If you want to take your first off-roading trip you usually don’t know how and where to start. Thankfully, there is a big off-roading community of like-minded individuals who will help you out at any point. And in this article, we will try to provide some tips and give some helpful advice about how to start off-roading.
Where to Find Information
There are many places where you can find information and tips about off-roading.
— Vehicle manufacturers. Many vehicle manufacturers hold off-roading events from time to time, some of them hold family-friendly weekends, which will be perfect for beginners. Some manufacturers offer one-day off-roading driving schools and off-road driving lessons. The manufacturers that might be helpful are Land Rover, Jeep, Toyota, and some others.
— Local clubs. Off-roading clubs hold training sessions and events for beginners. Their advantage is that there are experienced off-roaders that help beginners with their first off-roading trips.
— Forums. There are many forums for off-road cars, which, first of all, are great sources of information. There you can also find out where and when local off-roaders meet and join them.
There is a basic set of equipment that is a must-have for your off-roading adventures.
— Tools: winch, lockers, hi-lift jack.
— Fire extinguisher
— First aid kit
— Spare tire
— Maps and GPS
— Air compressor
— Plenty of water
— Full gas tank and some extra fuel.
Tips on Different Types of Terrain
You need to have tires that will help you get out of mud situations. If you got stuck in the mud, decrease tire pressure to 20 psi, turn off the traction control, choose a higher gear.
If you are in sand dunes you need to shift to 4×4 low. But if you get stuck, changing to 4×4 high will help. It is also helpful to maximize horsepower.
This is simple comparing to sand and mud. You need to know your route, that is, where you are going, and have good off-roading tires. Before going off-roading, spend enough time doing your research and planning. Find out where the slippery areas are and try to avoid narrow passages. Look for some alternative way. In the off-road guide, you can find information about rocks, holes, or mud puddles. This will help you avoid unpleasant surprises.
If you are planning to go off-roading, upgrading your vehicle to bigger tires is the first step you would want to take. This will also involve some lift of the vehicle body. You will need All-Terrain tires (they are marked A/T) or Mud-Terrain tires (M/T). Make sure you understand that changing tires will involve other modifications of your vehicle and carefully plan such changes. Before making any changes, study the forums and tips from experienced off-roaders. To put bigger tires, you need to lift the vehicle, which leads to changes in the suspension components geometry. You might also need to change driveshafts. You might possibly need longer brake lines and shocks.
Where to Go Off-Roading
So, what are the most common and suitable places for off-roading?
— National parks and forests. There are legal off-road trails in the forests maintained by the U. S. Forest Services. You can go to your local Ranger Station to find out information about them, or search online.
— Off-road parks
In the off-road parks, you can find trails and areas where you can practice your off-roading skills. There are also Off-Highway Vehicle Recreational Areas.
— Bureau of Land Management properties. BLM keeps a range of off-roading trails. You can find them on their website or go to your local office for more information.
— Trail guides. The guides are interesting not only because they offer various trail maps but also because they provide some interesting information about these trails.
Some Other Tips
Check the weather forecast and make sure you are prepared for the type of weather that is waiting for you. It doesn’t mean you must be scared of some rain or cancel your trip. Just be sure you are ready for such circumstances.
Keep control of your car. It is better to avoid high speed and drive slowly. Avoid any possible distractions and be attentive on the trail. Be careful making curves and taking turns. It is better to take off-road trips during the day especially when you are a beginner.
Before going on an off-road trip inform someone about your location, so your friend and relative will keep track of your trip. Tell them where you are driving and the expected time of arrival and return, so if you get stuck somewhere, they will come to the rescue.