What Is the Best Off-Road Tire for Trucks?

Dustin Hawley | Feb 15, 2021

There are plenty of truck owners who appreciate taking a turn off the beaten path, exploring trails in rugged terrains, and enjoying the great outdoors at their own pace. Plenty of others use their truck for recreational activities like camping, utilizing their powerful engines and increased height to navigate their movement more effectively than driving in the wilderness with a smaller car, like a sedan. There are so many beautiful parts of this country, many of which can’t be accessed through main roads or standard entry points.

best off-road tires for trucks

However, if you wish to be successful in your off-road journeys, you’ll first need to be equipped with off-road tires. And while you may be familiar with the idea of off-road tires, you may have no clue on how to find the best tires for your truck. If you are one of the many people looking to find the best off-road tire but don’t know where to start, you are in the right place. 

Let’s break down some prime examples of off-road tires and find a suitable type for your off-roading needs.

What Are “Off-Road” Tires?

In basic terms, off-road tires are tires designed with unique attributes and greater than average durability, so they last longer when driving your truck off-road, leaving the traditionally paved asphalt and gravel of most streets and freeways.

Many off-road tires have more dramatic, deep treads that work to help your wheels keep a solid grip on sand, dirt, mud, and other slippery terrains, providing improved handling and increased driver safety. Off-road tires are also typically made to be either solid (instead of air-pumped) or with high-grade rubber that is tougher than average.

Truck owners of all shapes and sizes equip their vehicles with off-road tires. It gives them the freedom to turn off a traditional road and go exploring, all without wearing down their regular tires too quickly while also providing the enhanced traction and functionality they need to endure conditions that exceed those of standard “street” driving.

Do Off-Road Tires Really Matter?

The obvious answer to this question is yes; they absolutely matter if you wish to take your truck off-road effectively. 

Those who have first-hand experience operating a vehicle with off-road tires know that there’s a world of difference between the handling and safety you enjoy in rough terrains. However, off-road tires are not necessarily all-terrain or all-purpose tires. Different off-road tires may be more suitable for everyday driving than the heavy-duty off-road tires you often see on large trucks. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that most off-road tires need to be changed roughly every 6000 miles or with every other oil change - assuming that you regularly use the tires and are not merely using them for rare off-roading adventures.

Which Off-Road Tires Should You Choose?

There are three primary types of off-road tires to consider, all of which offer unique benefits and functionality.

All-Terrain Tires

All-terrain tires are, as their name suggests, great for both off-road and standard road conditions. They’re a good fit for drivers who occasionally like to drive off the beaten path or get to a campsite but typically drive their trucks on standard asphalt.

All-terrain tires use multidirectional and interlocking treads, allowing them to perform reasonably well on most terrain types. As a bonus, all-terrain tires are also perfect for driving on wet pavement, as the spaces between the tread blocks allow water to be expelled quickly, reducing the likelihood of slipping or hydroplaning.

These tires are relatively inexpensive and long-lasting when compared with other types of off-road tires. However, all-terrain tires don’t perform as well on regular roads or off-road mud, so while they may be incredibly versatile, they also don’t excel in any one area. 

Mud Tires

An alternative to all-terrains, mud-terrain tires put a greater emphasis on design for off-road driving. They're a prime choice if you don't frequently take your truck on paved highways or standard roads.

Most mud tires are bulky and manufactured with aggressive treads, including reinforced tire sidewalls and incredibly deep sipes. Therefore, they perform well when offloading on sandy, dirty, or muddy terrain.

In the same way that mountain bikes perform poorly on standard roads, mud tires don’t perform as well on regular pavement. They can slow you down and aren’t nearly as durable on paved roads when you compare their performance on off-road trails or muddy terrain.

However, they are exceptionally durable when driving on off-road trails or when driving through brush and gritty dirt. They’re arguably the safest off-road tire to choose from for everyday adventures since they provide superior handling and traction in adverse terrain or weather conditions.

Solid Tires

Truck owners looking for off-road tire options may also want to consider solid tires. These are tires made as a solid, single piece of rubber - instead of the standard “tube” tires filled with air.

Standard, or pneumatic tires, are made of synthetic and natural rubber. They have compressed air pumped inside them that increases their surface area and provides them with their shape. In contrast, solid tires are made of solid rubber compounds, and as a result, they don’t require any inflation and can never go flat. These tires are exceptionally durable and make great choices for off-road tires due to their numerous benefits.

Benefits of Solid Tires

Solid tires are great for several reasons:

  • They’re incredibly durable. The unique rubber compounds used in their construction increase their tear resistance far beyond what you can expect from a regular, pneumatic tire. Therefore, even rough off-road terrain shouldn’t wear down the tires over time.
  • As mentioned above, there’s never any threat of the tires going flat, as the tires are not inflated. In turn, there’s no need to worry about a rock or jagged edge popping your truck tire and ruining your off-road trip.
  • Solid tires provide optimal traction since many are manufactured with deep treads and grooves, increasing their grip on slippery or sandy terrain.

Solid tires are usually a better fit for offloading in comparison to foam-filled air tires. While foam fillings can prevent pneumatic tires from going flat, foam-filled air tires can also become a little too stiff and lose some of their traction as a result. Also, solid tires typically don’t weigh as much as foam-filled tires.

Summary

Ultimately, any of the off-road tire types mentioned above can prove to be a good choice for your truck. You must consider the price points for each tire example, assess your needs in terms of terrain, and think about how often you plan to go off-road with your vehicle before making a purchase. The more often you drive off-road, the more durable and specific tires you’ll likely need, so keep this in mind when making a decision. Happy trails!

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