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    • Avoid collisions with animals when off-roading

      Being able to venture into nature is one of the many benefits of off-roading. Yet as you traverse the land and trails around parks and public spaces, you have to be aware of the effect you are having on the environment. While you are almost certainly doing your best to leave the scenery as you found it, there are times when unavoidable incidents involving animals pop up. These collisions can be harmful to you, the creature and your car, so it is especially important to do your best to avoid crashes with animals. 

      "A driver may encounter any number of scenarios at any given moment behind the wheel," said Dr. William Van Tassel, manager of AAA Driver Training Programs. "Remaining alert and limiting distractions is a must. Animals are unpredictable, so the sooner you see them in the roadway, the more time you will have to safely react." 

      Here are three of the biggest things you can do to avoid animal collisions when off-roading: 

      Customize your headlights
      The key to avoiding collisions is maximizing your visibility. This begins by staying attentive to your surroundings, but there are some truck modifications that can enhance your sight lines. High-beam LED headlights can go a long way toward providing better visibility thanks to their bright light and low power usage. They are also easily manipulated, which makes them ideal for adding to an existing vehicle. 

      Other ways to improve visibility include replacing wiper blades, as upgrading these accessories can result in cleaner windshields. When you are mudding or dune bashing, you frequently find mud and other debris covering the front and rear windshield as well as essential mirrors. Having fresh wiper blades ensures you can clean off these surfaces and have a picture-perfect view of the trail ahead. 

      Update your brakes
      An important concept to keep in mind when off-road driving is that braking can be much safer and more effective than swerving. Although your initial reaction upon seeing an animal in your path may be to swerve away, that may cause more harm than good. You expose yourself to unknown dangers when you go off trails - and you can potentially hurt other animals in the process. Firmly applying the brakes - and having high-performing brakes that will work in a pinch - is your ideal option. 

      "These crashes happen so fast, often times drivers don't have the option of making a decision about what to do," Russ Rader, a spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, told USA Today. "But the best thing, unfortunately, in most cases is to hit the animal and try to avoid swerving or doing something that could cause you to lose control and hit somebody else or an object, or go off the road and roll over." 

      Know what to look for
      Ultimately, the best result would be to prevent these collisions before they happen. This is not always possible, but your best bet is to know what to look for in all scenarios and react appropriately. The first thing you should examine is your environment. Are you in a state park that has lots of leafy, covered areas? Then you need to be more aware of animals being startled from their habitats and jumping in front of your off-road vehicle. Slowing down as you approach blind turns and obeying speed limits are both extremely important. 

      You should be particularly cautious at dawn and dusk. These are common times for animals to be on the move and the unique lighting can cause issues with visibility. If you're alert and focused on the potential for collisions, however, you can avoid these crashes. 

    • Jeep Jam aims to spread the love of off-roading

      When you drive a Jeep, you are part of a culture that goes far beyond standard driving. The lifestyle associated with this off-road vehicle is one of the most important aspects of the brand, and it's that commitment to adventure that inspires many drivers to take part in special events like the upcoming O'Daniel Jeep Jam. 

      About Jeep Jam
      Thousands of Jeep drivers and fans will come together as part of this year's Jeep Jam in Fort Wayne, Ind. The first few years of the event, which began in 2005, were dedicated to bringing a few local Jeep owners and enthusiasts together to honor the brand. It has since transformed into a much larger-scale celebration of off-roading and recreational driving. 

      Over the years, Jeep Jam began teaming up with charities and sponsors, which contributed to the growth of the festival. Eventually, the event outgrew its home at the O'Daniel's Jeep dealership, so it expanded to the nearby Kessie Jeep Farm. A maximum of 300 registered drivers will be allowed to participate in the off-roading at that site, adding a fun and valuable layer to the gathering. 

      "Jeep Jam wouldn't even be here if it wasn't for Pam and Tom Kessie," Craig Ruskaup, one of the organizers of the event, told The News-Sentinel. "We ran out of [space on] the land we had been using, and the Kessies stepped up and saved Jeep Jam. Their family has done more for J.J. than anyone, and the piece of property is off-road heaven." 

