Illustration of off-roading
The wonder in off-roading is that there is always something new to discover. (Illustration by Francesca Mahaney, Pratt Institute)

Off-Roading Provides the Perfect Opportunity To Explore

Make sure you prepare and go with a partner, and there will be no limit to what you might find.

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Illustration of off-roading

Make sure you prepare and go with a partner, and there will be no limit to what you might find.

I never heard the term off-roading until after leaving the big city of New York. The lifestyle sounded so foreign, especially as someone who’s used to the constant hustle and bustle and rarely given the thought to slowing life down to enjoy the beauty in the parts of the outdoors that people rarely think to wander. People fall in love with off-roading because it lets them tame the aspects of life we’re not used to.

There’s adventure in deserting the roads meant for us to travel on and exploring earth that’s never been touched. There’s a reason Jeep’s slogan is “Go Anywhere. Do Anything.” As a staple off-roading brand, they encourage people to venture elsewhere, where their limits will be tested. The off-roading community is close and tight for many reasons. A great amount of trust goes into those you choose to have with you. They are not just good company, but they are also another set of eyes and ears. The off-roading community is also quite inviting as they understand it’s a rare and unique lifestyle, but one that is most rewarding and loads of fun.

Preparing for Off-Roading

For beginners, there’s a great deal of things that could be overlooked when thinking about what’s necessary for off-roading. First, never go alone. Even the most experienced off-roaders never take the chance of doing this on their own. There’s nothing worse than running out of gas, getting lost, popping a tire or even underestimating a drop and totaling your vehicle with no one to help you. Remember, oftentimes you’ll be miles from the nearest town and without cell service, so best to be prepared with someone to assist you in any scenario.

Having the right vehicle and having it properly equipped is nothing to take lightly. A Ford Raptor, GMC Sierra, Land Rover Discover, Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit are only a few vehicles great for off-roading; generally, however, any Jeep or truck with four-wheel drive will work just fine. Four-wheel drive is key to off-roading and it’s highly recommended your vehicle has a good amount of lift so that bigger rocks and drops do not scrape the bottom of your vehicle.

Equip your vehicle with extra of everything: extra tire, ropes for towing, spare parts and bolts, food and water. If there’s any additional space in your vehicle, fill it with anything you might find useful. Chances are you or someone else will need it, and if not, better having it with you than being stuck in a ditch without rope for someone to tow you with.

Learn from Your Off-Roading Community

Bringing someone with you is not just for your company, though it is fun having them to drive around with and share the experience. As a first time off-roader, be sure to bring someone with years of knowledge. The off-roading community is always eager to lend a hand to beginners and pass down their knowledge. Don’t be afraid to ask any one of them for help.

There are plenty of off-roading Facebook pages, where off-roaders reach out to one another to plan trips. Learning to off-road is a lifetime process, because with every trail you’ll pick up a new piece of knowledge. And though a few trails may be similar, none are exactly the same, so even as an off-road enthusiast you’ll be pressed to learn how to maneuver through new obstacles.

Know your limits. Off-roading is not a time for showing off. Long time off-roaders will appreciate you slowing down and taking direction. It takes a great deal of patience to off-road, but even while going at your slowest, your heart is racing at the suspense brought on by these vigorous obstacles. At times you will find yourself horizontal at your vehicle’s tipping point or with your front and back tire riding the air. While off-roading you’ll also learn important hand signals used to sign for speed, turning and stopping.

Treasures You’ll Find

One of the best moments in off-roading is after all the diligent work put in to finish a trail, when you find something to discover — most of which you didn’t even know existed. The biggest spots you find off-roading are deserted mines. You’ll find rusted materials the miners used or even hundreds of years old brick stoves. Other times, there’s abandoned hotels or houses that are sometimes still upright so you can explore inside. You will be in awe of the architecture and how different the buildings compare to today’s. While hiking to the mines, abandoned hotels and houses you’ll sometimes find things unexpected like caves, abandoned trains or art walls.

During the summer, the best off-roading trails to venture down are full of swimming pools and waterfalls. Great for a swim after a hike or for your next cute, adventurous Insta pic.

Anyone is capable of off-roading. Though it’s not a skill learned overnight, the process is an adventure that’s both new and exciting every time the challenge is accepted. People recognize the value in patience and listening and get to reap the rewards. Off-roaders accomplish some of the most exhilarating challenges on untouched earth and discover the unthinkable.

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