Avid off-roaders know how important it is to equip their vehicles with technology that will protect it while it’s operating in harsh conditions and over rough terrains. If you’re new to off-roading adventures and want to prepare yourself and your vehicle for what’s to come, consider the following technology before braving the countryside.
Vehicle Bed Liner
The question really isn’t, “Should I get a bedliner for my off-road vehicle?” Instead, it should be, “What kind of bedliner will work best for me?” If you’re off-roading in a pick up truck or a vehicle with a bed, you know there’s going to be a lot of conditions that can cause all kinds of tears, dents, and other damage as a result of normal wear-and-tear. If you’re hauling equipment in your vehicle and you’re going off-road, that equipment is going to move around quite a bit. To protect your vehicle from damage, you need some form of bedliner to give it the protective armor it needs to maintain its longevity.
Bed mats generally cost roughly $100. It is simply a mat that you can roll out over your vehicle bed to protect it from damage caused by tools and equipment as it moves and jumps around while you travel. A good bed mat is usually comprised simply of rubber (in fact, they’re often comprised of recycled tires).
The benefits of a good bed mat are pretty straightforward, but they come with their own drawbacks as well; bed mats don’t adhere to your vehicle bed, meaning you have no protection from liquids or chemicals that can cause damage.
BedRugs are a bit of a step up from bed mats. A BedRug is comprised of very durable material, and can be a great aesthetic option for people who like the look and feel of carpet-like material on their vehicles. It’s an excellent way to protect your vehicle and cargo. It’s also easy on your body if you need to crawl around on it while moving equipment in and out of your vehicle. It’s also a better option for animals that you’re transporting. A good BedRug will cost around $165 to $500 (this depends on the brand you choose, as well as whether or not you want to go with full coverage).
Many off-road truckers choose drop-in bed liners because they are incredibly durable and heavy-duty. They are usually customized and molded for your specific bed’s layout. Drop-in bed liners don’t take up much space, giving you plenty of room to store and transport your equipment. They are drilled right into your truck bed, usually with the intention of making them a permanent addition to your vehicle.
Drop-in bedliners will give you a lot of protection from the elements, moving cargo, and the normal wear-and-tear that comes with your off-roading adventures. They also provide an aesthetic appeal that many people like – they give your vehicle a tough, rugged look. That said, drop-in bedliners can also fail to give your vehicle optimal protection; they aren’t water-tight, meaning your vehicle is still at risk for rust damage from water or spilled chemicals.
This is without a doubt the best option for off-road vehicles if you want protection from the elements and moving cargo. Spray-on bedliners will give your vehicle the armor it needs to prevent damage, it’s air-tight (meaning you don’t have to worry about water or chemical damage), and it gives your vehicle a really cool look.
One of the most trusted bedliner products is Line-X, which costs roughly the same as many drop-in liners and bed rugs, while providing you benefits that the aforementioned products simply can’t. There’s no room for broken seals with Line-X, and it will provide your vehicle with all of the protection necessary for you to blaze the off-road trail (or lack thereof).
Line-X is also resistant to harsh chemicals and strong UV rays. Best of all, it comes with a lifetime warranty.
Beyond the functional benefits that naturally come with Line-X, it also has an element of aesthetic appeal that many people enjoy – you can choose from a variety of colors to match your vehicle.
A lot of people who are new to off-roading are surprised by just how dark it can get out there. We’re used to a lot of ambient lighting when we live in the city – without the right lighting technology, you’re virtually blind when off-roading at night.
To remedy this problem, there are off-road lighting options to protect you and those around you. It can be an amazing experience traveling alone under the stars with nothing but your vehicle to light the way, but you need to have the right lights to do so safely. Fortunately, there are plenty of off-road lighting options available, including:
- Light bars
- Fog Lights
These are an absolute necessity when it comes to late night off-roading. Here are some common options avid off-roaders choose:
- Halogen – Many vehicles use halogen lights, which have been around for over 50 years. That said, they are relatively dull and provide far less light than LED or HID lights. One of the main reasons halogen lights are commonly used is because they are affordable and easy to use – they fit almost any vehicle. If you need a strong beam of light for, say, a spotlight or floodlight, halogen isn’t the way to go. That said, they can get the job done if you need some light while off-roading at night. Basically, it’s better than nothing.
- HID (High-Intensity Discharge) – These are also known as “Xenon” lights. These provide the highest intensity of light you would need while off-roading at night. People often rely on HID lights for spotlights and floodlights.
- LED (Light-Emitting Diode) – These are some of the latest off-roading lights available and are quite reliable. They provide roughly the same amount of light as HID lights minus the glare.
Off-Roading Wheels and Tires
If you’re going to be off-roading, you need the right tires and wheels for the job. In this case, size is a major factor. You want tires that can withstand the rough off-road terrain, and you’re really only going to get that with durable tires and wheels that measure roughly 35 to 37 inches in diameter. Here are some decent off-road wheels and tires to choose from:
- Steel – Many people consider steel wheels to be ideal for off-roading. It makes sense – they’re solid, durable, and can withstand rough terrain. They’re also affordable and easy to repair.
- Cast Alloy – This material is slightly weaker than steel, however, many off-roaders rely on cast alloy wheels because they are lighter and thus allow for greater speed.
- Forged Alloy – This may be the best choice for off-roading, as forged alloy wheels have all of the strength of steel while still allowing for greater speed and agility.
Before your next off-roading adventure, consider the above off-road accessories for your vehicle. They will contribute to both your fun and safety while blazing your next trail.