      Off-road courses
      At the center of the Jeep Jam are several off-roading courses that allow all guests to take part in the fun. The trails are set up specifically for this event, ensuring that there is plenty of diverse land and quality routes for drivers to enjoy. All driving takes place after a period of check-in and registration, as well as a parade and blessing of the Jeeps, has been completed. 

      "We get instruction and rules for off-roading, a blessing of the Jeeps and then about five hours of complete fun," Ruskaup told the publication. "... We have trails from mild to wild - the easiest trails to trails that no Jeep will be able to pass." 

      While the trails are meant to provide fun for all visitors, Ruskaup maintains that there is one hard and fast rule that will decide who can participate. 

      "It has to be a Jeep product to participate in the off-road portion," he said. "No Rams, only Jeep products." 

      This year's event
      The 2013 Jeep Jam is set to take over Fort Wayne, Ind., during the weekend of Oct. 12. Activities scheduled for this year's event range from the expected, such as off-road driving and a Mopar Car Show, to more low-key pastimes like a corn hole tournament, silent auction and a kids play area. Live music and action-packed races are also scheduled to keep visitors entertained throughout the day. 

      One of the slated events that should have people talking is the Jeep Obstacle Course. Drivers will be able to test each one of their Jeep mods on the course while also seeing what alterations other owners have done to make their Jeep a more rugged, off-road ready vehicle. 

      Ultimately, Jeep Jam is about celebrating the culture of off-roading, or even of just owning one of these iconic vehicles. 

      "Jeep is a way of life, not just transportation," Ruskaup told the news source. "When you own a Jeep, you look for a reason to go for a drive. You volunteer to go to the store. A Jeep is a time machine - it will take you back in time, bringing back your youth." 

    • Range Rover drives up demand by off-roading the Silk Trail

      It's not uncommon for drivers to want to look good when they go off-roading, which is part of the reason why the sleek and luxurious Range Rover is such a sought-after vehicle. Despite its origins as a luxury SUV, the automobile is capable of doing great things on pavement and dirt, and it is a viable option for any fan off-road driving. These impressive capabilities are contributing to a big publicity push for the SUVs.

      High demand for the SUV
      Ever since Land Rover debuted its new Range Rover and Ranger Rover Sport SUVs, hype about the automobiles has been through the roof. That publicity has translated into orders - and a lot of them. In fact, the demand for the vehicles is so high that Land Rover cannot keep up, causing a backorder of requests. 

      There is currently a six-month wait for new orders of the Range Rover and a wait of nine months for the Sport edition, Motor Authority reported. Demand was about 40 percent higher than what Land Rover initially predicted, and the manufacturer lacked the means to keep pace with orders. 

      One of the biggest drivers of the demand is coming from China, where motorists can't get enough of the high-cost SUVs. The automobiles are so popular that costs are skyrocketing into six-figure sums. A few of the richest buyers are even paying premium fees of approximately $80,000 just to move to the top of the waiting list, according to Automotive News Europe. 

      To further cement the brand's spot as one of China's most coveted, a trio of Range Rovers is currently completing a trek through the country's Silk Road Trail. 

      About the Silk Road Trail
      The Silk Road Trail has origins that trace back thousands of years. Used as an international trade route, the pathway connected China with the Mediterranean and northern Europe. Silk was the primary export transported across the route - hence the name - and the business conducted along the trail tied together many different cultures and civilizations. 

      Today, the Silk Road remains as a link between countries, although not in the form that it once was. Still, the trail offers a look at a diverse range of landscapes and cultures while also bringing avid off-roaders across all types of terrain. 

      Range Rover's performance
      This land is also serving as the backdrop for Land Rover's Silk Trail 2013 Expedition. Land Rover sent three Range Rover Hybrids to traverse the Silk Trail, starting from the manufacturer's home in Solihull, U.K., and extended to Mumbai, India. In between the two spots, the vehicles will cross through multiple countries and see many cultures up close. Already the automobiles have covered more than 5,200 miles over the course of three weeks of driving, reported. 

      The vehicles have successfully navigated through torn up pavement, muddy trails and desert lands ranging from packed gravel to soft sand. Temperatures have also varied greatly, which has tested the machine's resilience and engine capabilities, the news source reported. With another month of travel left to go, anything could happen, but so far the Range Rover has proved it can handle the rigors of off-roading. 

