Exploring the Wilderness in Style: The Renault TRM2000 as a Self-Sufficient Overlanding Vehicle

Discover the best of French ingenuity with the 1990 Renault TRM2000. Used by professional photographer Maarten Heijkoop for his overlanding excursions, this military truck has been upgraded for comfort and trailblazing capabilities. Available for sale in Gouda, NL.

Reviews of vehicles
12. Mar 2023
Exploring the Wilderness in Style: The Renault TRM2000 as a Self-Sufficient Overlanding Vehicle

The Renault TRM2000 is an underrated truck that shows the best of French ingenuity. This is a military truck that, when decommissioned, can be used as an overlanding monster. This is exactly what a professional photographer named Maarten Heijkoop did. 

After his retirement, he took his 1990 TRM 2000 for many excursions. He toured several European and South American countries, using the truck’s stellar offroading abilities to his advantage. He took the truck to insane heights, literally. 

The truck is available for sale in Gouda, South Holland, NL. The following covers Maarten’s journeys, the truck, and all of his expert advice. 

TRM overland truck for sale

The background

We interviewed Maarten Heijkoop, who posted this truck for sale on Expeditionmeister

Maarten is a “retired IT consultant,” who “trained as a photographer and geologist” and “is currently a full-time photographer.” His wife Gonnie is a “goldsmith” by profession. 

They purchased their truck “almost 7 years ago,”. Maarten says that when they saw the TRM2000 for the first time, they were mesmerized and “immediately sold”.

Maarten said that they purchased this expedition truck for exploring the Americas during the day and sleeping in it during the night. He recalled spending a whole year hitchhiking through North and Central America before buying the truck. 

When they bought it, South America was on their bucket list of must-see places. You can check out the best overlanding spots in South America here.

“We bought the TRM primarily to live in and to take long trips, first to South America. Long ago we spent a year hitchhiking through North and Central America and South America was still on the list.” Maarten told us. 

He described the TRM2000 as the ideal vehicle for its adequate size, which makes it easy to take through places. Its high build quality is also a selling point. 

“The TRM2000 was exactly the vehicle we were looking for, not too big, compact, maneuverable, and very nicely built.”

“You can really live in it for quite a while,” he said, alluding to the self-sufficient nature of the vehicle. 

expedition adventure truck camper

But before they could travel to the western hemisphere, they wanted to break the truck in. They traveled to some European destinations and upgraded the truck to make it even more capable. 

“After some introductory trips to France, Spain, and Scandinavia, the truck was further improved and modified.”

After this, they decided to begin their intercontinental travels. Maarten reminisced of their boat trip from Belgium to the Americas as a memorable moment. Their landing spot was in Montevideo, Uruguay. 

“The trip to South America by boat from Antwerp to Montevideo was one of the highlights.”

Regarding his favorite moment, he talked about the infamous salt flats of Bolivia aka Salar de Uyuni. These are the largest salt flats in the world, devoid of most types of nature and wildlife. They’re a big tourist destination and are a part of the Dakar Rally. 

“[The] best of all was bivouacking on the salt flats of Uyuni, Bolivia at 3700m altitude.” 

Maarten recalled photographing the stars – the beautiful shots that he took are still available on his pages. 

“Made beautiful pictures of the Milky Way, which are still being sold.”

overland night camping outdoor

He also mentioned being awed by a gentleman from Germany, who had nothing but a motorcycle, a tent, and some cooking utensils. 

“An absurd moment there was the presence of Ludwig, a German who came on a light motorcycle and tent, without pots and pans ‘because you can eat cheaply anywhere’.”

When he wasn’t taking awesome photographs of the galaxies above him, he sat with his partner enjoying snacks as if they were home. 

“We sat there in the middle of the salt flats at 3700m cozily drinking coffee and eating waffles as if we were in our own front yard.”

overland and expedition community

We just had to ask Maarten about his trips for travelers. 

We started with the overland vehicle – what importance does it have and what are the essentials needed. Maarten believes that strong willpower to conquer the great outdoors matters more than the vehicle.  

“But also, this is a good lesson for other travelers, the vehicle does not matter so much, you just have to go with what you have, and if you want it will succeed.”

He also told us what his truck has: “We opted for comfort, a shower, a toilet, a kitchen, a fixed bed, heating, refrigerator, in the old days with the backpack it was more draining.”

outdoor 4wd camping vehicle for sale

Regarding the best part of his truck, he said that its strong trailblazing capabilities are what he loves the most. 

“What I still greatly appreciate about our truck is the ability to really get anywhere. My idea when looking for a vehicle was, I wanted it to go everywhere I can go with the backpack. That didn't quite work out, but it's not much.”

Of course, no overlanding journey can be complete without a misfire. Maarten believes that you must have some sort of know-how when it comes to fixing your overland truck. 

“In addition, it is important to be able to solve problems ok in remote areas, such a TRM is made for the army and you can really reach everything,”

According to him, some basic components are all that one could possibly need to fix most of the breakdowns. He said “with duct tape, wire, hoses and hose clamps, steel putty, lots of nuts and bolts, and some tools, everything can be solved,” 

The bigger problems can be fixed “temporarily until you get to a garage”

He described their TRM2000 as a machine that has “never let [them] down in 80,000km.”

But that’s not all that the experienced overlander had to say. He also believes that enthusiasts shouldn’t be too picky when it comes to buying 4x4 vehicles. According to him, ground clearance is a more pressing issue. 

“4x4 is not really necessary, the TRM has standard 2x4 and is switchable to a terrain mode 4x4.”

“Ground clearance is a lot more important, on hollow roads, but also when taking a steep ledge.”

He also said that “those big wobble buckets on a 3-point subframe throw you off balance, we have it fixed and with our short wheelbase, torsion is not an issue”

About the truck

The 1990 TRM2000 sports a 3.6-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder engine. It is straight out of a MAN 720 and it produces 120 horses and lots of torques. The owner has fitted it with SACHS shock absorbers and Michelin xForce offroading tires. 

On top of that, there are three drive settings – ‘Route’ for paved roads, ‘Terrain’ for off-tarmac, and ‘Diff Lock’ for the most arduous situations. There are also many high-quality spares used on the truck from Renault. 

For the living arrangements, you have a soundproof camper box enough for a family of 2 adults and 1 child. It features a Whitewood-designed interior and there’s a veranda as well. There’s a staircase for entering the truck through the safe door. 

You get an interior illuminated with LEDs and ambient lighting, double-glazed windows, and a safe. The dining area has a train seat with a table and two benches. The kitchen is fully loaded. It has a compressor refrigerator, a four-burner gas stove, a sink with a tap, and an extractor unit. 

The bathroom has an indoor shower and a Jabsco toilet. You get an outdoor shower and separate tanks for the different kinds of water available. The freshwater tank is 260-liter; the gray and black water tanks are 90-liter each. A water purifying kit is also included. 

For the power, you get solar panels, a 2x AGM battery with 205Ah (24V) operation capabilities, and a Victron 230V inverter. 

To know more about this truck, and buy it, check out: https://expeditionmeister.com/expedition-trucks/other-off-road-trucks/renault-trm2000-whitewood-global-4x4-i292



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