If you own a Jeep, you know nothing else compares. If you don't own one, admit it, you've been envious of people who do. It's no secret Jeeps are all-American fun. There is no past-time like taking a vehicle places it's not supposed to go. This guide to off-roading is meant to cover the basics of taking a Jeep for a spin on the wild side. 

Preparation for Off-Roading
Jeeps come designed to handle off-roading, however there is a tremendous difference between driving a Jeep through an open field and driving on a muddy trail. Never take an off-road vehicle out in an area without researching the conditions of the trails or talking to someone who is familiar with the area. Drive some mellow off-road trails in preparation for the hard ones. Having a feel for the way a Jeep handles off-road in a low pressure setting is a good idea. 

Recommended Safety Features

Despite Jeeps being ready to off-road in their stock format, there are some additions that those serious about off-roading should consider. Off-roading always leaves the possibility of getting stuck making tow-straps with a high tension rating, as well as tow hooks, essential equipment. Similarly, a tow winch may also be a good idea. Though more expensive, the tow winch will be helpful if you ever get stuck alone. Always review the proper methods of mounting straps, hooks, or winches before going out. Failing to mount them properly can result in serious injury. 

Does and Don'ts

  • Never take on a trail you aren't comfortable with. Off-roading is not the time or place to push yourself or your vehicle outside of your comfort zone.
  • Spend some time off-roading with others who already have experience.
  • Lowering your tire pressure can help improve traction off-road. Check with an expert for the psi your Jeep can handle.
  • Try to straddle ruts or holes instead of leaving a set of tires low and the other high. Not only does this leave your Jeep less likely to get stuck, but also less likely to flip. 
  • Depending on where you are, an extra tank of gas may not be a bad idea. Always remember to store gasoline safely.

Where Can You Off-Road?
There are plenty of places to off-road. In many states, public land is even set aside for this purpose. Always get permission to go on private land, and always make sure that off-roading is permitted on the public trails you intend to use. In Michigan, there are over 3,100 miles of trails intended for off-road vehicle use. Visit Michigan.org to find a location.

What are Jeep Clubs? 
If you're looking for people with similar interest in off-roading, consider joining a Jeep Club. Jeep Clubs are groups of Jeep enthusiasts who get together and off-road. Many hold events outside of off-roading, including camping, sledding and social events. Some clubs have specific requirements for membership, while others are open to anyone. There are even 4x4 clubs that include vehicles other than Jeeps. Check out Jeepclubs.org to find one in your area.

The most important thing before your next Jeep adventure is to make sure you are prepared and familiar with what you are doing. Otherwise off-roading can be a complete blast; this guide is sure to put you on your way to hitting the trails!

Categories: Jeep