Taking rides to a newer level

Beginner’s Guide To 4×4 Off Roading

Beginner’s Guide To 4×4 Off Roading

If you just got your first 4×4 off roading vehicle and are ready to hit the trail but don’t have the first idea of where to start, we will give you some tips to get you going in the right direction.  4×4 Off Roading is an addictive hobby that has a way of becoming more and more involved as you gain experience and your skill levels improve. It’s full of fun, friendships, challenges, and adventures you won’t soon forget. But, like any addictive behavior, it can become expensive unless you carefully plan what you need versus what you want. 

Stop! Before You Do Anything…

There is a ton of free, valuable information available online and off. There are many vehicle-specific forums, often broken down into geographic areas. There are typically posts on local 4×4 trails and parks for off-road vehicles. Off-road clubs almost always have runs for beginners, a great way to learn without being the obvious newbie. Learn as much as you can about trail safety, technique, and best practices before you head out the first time. Going on a run with a club or group is not only a lot of fun but provides an opportunity to learn from various experience levels.

So, What Do You Need To Start 4×4 Off Roading?

We suggest that for your first run, there are only two or three items you must have. You are going to get stuck. Check your vehicle for tow points. Make sure you have at least one on the rear and one on the front and ensure they are rated for rescue use. If you come up short, buy and install new ones or rescue-rated D shackles. To go along with those rescue points, pack a rescue strap. You can use this elasticized tow strap to help pull a friend out of a mess or for your friend to rescue you from the mud. If you are driving on all-season tires, we suggest switching to an all-terrain model like the Nitto Grappler. Grip and traction are everything off-road, and street tires won’t cut it. If your not sure what tire is best for you check out our guide to the Best Off-Road Tires for Texas Trials 2022. Other than these items, take your vehicle out stock for the first few times to get a feel for what it can and can’t do. People are often surprised by how capable their stock model is, and that can make a difference when considering what, if anything, you need to add to make your 4×4 vehicle off road ready. It’s important to realize that any modification you make can cause a domino effect requiring additional modifications. For example, at AWT, we often see new off-road owners who want big tires. Invariably, the big tires don’t fit without giving their ride a lift. The new big rubber may also require a recalibration of the speedometer, extending the brake lines, and the lift can cause a change in the suspension’s geometry, creating stress points on parts that can break. Obviously, you want to think through modifications before you make them. If you are ever unsure then reach out to our experts here at AWT Offroad!

What About Gear?

There are modifications, and then there is gear. Mods go on the ride, and gear goes in the ride, so space becomes an issue. Your choice of what gear to take with you will depend partly on what kind of trail you are tackling. Also, if you are going on an organized 4x4x trail run, you may be required to bring certain gear in order to participate. That kind of gear typically includes:

Fire extinguisher

Full-size Spare

Front and rear recovery points

Tow Strap


Heavy Work Gloves

Air Compressor and Tire Pressure Gauge

Snatch Block


What’s Next?!

It’s important to plan your changes to prevent spending more than you have to and to do that, you will need input from experienced off-road experts like our techs and mechanics at AWT Offroad. We have the know-how and represent high-value brands like Smittybuilt, rough Country, Rugged Ridge, and dozens more. So contact us, and we’ll walk you through modifications and gear that make sense for you.