A great thing about owning a 4WD truck is that it can easily be taken on the trails for some off-roading fun.
If that great sport hasn't opened up on your horizon, basic wheeling is something to try and really enjoy!
Yet before venturing out to put tires off the pavement and onto the dirt roads, there are a few things that should be known.
Off-roading skills are gained by learning from experience; however, there are also a few basic yet important tips that every beginner should know.
1. Prior Truck Preparation
Assuming you have a stock off-road truck, preparation should include thinking about what can get broken and anticipating just that happening.
Lower antennas, remove items from the truck bed or tie them down, and always carry a full-size spare and a jack.
Check tire conditions and pressure, make sure all fluids are topped off, and the tank is full of gas.
Bring enough water and snacks for everyone who will be in your off-road truck.
2. Trucks Are Not Indestructible
As fun as off-roading looks, it can be really tough on the vehicles and just because you have 4WD doesn’t mean that truck is capable of a lot of what others may be doing.
There are countless ways to seriously damage an off-road truck if you do things that are geared more toward vehicles that have been modified to make them more capable.
Keep in mind that the underside of a truck is vulnerable to damage from rocks, tree roots and branches, and many other things on the trails.
Be careful crossing water and stick only to very shallow bodies or otherwise face accidentally sucking water into the engine or shorting out the electrical system by going too deep.
3. Go Slow and Steady to Stay Safe
Speed is dangerous on off-road trails as increased speed increases the risk of damaging your truck or losing control.
Always go slowly, especially when going up and down hills that should be done in 4WD-low gear.
Larger rocks are safely scaled by crawling over them and going through mud and sand is better done at speeds just fast enough to keep a good forward momentum.
4. Front Wheels Lead The Way
Where front wheels go, the rest of the truck will follow which is critical to know if trying to negotiate a rocky trail where you need to pick the easiest spots to drive over.
Wheels don't always so the way it is perceived from being behind the wheel of any off-road truck as they could actually not be positioned where you think they are.
When driving over worn trails, piles of rocks, and other obstacles that require precision, get out and make sure the tires are where they need to be - or rely on a spotter.
5. There Are Limitations
Adding to the point about off-road trucks not being indestructible, know your truck or Jeep's limitations to keep out of trouble.
This is where common sense comes in, where if it looks and feels like more than you can handle, avoid it.
Once you get more experienced and learn different ways to handle the terrain and different obstacles, then progress onto bigger things.
With experience will come the knowledge of what mods any truck will need to be more capable on the trail.
6. Respect The Trails
The first rule of off-roading etiquette is to leave no trace behind when done off-.
Respect the trails by only driving in designated areas and doing so carefully to avoid damaging them - and don’t drive off the marked trails.
Pick up anything you brought with and bring it back plus don’t interact with nature.
Lastly, respect others on the trails by being courteous, learn how off-road right of way works, and be as helpful as possible.
7. Do Not Go Alone
The first rule of thumb of off-roading safety is to never go onto the trails alone no matter what level of experience you are which is especially important to someone who is learning.
Only go off-road with a friend in another truck or Jeep so there is a source for help if something happens.
Have a means of communicating between each other in case you get separated.
Ready to Go?
By keeping these easy tips in mind, you are ready to do some wheeling in a stock 4WD truck to see what it’s all about in order to at least get a taste of off-roading which should be more than enough to decide if you want to do more.
In that case, build on these simple tips and learn from those more experienced who have even more great tips and techniques including how to modify your truck or Jeep to turn it into an off-road machine!
It's a closer race than you might expect.
The 2021 Ford Bronco is no F-150 Raptor. At best, it delivers a 310-horsepower punch with 400 lb-ft of torque, courtesy of a twin-turbocharged 2.7L EcoBoost paired with a ten-speed automatic - a far cry from the Raptor's 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft with the same ten-speed slushbox.