      Although the Range Rover Hybrid appears to be more than capable of handling itself on the Silk Road, the vehicle has not entered mass production. It is in the final stages of evaluation, and with this recent success, drivers can likely expect to see the hybrid become an off-road vehicle option in the near future. 

    • Avoid common mistakes when buying an off-road vehicle

      There comes a time when many drivers begin to consider the idea of purchasing a new or used vehicle to add to their garage. Getting this shopping process off the ground can be difficult, and it's easy for many motorists to fall into common traps that can end up costing them time, money and sanity. 

      "Buying a car is something people usually do at most every few years, so naturally the right way to go about it isn't always top of mind," said Brian Moody, the site editor of "But a misstep during the shopping process could turn a great deal into a money pit in the long run." 

      Instead of becoming a victim of one of these blunders, drivers should brush up on their knowledge and be prepared for what lies ahead. Here are some of the most common mistakes you should do your best to avoid as you hunt for your next purchase: 

      Getting sucked into extra features
      Even if you go to a dealership with a simple list of must-haves in mind, those needs can quickly snowball to an expensive array of amenities. Before you head to a location to scout out a potential purchase, outline a clear list of features that are must-haves, as well as some that would be an added bonus.

      It is easy to get caught up in the exciting possibility of choosing a car with an impressive selection of features, but this is also one of the quickest ways to spend more money than you intend to. Stick to the list you have created and try to avoid being swayed by a salesperson. Remember, you can always make truck or Jeep modifications later on that will enhance the vehicle and cater it to your needs. 

      Not taking the vehicle for a proper test drive
      Nearly all drivers know they have to take a prospective vehicle for a test drive before signing on the dotted line. However, these motorists don't always take the automobile through a comprehensive drive. explained that a proper test drive should last for about 45 minutes in length and needs to take place on a variety of road types. 

      If you're looking to go off-roading in a vehicle, you may want to consider test driving a machine in these conditions. Clear this undertaking with the seller before setting out, and be sure you understand the expectations that go along with it - for example, if you're contemplating purchasing a vehicle from an individual seller, take care to lay down the guidelines and restrictions about off-road driving. You may have to wash off some dirt or debris and give the parts of the vehicle a once over before returning it to its original owner. 

      Ignoring the need for an auto inspection
      The work doesn't stop after you get the keys. One of the first things that needs to be done after purchasing a car, new or used, is to take the vehicle in for an inspection. 

      "Just because a car sounds and runs fine during the test drive doesn't necessarily mean everything is in top working order," Moody said. "Cars are complex machines, and nothing is worse than an expensive repair shortly after you drive the vehicle home."

      These are only a few of the tips buyers should keep in mind as they search for their next vehicle. Whether you're planning to buy a new truck for off-roading or a used automobile to upgrade with various truck mods, you can zero in on great opportunities with just a bit of helpful advice. 

    • Fall maintenance can make a big difference

      Winter is only a glimmer on the horizon, but many drivers are taking steps to get their vehicles ready for the seasons ahead. In fact, fall is one of the best times to perform tune ups and get problem areas checked out. With summer's heavy off-roading season in the rear-view mirror, now is the time to look over an automobile and evaluate what work needs to be done to prepare it for the inclement weather ahead. 

      Here are some aspects of a vehicle that you should be checking on as fall begins: 

      Air filter
      An air filter protects the engine from debris or other airborne contaminants, and if it gets clogged, it can seriously hamper the performance of your engine. Replacing the filter outright should boost power almost immediately, and it is among the easiest ways to upgrade the performance of an off-road vehicle. You never know what could have gotten into your automobile's system after some off-road adventures in the wilderness, so cleaning it out prior to new fall or winter rides is a wise choice. 

      Excessive heat can be harmful to a battery. High temperatures may be one of the main causes of battery failure, but drivers who take precautions to have it checked out can avoid breakdowns. Assessing the battery for any type of corrosion or damage is a must, and it is also a good idea to run separate battery testing and replace it if necessary. 

