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Purchasing the right type of off-road tire for your adventure vehicle is extremely important. It doesn’t matter your skill level or if you’re piloting a stock all-wheel-drive SUV or a fully customized 4x4. Having the right tires to match specific trail types is key. It can mean the difference between successfully tackling challenging terrain or spending time stuck in it.
A reliable set of off-road tires is the only thing that connects your rig to the ground. Don’t skimp on tires.
Be a Beginner: Gravel Roads and Dirt Trails
You don’t need a crazy expensive, built-up four-wheel-drive to get out there and explore Mother Nature. Many all-wheel-drive (AWD) or four-wheel-drive (4WD) vehicles—even in stock form—can get you to the nearest trailhead or campsite with ease. The key is to know what type of terrain you’re getting into before you go.
There are thousands of miles of accessible off-pavement trails, especially in the western part of the United States. The Bureau of Land Management, or BLM, has extensive maps of public lands to explore, including dirt trails to access them. It’s critical to have these maps and/or talk to local ranger stations before you head out so you understand current trail conditions and how challenging each trail may be for your vehicle, no matter if it’s a built-up 4x4 with a fully locking differential or an unadulterated auto.
Many forest service roads or BLM trails are unpaved, scenic, relatively flat, and can be enjoyed by a stock AWD or four-wheel-drive runabout. Pack your sense of adventure, but know your vehicle’s limitations (and yours as a driver) as well as the tire capabilities before you hit the trails. Once more, be realistic with how often you plan to explore the road less traveled. Everyone wants a heavy-duty and aggressive mud-terrain tire until they realize their daily highway commute now features a not-so-pleasant uptick in tire drone as they wave goodbye to any semblance of fuel efficiency. However, there is an option for those who want a balance of performance for those long stretches of on-road driving but are always keen to take the “long way home” when the opportunity presents itself. Enter the new Hankook Dynapro AT2 Xtreme all-terrain tire.
Curtis Brison, vice president of PCLT sales for Hankook Tire USA, said the Dynapro family of tires is “designed to offer world-class products with a wide range of usage in the SUV and light truck category, from strictly on-road to aggressive mud-terrain capabilities, and everything in between.”
Hankook prides itself in offering tires showcasing excellent durability and quality. This rings true especially for Hankook’s Dynapro lineup. “The Dynapro AT2 Xtreme tire is the perfect choice for everyday on-road driving, but with an aggressive shoulder and sidewall, it’s more than capable for the occasional off-road excursion,” Brison added.
Additionally, the Dynapro AT2 Xtreme tire (an upgraded version of its predecessor) offers superb snow capability—perfect for winter ski trips or sledding with the family. The Dynapro AT2 Xtreme all-terrain tire also offers Hankook’s best rating for wear resistance while maintaining a quiet and comfortable ride for long on-road trips.
Intermediate Endeavors: Terrain Changes and Elevation Gain
If you’re jonesing for washed-out ruts or changes in terrain vs. tarmac trips, you may want to customize your adventure rig to make it more off-road capable. Many aftermarket companies offer lift kits and suspension upgrades to add much-needed ground clearances to stock vehicles. Additionally, steel skid plates and rock sliders add underbody and side vehicle protection in case the going gets rough. The more you challenge your vehicle and your skills, the more safety and vehicle upgrades you may want to consider to adequately handle challenging demands.
Not only can an added ride height and underbody protection help shield your vehicle from damage, having the proper “footing” is also important. Running top-notch tires will help keep your vehicle from sliding into despair and getting stuck while navigating intermediate trails.
Hankook offers a new, beefed-up off-road option for those longing for off-road travels: the Dynapro XT rugged terrain tire. “It’s a solid choice for those who want to get more involved in off-roading and explore more challenging terrain,” Brison explained. He adds that the Dynapro XT tire is an exceptional on- and off-road capable tire.
Dynapro XT rugged terrain tires (new to the Dynapro family) not only offer solid performance on wet and dry pavement, they’re also highly rated for snow capability and wear resistance. Available in 235 through 345 tread widths, the Dynapro XT off-road tire is three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) rated. Same as the Hankook Dynapro AT2 Extreme, the Dynapro XT is severe snow service-rated over standard M+S branded all-season tires—an ideal benefit when winter weather unexpectedly changes for the worse.
Advanced Challenges: Serious Trails and Customized Vehicles
Trails that include steep inclines and declines, off-camber situations, challenging terrain, or rock-crawling obstacles call for a lift kit, rock sliders, underbody protection, plus other measures to help you keep on the straight and narrow. Navigating difficult trails can lead to unexpected challenges, including vehicle recoveries if caught in gnarly situations.
Arming your 4x4 truck or SUV with a reputable front bumper and winch can help you get unstuck when trail challenges sideline you. Additionally, knowing where your vehicle’s recovery points are is also important. Adding a basic recovery kit with shackles, a snatch block, static tree trunk protector strap, kinetic strap, and heavy-duty gloves go hand-in-hand with vehicle recovery and should always be carried when traversing challenging trails.
In addition to recovery gear and the right vehicle upgrades, running a durable off-road SUV or truck tire can help your vehicle stay sure-footed in uneven terrain. If you’re looking for exceptional off-road traction, but still desire a quiet and comfortable ride, Hankook’s Dynapro XT tire is a sure-fire bet to confidently move you forward.
Designed with a saw-toothed sidewalls and wide, zig-zag tread patterns, the Dynapro XT off-road tire adds needed traction and handling for all types of off-pavement situations. Dynapro XT tread blocks easily evacuate water, stones, and even some mud—allowing you the opportunity to enjoy your surroundings versus being stuck in them.
“The Dynapro AT2 Extreme has all-terrain capabilities, but it also has very good on-road manners,” Brison stated. “The XT is a rugged-terrain product that has more of the off-road capabilities.”
The Dynapro Decision
Hankook’s new Dynapro AT2 Extreme and Dynapro XT tires showcase the company’s passion for innovation and commitment to the U.S. market. Both off-road tire models offer key components, like the three-peak mountain snowflake rating and a long, durable life to help keep off-road endeavors stable, sure-footed, and enjoyable.