You might expect, then, that a drag race between the two would be over before it even started, the Ford F-150 Raptor pulling away without so much as breaking a sweat. That might be the case on dry pavement, but off-road, where both vehicles are in their element, traction is harder to find, leading to the outcome seen here.
As you can see in the video, the F-150 Raptor still wins - no surprises there. But what is a surprise is how well the new Ford Bronco keeps up with the 450-hp supertruck, nearly keeping pace with it throughout the race. That's some impressive performance from a whole lot less displacement.
Even more impressive: according to the description on the YouTube page for this video, this Bronco is running with the 2.3L EcoBoost four-cylinder - not the 2.7L V6. We're inclined to believe it, too, as to date, we've seen no reports of any encounters with 2.7L-equipped pre-production Broncos in the wild.
The 2021 Ford Bronco is a dream come true for countless off-roading enthusiasts, who have been asking Ford to deliver an all-new Bronco ever since the last one ended production more than two decades ago.
The rugged body-on-frame SUV was revealed earlier this year to much acclaim, and as of last month, Ford had reportedly already amassed nearly 200,000 reservations, of which the top-spec Wildtrak model accounted for more than a quarter. That's the model that comes with the Bronco Sasquatch Package's 35-inch mud-terrain tires, locking front and rear axles, high-clearance suspension, and Bilstein dampers as standard, along with a standard 2.7L V6.
Of course, with a new 2021 Ford F-150 rolling out as we speak, there will soon be an all-new F-150 Raptor to talk about, and rumor has it the off-road supertruck will inherit the GT500's supercharged V8 to better keep up with the new Ram 1500 Rebel TRX. With that, we can probably look forward to a more one-sided rematch soon enough.
The ten-year-old Ranger gets (another) new look.
Trucks of all shapes and sizes dot the world's roads. Americans especially love their trucks, and few do it better than Ford. As well as building the legendary F-150, it also builds the Ford Ranger, a smaller pickup that's wildly popular outside the US in countries such as Brazil and South Africa. The Ford Ranger in its current form has been around for ages; nearly a decade to be exact, and while the US market has enjoyed exciting trim levels such as the FX4 MAX and the highly capable Tremor edition, developing nations have seen less comprehensive updates such as the Raptor styling package in Brazil. Now the T6 Ford Ranger is getting a notable facelift in Thailand, and it looks impressive.
The T6 Ford Ranger has seen numerous updates for international markets, including a front fascia redesign in 2015, and a second update in 2018. Now a third refresh has been revealed for the 2021 model year in Thailand which will affect world markets outside of the US. The most notable update is the black trapezoidal mesh grille that resembles the limited-edition Ford Thunder introduced to European markets earlier in 2020. Black trim on the side mirrors and door handles are also included, and black alloy wheels give this truck a more intimidating appearance. The Wildtrack trim gets power roller shutters.
The Ranger also sees the introduction of a new trim level named XL Street in SuperCab configuration, and features some sporty graphics inspired by Ford Thailand Racing. No changes have been made to the interior or engine options. The refreshed car will reach European shores in 2021 and should mark the final refresh for the range before an all-new car comes to life. The North American Ranger won't see the new refresh despite the fact that it rolls on the same platform.
As the new 2021 Nissan Navara pickup truck makes its world debut, the all-new U.S.-spec Nissan Frontier makes a quick unexpected appearance. Take a look at the screenshot above.
The Nissan design team is taking in the breadth of the latest Nissan truck design. There it is. A front view of a truck that appears to be the next 2021 or 2022 Nissan Frontier.
This truck looks different from the 2021 Navara that makes its debut for other markets. The front-end design is more squared-off and upright. It appears to be wider than the Navara. It also has some family resemblance to the Nissan Titan truck (also shown).
What do you think? Could this be the next U.S.-spec Nissan Frontier? Let us know in the comments below. The screenshot appears at the 11:46 mark in the video below.
Not everything works well with batteries.