      You should be checking the brakes for wear and tear consistently throughout the year. It is particularly important to examine them in the fall because of the excess of driving that took place in the summer coupled with the need for strong brakes on slick fall roads. Look for pads that need to be replaced and conduct some test drives to verify that every aspect of the brakes is functioning as it is supposed to. 

      Fluid levels
      Owners need to examine the fluid levels on their vehicles at regular intervals, but it is particularly important to give them a second look in the fall. Hardcore off-roading in the summer may have contributed to additional wear or build up in engine oil as well as other vehicle fluids. As the temperature changes throughout the coming months, and you face a variety of different obstacles, continue to check fluids like engine oil, antifreeze and transmission and brake fluid. 

      Wiper blades
      Once your vehicle is stocked with wiper fluid and antifreeze, you should turn your attention to the wipers themselves. The blades are an essential tool for all automobiles, and you should never underestimate the need for fresh wipers. Heavy rains, layers of ice and debris from off-road driving are all common sights on a windshield throughout the fall and winter, and the only way to properly cut through all of these distractions is with heavy-duty wiper blades. 

      Emergency kit
      The changing of the seasons means you will also need different items stocked in an emergency kit. Consider adding a blanket in case you have a breakdown in the middle of some cold weather as well as packets of road salt or sand that can help you get out of slippery situations. Examining recovery straps or jumper cables for any excess wear and tear is also a good idea that could save time and aggravation in the long run. If any of this equipment isn't up to par, the fall is a good time to replace them and test out new options to get ready for winter. 

    • Get your off-road vehicle ready for winter

      Just because summer has come to an end doesn't mean your off-roading experiences have to. In fact, some of the most fun and thrilling adventures can take place in the fall and winter, but you have to be prepared to handle the challenges that go along with cold, inclement weather. With heavy snows, slick fallen leaves and ice covering all types of surfaces, it is extremely important that all drivers take steps so they are ready to drive in any scenario. 

      While advanced drivers likely have a winter driving routine down pat, those who are in the beginning stages of off-roading may need a little guidance. Here are a few of the most important tips to keep in mind: 

      Tires are important
      The tires and tire pressure are two of the most vital aspects of handling an off-road vehicle in rough conditions. Snow tires are a common addition to many vehicles, while other drivers may want to stick with constantly examining tire tread to confirm they are able to grip any surface. Paying attention to the wear and alignment of the tires and rotating them as you see fit can improve the performance of a vehicle in fall or winter. 

      Be conscious of four-wheel drive
      Many drivers will turn to four-wheel drive to expertly maneuver their truck or SUV around on snow or ice. This can be a major boon in difficult driving conditions, but all motorists should keep in mind that having four-wheel drive does not aid in braking. Leave plenty of room to brake on and off pavement. You may also want to consider reverting back to two-wheel drive when going downhill. This will allow the rear wheels to slow the vehicle as the front wheels propel it forward, striking a nice balance that can enhance stability. 

      Better headlights could make a difference
      Another area you may want to upgrade before winter arrives is your vehicle's headlights. Being able to make your way through difficult conditions is of paramount importance, and having the right equipment can be a huge help in these situations. 

      An intriguing option for many drivers is LED headlights. This gear is generally brighter and more energy efficient, allowing you to accurately see the obstacles that lay before you, regardless of the weather. LED lights boast a unique light pattern and a bright white color, and these two qualities work together to offer superior visibility. Making truck mods or alterations to an SUV to add these lights is relatively easy as well, as many kits come with all of the materials you need to upgrade your lights. 

      Check the ventilation
      Before the weather gets too cold, you should examine the HVAC system to ensure the heating and ventilation are functioning at a high level. Not only are you going to want the heat for the vehicle's cabin to be able to foster a comfortable driving environment, but you should also be checking to make sure the vehicle is cycling out potentially harmful exhaust. More than likely, all windows will be closed during the winter, and knowing the HVAC system is working properly can prevent dangerous or uncomfortable situations. 

      Stay on the lookout for black ice
      You know black ice can be a dangerous thing to encounter on the roads, but it can be just as harmful off-roading as well. In areas where the sun is blocked and the temperature can drop, such as spaces you will find in the wilderness or near nature trails, black ice is more common. So when you're taking part in off-road driving, you should make a conscious effort to slow down and pay attention to the area in front of you to locate black ice. 

