I've only ever owned 3 vehicles and all were 4x4: Jeep Cherokee, Dodge Durango, and now my 2012 Tacoma.
I crushed a rocker panel on the Cherokee at an off road park and got the Durango stuck more times than I care to admit. The Tacoma has not yet failed me. Don't know if that is due to maturity, increased 4x4 skill level, or just luck.
I've always been interested in off road driving and have a fair amount of experience. However, I want to step up and start wheeling more often as well as having a great back country camping rig. I have no intention of getting too extreme with my off road mods as my truck is my DD but I don't want to be nervous about breaking my truck in moderate off roading.
Can I get some good ideas of budget skids (especially front end) and sliders (preferably bolt on) that will hold up to minor abuse? I don't need the best. I avoid hard stuff as much as possible. I want protection but my compromise is towards budget. I know many of you will not agree but please understand my compromise is thought out. I don't want a useless product but I don't need super high end parts. I won't be rock crawling or intentionally pivoting off of obstacles.
Also, should I chop my exhaust? How much benefit will I gain by doing so?
Read my build thread listed in my sig to get an idea of my situation.
Thanks for all your help in advance!