Off-roading is not exactly a new outdoor activity. Ever since cars were invented, you can bet that people have tried driving on unpaved roads. There's just something about uneven tracks and the wild and untamed terrain provided by mother nature that continues to draw people into the off-roading lifestyle.
Of course, we've come a long way in terms of the vehicle design. When people go off the beaten track and try to take on rocky, gravely, muddy, sandy, as well as uneven terrain, you best believe that they use off-road vehicles that are more than up to the job.
We definitely have come a long way since people used regular cars to travel unpaved roads. We're not just talking about your typical gravel road here. Usually, when off-road vehicles are taken off the tried and proven track, we're talking about the very best that mother nature can throw its way.
In addition to muddy, uneven, and slippery roads, off-road vehicles also make quick work of knee-deep waters and even slightly raging rivers. As you can tell, there's a lot of appeal and excitement in offroading.
You really are taking your pickup truck as well as your SUV to the limit. It's no surprise that it gets more than its fair share of adrenaline junkies and daredevils. But if you're still kind of unclear as to why people love offroading, here are 10 reasons why this motorized hobby continues to grow.
Reason #1: It pushes your limits
If you're going off-roading, you're not just driving your vehicle through different types of terrain. You're not just putting your machine through a path or situation that normally would stop a regular car. Instead, you are pushing both yourself and your vehicle to the limit.
There's a lot of problem-solving involved. You need to know which part of a track to go through. You have to also slow down or speed up depending on the terrain in front of you. There's a lot more going on than just taking your machine to the great unknown and pushing it to its mechanical limit.
You also have to be strategic about it. There's also a tremendous amount of problem-solving. You really push yourself to the limit because as you figure out more things about the trail that you're on, you make different decisions and try to take advantage of certain opportunities that pop up.
This is what makes it all exciting. No one trail is the same. Even if you've gone through it several times, these different little decisions that pop up make each trip completely different.
Reason #2: It gives you a chance to explore
Not only do you get to explore a lot of places that are off the beaten track. Many of these are uncharted. In fact, a lot of trails aren't even on formal maps. But you also get to explore your personal limit. Do you play it safe? Do you assume certain things about certain tracks?
Well, when you are off-roading, you get to expose yourself to a wide range of terrain from dunes, to off-road racing, to cross-country and lightly forested areas, to even heavily forested and muddy lanes. You can even go rock crawling.
This diversity alone pushes you to go beyond your comfort zone and explore what's out there and make snap judgments that ensure your safety while maximizing your speed.
Reason #3: Beating the ordinary
When you're experienced with your vehicle and it simply involves getting from point A to point B day after day, week after week, month after month, it gets old really quickly. You fall into a routine and it doesn't really matter how awesome your vehicle is.
It may have everything that Detroit automotive engineering excellence can bring to a machine, but life's going to be too boring because you are driving within very tightly defined lines and you don't get that much excitement from your vehicle.
Off-roading is the perfect hobby where excitement and adventure mix. Every single journey is different. It keeps you on the edge and it challenges you every minute. Not only does the road challenge you, but also the weather conditions as well as your ability to make snap judgments and decisions that can have a big impact on your enjoyment of your trip.
Reason #4: It connects you to nature
When we work in an office or in a suburban or urban environment, the concrete jungle gets the better of us. We start to assume that everything is made out of steel, concrete, and glass and that life is just laid out in neat, well-defined lines.
We lose track of the random, chaotic, and ever-changing aspects of mother nature. When you go off-roading, you experience many different terrains. We're not just talking about stuff that is cosmetic. Different terrains involve different driving styles. It also means going through different types of terrain, each with its own level of excitement as well as its own unique set of challenges.
We're talking about forests, deserts, riverbanks, rocky terrain, muddy tracks, and cross-country. In between all of these places are terrific scenic views that only mother nature can bring to the table. If you are looking for an antidote to the typical 9 to 5 concrete box existence of simply just going from point A to point B, try off-roading. It makes for a great mental and spiritual reset.
