Offroading is something that most people will never understand.
It's not just a hobby - but a way of LIFE.
Once you try - it's in your BLOOD!
Once you EXPERIENCE the FREEDOM your mind is set and nothing can STOP YOU!
Mud, snow, sand, rocks and Water the elements that create the MAGIC!
I love to take my 4x4 offroading for the amazing adventures. The challenge is to drive where few have gone before. Driving on rocky roads, muddy trails, soft sand and even on snow!
My guess is your thinking is similar. We as offroaders are mostly interested in using 4x4 trucks and SUVs, but also ATVs, snowmobiles and other off-road capable equipment. Vehicles that are more capable handling the natural surface of the Earth. Often with bigger and more agressive tires and more ground clearance than street-machinces.
The off-road experience of driving your vehicle over logs, rocks and raging streams is the highest form of freedom. It is a magical stress reliever in this modern era. More trails, events and television shows are revealing the awesomeness of the 4-wheeling life.
Offroading: Getting your 4x4 truck out in the middle of nowhere. Hoping you have the skills and travelling companions to get out when you're stuck or break stuff.
That's creating an AWESOME adventure!
Just like the Internet and GPS, the United States military developed the Jeep with its revolutionary four-wheel-drive system.
During World War II, the army wanted a lightweight, agile and durable vehicle to handle any off-road condition. Three vehicle manufacturers cooperated to develop the Jeep: American Bantam (design), Ford (manufacturing) and Willys-Overland (engine). The Jeep was the first crossover combining car and truck platforms. The compact boxy body with the frame was lightweight and agile. The durability, higher ground clearance and longer wheelbase of the truck platform gave it impressive strength and offroad capability.
Early Ford GPW
The original Jeep was a lightweight, quarter-ton vehicle with a front grille and folding windshield. The wheelbase measured 80-inches (2.0 meters). Its ability to handle steep grades made it the standard for 4x4s. The Jeep's higher ground clearance avoided brush, logs and rocks. The front and rear were well-balanced to provide off-road stability. The Jeep was so light that it had handles so six men could LIFT it out of a stuck 🙂
The Jeep offroad technology was so advanced that American servicemen were taught to destroy abandoned vehicles, so they wouldn't fall into enemy hands!
In 1945, the Jeep CJ-2A became available to the general public. The Jeep CJ models became hugely popular in the US and abroad. Opening up access to offroading the wilderness for ordinary people.
This is really the beginning of the offroad adventure!
Offroading is all about scenic trails. The great outdoors with all its rivers, mountains, desert lakes, ice-caps, scarps and seashores give endless opportunity for discovery.
To minimize spinning in offroading you need to consider better traction, proper momentum, soft ground floatation, higher ground clearance and steep approach and departure angles.
Remember: Going slow is an option 🙂
Having a spotter or a co-driver is a must for the more extreme terrain.
The variety of offroading is constantly increasing and you should definitely find something you like:
In addition we have offroad competitions where specially modified trucks compete.
Wide open spaces, dense forest paths and vast wilderness areas have encouraged the growth of 4-wheeling. Extreme sports have become more appealing as participants conquer sand, ice or rock challenges.
There are a vast array of different trucks with special features for offroading steep rocky trails, sand races and ice courses. A few of the basic necessities for 4-wheeling:
Optional for more extreme offroading:
With all that extreme 4-wheeling - you are sure going to get muddy, wet and sweaty!
The truck gives you power to handle any road condition or weather challenge. All 4x4s must be able to handle slow speeds without stalling. While others spin their wheels, you cruise on by with a smile and salute.
Steep angles of a 45-degree approach and 34-degree departure are standard for rock climbing. Vehicle balance is essential. Hooks and winches for towing are important. Also, the underbody must be waterproof and protected from jagged rocks. Sand and ice courses require very large tires to handle the challenging surfaces.
In addition to the 4x4 itself, the most important equipment for offroad success are the tires. Tire pressure can be lowered to have the tires footprint increase and "float" on softer ground. Bigger tires call for lifting, lower gear ratios and even lockers. Suspension can often be improved a great deal from stock - ideal to do when you lift your truck.
Each and every 4x4 truck should have a hi-lift jack, a fire extinguisher and first-aid kit. Also you need a recovery strap and proper towing points on the truck. For offroading the more extreme trails and competion you'll need skid plates, grille/bull guard, rock rails or, roll-cages and 4-point harness.
A winch is always nice to have.
When crossing deep rivers you want to keep the air flowing to the engine and that is what a snorkel is for - especially necessary for diesel engines as they operate under greater pressure.
Great navigation is vital when exploring remote areas. Modern GPS systems give you accurate location and a map of the area with the trail you should use. Long hauls without too many gas stations calls for extra fuel, either from carry-on gas cans or extra fuel tanks.
There are family-oriented, vehicle-specific and racing events for the offroad enthusiast. These are led by the Jeep get-togethers, which teach about all of the great features and functions of the model. Many cities are creating special courses for offroading fans. There are also competitive races.
Here is a list of popular offroad events:
...and a few ofther popular off-roading areas:
The growth of the population in the United States has led to more urban development. Many Western states still have wide open wilderness areas. Local, state, county and federal governments own the vast majority of American land. Each has its own rules governing the area. Hunters have asked permission to use land owned by farmers for years. This is a possibility for respectful off-roaders too.
To show our respect for the environment we as truck owners should follow a few simple rules:
More Offroading Freedom - 4x4 use and the Environment
What is it about 4x4s that some people seem to hate? I often wonder. A lot of the reasons are based on misunderstanding or myths. There are even anti-4x4 organizations!
For more check out: