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Rock Crawling Tips

Rock Crawling Tips

Part of the fun of a UTV is taking it to new places and conquering rough terrains. When looking for the biggest challenge of them all, rock climbing offers an adventure sure to excite. Here are 10 rock crawling tips to get you over that challenge with ease and success.

  1. Don’t take on more than you can handle: The most important of all the rock crawling tips is to know what your vehicle can handle. Don’t take on a huge rocky terrain that even a pickup truck would struggle to ride. It's best to only do rock crawling on designated rock trails. While this doesn’t guarantee you will never have a wreck or accident, it ensures at the very least that the trails are made for this type of activity. Almost every trail is marked based on difficulty level. If you haven’t mastered the beginner or mild course, do not attempt the advanced course until you have mastered the lower leveled courses. Once you have mastered an advanced course, you can start going more off-road without a course but be extra careful when doing so.

  2. Work your way up: One of the best rock crawling tips is simply to work your way up. When first starting out, start with the smallest rock areas of a beginner’s trail and run through that a few times and then take on a bigger challenge. You want to make small but steady progress in this type of activity to avoid taking on more than you can handle.

  3. Always wear a helmet: A helmet should be non-negotiable for rock crawling. If you happen to flip over, a helmet could be the only thing between your skull and the rough and rocky terrain. While many rock crawlers in trucks or Jeeps don’t wear a helmet, they have a roof and your UTV most likely does not so put your helmet on before every ride.

  4. Avoid wheelspin: Wheelspin is when your vehicle is on terracotta and simply spinning without traction. This can tear up the land and be a nuisance leading to some courses being closed down. If you find yourself in a wheelspin, it's better to have a buddy tow you out than to keep spinning wheels and tearing up the land.

  5. Air down your tires: While you may think more air is inherently better, this isn’t always true when rock crawling. When a tire is inflated with too much air, it has a harder time digging in and finding traction. Since rock climbing requires you to sink your tire in, so to speak, you need less air and not more air. You should check the specifications of your model and tires before letting out the air, but a general rule of thumb is to bring it down at least a few psi before your ride.

  6. Follow all trail rules: When rock crawling on a trail, there are bound to be a few rules. Make sure you follow the rules since they are usually in place to protect riders or the environment to ensure the trail stays open for future riders. Make sure you read and obey all posted rules when out on the trails.

  7. Slow down to gain ground: While most people think they should speed up to get over a hard pass, slowing down can actually be a bigger help. When rock crawling, slowing down allows your tires to get more traction while giving you more control. A lot of flips and recoveries are from going too fast over rocks so slow it down to see better results.

  8. Avoid water crawling if possible: Too many riders end up with a real problem on their hands because they attempt to pass over water that is far deeper than they thought it was from the offset. If you can clearly see the bottom and test the depth first, you can usually drive over the water. If the water is fast moving or you can’t see the bottom, plan another route around it.

  9. Have a friend as a spotter: A spotter is someone behind you watching you climb. They watch for trouble and give pointers as you go so you can get out of tough spots and over the rocks. If you have a spotter, listen to them. Your spotter should be someone you trust because they are an extra set of eyes and they can see things you can’t see from the driver’s seat.

  10. Never rock crawl alone: You should never go rock crawling alone. It is far too common for a rider to flip and get pinned under their vehicle or fallen rocks unable to free themselves. You should always ride in a group and communicate to someone at home where you are going and what time you expect to be back.