Best Off-Road TiresLast Updated February 15, 2024 | Alison Smith
So, you want to go off-roading? Before you hit the trails, you may need to upgrade the rubber on your rig. Off-roading tires can make a big impact when you’re trying to tackle a challenging trail.
There are several differences between dedicated off-road tires and the stock tires on most vehicles. Durability, firmness, and tread are three areas where off-road tires beat your standard all-season ones.
Durability is crucial as you’ll want a tire tough enough to withstand rocks, branches, or other sharp objects that may puncture your tire. Aggressive sidewalls go a long way toward protecting your tire.
Firmness is another important factor. You’ll want something flexible enough for the trail but firm enough for the road. If your tires are too firm, you won’t get the best traction off-road. Airing down your tires softens them, increasing traction when crawling over rocks or through sand.
Tread is one of the ways that tires create traction, even on surfaces like mud, sand, or snow. Off-road tires feature deeper treads than a standard tire. They also have tread designs that keep debris away so you can get better traction.
Unfortunately, many off-road tires perform less well on the street. Their larger tread patterns can cause road noise and unpleasant vibrations. They can also have a negative impact on fuel efficiency. Off-road tires are great for serious off-roaders, but there are options that work well both on- and off-road.
Types of Off-Road Tires
The type of off-road tire you need will depend on the type of off-roading you want to do. Do you like to rock crawl, tackling boulders headfirst? Or do you prefer getting down and dirty in the mud? There are several types of off-roading tires that will help you conquer any terrain.
If you’re an avid off-roader, then mud-terrain tires are the top choice when it comes to tread.
Larger channel gaps allow mud and debris to escape the treads so you don't lose grip. Tough sidewalls will offer the protection you need against chips or punctures. These tires will get you through the mud and over rocks while adding an aggressive look to your rig.
Although mud-terrain tires are great for the trail, they will not be the best for highway driving. If you don't plan on going off-road frequently, then you may want to consider all-terrain tires instead. Driving with mud-terrain tires on the road will wear out the tread quicker. The ride will also be much louder and bumpier.
|Best off-road performance
|Not comfortable for highway driving
|Better traction in mud and slippery terrains
|Louder on the road
|Tread will wear quicker with daily use
All-terrain tires are a step down from mud-terrains when it comes to off-road performance. But they are better for daily drivers who might not need the added performance on a daily basis. If you use your Jeep or truck to commute to work, then mud-terrain tires may be more than what you need.
In comparison to stock tires, the tread blocks are usually larger with all-terrains. The larger tread blocks will help you maintain more traction off-road than your factory tires.
All-terrain tires will also provide on-road comfort without being too loud. They’re a great balance of practicality and capability. Although they aren't as rugged as mud-terrains, they’re still plenty capable for many off-road situations. However, the tread gaps are smaller on all-terrain tires, so they won’t perform as well in the mud, snow, or sand.
|Great for daily driving
|Smaller tread blocks
|Less road noise
|Not for serious off-roading
|Suitable for light off-road use
|Less aggressive look
Rock Crawler Tires
If you’re searching for a good set of rock crawler tires, chances are they will be mud-terrains. Some tires are designed especially for rock crawling, but many mud-terrain tires can function as both. There are two directions you can go when it comes to rock tires.
Tall and skinny tires, often referred to as “pizza cutter tires,” are good for enhancing agility. You’ll be able to squeeze through tighter locations, which may come in handy on the trail. Skinnier tires are better for digging through shallow mud.
On the other hand, wider tires can give you better sidewall traction and protect your wheels from scratches. Wider tires will also float on top of deep mud easier due to their larger contact area.
Rock tires are designed to be puncture resistant so you can tackle jagged and sharp terrain without fear. Many mud-terrain tires feature stone-ejecting technology and asymmetrical tread blocks to help keep the tires clean. Biting edges and aggressive sidewalls will enhance traction over slippery surfaces.
|Durable, puncture-resistant construction
|Not great for daily drivers
|Stone ejectors keep tires clean of debris
|Skinnier tires won’t float as well on mud
|Better traction for crawling over slick terrain
|Louder and less comfortable on the road
Snow doesn’t stop some off-roaders from hitting the trail. As long as you have the proper tires, off-roading in the snow can be really fun. Snow tires can usually be used for off-road and on-road use during the winter months.
You aren’t just limited to winter tires though. Many mud-terrain and all-terrain tires can also make good snow tires. They might not be the best choice for severe winter conditions. But their deep sipes and tread grooves can help maintain traction in the snow or slush.
