Upgrading your Wrangler for off-road fun is not a process that has a one-size-fits-all approach. Successful off-roading means creating an upgrade path that supports your favorite activities, which might mean selecting different choices than other Wrangler owners. Understanding what you need to be successful in the field means starting with a vision for your ideal off-road weekend.
While your individual upgrade choices will depend a lot on your favorite activities, there are a few categories that most off-roaders hit when upgrading a Jeep. That’s because there are a few similarities to any off-road adventure, and the best choice for upgrading any given part is what changes from one person to the next, not the need to upgrade. When you leave the pavement, you need the tools to solve your own problems, as well as ruggedized parts that can deal with the extra environmental hazards on the trail or overland.
- Upgraded wheel and tire packages to suit your selected terrain
- Winch and hoist add-ons to pull yourself out of a jam
- Performance suspension kits, including lifted suspensions
- Camping and quality of life accessories that fit your activities
- Improved lighting for visibility in places with no streetlights
Understanding how all of these categories come together into an off-road build is essential, and it starts by understanding how your terrain dictates your needs. Add in some personal choices to complement your favorite activities to finish things off with some fun Jeep Wrangler accessories that make life easier on the road and the trail.
Understanding Your Terrain
Terrain is the most important consideration when choosing new tires, and it determines everything from the best tread for your Wrangler to the right tire size for your chosen activities. Large tires that require additional suspension lift are often associated with deep mud, rock climbing, and activities like overlanding that involve unpredictable obstacles you may need to power over. More moderate approaches to off-roading like shallow mud, beach runs, and trail tours generally do not require the largest tires and highest lift kits.
When it comes to selecting the tread for new off-road tires, the key is to look at the tread pattern and depth. This is one reason why larger tires can be useful in loose and wet material like swamp mud. Larger tires can accommodate deeper treads, which have better traction in semi-solid materials. Mud tires have deep treads that are designed to move liquid material out of the way to find a solid bottom. By contrast, sand tires have deep but knobby treads that work with the accumulated weight of the loose material. All-terrain patterns have fairly large contact surfaces, channel liquid, and have knobby sections of tread for gravel or sand, but they have to make trade-offs in each area to be versatile.
Plan Your Upgrade Path
The best way to figure out everything you need, including comfort options like a Jeep mini fridge or rooftop tent, is to make a list of your favorite activities and then research the upgrades designed for people like you. Start today to figure out how much lift you need to work with your ideal off-road tire set.