Off-roading tires can make all the difference in the world if you’re trying to conquer a particularly challenging muddy trail or rock-crawl through some of the top off-road parks and trails.
There are several differences between dedicated off-road tires and the tires that come stock on most vehicles. Durability, firmness, and tread are three of the most important factors for tires. Tread is one of the ways that tires create traction, even on surfaces like mud or sand.
Deep treads are only part of the equation though. If those treads become packed with mud or gravel, the treads won’t be able to maintain traction. Off-road tires will frequently boast about the specific design of their tread, which is engineered to keep debris from becoming lodged inside.
Unfortunately, many of the tires that are perfect for off-roading perform less well on the street and can cause a lot of road noise as well as unpleasant vibrations.
Whether you’re looking for a dedicated set of off-roading tires that will only ever be used for crawling through the most challenging trails or you’re looking for a tire that can transition as easily from the streets to the woods as your off-roader can, we’ve collected some of our favorite off-roading tires here.
Types of Off-Roading Tires
Deciding which type of tire is right for you can be determined by what kind of off-roading you frequently engage in. Do you like to rock crawl, tackling boulders headfirst? Or do you prefer getting down and dirty in the mud? Whether you’re a beginner and just plan on doing some light off-roading on the weekend or a seasoned veteran out on the trails — there’s a tire out there to suit your needs! There are several types of off-roading tires, but the two main types are mud-terrain and all-terrain.
If you are a hard-core off-roader, then mud-terrain tires are going to be the cream of the crop when it comes to getting the best tread. These big, beefy tires will help you conquer anything and everything when you’re out exploring the wilderness in your rig. Although these heavy-duty tires are great for the trail, they will not be the best for highway driving. If you plan on only going on the occasional off-roading excursion, then you may want to consider all-terrain tires instead. Driving with mud-terrain tires on the road will wear out the tread quicker, and the ride will be much louder and less enjoyable. However, if you plan on venturing out and taking your 4x4 to the limit in the great outdoors, then these mud-terrain tires will certainly help you tackle any terrain. With larger channel gaps that allow mud to easily escape the treads and tough sidewalls, mud-terrain tires are going to give you the best off-road performance that you could ask for. Not only are they going to help get you moving through the mud and over rocks, but they are also going to add an aggressive appearance to your rig.
Best Mud-Terrain Tires for Off-Roading
If you’re in the market for a new set of mud-terrain tires, here are some of our top picks. These tires will help you plow through the mud, tackle those rocks, and grip and rip down the trail!
- Nitto Mud Grappler: Nitto makes several mud-terrain tires that are all great for off-roading. The Mud Grappler specifically is going to help you conquer even the most difficult terrains. With dual sidewall designs — a rugged lizard-skin design or a simple, plain style — you are free to customize your rig to your liking. Traction is enhanced thanks to a high void ratio that helps prevent mud and dirt from caking in the tread. Since these tires are catered toward off-road use, they will be considerably louder while highway driving and not as comfortable for long road trips.
- BF Goodrich Mud Terrain T/A KM2: With a tread design that is self-cleaning, this BF Goodrich tire is perfect for mudding and pushing your rig to the limit. Not only does the tread prevent the buildup of debris to improve traction, but the tire also has a TriGard construction and a durable bead, so it can withstand whatever you put it up against. These tires will be slightly quieter in comparison to some other mud-terrains, but these beefy tires were built for the trail.
- Toyo Open Country M/T: With an instantly recognizable unique hook-shaped tread, the Toyo Open Country M/T tires don’t mess around. Deep sipes allow the tires to retain traction in slippery conditions while scalloped shoulder blocks give the tire traction in the mud, snow, and sand. The hook-shaped treads contribute to the tire’s off-road performance and help maintain drivability on paved roads.
- Cooper Discoverer STT Pro: Constructed with Armor Tek3 technology, these tires are durable enough for the trail yet not too bad for highway driving either thanks to 3-2 inner tread ribs. These heavy-duty tires feature anti-stone retention to prevent gravel from getting stuck in the treads, alternating shoulder lugs, and mud-release dimples so dirt and mud can easily escape. With a strong resistance to both punctures and tears, you can rest easy knowing you won’t pop a tire on the trail. Although, anything is possible in the unpredictable world off-roading.
- Mudclaw Extreme MT: Great for both driving in the snow and the mud, the Mudclaw Extreme MT tire has staggered shoulder blocks that help the tire maintain grip even in slick conditions. Even though this tire looks killer, it is still relatively quiet on the highway for a mud-terrain tire. If you need to drive through loose gravel or trek through the mud, the tire’s large center lugs will help you accomplish the task with ease.
