The off-road vehicle market has been growing for years and there’s no sign of it slowing down. Driving a four-wheel-drive vehicle on the road is fun enough but a lot of those drivers are itching to splash around in the mud a bit and get off the beaten path.
It’s important to be prepared though. Let’s look at 5 key things you need to know before going off-road.
1. Be Prepared
Like any good Boy Scout, you need to be prepared. Expect the unexpected so you don’t get caught by surprise. The last place you want to be stuck without the right supplies is miles away from the nearest road where you may not be able to get a cell signal on your phone.
Always carry a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, and extra food and water when you set out. Extra clothes and blankets are also a good idea in case you’re stuck somewhere overnight.
2. Hook Up With Fellow 4-Wheelers
It’s never a good idea to venture out alone but it’s an especially bad idea to do it when you don’t have a lot of experience. Find some other four-wheelers that you can join up with so you have other people nearby if something goes off the rails.
Most cities have off-road clubs so you can always find some partners even if none of your friends are into it.
3. Buy a Good Toolkit
If something breaks when you’re miles down some remote trail, you can’t call AAA to tow you to the nearest repair shop. You need to fix the problem yourself or have someone you’re off-roading with help you fix it.
As well as outfitting your truck with a good toolkit, learn as much about your vehicle as you can before you set out on the trail.
4. Choose the Right Tires
Your tires are one of the most important pieces of gear on your truck. The right type of tires on a good set of rims like fuel wheels can be the difference between getting stuck and getting home.
Most four-wheelers go for mud terrain tires with the big chunky treads but they’re not always the right choice. They’re great for mud and climbing over rocks but they won’t pull you through sand. And they make for a noisy, rough ride on paved roads.
5. If In Doubt, Check It Out
Don’t try to be a hero on the trail. If you come up against an obstacle that looks at all dangerous or intimidating, get out of your rig and check it out on foot.
Halfway through an obstacle is not the time to realize you’ve gone beyond your skill level. If it looks like too much for you, there’s no shame in turning around and venturing down another trail. You can always return when you’ve developed your driving skills.
Being Responsible When You’re Off the Beaten Path
We’ll leave you with one bonus tip. When you’re off the beaten path, follow Leave No Trace principles. Don’t toss your trash out the window – pack out everything you went in with. You can even take an empty trash bag or two and leave with more than you brought so the next person down that road can enjoy it even more.
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