An all-electric Ford F-150 is coming in 2022 and the Blue Oval has made this very clear. The fourteenth-generation full-size truck will soon be in showrooms and there's no reason to think it won't be a massive success, as always. Another first is the F-150 hybrid, packing a combustion engine connected to an electric motor. Clearly, there's a new trend taking shape and in the not too distant future, both GM and Ram will introduce mainstream all-electric full-size trucks of their own; the GMC Hummer is more of a halo model.
Outside of Detroit, there's the Tesla Cybertruck, Rivian R1T, and Lordstown Endurance. But one question still remains, at least for Ford: What about fully electric Super Duty trucks?
During a recent forum covered by the Detroit Free Press, Ford president of the Americas, Kumar Galhorta, confirmed there are no current plans to electrify the Ford F-250, F-350, and F-450. "At the moment, we do not have any plans to go into heavy-duty with battery-electric vehicles."
This doesn't mean all-electric Super Duty trucks will never happen, but it appears unlikely for the current generation. How come? Two likely reasons: battery technology is not quite where it needs to be for heavy-duty truck purposes and a lack of consumer interest. However, Ford's commitment to electrification, in general, remains ironclad.
Bowler is turning the Land Rover Defender into a road-legal rally racer.
The original Land Rover Defender is one of the most instantly recognizable off-roaders in the world. While the design of the all-new Defender remains faithful to its predecessor, there will always be purists that prefer the original off-roader's iconic, more utilitarian shape, which has resulted in a countless number of Land Rover Defender restomods. Purists rejoice because the Land Rover is reviving the classic Defender after it was discontinued in 2018 for an exciting new project.
After acquiring Bowler last year, Land Rover is allowing the off-road racing specialist to build new all-terrain performance cars and rally-raid vehicles using the classic Defender shape.
The first project being built as part of the new agreement is codenamed CSP 575, a new performance off-roader based on Bowler's high-strength steel rally chassis combined with aluminum alloy body panels from the classic Defender 110 Station. And yes, this rally racer will be road legal with seating for four occupants, a roll cage, and comfort features such as air conditioning.
Power will be provided by Land Rover's supercharged 5.0-liter V8 engine generating 567 horsepower. This will be Bowler's first new off-roader since 2016 and the project will be co-developed with Jaguar Land Rover's Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division. Previewed in render designs, the CSP 575 features a raised ride height, massive off-road tires, and a blue Bowler racing livery.
"We're excited to announce the first major project since our acquisition of Bowler. The 'CSP 575' will combine supercharged V8 performance and four-seat practicality with Bowler's rally raid-proven CSP platform, broadening the appeal of the brand," said Michael van der Sande, Managing Director of SVO. "This high-performance road-going model will sit alongside Bowler's evolving range of rally raid models, which continue to enjoy success in the world's toughest motorsport events."
The rally-focused Bowler Defender 110 will be built in extremely limited numbers at the company's headquarters in Derbyshire, UK, by the same engineers and technicians that build its competition 4x4s. Order books will open in Europe and the UK next year, with pricing starting at around £200,000 ($260,083).
You can see it in action at the Thailand Super Series.
While the next-generation Ford Ranger Raptor is expected to arrive in the US with a 2.7-liter V6 turbo, the current model is still forbidden fruit in the US. In Thailand, there's an even more extreme version built to tear up the track: meet the new Ford Ranger Raptor Race Truck.
Built by Ford Thailand Racing, the race truck is designed to compete in the Super Pickup class of the Thailand Super Series. Behind the wheel is 25-year-old Thai-Norwegian racer Sandy Stuvik, who also races an Audi R8 LMS GT3 in the Thailand Super Series GT3 class.
This is the first time a factory-built Ranger has competed in the racing class, but it will face some tough competition from more established converted race trucks including a Toyota Hilux and Isuzu D-Max.
