To go off-roading, you need a vehicle. Off-roading is an exhilarating pastime; if you crave independence, freedom, the outdoors, and adventure, then off-roading is definitely for you. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with all of the basics before you get sucked into the biggest, baddest, most tricked-out truck on the market.
When shopping for an off-road truck, you’re going to come across the following jargon:
If you’re going off-road, you need an all-wheel or four-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is always on, meaning the power goes to all wheels as needed. Four-wheel drive can be manually turned on and off. Is there a difference?
When you’re comparing different off-road vehicles, you’re going to see references to approach, departure, and breakover angles. These angles are basically measures of how well the vehicle can overcome various obstacles; the steeper the angle, the higher the obstacle the truck can pass over without scraping or damaging the bumpers or undercarriage.
Drivers are able to make mods – modifications – to their truck or van to enhance its handling and performance when on the trail. There are hundreds and hundreds of different overland truck mods available, including traction tires, suspension lifts, skid plates, reinforced bumpers, auxiliary lighting, roof racks, and many others. None of the mods are technically essential if you have a good off-roading vehicle like a Toyota Tacoma or 4Runner. However, as you gain more experience, you’ll discover that many mods can make life on the road easier, safer, and more enjoyable.
What features should you look for?
Torque measures the twisting power of the engine; the higher the torque, the better your chances of getting out of a mud pit or over a rutted road. You’ll also have better traction and better control in any conditions.
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High ground clearance is essential for getting over boulders, roots, and other obstacles without damaging the undercarriage.
A locking differential locks the wheels together, which means they’ll both receive the same amount of torque. An open differential sends power to the wheel that is experiencing the least amount of traction. But when you’re driving off-road, you want to send power to the wheel with the most traction.
Low Range Transfer Case
This is another feature that increases torque. When you engage this feature in low first gear, you can get over many steep obstacles without even touching the gas pedal.
Get Out There
Having the right equipment is easily the first step to incredible off-road adventures. Get out there and stay safe.
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