A step down from mud-terrain tires when it comes to off-road performance, all-terrain tires are going to be better for daily driving rigs. If you use your Jeep or truck to commute to and from work on the regular, then mud-terrain tires may be a bit too much for what you need. All-terrain tires, on the other hand, are going to provide you with comfort on the road without being overly noisy like mud-terrains. If you plan on doing some occasional off-roading or less extreme trailblazing, then all-terrain tires are probably your best bet as they provide capability along with practicality. They won’t be as rugged and beefy as mud-terrains, but they will still certainly be plenty capable for many off-road driving conditions. However, the tread gaps will be smaller on all-terrain tires, so they won’t have as good as performance in the mud, snow, or other slippery terrains. The tread blocks are still larger than typical stock tires though, so you will see some added benefits if you are upgrading from the run-of-the-mill factory tires.
Best Off-Roading Tires for Daily Driving
If you need versatile tires that will help you conquer the trail but still maintain a smooth, enjoyable ride on pavement, these are some great all-terrain tires that will accomplish both!
- BF Goodrich All Terrain T/A KO2: If you want a rugged tire that is still comfortable to drive on the road, then the BF Goodrich All Terrain T/A KO2 checks both boxes. An interlocking tread design gives the tire increased stability and a longer wear life. Along with locking 3-D sipes, serrated shoulder lugs increase the tire’s performance in snow, mud, and when traversing over rocky terrain. Don’t worry about the tire tread wearing unevenly as an advance footprint distributes stress equally and promotes even tread wear. If you are an off-road enthusiast that drives your rig to work every day, then these tires are a great option for you as they will ride smoothly without sacrificing performance.
- Nitto Terra Grappler G2: While the Nitto Terra Grappler is a great all-terrain tire option as well, the G2 is just a bit more advanced. What’s special about the Terra Grappler G2 is that it is composed of an entirely new compound that helps the tire retain its versatility while increasing the tread life. Road noise isn’t an issue due to variable pitch tread blocks. Even though this tire may be quiet on the street, it can still tackle both dry and wet environments with ease. These are some of the best off-roading tires for those who want to take their rig on the occasional off-roading expedition but still want to maintain ride quality on the street
- Nitto Exo Grappler AWT: With a focus on performance in every season, the Nitto Exo Grappler AWT is a heavy-duty all-terrain tire that can handle almost anything you throw in its path. Although it wasn’t engineered for hardcore off-roading, it will be able to conquer most trails and still ride like a dream on the pavement. It can even maintain traction in freezing temperatures as it is created from a durable compound. In addition to the innovative composition, the tire is equipped with lateral grooves and sipes that also assist with increasing traction by giving the tire added biting edges for a better grip.
- Cooper Discoverer S/T: If you have a light-duty pickup for work, the Cooper Discoverer S/T tires are perfect for you. They are pinned for studs, so you can get enhanced traction during the winter months. With a focus on even wear, these Cooper all-terrain tires offer commercial traction and are optimal for soft surfaces. Targeting high-powered, high-torque light trucks, these tires have beveled tread block edges that increase self-cleaning capabilities and help the tire tread wear evenly for long-lasting use. For those who come into contact with rough terrain on the worksite, the Cooper Discoverer S/T tires can help you get the job done!
Mud-Terrain Tires vs All-Terrain Tires: Which Are Best For You?
Are you having a difficult time deciding between mud-terrain tires vs all-terrain tires? It is a pretty hard decision and because tires are expensive, you want to make sure that you make the right one. It all comes down to how hard you will be riding your rig off-road and whether you will be using your 4x4 as a daily driver. If you are an avid off-roading enthusiast and thrill-seeker who likes to push their rig to the extreme, then mud-terrains are without a doubt going to suit you best. They will provide the extra traction you need and be durable enough to withstand pretty much anything and everything you throw at them. Some negatives to consider are that they will be more uncomfortable and considerably louder when driving on the highway. If you do plan on doing a lot of highway driving with mud-terrains, you will also wear out the tread much faster. For the best off-road performance possible, mud-terrain tires are going to be the best of the best. That being said, all-terrain tires are much more versatile.
For the perfect balance of both off-roading and highway use, all-terrain tires are the best solution. Considerably quieter than mud-terrains on pavement, all-terrain tires provide the best of both worlds. You can go off-roading on the weekend without sacrificing performance yet maintain ride quality while driving on the highway. All-terrain tires will perform well in normal off-roading situations, where the mud-terrains are geared toward more difficult environments. Whether you need a tire for work, play, or commuting, all-terrains provide the versatility to do it all. Especially for those weekend warriors, all-terrains will give you that off-road performance and added traction when you need it but still remain smooth on the main roads. For a tire that can take you to and from work but still conquer the trail like a beast, all-terrains will be the best off-road tires for you! Whether you own a Jeep Wrangler, Ford, Chevy, Toyota, or Dodge, CJ’s offers a wide selection of wheel and tire packages to outfit your rig. Stop by the website today to browse the online catalog!
Image Credit: FCA
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