    • Sand Mountain is a haven for fans of off-roading

      The hunt for the perfect off-roading location frequently brings drivers to America's expansive West. With vast stretches of open land and thousands of acres of wilderness ready to be explored, this region is a hotbed of off-road driving. One of the premier places to venture to is found in Northern Nevada, where Sand Mountain and its surrounding recreational areas can act as a great place to test off-roading skills. 

      About the area
      Nestled approximately 25 miles outside Fallon, Nev., is the Sand Mountain Recreation Area. It is comprised of more than 4,700 acres of open land, and nearly all of it has been designated for off-road use. While some specific areas are closed to motor vehicles, much more remains open to the public, and it has become a popular site for off-road driving. 

      Sand Mountain, which is the main dune, extends over nearly 2 miles. Its calling card is what is known as "singing sand," as the surface makes groaning noises when riders cross over it. The sounds come about from the unique shape of the sand, as well as the way grains rub against each other under pressure, creating a one-of-a-kind environment for drivers. 

      The unique area started its formation thousands of years ago, when Lake Lahontan dried up and left a large empty space behind. Without water, the hill on the edge of the lake rose up 600 feet above the ground, and became somewhat of a beacon for adventurers. That is certainly true now, as off-roaders often make the pilgrimage to Sand Mountain to test it out for themselves. 

      Part of the reason Sand Mountain regularly attracts so many experienced off-road drivers is because of its wide array of terrain. The land is ideal for dune bashing, and various stretches of land throughout the area also provide spots for rock crawling. Add in the climate changes, which can bring everything from desert conditions to snow to the region, and you have an unpredictable location that has enough variables to challenge even the most skilled drivers. 

      What to expect
      If you're eager to bring your off-road vehicle to Sand Mountain, you should make sure that it - and you - are ready to handle the different obstacles you may encounter. ATVs are the most common sight on the grounds, although it's not strange to see a few souped-up trucks exploring the land as well. Because of the lack of large vehicles, you'll likely have plenty of room to test your latest truck modifications and explore the wide open spaces. 

      Before taking off on your adventure, you should be aware of a few rules put in place for the safety of all drivers on Sand Mountain. For example, all vehicles must have whip flags measuring 8 feet attached to them when in the dunes, and visitors are not allowed to have burning tires on their rides. Other rules are in place for camping and camper safety, and drivers should check up on those regulations before planning a multi-day trip to the area. 

      There is a fee for off-roading at Sand Mountain, with passes available on a seven-day or yearly basis. However, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are free, so those drivers who don't mind heading out during the week will be able to enjoy the land at an incredibly low cost. Additionally, those who visit in the spring or fall can reap the benefits of near-perfect weather conditions, Dirtopia reports. Summer is also a good time to visit, but only for those who don't mind the heat, as the temperatures can reach high levels and winds whip dust around the area. 

    • 'Off Road Nights' strives to get bigger and better

      The off-roading community is a strong one, and when a bunch of enthusiasts gather together in one place, you know it's going to be a good time. Despite this, there are not a lot of high-profile events that were made for displaying off-road vehicles, checking out the latest stages of truck mods and browsing around for some fresh ideas. 

      However, all is not lost for fans of off-roading. One particular festival held in the western U.S. is quickly becoming a can't-miss event, as it offers everything a driver could want. Known as Off Road Nights, this extravaganza is starting to attract thousands of fans and plenty of attention, and it may soon be a major event in the world of off-roading. 

      This year's event
      Billed as a festival that celebrates everything about the dirt lifestyle, Off Road Nights was created to be a haven for fans of off-road driving. The 2013 edition of the event, which was held Aug. 3, featured almost 60 of the top vendors from various sectors of the off-roading industry, as well as thousands of fans of the pastime. 

      "I just wanted to bring the community together, have a party and show off all their sick vehicles while they're clean," Rat Sult, the founder of the event, told The Press-Enterprise. "No stress. No racing. Everybody is just hanging out having a good time." 

