When adventuring into the wilderness where paved roads cease to exist, there’s more to it than just making sure your vehicle has extra ground clearance, some sort of all-wheel or four-wheel drive, and long-travel suspension. While such features make for a capable vehicle, they’re essentially useless without proper tires.
Much like your footwear, tires are the points of surface contact that keep you and your vehicle planted to the ground. You wouldn’t go hiking in beach sandals rather than in a pair of sturdy and grippy Timberlands—the concept is analogous with tires. Ensuring you have suitable rubber is crucial to your vehicle’s off-road performance for the most optimal grip and traction.
What’s the difference between dedicated off-road tires and all-terrain tires?
You’ve probably heard of and seen all-terrain tires in action on the trails. While certainly capable of handling some tough surfaces compared to your average road-biased tires, all-terrain tires strike a more balanced compromise between road-going and off-road performance.
Dedicated off-road tires—also termed “maximum traction off-road tires”—on the other hand, are strictly engineered to tackle the roughest stuff nature can come up with, especially in competition events. Thus, their road-going performance is often compromised in favor of durability and maximum traction. Much like on the opposite side of the spectrum, dedicated racing slick tires will yield the most grip on a racetrack but sacrifice everyday usability from their lack of tread.
So if four-wheeling is your hobby, or you’re trying to break into the scene with competitive aspirations, we’ve created a handy buyer’s guide featuring the best and most popular dedicated off-road tires money can buy.
Note: Make sure to get the right size for your vehicle and rims. Not all tires will be available in all sizes. Supply chain issues may lead some tires to be temporarily unavailable.
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