Powering this hardcore racing truck is a 3.2-liter inline-five turbodiesel. While the power output hasn't been revealed, it should be more potent than the standard mill found in the regular Ford Ranger Raptor that produces 194 horsepower and 347 lb-ft of torque. Stuvik says the turbo diesel was "boosted as much as we can." Power is sent through the truck's standard six-speed manual.
In the above video, we get to see the Raptor racing truck in action at the Bira circuit in Thailand preparing for the Super Series. The Ranger Raptor was never intended to be a racing truck, so the team had to overcome some technical problems during testing.
Compared to the regular Ranger Raptor, the race truck rides much lower to the ground thanks to Ohlins suspension. Other modifications include a wider body, larger brakes, a rear diffuser, and a rear wing mounted to the tailgate. You might be thinking the wheels and tires look too skinny for a race truck, but this is due to Super Series regulations.
Look out for Ford's new race truck tearing up the track in Super Series events scheduled for later this year.
GM's designers originally envisioned it with a midgate like the Chevrolet Avalanche had.
The Chevrolet Avalanche may have ended production some seven years ago now, but the truck remains a fan favorite for one of its most innovative features: the "midgate". Simply put, the midgate allowed owners to instantly extend the carrying capacity of the truck bed by folding down the panel behind the rear seats, which separated the bed from the cabin.
Like the Avalance, the new 2022 GMC Hummer pickup has a cabin and pickup bed that form one continuous piece, prompting many to speculate that the Hummer would make use of the same clever design. Ultimately, that didn't happen, but it very nearly did, according to GMC Hummer Exterior Design Manager John Mack.
Speaking to Muscle Cars & Trucks recently, Mack said that "there was [a midgate] early on," but that in the end, GM "opted for the functionality of the drop glass in the back. With the package layout and things like that it was not advantageous to pursue [a midgate]. And the 5 foot bed was kind of the industry standard in regards to price of entry in that segment."
The rear drop glass on the new Hummer is powered, making it able to retract at the push of a button - a feature with limited utilitarian value, but one that complements the removable "infinity roof" panels and allows for even more open-air freedom off-road.
As a truck aimed squarely at off-roading enthusiasts and hip early adopters, the GMC Hummer EV's bed capacity is less of a crucial attribute than on a more utilitarian pickup truck, anyway, and at 5-feet long, it matches the bed of the forthcoming Rivian R1T and Nikola Badger. The Tesla Cybertruck and Bollinger B2 pack substantially larger cargo beds, and the Bollinger will even feature a full-length passthrough for carrying items up to 16 feet in length, but it's a safe bet that buyers will seldom need that much carrying space.
And if they do, then hey, there's always the covered "frunk" area at the front of the truck.
What would you have them create?
The 2020 SEMA show had to be moved entirely online due to global health concerns, but OEM automakers are still using the new SEMA360 online platform to show off their would-be reveals. Just last week, Chevrolet showed off its new eCrate electric motor package in a 1977 K5 Blazer. Unlike the 2021 Chevrolet Blazer, the K5 used a gas-guzzling V8 that only produced 175 horsepower.
The new eCrate, which is borrowed from the Bolt, produces 200 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque mated to a four-speed automatic. Chevy plans to sell the eCrate alongside other crate motors, meaning it will be easier than ever to create your own electric restomod. If you lack the skills to do it yourself, General Motors has created a Certified Installer Program so you can have this new powertrain professionally installed into your vehicle. The first of these certified installers was just chosen.
"Lingenfelter Performance Engineering is proud and excited to have been selected by GM as the first aftermarket company in developing the Certified Installer Program for their industry-leading eCrate Electric Connect and Cruise system," the aftermarket tuning company posted on its Facebook page.
"As a company, Lingenfelter Performance is committed to a sustainable future in aftermarket performance, and working with the industry leader GM gives us a great opportunity to help guide that future generation of aftermarket performance. We will keep everyone plugged into our exciting project."
