Most people love the outdoors in some capacity. For some, sitting on their porch to enjoy a sunset is their outdoor threshold. Others enjoy a walk in the woods. But for those whose love of the outdoors extends beyond gates and trails, off-roading is a dream experience. If you want to blaze the trail instead of following it, here’s a beginner’s guide to off-roading.
Have the Right Vehicle
Off-roading is more intense than many people think. You can’t jump into just any truck, jeep, or SUV and go. There are certain traits your vehicle needs to so it can drive off-road safely and successfully. For example:
- Tires suited to the terrain you’ll be off-roading on.
- High enough clearance to make it over your intended terrain.
- Tall enough suspension
- Proper crawl ratio
- Racks for equipment
If you plan on taking up off-roading as a hobby, you can buy a vehicle that has already been rigged for off-roading. Otherwise, you can buy off-road accessories and fix up your car yourself.
Get the Right Equipment
Even though you’re inside a vehicle, off-roading can be intense and even dangerous. Even if you’re using a car built for off-roading, the rough nature of the activity can leave your car broken, and you stranded. Because of that, there is equipment you should always keep in your car to stay safe. For instance, you should have:
- A GPS
- Extra water and food
- A recovery kit
- A shovel
- A tool kit
- Spare car parts
Along with equipment, make sure you bring a friend along. Any activity involving wandering the wilderness is always safest when done with another person.
Familiarize Yourself With Terrain Types
There are as many different types of off-roading as there are types of land to off-road on. The way you handle your vehicle will vary depending on the terrain you choose, so it pays to look into the types of terrain before you arrive at your off-roading location.
Trails are a good transition step between driving on the street and driving truly off-road. They’re rougher than pavement and typically take you further into the wilderness than your average road.
The most popular type of off-roading is when you drive in deep mud. The main hazard here is getting stuck in the mud, though. You can avoid it by keeping up your momentum. If you do get stuck, try rocking the vehicle instead of allowing your wheels to spin. Move back and forth slowly until your vehicle is dislodged.
Dune blasting refers to driving your car across the sand at high speeds, which often allows you to make jumps. Although the pace is faster than mudding, there is a similar risk of getting stuck. On trick the pros do is lessen the tire pressure, which gives their tires better traction.
This high-skill off-roading style involves driving uphill over rocks. This requires an incredible amount of precision, from driving at the perfect speed to avoid falling, all while getting over the rocks. Our best advice for off-roading beginners? Wait until you’ve acquired some experience before trying this one.