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Off Roading Tips for Beginners

Photo by 1000kbps via iStock

This article was last updated on May 9, 2024.

People who don’t know much about off roading think it’s easy – you just point a vehicle up a hill and boot the throttle.

However, as soon as you get into the activity, you realize there are lines to choose, throttle control to apply, and a great knowledge of your vehicle’s capabilities to attain.

Since off roading can get complicated, let’s go over off roading tips for beginners!

Table of Contents 

Off Roading Tips for Beginners – More Throttle Isn’t Always the Answer

car accelerating on sand

Photo by Lorado via iStock

When you see an intimidating obstacle, don’t go full throttle. Instead, take it easy. 

Drive up the obstacle at a slow speed and feel how the vehicle behaves. Does it slip? Or is the surface grippy? Also, pay close attention to any axle twisters that will halt any progress if your rig is unlocked. 

Didn’t make it up with the slow method? It’s not time to gun it yet! Drive back down and reassess. Is there a better line you could have chosen? If yes, try that. Once you’re out of choices, then it’s time to try adding some momentum and throttle. Be careful, though, vehicles break!

Desert Offroading at Sunset

photo by Art Wager via iStock

As your experience increases, you’ll know from the beginning whether an obstacle needs a lot of throttle or not. However, it’s good practice to take the first attempt slowly. This gives you a good idea of how the vehicle behaves on the specific obstacle while also letting you know how much throttle it will need to drive up it.

One of the best indications of a good driver is when all other trucks drove up a hill at full revs while you slowly drove up it without tearing up the trail or stressing your truck.

There is a reason why rock crawling is slow and controlled. More throttle isn’t always the answer.

Off Roading Tips for Beginners – Build Your Vehicle Correctly

Jeep Wrangler on top of a sand dune

Photo by Lorado via iStock

Next on our off roading tips for beginners list is one of the most important aspects to successfully tackling off-road trails – a well-built truck

By “well-built,” we’re not referring to a $100,000 rig with all the bells and whistles, but something that has the correct accessories that make it work nicely on the trail. 

Firstly, it’s crucial to have an idea of the types of trails you’ll navigate. Then you need to research, ask questions, and research again through people who know your vehicle model well. This ensures you add the best accessories possible according to your budget. 

By taking the above approach, your truck will be more capable on the trail and, therefore, safer. The last thing you want is to build up a truck only to find out it does not serve the purpose you wanted it to. 

Mistakes are inevitable when building a truck, even if you do your research. However, this method will greatly reduce mistakes made and will give you the knowledge needed to address them.


Let’s be honest, when off roading in a new area, we never really know where we are or where to go. If you just wander around, chances are you will hit a lot of dead ends and have a frustrating day. However, if you use off road navigation, you can easily find some of the best trails available in the area. 

So, in this section of off roading tips for beginners, we recommend you use an application or device such as GAIA GPS, OnXoffroad or the Garmin Overlander. These applications have maps with guides for all popular trails and will even give a difficulty score.

In addition, you can do your research from home and plot routes that take you through some of the most scenic spots of the area you happen to be in. The plotted routes can then be downloaded and followed regardless of phone reception.

Off Roading Tips for Beginners – Safely Secure a Bike or ATV

elf offroad

If you prefer to off-road on an ATV or bike, then the last tip on our off roading tips for beginners list will make your life far easier. 

Perhaps the biggest pain (aside from crashing) associated with off roading in an ATV or a bike is loading them and securing them on a trailer.

It usually involves plenty of mucking around with straps and clamps until you manage to find the perfect spot to secure the weight. 

But, Elf Offroad has a handy device that drastically changes the way you load bikes, ATVs, or anything else on a trailer or the bed of your truck. 


Their universal mounting clamps grip onto iron surfaces, enabling you to attach straps at any location on your trailer or truck bed without having to drill holes. 


Because of this, you won’t have to pass the straps in a way that leads to the designated hole on your trailer. Simply secure the load with the straps and then add the clamps wherever you like. It’s a much simpler, much more functional, and much faster way to secure your loads.


Add in an affordable price, too! The large clamps are $129.99 and the small clamps go for $69.99. With a working load limit of 2,000 lbs per large clamp and 600 lbs per small clamp, these suckers will keep just about any load secure.

Additionally, Elf Offroad makes these clamps here in the U.S. and supports our local economy. It doesn’t get any better than that!

Off Roading Tips for Beginners – Final Thoughts

Off Roading Tips for Beginners

Photo by Shtaa via iStock

Off-roading involves skill, preparation, and experience. At first, it is best to take it slow, gather knowledge, and build a capable vehicle according to your budget. 

The above tips are great for getting you started. However, most of your experience and skills will develop as you learn from other people on the trails, from your own mistakes, and by hitting the trail regularly.

If you have any further off roading tips for beginners, post them in the forum section of our site. You can also find further information posted by readers regarding overlanding and off roading topics. 

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