      With everything from semi trucks and full-size pickups to rock crawlers and go karts present, there really is something for everyone with an interest in the off-roading industry, and all guests can bond over their love of the dirt lifestyle. According to the news source, more than 15,000 people flocked to the most recent running, and the event organizers believe that there is enough interest to keep the festivities growing into the future. 

      What the future holds
      After the success of the 2013 event, Off Road Nights is only looking up. The goal is to keep the event growing, adding more vendors and attracting more fans - and their vehicles - each year. 

      Even families can get in on the fun. There is a kids' zone filled with age-appropriate activities, and auto fans of any age will love strolling through the grounds and checking out all of the truck and Jeep modifications on display - and perhaps even getting some ideas for future projects. 

      Many of the favorite activities from Off Road Nights will continue to be a part of future celebrations. Even if you have missed the festivities in the past, things like the car show, off-road lifestyle expo and displays, live entertainment, and vehicle competitions should be a staple for years to come. 

      Visiting Temecula
      Off Road Nights is held in Temecula because of the city's prime location, and that also makes it a great spot for fans of off-roading to visit at any time of year. With a close proximity to both mountains and desert lands, riders who enjoy any type of terrain will have access to their preferred setting. 

      "Temecula is like the epicenter for action sports and off-road because of the location of the mountains and desert," Sult, a Temecula city resident, told the Southwest Riverside News Network. "This is going to be like Sturgis [and its motorcycle rally] for off-road."  

      The city also hosts an annual event known as the Rod Run. This classic car show brings in anywhere from 25,000 to 35,000 people and only furthers the reputation Temecula has a haven for auto lovers, The Press-Enterprise reported. 

    • Tips help drivers before long off-roading trips

      Part of the fun of off-roading comes from conquering unknown lands. That's why finding new parks and trails is of such importance to some drivers. However, these alluring locations are not always close to home, and you may have to embark on long road trips to get to the latest spot that's caught your eye. 

      Prior to these adventures, there are a few steps you should take to ensure your vehicle is primed for a long trip. The truck mods you've made may have it ready for off-road driving, but your vehicle will need to be ready to handle pavement, mud, rocks, gravel and everything in between. 

      Inspect the off-road vehicle
      Before setting off on any significant trip, you should make sure you are thoroughly examining the vehicle to see if it is up to par - especially if you plan on off-roading. Looking at things like wipers, fluid levels and the automobile's oil are all important aspects of maintenance that you should take care of ahead of a trip. While you may be constantly updating a vehicle and be confident in its capabilities, giving the machine a once-over before an extended journey is an easy preventative measure that provides peace of mind. 

      Check the tires
      Several months of summer driving and hot weather could have contributed to the wearing down of your tires, which is why it is essential for drivers to check the tires and their pressure before long trips. Temperature changes can wreak havoc on tire pressure, so it is important to keep an eye on this aspect throughout road trips. Under- or over-inflated tires can cause problems when off-roading, which only furthers the need to have them at the level recommended by the manufacturer. 

      In addition to the tire pressure, you should also check on the alignment. Obstacles you've encountered when off-roading could have thrown the alignment off, and getting it fixed will improve other aspects of the drive as well. Should you notice there are any issues and tires may need replacing, focus on the rear two. Those are the tires that provide the most stability for a vehicle, even if you have the option of all-wheel drive, so they are the most important ones to switch out. 

      Know your blind spots
      Driving a large, souped-up truck or SUV gives you a lot of advantages both on and off the roads, but it can also cause some disruptions as you go about the journey. For example, some of your truck modifications may have expanded blind spots or even created new ones. Getting an idea of where these areas are before traveling will give you the knowledge you need to stay safe on the roads and handle any off-road trails with ease. 

      Charge all devices beforehand
      Keeping things like a cellphone charged is one task that almost all drivers know to do. But it's not the only device you should be focusing on. If you're going to be driving in unfamiliar places to reach an off-roading destination, be sure to charge gadgets like a GPS or tablet. Although you may be content to leave these items behind and rely solely on a smartphone for any directional help, that can quickly drain your battery and leave you scrambling for other ways to communicate. While you may not even need these devices, it is best for your safety and peace of mind if you bring along one or two of them and take steps that enhance your safety. 

    • 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. 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.

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