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Types of Off Roading

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There are many different types of off roading one can do.

From powering through the mud to crawling over rocks, each terrain is fun in a different way. 

In this article, we’ll go over the differences between different types of off roading while also providing some tips that will help you tackle the obstacles easier.

Table of Contents

Types of Off Roading – Mud Driving

off roading in the mud

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For many off roading enthusiasts, mud driving is the most fun you can have with your 4×4. Just like some other types of off roading mud requires high wheel speed. 

The reason you need a high wheel speed is to flick the mud out of the tire’s tread to keep it clean and help the lugs bite into the ground.

If the tread is packed with mud, the tires have no chance of finding grip.

Momentum is also very helpful in mud as it can carry you through a sticky bog hole.

Mud Bogging

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In many cases, regardless of the power your rig has, if the axles and frame are in the mud you have a very small chance of making it through.

That can be overcome with a bit of momentum.

You need to be careful as big rocks, holes, or branches can be hiding under the mud and if you hit those with speed you can do damage to your truck. 

Furthermore, before driving a bog hole check its depth, you don’t want to be drowning your truck in mud.

driving of a muddy road

Photo by luckyraccoon via iStock

Lastly, mud is a vehicle’s slow killer. It gets into bearings, axles, and even driveshafts. The grit and water act like sandpaper wearing away your components. 

If you want your truck to be in top condition, it may be worth regreasing driveshafts, wheel bearings, and checking diff fluids after a big mud run. 

The damage usually happens through deeper mud holes though. 

Pro tip – use a garden sprinkler to soak up the undercarriage of your truck before going over it with a high-pressure hose. This will loosen up the dry mud and make the cleaning process much more effective 

Types of Off Roading – Rock Crawling

Jeep rock crawling on red rock

Photo by 1000kbs via iStock

Out of all types of off roading, rock crawling is perhaps the most technical. Your line choice plays more role than ever, and you need to have a great knowledge of the capabilities of your vehicle

Rock crawling is an empty canvas, depending on your truck, you may choose to take the tough or easy way up. 

Before heading up a rock obstacle it is important to have a careful look at it and choose your line.

Rock Crawling

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For example, if you are in a locked vehicle with a lot of suspension travel you can drive through sections that will get you crossed up. 

On the other hand, for trucks without lockers or with less suspension travel, getting crossed up can make the vehicle unstable or can lead to wheelspin.

Throttle control is also very important. In many cases, too much throttle on the rocks leads to loss of grip or a violent assent which can break parts.

4x4 offroad car stands on big rock

Photo by molchanovdmitry via iStock

The best option is to approach the obstacle slowly with minimal throttle and apply more if you need to. 

The smoother you make it up the less stress you put on the vehicle and the easier you make the climb look. 

Pro tip – rock crawling can lead to vehicle damage. To protect your pride and joy, ensure you are equipped with rock sliders, steel bumpers, and skid plates. 

Types of Off Roading – Sand Driving

Types of Off Roading – Sand Driving

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Sand driving is all about momentum – especially when going uphill. Going slow usually involves digging and getting stuck. 

Low range is in most cases the way to go. For big hills, you may even go up to 4th gear. 

Line choice doesn’t play a role here, just try avoiding any soft areas if visible and take the less steep option up. 

Keep in mind that sand driving puts a lot of stress on your engine as it usually works hard at low speeds. This can lead to overheating issues. 

Paired with the fact that most sand driving is done during summer, you need to make sure your cooling system is in top condition.

Driving on the remote beach with 4wd.

Photo by Totajla via iStock

Pro tip – airing down is important in all types of off roading; however, it is even more important in sand. 

When airing down our tires we increase their footprint; therefore, the weight of the vehicle is spread out over a larger surface. 

This helps us float over the sand instead of digging into it.

So, for sand driving, make sure you keep your momentum up and air down your tires. 

Types of Off Roading – Final Thoughts

Dusty 4x4 Road Trip

Photo by georgeclerk via iStock

Adjusting to different terrain is an important factor in successfully tackling off road obstacles. Line choice, throttle control, and vehicle setup are all different depending on the type of off roading. 

The above tips will give you the basics of tackling the most common types of off road terrain we tend to find when out and about. 

If you have any further questions regarding off road driving tips or for anything else off road or overland related, head over to the forum section of our page.

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