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Basics of off-roading for beginners

Off-road driving can be tons of fun, but beginners have a lot to learn. Doing lots of truck or Jeep modifications is a great start to getting your vehicle off-road ready, but that's not all you should take into account before you drive off the pavement.

Finding the right tires
More likely than not, the tires that came on your truck or Jeep are better for street driving than traversing the wilderness, so it's important to look into options that are made for off-roading. 4WheelParts.com recommends larger tires that will help you drive over obstacles like logs and rocks with ease. However, depending on the size you want, you may also need to install a lift kit. Plus, just as street tires are no good for off-roading, off-road tires are not meant to be driven on pavement, and too much of this can lead to excess wear.

Packing the necessary supplies
Driving through the woods or dune bogging in the desert is not as simple as steering your off-road vehicle into the dirt and hitting the gas pedal. You will need supplies on hand to ensure your trip is safe and fun. Some essential items to have on board include a spare tire and the tools needed to change tires in the field, a fully-charged GPS system, first aid kit and cellphone, according to The Art of Manliness. The site also recommends bringing along a tow rope that is rated to haul the weight of your truck, a vehicle-mounted winch, lift jack, spare gas and lots of extra water.

Choosing the best weather
If you have never been off-roading before, you may want to hit the trails on a day with nice weather. If it has rained recently, wait a while for things to dry up before hopping behind the wheel, and choose a day that is at least slightly cloudy. This way you can get used to driving through the wilderness without the sun in your eyes and slick, muddy ground below your tires. After you've gotten accustomed to that, you can try your hand at driving in different conditions. Just make sure you have the proper equipment for mudding or driving through snow or sand, and contingency plans in case of emergencies.