There are generally two kinds of off-roaders in the world: truck lovers and jeep lovers. Both kinds of vehicles come with their fair share of pros and cons when it comes to leaping over rocks and grinding through the mud. If you’re trying to choose between one and the other, you’ll likely encounter all kinds of opinionated individuals who will decry your decision one way or the other. Both have their ardent supporter.
If you’re new to the world of off-roading, we’ll give you the lowdown on these two classic options, so you can make the right decision based on where and how you like to drive.
When we hear the words “off road,” a truck usually comes to mind. Trucks have been synonymous with off-roading since they were first invented back in the 1920s. They come with a full bed for storage, so you can easily load up all your gear for camping, skiing, hunting, or whatever it is you like to do in the wilderness. Many off-roaders will choose trucks for their long wheelbase. Having a longer wheelbase can come in handy when you’re traversing mud, rocks, and thick tree roots.
Those in the truck column also argue the underbelly will be better equipped to handle all the wear and tear that comes with off-roading. Many trucks are designed for venturing through the wilderness, so, if you snag a stray rock or an unruly tree branch during your adventures, you likely won’t get stuck. You can easily plow ahead without worrying about permanently damaging the underbelly of your truck. Of course, adding a lift kit to your off-road truck will also help, giving you more ground clearance.
Trucks also come with more solid interiors compared to jeeps. Some would rather have solid glass windows, a full roof, and a rear windshield when they’re cruising through mud, snow, and dirt. With jeeps, you might feel a little more exposed when you’re in the great outdoors.
Trucks also have plenty of detractors when it comes to off-roading. Many will say having a longer wheelbase can limit the experience. This can make it difficult to make tight turns in the wild. Trucks also tend to weigh more than jeeps, so, if you get stuck in a rough patch of mud or in the middle of a rocky ravine, you’ll need a lot of towing power to get your vehicle out of the cross-hairs.
While you can add larger tires to a truck than you can to a jeep, those meaty pieces of rubber will only further weigh you down, which might spell disaster if you’re driving through swamps, high water, or deep patches of mud.
A longer wheelbase also means you’ll need to spend more time cleaning your truck after you’re finished splashing around in the mud. The underbelly of your truck is bound to get clogged with all kinds of mud, rocks, and other debris, so you’ll have your work cut out for you when it comes to keeping your truck squeaky clean.
Some would argue that having a smaller wheelbase is much better for going off-road. You can make tight turns and squeeze into smaller places, which really comes in handy if you like to explore areas that larger cars can’t reach.
Being in a smaller car also gives you peace of mind as you cruise through the wilderness. You don’t have to worry as much about accidentally slamming into a tree or rock as you would if you were driving a large pickup truck, especially if you invest in jeep lift kits. A jeep will also be much lighter, helping you reach peak speeds, and you won’t need as much towing power if you get stuck.
Cleaning off your ride after going off-road will also be much easier than if you owned a truck. Jeeps are more compact, and they have a smaller underbelly, so you can hose or scrub everything down in about half the time it would take you with a truck.
Depending on the model, some jeeps might not weather the outdoors as well as a large truck. Having a smaller underbelly can be an asset in the wild, but it also means you could get stuck if you snag a root or rock. Towing your truck out of the wild will be easier than if you were driving a large truck, but no one wants to get stuck in the first place.
You’ll also have less storage space with a jeep. This may not be an issue if you’re looking to just ride around aimlessly for a few hours, but, if you like taking the entire family on a long camping trip, you might not have enough room for all your belongings.
You’ll also feel a little more exposed in the wild if you go off-road in a jeep. The cold might start to nip at your fingers if you’re riding around in subzero temperatures. All that mud and dirt can also do a number on your jeep. If you’re adamant about staying dry, clean, and warm when going off-road, a truck might be the better option.
Putting It All Together
Both jeeps and trucks are great for going off-road, but one may be better than the other, depending on your driving preferences.
If you love going off on long adventures for days or weeks at a time, especially in the middle of winter or through some truly messy territory, you’ll probably want a truck for the extra storage space, durable underbelly, and a more comfortable, secure interior.
However, if you like going off-road for just a few hours or days at a time, doing rock-crawling competitions, or just heading off on a spontaneous road trip, you’d be better off with a jeep. They’re more compact. You don’t have to worry about storage space. And you won’t be outside for too long, so having an interior that’s more exposed to the elements might not bother you too much.
Whether you prefer jeeps or trucks, find the right vehicle for your lifestyle and go off-road today!
When you subscribe to the blog, we will send you an e-mail when there are new updates on the site so you wouldn't miss them.
OutdoorWire, 4x4Wire, JeepWire, TrailTalk, MUIRNet-News, and 4x4Voice are all trademarks and publications of OutdoorWire, Inc. and MUIRNet Consulting. Copyright (c) 1999-2020 OutdoorWire, Inc and MUIRNet Consulting - All Rights Reserved, no part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without express written permission. You may link freely to this site, but no further use is allowed without the express written permission of the owner of this material. All corporate trademarks are the property of their respective owners.