Rock crawling and climbing is a challenging and exhilarating activity to do with an off-road Jeep.
It’s also one that takes learning some important skills to do it correctly.
Practice definitely makes perfect in this case, when knowing what to expect from your Jeep and how to safely guide it over increasingly larger piles of boulders is critical.
Use these tips from experienced rock crawlers to improve your skills faster to safely get over those rocks and onto the next obstacle!
1. Use the Right Gear
Driving up and over things, whether going up a steep hill incline or rock crawling, demands a lot of torque and not so much speed.
Get that by putting your Jeep in 4WD low.
Low, powerful forward motion is necessary to keep slowly scaling those rocks without any tire spin and with enough power to actually climb rocks and keep going.
2. Don’t Stall the Engine
Slow and steady will get your Jeep up and over when it comes to rock climbing.
Stalling along the way by not keeping enough forward momentum just makes moving again that much harder.
If an automatic Jeep, this won’t be so much of a problem; however, with a manual transmission, it will take a lot of practice with the gas and clutch to keep the engine revving enough to avoid stalling without moving forward too quickly.
3. Have the Right Safety Equipment
Safety is paramount when rock climbing and that starts with having a safe vehicle.
Accidents happen, so if rock crawling is something of particular interest, equip your Jeep with a roll cage.
A really protective investment for doing any type of off-roading, a roll cage can be a lifesaver if you run into trouble on a rock crawl or hill climb and end up rolling over - don't forget to have a winch to get that Jeep out of trouble!
4. Pick The Right Line to Keep the Traction
Negotiating challenging obstacles like a pile of rocks with a Jeep starts with a good assessment of the situation and then picking a good line.
Know ahead of time before beginning where each tire should land, then keep on moving forward.
If it doesn’t work out, carefully back down and reassess, then approach and try it again.
Through trial and error, it will get better easier to initially pick the right line for your Jeep even as the climbing gets more challenging.
Working with a more experienced driver who can act as a spotter is also recommended.
5. Let the Jeep Do The Work
With the right gears and correct use of the gas and clutch, let your Jeep do the work.
Guide it into place so each of the wheels touches where needed and keep the momentum going as slowly climbing those rocks.
On the other side of the rocks or hill, avoid using the brakes as much as possible and just let the low gear slowly get you back down.
Braking too much or too hard coming down an incline could cause sliding or becoming unbalanced end-to-end.
6. Secure Gear
If carrying anything in your Jeep like camping or recovery gear, make sure it’s all well secured before attempting rock and hill climbing or any other type of rough going.
Loose items moving around in the Jeep are not both a hazard and a distraction to all Jeep occupants.
7. Stay Focused and Calm
Success with more demanding off-road activities like rock climbing requires concentration and calmness.
Stay focused and start small to build up skills and experience slowly so you’re confident when moving up to something bigger.
By becoming more comfortable on the less aggressive trails and smaller rock piles with your Jeep, it will be easier moving onto something bigger.
Staying calm makes it easier to think your way over the obstacle and even come up with a second plan if necessary.
Safety and Good Technique Is Essential
Jeeps are some of the best off-road vehicles around for things like rock climbing and driving up and down hills.
As exciting as it may be to start heading out for your first adventures, there are certain things like this need to be learned to do it safely without risk to you or your Jeep.
With a good understanding of the main techniques for safe rock climbing and crawling, bettering your skills with more practice in your Jeep is just another day of fun on the trail!