Q: I am new to Jeepin’ but a longtime four-wheeler. When I took my F-150 out, it was all about the mud. The first time out with my Jeep, I saw that, in addition to the mud, most Jeepers also enjoy rock and hill climbing. I quickly learned you need a high level of expertise to climb rocks and hills safely and effectively — and that I do not currently have it. What advice do you have for someone making the transition from trucks to Jeeps?
A: In my opinion, it’s best to go trail riding in your Jeep with some seasoned Jeepers and get familiar with the way your vehicle operates on trails that have motels, ruts and some “off-camber” areas along the way. Follow the tracks of the Jeep in front of you in line. If that driver makes it through safe and easily, most likely you will as well.
Once you feel confident enough to try obstacles and rocks, it is very important that you do so with others who do this type of wheeling frequently. Most of all, you need a competent and experienced “spotter.” They can help you get over those rocks without doing damage to your Jeep or injuring yourself. Keep your eye on them and do exactly what they say.
Nuts and Bolts
Al Feliz is vice president of Blackwater Jeepers. He recommends off-roaders who are new to Jeeps to be open to advice from experienced riders and choose their modifications and equipment wisely.
As a Jeeper, you are a member of a community. Find us on the trails and on Facebook. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
As your skills progress, you will want to try more difficult challenges. To climb hills, rocks and other obstacles, you will need to modify your Jeep. At the very least, expect to invest in a lift kit, 35-inch tires a front locker.
Jeeping experience comes from on the trail experience that you cannot learn in a book. Some trial and error is necessary and more practically, knowledge from more experienced Jeepers. Remember that we share a bond and we are always willing to help others when needed!