Build both! I put a mild lift and 265 65 BFG KO2s on my 19 GX. Increased my carrying capacity a little as I occasionally tow a Casita RV trailer. I did sacrifice a little bit of ride quality but it's still a really nice truck on road trips.
The 80 looks better and is more awesome. The GX is more practical and comfortable. It's just a matter of priorities, in my view.
I'm getting a little tired of taking my 80 on road trips where I drive 5 hours to get to the trail. The 80 is slow and not that comfortable, to me. My next rig will be a 2013-2015 LX, I'm hoping. But that's maybe 5-7 years off. I must admit that when I look at or drive my 80 it just makes me smile. I'm not expecting the same from the LX, it's just a trade-off. I think a lot of us go through the same decision matrix, and there's no objectively right or wrong answer.
Can’t comment on a ‘22 GX and what it can/could do. In 2020, we took our ‘04 GX470 halfway across the country, AZ to LA. Visited a few National Parks, and drove a couple of dirt roads while in Big Bend. Nothing to it. The only ‘mod’ on that GX is that it has slightly bigger than stock all-terrain (sort-of, kind-of…) tires. I should add that we have a fair amount of off-road seat time; game plan for Big Bend was to turn around if things would look iffy.
Side note: GX, Big Bend, first dirt road, may 1/2 mile from the Ranger Station, black Dodge pickup oncoming, and he flags us down, urgently suggesting that we turn around because it’s really rough, and he had made it only 3 miles before it got bad. We thank him for the suggestion, but continue, going to see what’s up in 3 miles. 3 miles go by, then 4, 5… we drive slowly, it’s just a dirt road. I joke to my wife that the only thing missing is having a Camry oncoming. Didn’t take but 5 minutes - here comes a fellow in a white Camry, dog looking out the passenger window…
We’ve also driven the ‘93 80 (on 315 MTs) from LA to AZ, and from AZ up to Yellowstone and back. While the lifted and ARB-equipped 80 is certainly more capable on the trails, the GX is far more capable and comfortable on long-distance road trips, and perfectly adequate for some dirt roads. All the recent skiing trips from AZ to UT or CO have been in a GX temporarily converted into a 3-seater so as to have all the gear inside. I’d rather not take the 80 for that.
For the usage suggested by the OP, I would simply put a set of decent AT tires on the GX, take it out and see how it does. Might not need any further mods; if desired, can be easily returned to stock.
Well I listened to the above sage advice, and my 9 year old, and perhaps my inner 9 year old, and went with the 80. Its just something I've always wanted to do. The GX is new and I can always do it at a later date. Plus the 80 just works better as a camper vehicle. The inside is a box with the seats removed and while its clean, you don't feel bad about getting it dirty unlike a modern luxury vehicle. Parts incoming, pics to follow...
Looks great. Classic white 80 with an ARB bumper, mild lift, AT tires and a winch. Not top heavy, doesn't have a RTT, ladder, lights everywhere, blah blah blah. Capable without trying hard. Well played.
I bought my 80 before the prices went BAT crazy and have modified it almost to my heart's content. Value be damned, it's my toy. But it's a beast🐲 compared to the GX, if I want to whip a U-ey across a plowed field or a through a ditch, or up over a rock pile, I do it, not even a second thought.
Now the wife's GX, that's her DD pavement queen. And I must say it's a lovely truck, we take it for day trips around the state, but it's got no soul. And no cargo room. Overnight or weekend camping for two wouldn't be too cramped, but I'd want a roof rack cargo system or a little trailer. It does great on sand roads and groomed forestry trails, but I'm always terrified of ripping a big a$$ chuck of plastic trim off. Actually I'm terrified of my wife, should I scratch it.