There are almost 300 million cars on US roads right now. Do you love spending time in traffic?
If not, it’s time to take your driving off the road. There are many different types of vehicles that can handle rough terrain, allowing you to explore roads less traveled.
From expensive pickup trucks to small, lightweight ATVs, and everything in between, there are off road vehicles for every budget and riding style.
Wondering what vehicle you should get if you’re considering going off roading for the first time? Read on below to see what the automotive industry has to offer those in search of long, empty dirt roads and trails.
Four Wheel Drive Truck
One of the most popular options is the off-road truck. The benefit of a four-wheel-drive truck is that it can be used both on-road and offroad. So if you already have a truck, a few modifications and additional parts would make it perfect for offroading on wider roads, without the expense of buying an entirely new vehicle.
You can invest in some off road wheels, that you can swiftly swap for your road tires on the weekend. these need to have deep, beefy tread to grip any terrain you might encounter.
A grill guard can help protect the important components of your truck, in case you hit an animal, rock, or tree. These are especially important at night.
Adding a lift kit and upgrading the suspension is optional, but definitely helps if you do a lot of offroad riding. And a winch will be a lifesaver at one point or another if you spent enough time in the backcountry.
There’s no shortage of off roading gear you can invest in.
Jeeps are some of the most iconic offroad vehicles available. More specifically, the Jeep Wrangler.
These are classic cars to take on the trails, over rocks, and even on the road when you have to go to work, but still want to have fun.
Jeep Wranglers are built to handle the unique environments you might find when you venture down a dirt road. Of course, you can make as many modifications as you want, to improve offroad functionality.
Plus, having a Jeep means you get to participate in the classic Jeep owner wave. That alone is almost worth the price of the car.
SUVs are big and generally high off the ground. If you need to use them for general dirt road riding, they can handle them with ease.
Certain models are better suited to actual offroading than others, however. This includes models like the Ford Bronco, Ford Explorer, Honda Passport, Jeep Trailhawk, Toyota Rav4, and the classic Subaru Outback.
Not, SUVs are going to conquer the same terrain that a Jeep Wrangler can. But when you need to reach an out-of-the-way campsite, deep in the backcountry, or access a hidden trail in the wilderness, an SUV might be just what you need.
Plus, it doubles as a family transport vehicle, so that you can still be a responsible adult while you’re at it.
Now we’re getting into the smaller vehicles that aren’t fit for riding on the road. ORVs are specifically titled for offroad use only since they don’t have the safety features needed to protect drivers from full-sized vehicles moving at 70 mph.
One of the most useful types of ORV is the UTV, or utility terrain vehicle. Because of their functionality and size, they have become much more popular than ATVs in recent years.
UTVs can seat a minimum of two riders, and upwards of six depending on the model you choose. They can often tow 1,000 lbs or more, and have plenty of space to hold cargo.
They are used in agriculture, on local farms, by organizations like the US Forest Service or National Park Service, homeowners with acreage, and those who just want to explore ORV trails in their area.
ATVs have always been a popular choice in offroad vehicles, providing an easier way to explore and perform stunts than riding a dirt bike. And while they aren’t as popular as the ultra-functional UTV, they still have a place for those who ride purely for sport, speed, stunts, and nimble exploration.
Small ATVs can be purchased for kids to learn how to ride at a young age, creating lifelong offroaders.
And there are even some utility-focused ATVs on the market today, able to perform basic towing, carry cargo, and get work done.
Dirt bike culture is huge, thanks in large part to people like Travis Pastrana, who have inspired an entire generation to ride and race dirt bikes.
While lots of people use them on closed courses, performing stunts, and racing, many will take them out into the desert to explore the most intense terrain imaginable. Dirt bikes can conquer obstacles that almost no other offroad vehicle can.
And when it can’t quite make it over an obstacle, it’s easy enough to hop off your bike, and walk it around the obstacle if necessary, thanks to its lightweight and maneuverability.
Other Types of Off Road Vehicles
There are plenty of other more niche vehicles available, to help you conquer the specific terrain you are facing.
Snowmobiles are the obvious choice for those looking to explore and gain speed in the long, snow-covered winters of the north. Who says offroading has to be seasonal?
Dube buggies are specifically made for flying across sand dunes. A handful of states, such as California, Arizona, Utah, and even Michigan have areas that are dune buggy hotspots.
And if you really want to get deep into the backcountry, you can use vehicles like rock crawlers, amphibious vehicles, or sand rails.
Land of the Free
Off road vehicles provide ample recreation opportunities to millions of people across the country. While many of the parks and wilderness areas are closed to motorized vehicles, there’s still plenty of land that is wide open to vehicle usage.
So if you like to explore, but don’t feel the desire to pedal, getting an offroad vehicle is a great decision.
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