I’ve owned a lot of trucks over the years and people will ask if I like this or that, and which one I’d buy. It really comes down to personal preference.
One thing that people tend to overlook that makes a big difference is the presence or absence of an integrated trailer brake controller. If the trailer you’re going to be towing has electric brakes (larger utility trailers or any sort of camper), an integrated trailer brake controller makes for a much easier, safer tow. I’m not sure if Toyota offers a TBC on the Tacoma or not, but having it integrated into the truck allows the truck’s computer to handle the traction/sway control functionality with full control over all the vehicle and trailer brakes. The Ford system can be added by the dealer to any F-150 that has the towing package with the 7-pin connector.
There are also aftermarket brake controllers available, as well as aftermarket anti-sway controllers.
TFL Truck did a couple relevant videos.
Another thing to make note of is the usable payload capacity (check the door sticker) on each truck. On the various truck forums, people are constantly realizing (too late) that their truck has, say, 1,200 lbs of payload capacity, and that this isn’t enough for all their passengers plus camping gear plus the tongue weight of even a modest trailer.
Kayaks and bikes are obviously not a problem from a weight standpoint, but if you’re also pulling a trailer or a camper with several hundred pounds of tongue weight and you’ve got a bed full of firewood and coolers and stuff, it adds up really quickly and you’ll find that there’s no payload left to carry your friends.
But either truck will be tons of fun. Life’s too short to not have a truck!
If I were you, I would get an F-150 Supercrew with the 6.5′ bed. That is a much larger bed than any Tacoma comes with, and given the kayak requirement, I think you will be glad for the bigger bed.
For what they charge for Tacoma’s, you could get a decently optioned F-150, and like you said, be getting the same or better gas mileage, in a truck with more power, a bigger bed, and a much larger cab.
As far as Forest Roads, I have seen guys get lifted F-350’s with 5th wheel campers into places I wouldn’t be too inclined to take a 4-wheeler. It just depends how bad you want it.