of the most awesome people I’ve ever met, and it’s helped me create lifelong memories with my loved ones. At work, I daydream of being on a trail or hanging with the off-road crew.

As much as I want to modify my 4Runner so much, I’ve learned it’s important to enjoy the process and take your time. Life goes at full speed most of the time, and there’s beauty in slowing down and enjoying the moment. Plus, it is also a very expensive hobby, so some of us have no choice but to slowly modify our rigs. Everyone has their own pace, and that is completely okay. When I went to my first off-road event all on my own knowing no one, that was the first lesson someone taught me, “Take your time, don’t rush the process.. you’ll save a ton of  money and be much happier with your build.” I’ll never forget that.

Can you share a memorable experience or adventure you’ve had while exploring the great outdoors?

One of my most memorable experiences would be my first trail run at Angelus Oaks in the San Bernardino County mountains with CaliYotas and 4Runner_Krew. I was so anxious and scared. I did not trust myself due to a lack of experience, but I felt comfortable knowing I had the right setup and other people there to guide me.

After a couple of trail runs, I fully trusted my 4Runner. She could handle many different situations, such as mud, snow, and sand! The journey up these trails in Big Bear was definitely worth the views. There’s a natural “high” I feel when I am out in nature driving on the trails. All the “noise” from everyday life is silence when I’m in nature. Nothing else matters but the moment itself.

How do you strive to empower and support other women in the community, and why is this important to you?

My goal with my page is to continue to inspire and collaborate with women in the off-road/overland community. That means consistently posting pictures and videos on social media platforms, supporting and sharing other female-owned pages, and creating engaging content highlighting female qualities when owning a Toyota or other off-road vehicles.

Whenever I work with a company, this is actually one of the first things I mention in the purpose of my page: to increase the female presence in our off-road/ overland community besides making people fall in love with Toyotas and dogs. This is important because if I ever have a daughter, I’d want her to have as much support for her hobby as mine. I also want to influence people to take their fur babies with them on these adventures, as they are a part of the family, and to “adopt, don’t shop” because rescue dogs make some of the best pets ever!

14. Ashley (@ashlaymae)

Woman Driven 5th Gen 4Runner Off-Road Build

What inspired you to get involved in off-roading and overlanding, and how has it shaped your journey?

As a teenager, I used to tag along with my older brother and his friends on local trail runs. They all had built out crawlers and I remember it being so much fun, I was instantly hooked. Eventually, it became yearly camping trips with the family every summer, running trails all over Colorado.

When I started a family of my own in 2017, I knew I needed a bigger vehicle, and the 4Runner was a dream of mine. Knowing the reliability and what it was capable of, it was a no-brainer. I built up my confidence with seat time and have taken my 4Runner on some pretty awesome adventures. I’m excited to keep checking trails off my list one by one!

Can you share a memorable experience or adventure you’ve had while exploring the great outdoors?

It’s hard to pick just one adventure, however one that will always hold a special place in my heart was the group trip I coordinated last year to Sedona.

We had 16 rigs from Colorado, Mississippi, Georgia, and California and some locals from Arizona come out. We spent 4 days exploring the beautiful trails wheeling, hiking and even witnessed the rare “Snownado” phenomenon. It was incredible to be a part of – creating memories, learning and laughing together, and making lifelong friendships!

How do you strive to empower and support other women in the community, and why is this important to you?

Starting out not knowing much about off-roading can be extremely intimidating, especially in such a male-dominated industry. This is why I always strive to empower women any chance I get, whether it’s just simply engaging with their social media pages or actually inviting them out on group runs for more seat time and guidance.

Most importantly, I have my 3 year old daughter riding passenger in the back seat that I want to always set a good example for. Showing her that women can do some pretty incredible things when they set their minds to it and drown out anyone who says otherwise.

I’m grateful to be a part of such an amazing community of women and hope to continue to inspire others and be inspired. If you’re still reading this, thank you! And if you ever find yourself exploring Colorado and want to hit some trails, I’m your girl!

Final Thoughts

4th Gen 4Runner Off-Roading

WOW! These women are truly inspiring. Hearing their stories and witnessing the positive impact that the off-roading and Toyota community has had on their lives is incredible.

But you know what? This is just the beginning. In a community filled with countless remarkable and strong women, these trailblazers exemplify the courage, strength, and excitement that every woman seeks in her off-roading journey.

As we come to the end of our spotlight, we’re reminded that there are so many more stories waiting to be shared, so many more adventures waiting to be had. That’s why we invite you to join the conversation. Share your stories, wins, and favorite off-roading memories in the comments below.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

3 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Sector 4
drifter
Sector 4
1 month ago

No one really cares if you are man or woman…just get out there

Calbaker
Calbaker
1 month ago
Reply to  Sector 4

I don’t see anything wrong with celebrating women’s history month. I think it’s a cool post. Seeing a group of chicks that love their 4Runners is pretty awesome dude.

RayC
RayC
1 month ago

Dear Marie, that is one of the best and important posts on this website. Being the father of 3 daughters, now women and mothers, I can attest to the empowerment that back country adventures and challenges impart on ALL sexes. In a few years I’ll be taking my granddaughters out on adventures. Girls rock! Fantastic, thank you.

3
0
Questions or Comments?x
()
x