A Lifted Lawn Mower Makes a Surprisingly Great (and Cheap) Off-Road Toy

You don’t need a massive truck to hit the trail—here’s proof.

byPeter Holderith|
Culture photo


Making cars and trucks into off-roaders is nothing new—it's a big trend these days, with even Porsches becoming prophets of big tires and suspension travel. It's never going to stop at any one particular vehicle, so let's just move past cars and trucks completely. Anything that can be driven on land can theoretically receive the treatment, so why not lawn mowers?

This is the thought that entered off-roading enthusiast Ryley Kesslar's mind not long ago. He and his buddies at the @okoffroadmowers Instagram page have been taking old mowers and modifying them for four-wheeling duty for some time now, and the results are pretty great.

They aren't just adding big tires. Oh no, it's much more than that. You can see the original state of Kesslar's tractor "Musty" in the images above. Modifications include custom suspension, a winch, a teeny little lightbar, a welded-up transaxle and more. 

As for his motivations, Kesslar says they're pretty simple. He likes anything with a motor and he already builds 4x4 rigs like Jeeps and V8-swapped Chevy S10s. The big problem with doing projects like that—as we all know—is the cost. He says that tractors are a much cheaper alternative to that, even more so than ATVs or dirtbikes.

"Growing up as a kid I couldn’t afford [trucks] yet so I bought myself a ride-on mower," Kesslar told The Drive. "After watching some videos as a kid I said, 'One day I’m gonna build an off-road lawn mower!' Well about a year ago a couple lawn mowers piped up for sale and boom we bought them and started working!"

Kesslar tells me they're genuinely fun, which I was a little skeptical of at first, but just by watching the videos posted to their Instagram, you can see how much of a riot they really are. And after all, it's just a lawn tractor. Nobody is going to get upset with any fun mods you do to your mower. It's entertaining, financially risk-free and easy if you have even mediocre fabrication skills, like myself. All of these pictures and videos are making me want to make my own...

In fact, I'm seeing a few mowers on Facebook Marketplace for a few hundred bucks that I'm very tempted to pick up. All I need now is some big tires.

I'm afraid we'll have to end this here. I'm busy planning my new rig.

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