Jeep Driving Styles
Now that you have your first Jeep, you may be chomping at the bit at the prospect of taking her out on her maiden voyage. But what to do? There are a lot of fun driving activities to embark on with your new 4x4, but let’s take a look at the most ubiquitous of the 4x4 world. To do these, you need the hallmarks of a 4x4: limited slip/locking differential, high ground clearance, and a decent amount of torque.
Trailing: Trailing is the most low-key of off-road pursuits and can be accomplished by almost any 4x4, regardless of whether or not you have modifications invested into the rig. Essentially a pleasant drive through the countryside, but on unfinished roads, forest paths or muddy tracks through meadows and glens. If it’s your first trip off the paved road with your Jeep, this is a good place to start.
Mudding: Whereas trailing may result in the occasional mud track, mudding exists in the sole pursuit of these wallow holes. True mudders will have their rigs outfitted with substantial suspension upgrades to add height (it’s a pain to get clay mud out of your carpets) and balloon or mud tires with the grip to keep them going, as well as snorkels to raise in intake above the water line. The goal? To go as far as possible without getting stuck—which is why mudders also travel in groups or have a winch outfitted to pull them back out again.
Dune bashing: If plowing through sand dunes at top speed sounds like your idea of a good weekend, then dune bashing is for you. Because it is recommended to lower the tire pressure for more grip, a common modification is to add beadlock rims, which reduce the risk of tire separation. To go dune bashing safely, you should also add a role cage in case your rig tips under the shifting sand.
Crawling: Rock crawling is exactly what it sounds like: you are taking your precious baby and rolling her over miles and miles of the most rugged terrain imaginable; essentially to see if you can. It’s a test of skill, not only with driving over the obstacles, but also with preparing your Jeep ahead of time with the proper ground clearance and suspension. Before considering rock crawling, you absolutely MUST upgrade your suspension for a much further travel and greater articulation to enable your Jeep to scramble over the rocks without snapping an axle or blowing a tire.
There are many more activities in between and beyond these, which is what makes Jeeps so special: they aren’t limited by the constraints that would hold back most other vehicles. No matter how difficult, with the right skills and parts, you can do it in a Jeep.