Our great state affords some of the most beautiful and challenging 4x4 trails in the world, and the cool thing is that you don't really need that special of a rig to explore them. Now, I'm not saying you don't have to be an experienced off-roader or that you should try to tackle the trails alone. We always advise that you operate your vehicle within its limits, do as much research as you can, watch the weather, prepare for the unexpected, and go with a group of people who know what they're doing, but a two-door Jeep Wrangler can handle most of the trails you throw at it – albeit, with a few simple modifications.
So, here are a few things you can do that'll make your 4x4 ready to handle anything.
Like racing on a track or driving in the snow, tires are critical to your vehicle's off-road performance. In Colorado, you never know what you might encounter and at higher elevations, it's quite possible to encounter patches of snow and mud, so you want to make sure you have a good off-road tire that can handle it. For a little extra ground clearance, you can generally opt for a slightly larger diameter tire. Research your particular vehicle's forums to see what others are doing and talk to your local auto shop about installation.
A quick search on YouTube will show you just how useful a hi-lift jack can be, and you don't want to hit the hard stuff without it. At $40-$80, they're reasonably affordable, too.
Anybody looking to travel off the pavement should have a set of heavy duty tow straps. Whether it's your rig that needs a tug or you come across someone on the trail who needs help, having a set of tow straps nearby is a must.
Most 4x4 vehicles come equipped with a full-size spare – which if you upgrade your tires, you shouldn't forget. In Colorado, there are a lot of sharp rocks that could potentially puncture a tire.
Unlike hiking, you have room to bring survival supplies, meaning extra fuel, water, first-aid, food, fire-source, etc. Hey, it can't hurt to bring that stuff, right?
Some people don't need it, others do a little one to two or even the full six inches. Whatever your ambitions are, you don't need much in the way of a lift to get by. If you want to crawl some serious rocks, though, you'll need some serious clearance.
What are your thoughts? Any experienced off-roaders out there want to share their tips? Let us know in the comments section!