Mud can get sucked into engines and stop them dead while holding tight to your frame-rails. Sand can sneak by seals and churn away in your bearings, not to mention filling your carpet with millions of sharp granules. But rocks can ravage your undercarriage, destroy your rocker panels, wedge your tires tight until your U-joints self-destruct, hold you firm by either differential, and still tip you over or upside-down when you least expect it. The funny thing is all those challenges make rockcrawling so much fun. It's a challenge to pick the line with the fewest number of granite gremlins trying to grab an axle and impede your progress. Then there is the trick of knowing when to throttle or bump your way up an obstacle and when to drop it into granny low and let the gearing and traction pull you forward. Rockcrawling takes all types of skill, but building for the rocks doesn't need to be so challenging.
Rockcrawling can seem intimidating to the rookie rock wheeler, but don't be scared and don't think you need to have the latest, craziest rock buggy to even attempt a boulder-strewn trail. In fact, four-wheelers were rockcrawling decades before the first rock buggy was ever built out of tube and coilover shocks. Of course every rockcrawling trail requires a different type of truck to truly dominate since wheelbase, power, gearing, and tire size can all come into play. That is what is so much fun about it. Every combination can have a good or bad day on the trail depending on how well the driver knows his vehicle and what it will do. However, there are some popular upgrades that make sense when hitting the boulders. Read on.