Off-road driving is a great way to get outside and enjoy nature, and with the right gear and some helpful tips, it can be an adventure of a lifetime. Whether you’ve been off-roading before or this is your first time, we’ve compiled some useful information on how to get started.
Before You Start
The first thing to do before you head out is to make sure that your vehicle is prepared. Naturally, your vehicle should be licensed and registered before your trip. If not, you can hire a vehicle titling service. It can save you a bit of time and legwork if you’re pressed for time.
Underneath it should have a skid plate, which protects the vital components underneath from rocks and other debris. It could be worth investing in some additional protection if you plan on making challenging trails or any that require heavy maneuvering. You might also want to consider the type of tread your tire has, whether all-terrain or mud-terrain. This will determine how well it performs on different terrains. Some cars are built more for off-road driving, but don’t be disheartened if you have a standard four-wheel drive! You can still have some great adventures. It might take a little more effort getting there, but the results will be worth it!
Once you’re all prepared and ready to go, you’ll need some equipment for your off-roading adventure. This depends very much on what type of terrain you’re tackling, how long you plan on being out for, and how experienced you are, but there are a few essentials that everyone should have.
In addition to the standard equipment such as spare tires, warm clothing, etc., safety equipment for off-roading is also worth considering. For example, a first aid kit is always worth having in case of an accident. Things can happen unexpectedly out in the middle of nowhere. A whistle is also a good idea since it can help rescuers find you more quickly if you get lost.
If you’re planning on camping overnight, then an additional tent might be helpful. That way, you don’t have to pitch your main tent at the end of your journey! The choice of tent depends on the size of your vehicle and how you want to set it up. If you’re thinking about buying a new tent, we recommend looking at our guide on choosing a backpacking tent.
Now that you’re properly prepared, equipped, and ready to go, it’s time to think about the safety aspects of off-roading. Always check your local area’s rules and regulations before going out, and ensure you comply with them. For example, specific trails in the U.S. are only open to 4×4 vehicles or jeeps. Make sure you check these before you take your car out. Otherwise, not only do you risk getting into trouble, but it also takes away from the fun of off-roading!
It’s also worth checking the weather before you go out since different terrains may become impassable if it rains heavily. There are lots of apps that can help with this, like rain radar or weather underground. Eventually, you’ll get to know your local area well enough to be able to make a judgment call, but we wouldn’t recommend ever going out if it’s about to rain and the conditions aren’t right.
Now you know what you need and how to prepare for your off-roading adventure, it’s time to pack up! Instead of cramming everything onto one shelf or into one corner, try to think in three dimensions. That way, you’ll be able to fit in more without squishing things in.
The first layer should be your soft dry bags, filled with any clothes and valuables such as electronics, which you don’t want getting wet if it rains heavily. The second layer can be blankets and pillows, which look nice when you’re setting up but also add some extra insulation in case your adventure takes longer than planned. The final layer should be your camping equipment, such as the tent and stove, ready for you to set up at a moment’s notice! You can also use this type of organization in your car trunk, so it’s nice and tidy when you have to pull off the road quickly.
More Tips for Off-roading
A great tip if you’re starting is to find an experienced friend who knows how to off-road or at least knows some essential maintenance that you might need on your car. This is great because you get to learn the ropes without taking too much of a risk. Plus, if something does go wrong out in the middle of nowhere, there’s someone to help fix it!
A few more general tips include keeping an eye on your gas levels since some terrains use up fuel at a faster rate than others. Some people also recommend turning your car’s suspension down to make it more suitable for off-roading, but this shouldn’t be necessary if you get the right tires.