A Beginner’s Guide to Off-Road Basics


If you’ve just bought your first off-road vehicle and want to get started exploring trails, then you’ve come to the right place. While it may seem like there’s a lot to learn when you’re first starting out, you’ll be glad to hear that this is a hobby that has a very helpful community, and you’ll be able to get answers to all your questions along the way. Here are some to get you started.

How Can I Learn Off-Road Skill and Meet People to Go With?

There are a number of vehicle-specific forums for the top off-road vehicles, and these are a great source of info, especially regarding vehicle modifications. Most forums will also have areas dedicated to geographic locations where info on trail runs is posted.

Getting help from people who have some experience means you won’t have to have won a huge pokies online prize in order to afford the modifications you want, either, as you benefit from inside info that you wouldn’t be able to get hold of any other way!

Local clubs often host training runs for those just beginning their off-road adventures too, and these are designed specifically to teach you the skills you’ll need. Off-road shops in your area may also host trail events as part of a Customer Appreciation package, so keep your eyes peeled.

Where Can I Find Off-Road Trails?

Off-road recreational parks will typically have legal trails and areas where beginners can practice.

National forests and parks will also have trails, and a quick online search will be able to list these and give you information on what to expect.

What Kind of Gear Will I Need?

As a minimum, the majority of organised trail runs will require that you have the following:

  • Recovery points for the front and rear of your vehicle, in the form of either D-ring shackles or tow hooks
  • A tow strap
  • A roll bar or cage
  • A jack and a basic tool set
  • A fire extinguisher
  • Communications devices, most typically a Citizen’s Band radio, or CB
  • A full-sized spare tire

What Are the Basic Rules of Etiquette?

A couple of guidelines to staying respectful when you’re off-roading include:

  • Know Before You Go

Find out who owns the land you’re going to be travelling on, and make sure you adhere to the rules they’ve got, pay the fees required, and have the permits you’ll need.

  • Read the Signs

Study up on your trail signage. Many include colour-coded difficulty levels and will detail what modes of transportation are allowed on the trail.

  • Tread Lightly

Stay on the marked trails, don’t drive over any vegetation, and only cross streams at fording points that have been designated, where the trail actually crosses the stream. Drive your vehicle over, not around, any obstacles so as not to widen the trail, and always adhere to all barriers and signage.

There you have it! This article covers the basics, and you can start your off-road adventures a little more prepared.