If your eyes are set on doing some off-season off-roading, it is vital to be prepared for whatever the surroundings may present.
Wheeling in the snow can be great fun; however, it also has its pitfalls and some are different than what might be encountered the rest of the year.
Sure, winch bumpers and body armor mods will come in handy as always; however, good preparations should include a few more things.
Before leaving the pavement with your 4x4, read over this handy list of winter trail tips to keep winder adventures fun and always safe.
Add Winter Recovery Necessities
Though your off-road Jeep or truck should already have a collection of recovery items whenever going off-road, there are a few items more specific to winter wheeling that should be added before heading out.
Be sure to have something to dig with such as a shovel or even a set of traction mats or both there is room.
An axe or pickaxe might also be helpful for digging or breaking up large chunks of ice and snow if you end up stuck.
Consider switching out standard recovery straps for kinetic straps and exchange a steel winch cable for a synthetic one, as both of these perform better and more safely in your off-road Jeep or truck in the cold.
Off-Road Snow Tires Are The Real Ticket
A good set of A/T tires can handle a little bit of everything; however, but if you plan on doing some real snow driving or like to spend a lot of time on snowy trails, invest in tires for your off-road Jeep or truck designed to do just that.
Whether studded or studless, actual snow tires are a better bet because of the tread and rubber makeup, both designed to handle snow better in an off-road Jeep or truck without getting as rigid from the cold as standard A/T tires would.
Air down a little bit to have a softer, wider tire for best results.
The only issue that may be encountered is tire size, as snow tires only come in 33” or below.
If something bigger is desired, a better option is a mud-terrain tire in the necessary larger size or the regular A/T tires that fit your off-roading Jeep or truck.
Pack For A Cold-Weather Emergency
There is a greater chance of getting stuck driving snowy trails rather than dry ones, especially if the snow is deep or there's no real way to tell what type of snow has fallen.
Since the possibilities are higher, assume there is a possibility of getting stranded for a while in your prized off-road Jeep, just in case.
Pack spare clothing, warm sleeping bags, space blankets, emergency rations and water, and other emergency needs to stay warm and alive overnight or however long it takes to get rolling again or rescued.
Tone Down Those Lights
Off-road lights are a great help when wheeling in the snow since snowy days are usually shorter days.
If thinking of adding lights to your off-road Jeep or truck, a smart option is to look for lights that have different bulb types available to switch out as needed.
Why? Because LED and HID lights are too bright when reflecting off bright white snow, especially if there is already an ice crust on top which can actually make it harder to see at night, not easier.
Use warm white bulbs instead.
Switch to halogen bulbs which are both warmer and glow a little hotter physically, which could help keep snow from sticking to the front of the light lens on your off-road Jeep.
Bring Some Friends
One of the most essential tips for off-roading on snow-covered trails is to do it with friends for three great reasons:
- It is more fun that way!
- Someone else is there to help dig each other out!
- Should something go wrong along the way, other people and ;vehicles can get help if needed.
It is the same main rule of all off-roading, but more important - never go alone.
Ready to Hit Those Winter Trails?
Like all other types of off-road driving, safety is paramount when hitting the snowy trails this winter.
Take the right precautions to prepare for cold-weather wheeling and you will be ready for all the possibilities should something go wrong.
Trail riding in the snow can be some of the most fun you will ever have with an off-road Jeep or truck as long as it is done safely!