Rock crawling is outrageous and extreme, a type of fun you can have with your Jeep, an off-road adventure that challenges your skills and really gets the adrenaline pumping!
It’s an activity that you literally need to learn from the ground up to develop a feel for your Jeep and learn how to tackle the different obstacles you’ll come across in any rock field or pile.
Beyond the understanding that it’s a driving skill to develop over time, it’s important that your Jeep is also properly equipped.
Before you get started, consider these basic tips offered by experienced rock crawlers so you’ll be successful in slowly building skills while keeping your Jeep protected from damaging knocks and scrapes you may encounter!
1. Make Your Jeep Crawl-Ready
Before you even hit the trail, it’s important that you protect the areas on your Jeep that will be most susceptible to becoming damaged going over rocks, namely the front end, rear end, and undercarriage:
- Replacement Bumpers – Replacing your stock bumpers with aftermarket custom bumpers can save you a lot of damage should you end up making a wrong move and sliding or rolling where you don’t want to be plus they give you solid recovery points where your Jeep can be towed or winched.
- Rock Sliders – Rock sliders are essential protection for the easily-damaged rocker panel area on your truck or Jeep.
- Skid Plates – More essential protection that covers up critical undercarriage components so they aren’t crushed, dented, or even scraped off while rock crawling.
2. Air It Down
You’ll also need larger tires with big chunky treads like mud-terrain tires that work well for crawling because they can gain more traction.
Air down your tires to around 15 PSI to increase the size of your contact points and make the tire more flexible so it can conform a bit to the different rock sizes and shapes.
The more contact your tires have, the better your traction will be!
3. Understand Trail Ratings
Just because your Jeep has the necessary vehicle armor like custom bumpers and you’ve aired down your tires doesn’t mean you’re ready to tackle any trail out there.
Rock trails are rated, with the lowest-rated trails being the easiest for the less experienced to negotiate.
Start on more lowly-rated trails until you learn the basics required to crawl that trail, then slowly move up so you can learn and perfect the additional skills needed to crawl more extreme trails.
4. Slow and Steady
Rock crawling in your Jeep or truck is a skill that must be done slowly if you expect to actually complete it successfully.
That said, it’s essential that you learn how to keep your vehicle moving in low gear, giving only enough gas to keep yourself moving forward without spinning your tires.
That in itself is the whole challenge of rock crawling – knowing what to do to keep yourself crawling along without slipping, stalling, or rolling back!
5. Learn to Pick Your Line
Success with tip #4 requires learning how to pick the right line, one that your Jeep can actually crawl over which takes a good deal of practice and learning on lower-rated trails.
A good line or path is one that’s as straight forward as possible and has various rocks in places where you can get traction to drive over them.
It’s not as easy as it sounds, which is why it’s best to learn as you go from the lower levels!
As you learn, work with a spotter who can help you gauge your lines and where your tires are going in order to gain better practice at figuring out which lines will be more successful.
Learn Basics First for Successful Rock Crawling
The idea of scaling huge rocks with your Jeep is hugely exciting; however, you don’t want to rush yourself in learning the basics.
Using these tips, learn the important details like picking your line and how your Jeep is going to respond with the tires aired down as you creep over increasingly larger rock piles and trails.
Armored with protective equipment like rock sliders and aftermarket custom bumpers, you can concentrate on learning how to negotiate obstacles without constantly worrying about something happening to your Jeep!