Off-roading is a perfect outdoor activity for people who enjoy taking the road less traveled. You get to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, explore a wide variety of terrains and witness breathtaking landscapes. This guide will help you prepare for your first off-road excursion and ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience.
First, you need to know some basic travel tips when planning your off-road adventure. This isn’t your typical A-to-B road trip where you’re only driving on highways and busy streets. You’re going off the beaten path, so you need to add these steps to your planning phase.
1. Look For Easy Terrains
The first rule of off-roading is to always choose trails that match your skills and experience. Start by researching potential off-road destinations based on their level of difficulty. Inexperienced off-roaders should look for easy terrains with a low accident risk. Here are the different off-roading styles in order from least to most challenging:
- Green laning: unpaved but well-traveled trails
- Dune bashing: desert terrains consisting largely of sand dunes
- Rock crawling: trails with large rocks and boulders as crawling obstacles
- Mudding: muddy trails and shallow waterways
You should also try to pick destinations with scenic views and other tourist attractions. Many off-road resorts have guided tours, hiking trails, swimming pools, firing ranges and live music.
2. Pack for the Worst
When planning any outdoor excursion, you need to prepare for the worst. Off-road adventures can end in accidents due to bad weather, poor navigation and vehicular troubles. Start by packing clothes for inclement weather and putting together a first aid kit. You should also buy these off-road tools in case your vehicle gets stuck or damaged:
- Recovery boards
- Electric winch
- Tire repair kit
- Air compressor
- Spare tire(s)
Instead of worrying about potential setbacks, you can drive with greater peace of mind knowing that you have the tools to address any problem.
3. Memorize the Trails
Once you find an ideal off-roading destination, you need to map out and memorize the trails. Look up videos and reviews from other off-roaders so you can visualize yourself driving on the trail. Knowledge of the terrain will improve your navigation skills, make you a more confident driver and reduce the risk of an accident.
4. Bring a Friend
The buddy system is the most important safety rule for any outdoor activity, whether it’s hiking, camping or off-roading. You need a companion in case you get injured or stranded on the trail. Plus, driving with a friend is usually more fun than driving alone. You get to explore the trails together and make lasting memories.
5.Haul Your Ride Efficiently
If you’re planning on going off-roading in a truck or other highway-safe vehicle, you can just drive to your intended destination without worrying. However, many off-road vehicles like ATVs and UTVs aren’t highway-legal and will need to be towed. To make sure you get your off-road rig there safely, ensure you have a vehicle powerful enough to tow and a trailer setup capable of transporting your ride. Flat, single-axle trailers are ideal for towing up to 2,500 lbs., but if you need to haul something heavier, you’ll need a double-axle.
Once you’re done planning your off-road excursion, you need to prepare your vehicle for the rough conditions ahead. Consider making these popular modifications to improve your car’s off-road performance and enhance the overall experience.
1. All-Terrain Tires
All-terrain tires are the best off-road modification money can buy. Their heavy-duty rubber and aggressive tread pattern designs can handle rough driving environments better than regular tires. Getting the right set of tires will decrease the chance of getting stuck and enable you to explore more trails.
2. Front Tow Hitch
Despite their best efforts, people get stuck on off-road trails all the time. They either get caught in a muddy spot or stuck between two trees. A front tow hitch is the go-to device to get them unstuck. This modification can also prove useful in everyday situations. It helps you park trailers in tight spots and allows a friend to haul your vehicle if you break down.
3. Interior Liners
Your car’s interior is guaranteed to get dirty on any off-road adventure. Getting some heavy-duty floor liners will help you shield your seats and floors from the dirt and mud you track inside. This simple addition will make the outdoor experience more comfortable and add a little more style to your car in the process.
Water is a common off-road obstacle that people have trouble with. A snorkel attachment will help you bypass standing water by redirecting exhaust fumes to the top of the car. This effect ensures that water doesn’t mix with the fumes and cause an engine failure. However, you still need to keep the water line below the interior electronics to avoid serious damage.
Dirt and mud are other obstacles that are pretty much guaranteed when you go off-roading. Mudflaps will prevent dirt, gravel and other debris from kicking up and hitting your car. They play a key role in keeping your fenders and wheels in good condition. They will also help you avoid small dents and scratches in the paint.
Off-roading can be a thrilling experience, but it’s also dangerous and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Armed with these travel tips and vehicular modifications, you can enjoy your first off-road adventure to the fullest.