Reason #5: Sense of community
Make no mistake, off-roading attracts a lot of like-minded people with the same spirit. These are people who are looking for something off the beaten track and many such groups congregate on Facebook and other social networks.
You can easily join them and plan your trip together. Not only do you get to bond with the different places you guys go through together, but your shared challenges from breaking down on the road or meeting up with a particularly tough piece of terrain make for great shared memories and deep friendships.
Never underestimate the sense of adventure you get when you share the same basic interests.
Reason #6: It gives you a sense of accomplishment
The great thing about off-roading is that no one trip is the exact carbon copy of the trips you took before it. Each and every journey is different on its own because you face different terrain features. Maybe it's raining the first time you hit a trail, but the second time you do it, you're faced with a different set of challenges. Maybe it's too dry or maybe it's snowing.
Each set of changed circumstances bring to the table a wide range of new decisions that you have to make. This is what makes off-roading so much fun. You get a sense of accomplishment because each and every time you go out there, you solve a different set of problems.
In many cases, you come face to face with tough questions and decisions that you haven't exactly handled before.
Reason #7: It frees you from the city mindset
If you've ever had cabin fever, you know that staying in one place can get the best of you. It's as if your life was just stuck in this fixed pattern and one day seems to blur into the next. Days turn to weeks and weeks turn to months. It gets boring really quickly.
Well, what if I told you that the same dynamic can happen but on a city-wide basis. If you're just going from one area of the city to one district to the next, it's very easy to think of your world as this tightly defined box with not much going on within its boundaries. Talk about getting stuck in a routine.
When you go off-roading even on a very easy trail not far from the city, you get to take a break from this enlarged version of cabin fever. You go beyond your normal preset boundaries and you quickly figure out that there's a lot else going on out there.
Reason #8: It offers a different kind of thrill
If you live in a city, the thrills that you look forward to can be very contrived, pre-packaged, and also predictable. I'm, of course, talking about cable TV or digital movies. Whatever the case may be, you're basically at the mercy of the people producing such entertainment.
Now, don't get me wrong. There's nothing completely wrong with canned entertainment, but there's a lot more going on out there and a lot of the thrill that you get out of life boils down to the fact that if you were to make a decision one way, it would have different consequences and effects on you that if you had decided another way.
A lot of people lose track of this. They really lose touch with their ability to trigger consequences in their lives and it's no surprise that a lot of people think that their lives are boring, meaningless, and repetitive. You get a lot of that thrill back when you go off-roading because of the deep impact of your decisions, which often takes place on a split-second basis.
Reason #9: You get to disconnect from technologyI think this reason shouldn't require a lengthy explanation. If you've ever spent any time on social media, it's very easy for you to feel separated from your emotions and for you to kind of define yourself in a little box as far as what kind of ideas you would entertain and what kind of people you think you get can get along with online.
It can get old really quickly and on top of that, there are also pressures from the internet, web-based phone calls, emails, and everything else. It's as if you can't break free from your connection to technology. Well, what if you can just get on your SUV or all-terrain vehicle and take a break.
Maybe for the next few hours, you don't have to worry about an email or social media updates. Such a world does await and it's one of the main reasons why so many people love off-roading.
Reason #10: Off-roading levels up your skills
I'm not just talking about your driving skills. Most people can be counted on to do the right thing when it comes to driving. It doesn't matter whether they're going through a fairly shallow stream or a very challenging sandy bank. Most people would know the right moves at the right time to produce the right results.
I'm talking about a larger challenge to your driving skills because remember, when you drive, you're actually making hundreds of small decisions. You're strategizing as you perceive new pieces of information in the trail in front of you. This is what's so awesome about off-roading because you reconnect with this real-time decision-making.
If you were to rewind the many different choices that you took to get from point A to point B in your journey, you probably would not make the same decisions again because you would see that there are other factors that you weren't fully aware of at that time.
This is what makes off-roading so exciting because it's never the same thing. It's always fresh and it's a great way to challenge your driving skills on so many levels.
The final word on why people love off-roading
Off-roading is here to stay and as technology continues to change our lives for better or worse, off-roading will continue to stand as an amazing alternative to a purely digitized lifestyle.