We have seen huge changes to the “norm” during the last 30 years in the off-road community when it comes to tires. With those changes we have seen new technology offering innovative tread designs and softer, stickier rubber compounds. Once upon a time, an all-terrain 31-inch tire was thought of as one that could take you where you needed to go, and get you back home at the end of the day. We have all watched as 33s became the new 31, and not long after that, the 35 was the standard. In today’s world, 37-inch tires have replaced the 35, and more common than not, we see builds with 36- to 38-inch tires daily. How soon, if not already, until the 40-inch tire is the norm?
Milestar, a subsidiary of Tireco Inc., a U.S.-based corporation founded in 1972 with a target audience of mainly commercial, passenger car, and light-duty vehicles, realized that something was missing from its portfolio and launched the Patagonia line of off-road tires in 2016. The company is now offering the Patagonia in an All-Terrain as well as a Mud-Terrain, so we wanted to see what the new offering was all about.
We were able to get our hands on one of the first sets of the Patagonia M/T for a real-world review of how they held up to being outfitted on a daily driver that still sees plenty of trail time. During our testing we wanted to make sure that the tire was graded on its on-road characteristics as well as its off-road capabilities. The Patagonias were mounted onto a set of Sendel wheels, also part of the Tireco flagship, and installed on our 2014 Rubicon JKU. This is a vehicle that we have used for multiple reviews and tests because we know its handling characteristics and the noise level between different brands and tires tested. We also assessed the comfort level and performance of the tires in low- and high-speed situations at different levels of tire pressure—in a variety of environments, conditions, and driving scenarios.
Construction and Design
The tread pattern has a high-void design that helps promote self-cleaning, certainly an important factor when you find yourself in those sticky, muddy environments. You most definitely want and need the tread to self-clean so it can take a bite and keep the vehicle moving forward in the mud. The tread’s angled biting edges and siping enhance the tire’s traction on- and off-road, and the complex siping pattern helps the tire’s ability to maintain traction in all conditions and environments.
With the exception of the 31x10.5R15LT, the entire Patagonia lineup has a 3-ply sidewall construction that adds strength and protection against impact damage. There are also stone ejectors integrated into the tread that are designed to help protect against retention and stone drilling from those annoying, sharp, pea-sized rocks that like to hide within the tread. The shoulder of the tire has an aggressive tread pattern that aids in maintaining traction in rocky environments when the tires are aired down and the sidewalls are being utilized as the point of contact to avoid sideslip.
Our testing of the new Patagonia tires took place over a six-week period. The tires were tested while covering almost 1,500 miles of combined terrain. We tested them on pavement, two-track roads in the rugged backcountry of Wyoming, popular slick rock trails in Moab, and some rough rock sections of Camp 5 in the Black Hills of South Dakota. This gave us a true sense of how the tires performed in various environments and elements.
As one would expect, the gripping compound of the tires on the slick rock in Moab was a perfect fit. We encountered no slipping, and the tires held tight even under less than optimal conditions with maximum air pressure. They held well on climbs, as well as when descending the sandpaper-like surface, in both wet and dry conditions.
In the Wyoming backcountry, the tires provided a comfortable ride on the two-tracks and on the washboard sections of desolate roads between one section of trail and the next. The conditions were dry and dusty, and our testing route was that of an average overland trip that took us through sections of smaller (football- to duffle bag-sized) rocks, ledges, dried-up creek beds, and river crossings. When aired down to around 15 psi, the tires flexed enough to help with the comfort of the changing environments, especially on the washboard roads.
Our last area of testing was on the jagged slate and granite rocks in the Dakotas—where buggies and dedicated trail rigs are seen playing almost every weekend. For this part of our testing, we aired down to 12 psi up front and 10 psi in the rear to allow the sidewall to flex a bit more, increase our footprint, and help grab the rocks to allow us to crawl up, over, and around them. The shoulder and tread pattern held onto the rock surfaces and performed well on a trail where the tires needed to keep traction by conforming to the rocks.
There were several things that stood out during the testing of these tires. They performed admirably in all off-road conditions we met, and we were pleasantly surprised at how quiet and how well they handled on concrete and paved surfaces. After close to 1,500 miles during this test, we decided that we would continue running these to see how they perform during the rainy conditions in the winter months. There is a very good chance we will be back to report on how the Patagonia from Milestar holds up in the demanding conditions of winter snow and ice.
As of July 2017 the Patagonia M/T is offered in 15- to 20-inch wheel diameters with 31- to 38-inch overall diameter options. Depending on size, the Patagonia will either be a C-, D-, or E-rated load range tire. According to Andrew Hoit of Milestar, “The 38x13.50R17 Patagonia M/T should launch in September and the 40x13.50R17 is expected to launch in January. At this time the 40 is the largest size the company plans to offer.” Hoit also stated that the company plans to have “two additional AT patterns coming in the next 12 months targeted at the off-road consumer.”
Specs As Tested
Type: Mud Terrain
Load Range: D
Max Load (lbs@psi): 3525@50
Approved Rim Width (in): 10
Tread Depth (in): 19/32
Tread Width (in): 10
Section Width (in): 12.50
Overall Diameter (in): 36.8
Maximum psi: 50
Weight (lbs): 71.3