The appeal of off-roading seems to have exploded in the last decade, if judged by the number of magazines, websites, TV shows, and other media that cover the subject. At it’s heart, off-roading offers drivers the opportunity to adventure off the traditional roads and highways to explore the unpaved corners of the world. One of the more important differences between a regular vehicle and one that is able to go off road is the tires. Off road tires are designed to drive on mud, snow, gravel, sand, rocks, riverbeds — any natural terrain that appeals to the driver.

The ability to safely navigate these terrains depends heavily on tire performance. Suspension, vehicle height, axle design and even vehicle body are also important, but since it is the tires that literally hit the road, or in this case the non-road, off road drivers rely on tires that are specially designed to provide the proper traction and handling on these different surfaces.

An example of this is the mud terrain tire which can be purchased through These tires have a larger tread that appear chunky when compared to the average car tire. This tread allows the tire to grip into the muddy surfaces that would normally be slippery. Another benefit of the tire’s design is that it allows mud to quickly clear the tire, instead of building up between the lugs and hindering performance. As with most off road tires, many mud tires are not recommended for driving on regular paved roads. They offer much less traction on smooth surfaces and can be extremely noisy when driven on highways.

Most people don’t realize that there is another whole class of off road vehicles that have nothing to do with recreation. These are construction vehicles from backhoes and trenchers to wheel loaders and mining trucks. They each require their own specialized tires, designed to deal not just with the off road conditions, but also capable of carrying heavy loads and being used on a constant basis in severe or extreme conditions.

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