Chevy says the K5 Blazer-E is just an example of what can be created with the new eCrate package. Last year, the company showed off a modified S10 called the e-10, packing 450 electric horsepower. As of right now, the Bolt's drivetrain only comes with a 60 kWh, a 400-volt battery pack powering a 200-hp electric motor. This setup should prove perfectly capable in a vintage cruiser like a Blazer or S10.
Those yearning for more performance should be happy to hear that Chevy is considering more potent options in the future, possibly using the Ultium batteries from the new Hummer. Thus far, Chevy has shown off its electric drivetrain in vintage trucks, but the setup could work equally well in a muscle car. Just imagine an electric C2 Corvette with 1,000 electric hp!
If looking for a new, fun way to enjoy a Jeep especially if you are a lucky owner of the great Jeep Gladiator, overlanding is one of the best ways to do it!
Overlanding is a different kind of off-roading, one that combines the challenges of driving over the terrain with the enjoyment of the environment, especially when experienced with the reliability of a Jeep or whatever another 4X4 brand.
Yet there some misconceptions about what overlanding is and what it is not.
Read on to get a bit of a clearer view about real overlanding and what it is before heading in order to enjoy it to your heart’s content!
What Isn’t Overlanding?
It is easier to start with what overlanding isn’t to make explaining what it is more understandable.
Though it has been called car camping by many over the years, overlanding really is not that at all.
Sure, camping in or on your Jeep with an overland rack is a part of overlanding; however, to say overlanding is car camping misses the whole point of what it actually is, namely exploring.
There is a lot more to overlanding than driving out to a campsite, pitching a cool roof tent on an overland rack, enjoying the surroundings for a few days, and then driving home.
Yes, a lot of amenities can be brought with so your campsites are enjoyable and well set up; however, the camping should only be the icing on the cake.
What Is Overlanding?
Overlanding is a lot more than simply camping on top of a Jeep or SUV equipped with an overland rack.
- As mentioned above, it is exploring more than anything.
- About going on an expedition and enjoying the trip along the way.
Aptly named for the way it involves traveling over the land, overlanding continues the journey that started as far back as Marco Polo in the 13th Century with people traveling from point-to-point, sometimes with purpose and other times just to wander and see what there was to see.
This is the spirit behind overlanding, which is based on the desire to explore but also doing it in comfort.
So what is overlanding?
- Traveling - At the very basic level, overlanding is traveling from Point A to almost anywhere with no defined Point B necessary.
- Exploring - The fun of exploring is really appreciated by leaving the pavement and just going in whichever direction seems right, following whichever trail comes up next or a trail that will lead you to the sights wanted to be seen along the way, no timeframe or agenda written in stone other than to eventually reach certain spots and places.
- Camping - Overland camping might involve the simplicity of putting up a rooftop tent thanks to overland racks on vehicles or making a whole elaborate campsite with fellow explorers; either way, it is just another layer of fun to experience while exploring.
- Off-roading - Overlanding is not just about exploring; it is also about taking advantage of your off-roading skills and making the most of the terrain being traveled to have some fun using and expanding off-roading skills.
- Adventuring - More than anything, overlanding is about throwing away the books and just going out to have an adventure when hitting the trail to experience what is encountered while traveling to your destination, whether a specific spot was pre-planned or the whole adventure was just see where the trails lead.
Overlanding Is A State of Mind
More so than it being a thing, a place, or even an activity, overlanding in your Jeep or truck is a state of mind, the point being not about a destination but just enjoying the adventure of getting there.
It is not about playing by rules but rather just pushing boundaries - safely, of course!
It is about having the freedom to just go to test your skills and off-road truck no matter what is encountered along the way.
It is about exploring the land and turning a camping trip into an actual journey, even if there is no defined end to that journey and you just appreciate the surroundings and the trip.
That is what overlanding is.
The camping part, with or without an overland rack, is just the start!