The rubber on winter tires is usually designed to perform well in temperatures 45 degrees or colder. Once temperatures increase, the performance will decrease and the tread will wear faster. That’s why it may be smarter to go with a set of mud- or all-terrain tires you can use year-round.
Another option is studdable tires.They’ll allow you to add metal studs that grab onto ice better and increase traction. You’ll have to install the studs yourself though, typically with a stud gun. Studded tires are also louder on the road and not suitable for all winter conditions. You’ll mainly want to use them on ice and hard-packed snow.
The main downside to studded tires is the amount of road damage they cause. Some states permit the use of studded tires during certain times of the year, while others ban them altogether. Just be sure to check if they're legal in your area.
|Capable on- and off-road in the snow
|Studs may be illegal depending on where you live
|Studdable tires offer more traction
|Winter tires are mainly for cold weather use only
|All-terrain or mud-terrain options for year-round use
|May wear faster with highway use
Best Mud 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 great for off-roading. The Mud Grappler will 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 are off-road specific tires, they will be louder and not as comfortable for highway use.
BF Goodrich Mud Terrain T/A KM3
This BF Goodrich tire is perfect for mudding and pushing your rig to the limit. The Terrain-Attack tread design prevents the buildup of mud and debris to improve traction. A linear flex zone allows the tire to flex over obstacles when aired down for off-roading. In comparison to the previous MK series tires, the MK3 has 27% tougher sidewalls.
Toyo Open Country M/T
With a unique hook-shaped tread, the Toyo Open Country M/T tires don’t mess around. Deep sipes allow the tires to keep traction in slippery conditions. 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 extremely durable for the trail. Thanks to 3-2 inner tread ribs, they provide a smoother highway ride than other mud-terrains. Anti-stone retention prevents gravel from getting stuck in the treads. Alternating shoulder lugs and mud-release dimples help dirt and mud escape.
With a strong resistance to both punctures and tears, there’s less of a chance of ending up with a flat on the trail. As one of the most durable off-road truck tires, the Cooper Discoverer STT Pro is reliable when you need it most.
Mudclaw Extreme MT
With a name like the Mudclaw Extreme MT, this tire was designed to battle even the thickest mud. Staggered shoulder blocks that help the tire maintain grip even in slick conditions. The reinforced casing and chip-resistant tread compound provide additional protection. Despite the aggressive appearance, it’s still relatively quiet on the highway.
The tire’s large center lugs will help you drive through loose gravel or trek through the mud with ease.
Best All-Terrain Tires for Off-Roading
All-terrain tires provide a balance of off-road performance and drivability. If you need something more versatile than mud-terrains, these tires offer the best of both worlds.
BF Goodrich All Terrain T/A KO2
If you're looking for a rugged, yet comfortable tire, 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 rocky terrain.
You don’t have to worry about the tire tread wearing unevenly. An advance footprint distributes stress equally and promotes even tread wear. If you’re an off-road enthusiast that drives your rig to work every day, these tires are a great option.
Nitto Terra Grappler G2
While the Nitto Terra Grappler is a great all-terrain tire option, the G2 is a bit more advanced. The Terra Grappler G2 uses a new compound that helps the tire keep its versatility while increasing the tread life. Road noise isn’t an issue due to variable pitch tread blocks. This makes it one of the quietest all-terrain tires out there.
Even though this tire may be quiet on the street, it can still tackle both dry and wet environments with ease. These are perfect tires for those who want off-road performance with highway comfort.
Nitto Exo Grappler AWT
The Nitto Exo Grappler AWT is an all-terrain tire that can handle almost anything you throw in its path. It's designed to perform well in any season. It will be able to conquer most trails and still ride like a dream on the pavement.
A durable compound construction helps the tire maintain traction in freezing temperatures. Lateral grooves and sipes increase traction by adding biting edges for more 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 tires offer commercial traction and are optimal for soft surfaces.
Targeting high-powered, high-torque light trucks, these tires have beveled tread block edges. The tread blocks increase self-cleaning capabilities and help the tire tread wear evenly. 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.
Best Rock Crawler Tires for Off-Roading
Tires are especially important if you plan on doing any rock crawling. These are some of the top rock crawler tires that will give you the durability and traction you need.
Firestone Destination MT2
Stronger than the original Firestone Destination MT, the MT2 can conquer almost anything. Biting edges and a rugged tread pattern give this tire added traction in bad weather. Mud and stone rejectors will help keep your tires free of loose gravel and rocks. The aggressive sidewall is chip-resistant for better protection against sharp rocks.
BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3
This tire may be good for mudding, but it’s also great for rock crawling. The linear flex zone is perfect for airing down your tires, which you might need to do more frequently when rock crawling. The Krawl-TEK tire compound will give you traction from every angle. Mud-phobic bars are going to give you even more grip crawling over slick rocks.
Goodyear Wrangler MT/R with Kevlar
The Goodyear Wrangler MT/R with Kevlar is one of the strongest mud-terrain tires out there. These tires are made with DuPont™ Kevlar® that increases sidewall puncture resistance by 35% and is the same material used in bulletproof vests.
A silica rubber construction enhances traction in inclement weather conditions and while off-road. Durawall technology prevents cuts and punctures in the sidewall, so you don’t have to worry about getting a flat on the trail. A wrap-around, asymmetric tread pattern provides additional traction.
General Grabber X3
The General Grabber X3 is an aggressive mud-terrain tire that is well-suited for rock crawling. Stone bumpers help prevent pebbles and rocks from getting stuck in the tread. Sidewall protection lugs increase grip for better traction off-road, especially when airing down your tires.
Although these tires perform well off-road, they also offer a fairly comfortable on-road experience. A multi-pitch pattern design reduces road noise for a quieter ride.
Mastercraft Courser MXT
The Mastercraft Courser is an extreme off-road mud-terrain tire. The aggressive “side biter” design is puncture resistant, which is what you need when dealing with rocky terrain. Despite its off-roading capability, the Mastercraft Courser MXT still handles well on the highway. These tires are severe weather rated and studdable for snow use, which is why we also include them in our next list.
Best Snow Tires for Off-Roading
Snow is another challenging element you may encounter off- or on-road. If you’re a thrill-seeker who loves venturing out in the snow with your rig, you probably welcome the challenge. Here are a few of the best off-road snow tires that will ensure you don’t get stuck out in the cold.
BF Goodrich All Terrain T/A KO2
As some of the best all-terrain tires for snow, we couldn’t help but also include the BF Goodrich All Terrain T/A KO2 tires in this list too. You won’t have a problem maintaining traction in the snow with the serrated shoulder design.
A three-peak mountain snowflake rating attests to this tire’s capability to tackle severe snow and weather conditions. It must be good if BFGoodrich calls it their toughest all-terrain tire.
General Grabber X3
The General Grabber X3 tires may conquer the rocky terrain with ease, but they are also great in the snow. Siped treads enhance performance in snowy or wet conditions. You won’t have to worry about sliding all over the place (although you may want to for fun).
They are an all-season tire, so you can use them year-round. DuraGen technology helps the tire maintain flexibility in the cold while adding protection against chips.
Mudclaw Extreme MT
We mentioned that Mudclaw Extreme MT is one of the best off-road tires for the mud. But it’s also one of the cheapest off-road tires that works well in the snow. Snow and slush are easily dispelled thanks to the high void tread design. The staggered shoulder blocks will help you maintain the necessary traction in snowy conditions.
Mastercraft Courser MXT
Mastercraft Courser MXT tires are not only good for rock crawling. These mud-terrains are also some of the best off-road snow tires. Wide tread grooves help the tire stay clean and maintain grip. MXT claims that 80% of the tire’s sipes remain functional even if they’re worn halfway through.
An M+S rating proves the tire has been tested and approved for use in the mud and snow. If you need even more traction, these tires are also studdable.
Firestone Destination MT2
The Firestone Destination MT2 is another rock crawler tire that excels in the snow. Compared to the original series, the MT2 has 20% more biting edges to help keep traction in snowy, wet, or slippery conditions. The serrated upper sidewall lugs are also going to help you get better traction. You can add metal studs to these tires if you need to.
What are the Best Off-Road Tires for You?
Choosing the right off-road tires can be a difficult decision. Tires are an investment, so you want to make sure you find the best fit based on your needs. If you end up purchasing white letter tires, check out our guide on how to remove the blue coloring from your new tires
Mud-terrain tires are great for the active off-roader who plans on taking their rig out on the trail as often as possible.
If you’re new or only hit the trails occasionally, then all-terrain tires might be better for you. They’ll still give you the off-road performance you need plus the added on-road comfort.
For those who mainly spend their time traversing rocky terrain, a set of rock tires would be best. Rock tires are going to give you the durability and protection you need to prevent punctures.
Snow tires are a good choice if you off-road in the winter or primarily in snowy environments. Traction is critical to keeping your rig from sliding down into an embankment or getting stuck.
No matter which type of tire you choose, off-road tires will help your performance significantly on the trail. Sign up for our newsletter for the latest deals on off-road tires and parts.