Jeep Wranglers are well known for being able to spice up any drive — from a cross-town trip to the grocery store to a cross-county road trip. But, for many Jeep enthusiasts, getting a Wrangler and sticking strictly to the pavement means missing out on at least half the fun of the model.
In other words, it’s only natural to want to see what your Jeep Wrangler can do off-road, too. You can practically envision how it’ll feel to tackle terrain like mud and sand, crawl rocks and ford streams behind the wheel of your rugged SUV. Wranglers aren’t Trail Rated for nothing, right?
Preparation is key to having a fun and safe time off-roading your Jeep Wrangler — so here are some handy tips.
#1: The More the Merrier
Your friend is busy this weekend, but you’re impatient to hit the trails. You should just go, right? They’ll be so jealous to hear your awesome stories about your solo adventure, right?
Wrong. Off-roading alone is downright dangerous, especially when you’re just starting out. This is why everyone from industry experts to fellow members of the Jeep Club post in forums over and over again to make sure you’re accompanied by at least one experienced driver — or even an entire local 4×4 club with firsthand knowledge of the area.
#2: Pack the Essentials
You wouldn’t go to the beach without your towel and sunscreen, would you? Packing the essentials for off-roading in your Jeep Wrangler is not just a matter of comfort; it’s also a major safety requirement.
Here are some of the things that should be in your off-roading bag, according to Motor Biscuit:
- A first aid kit
- Non-perishable snacks
- Drinking water
- Extra clothes
- Towing supplies (winch and straps)
- Tire repair kit
- Fire extinguisher
It’s better to pack items you don’t end up using than to forget something essential, so do your research and double-check your bag before you head out.
#3: Make Sure All Systems Are Go
You want to know your Jeep Wrangler inside and out before you even think about taking it off-road. Be sure to give every system a full inspection before you head out. Even something as simple as forgetting to refill a certain fluid can throw a major wrench into your ride.
#4: Location, Location, Location
Make sure you’re matching up your vehicle and level of off-roading experience with whatever trails or natural areas you’re planning to hit.
As The Fun Times Guide points out, two popular off-roading areas are ORV parks and U.S. Forest Service roads. You should be able to track down detailed maps and ratings for these types of off-roading areas before visiting to help you avoid the unexpected.
#5: Practice Finding Traction
It’s practically human instinct to give a vehicle more gas when the wheels start to spin or slip. However, this is one knee-jerk reaction you’ll want to fight against. The experts at Popular Mechanics remind us that the correct course of action is oftentimes to move the steering wheel back and forth to find more purchase on the earth.
There are tons of “small” actions like this that make a huge difference on the trails, so study up on what to do in certain situations.
The journey to off-roading begins before your tires touch even a speck of dirt or sand — they start at home, when you’re packing your bag of essentials, inspecting your Jeep Wrangler, looking up trail information and arranging to meet up with at least one other person who knows what they’re doing next time you hit the trails.