Modifying your off-road truck by adding specialty wheels and tires, custom bumpers, suspension systems, and winches can become addictive. It is fun to do and gives you more capabilities out on the trail so you can do more with your truck. It's also expensive and can even damage your truck if not done the right way. It can affect your double-duty truck’s street performance.
There are definitely some modifications that can help you get the most from a double-duty 4WD truck without the risk of getting too extreme or dumping all your cash into mods that won't really get you anything. Start out with these mods and you may find that you really don't need much else unless you plan on progressing to more extreme four-wheeling.
Good All Terrain Tires
Unless you're doing some extreme stuff with your truck, a pair of good quality all-terrain tires will take you far. You'll get improved traction in a variety of conditions, even without putting on bigger wheels and tires that wind up forcing you to make other modifications that may be necessary to accommodate them.
All terrains will probably reduce your fuel economy since they're heavier than stock tires and may slightly affect steering and braking. They can give you the best of both worlds when you want to take your daily driver off-road.
Tire Deflator and Air Compressor
Getting the most from your all-terrain tires over a variety of surfaces involves knowing how to take advantage of different tire pressure. Many times the simple act of airing down a bit can give you the added traction you need out on the trail with your off-roader .
Naturally, if you plan on airing down, you need to have a way to air back up before you take to the road again. A handy tire deflator and onboard air compressor can do this without having to modify your truck in any way.
Protective Skid Plates
Protecting your truck against damage that happens on the trail is always important. The main way to do this is by improving your skills and only taking on obstacles that you've carefully investigated and know you and your truck can get through.
The other way is to protect the underside of your truck with skid plates. They bolt on easily and provide critical protection for the most exposed and vulnerable parts on your truck, the undercarriage.
Recovery Gear Essentials
Everyone gets stuck, and eventually, it'll happen to you too. Prepare for that moment by carrying basic recovery gear with you at all times. You don't need to invest in a winch bumper to get yourself out of a bind in your chosen driving environment.
A good set of snatch straps and shackles is all you need. If you want to go the extra mile, invest in a set of traction recovery boards that can help you get out of soft footing easier - no custom bumpers required.
Basic Tool Kit
Make sure you have a tool kit with the basic essentials when you hit the trail so you can handle minor problems to your truck when they happen. Include a set of pliers, a ratchet with bits, and a set of wrenches. Zip ties and a couple bungee cords are also good additions, as is duct tape, superglue, and whatever other essentials you want to bring along. You won't be able to make a big repair; however, if something comes loose or gets stuck, you can handle it and get your truck back home.
The moral in all of this is pretty simple. If you are off-roading with a stock truck or a daily driver, you really don't need a lot to be trail-ready. Don't wasting time and money on mods that won't help you and put it into the mods and gear that will like heavy duty bumpers and suspension systems. If you decide to start hitting rougher trails, you may need to think about heavier-duty equipment; for now, you should be good with the basics. Save your cash for that dedicated 4x4 you want to build for more extreme use!