If you are interested in off-roading and have been doing some searching online, chances are you have a pretty good idea of what extreme off-roading looks like. Sure, some of it involves scaling monstrous boulders or getting through deep, sucking mud holes; however, there is actually more to off-roading than just the extreme stuff.
Before you start modifying your ride with wheels and tires, lifting your suspension, or adding steel truck bumpers, you might want to look at all the types of off-roading you can try. Each brings with it a different thrill, requires different skills, and means investing in different modifications.
Green Laning and Cross Country
Green laning is probably the mildest of all activities involving an off-roader. It involves driving along unpaved roads, forest trails, and moderate trails designated for off-roading. It can be done with just about any stock 4WD truck, which is nice for anyone who wants to ease their way into this sport or does not necessarily want to make modifications to their truck.
Cross country off-roading is similar but may include obstacles other than just overgrown, uneven roads and paths. Cross country usually involves going out into off-road parks in groups for a day or two and trying out a variety of obstacles like hills, rocky trails, water, and mud.
You can usually start riding the cross country trails stock but once you progress to the more aggressive trails, you will need to put some thought into things like tires, wheels, bumpers, and winches.
Hill Climbing and Rock Crawling
For those looking for more challenge than what they might encounter with cross country driving in the average off-road park, hill climbing is next on the list, followed by rock crawling. Both types of trails and obstacles are found all over the country at a variety of experience levels.
Hill climbing involves riding your off-roader up and down steep inclines that require careful planning to climb without sliding or rolling over as well as going down without getting hung up at the top. Rock climbing involves negotiating aggressive trails filled with large rocks and boulders.
Extreme rock climbing is probably the most notable activity that people think of when someone mentions off-roading; however, it is definitely not for beginners. You will have to work your way up to rock climbing so you develop the right skills and make the right mods to your truck, including heavier duty bumpers, suspensions, and winches.
Mudding and Water Fording
Mudding is just what it sounds like, driving through mud. Besides the fun of getting dirty and making a big splash, it provides the challenge of being able to actually get through the mud without getting stuck. As easy as this may sound, there are all different kinds of mud, from loose and watery mud to thick, sticky mud or even wet sand. Negotiating each of these various mud obstacles requires different equipment and skills.
The same goes for dealing with water like streams and rivers. It involves driving over all kinds of terrain, dealing with different currents, and learning just how deep you can go without drowning your off-roader's engine.
Dune Bashing and Desert Riding
If mud is not your thing and you are into a drier environment, there is dune bashing, which is like hill climbing and mudding combined. The goal is to successfully get up and down various sand dunes without getting stuck or rolling over. Desert off-roading is similar to extreme cross country trail riding, only it is done in the desert and typically done at high speed. You will encounter hills, rocks, and dunes plus get some air as you speed over them.
There are all kinds of trails and obstacles you can try with your Jeep or truck as long as you can develop the skills and have the right equipment. :You may need heavy steel bumpers, a proper suspension system, and good wheel and tire mods. From mild to extreme, off-roading is a challenge and there are even competitions to participate in if you get good enough.
So before you open your wallet and start shelling out money for high performance parts and body mods like bumpers and huge tires for your off-roader, choose an activity that suits you the most and focus on that. You will enjoy yourself more, spend your money wisely, and stay safer by having the right equipment for the type of off-roading you choose!