Tag Archives: Rock Crawl

Rock Crawling – Basic Tutorial / Guide How To

Rock Crawling is a form of off road driving that can range from driving over small bolder to extreme size bolder and walls of rocks.


  1. Get the right equipment. Obviously you are going to need a capable offroad 4×4 vehicle.
  2. Locate a local offroad site that offers rock crawling. The terrain is important here. The trail should have good terrain along with obstacles to offer the rock crawlers variation.
  3. Take an experienced spotter with you. You will need someone to watch you over the rocks to help stop damage and find you an way over rocks safely.
  4. Drive slowly in the lowest gear possible in low range and in 4wd. A crawl over a rock is successful when done at low speeds such as 1 mph. If you drive an automatic, use one foot on the brake and one on the throttle to give your vehicle enough power to move without spinning wheels or stopping.
  5. Listen to your spotter. Your spotter tells you through hand motions and speaking what lines to take and how to approach them. If you are rock crawling alone, figure out your path before beginning.
  6. Try to place your tires on high ground or the high spots at all times. This helps avoid damaging the undercarriage. If you cannot locate a high spot, look for an alternative place that will keep your 4×4 on level ground.
  7. Maintain a low speed as you drive off a rock. As the suspension compresses, it is possible to hit the rock with the rock panels.

Above all keep safe and enjoy your offroading and rock crawling.

What vehicle for Rock Crawling

Most 4×4 can be used for rock crawling, but many standard vehicles will struggle.  Most offroading vehicles are modifled in some form and outfitted with custom parts. Power is usually not an issue, as rock crawlers typically lower their gear ratios in order to drive more slowly over obstacles without stalling the engine.

Modifications can include:

  1. locking differentials
  2. taller off-road tires
  3. upgraded suspension
  4. four wheel steering
  5. roll cage for driver protection
  6. engine modifications for increased performance, mostly torque
  7. lowered gearing in either or all of the transmission, transfer case (including often times employing a second transfer case to reduce gearing even more), or axle differentials
  8. winches
  9. body armour (rocker panels, tube fenders, etc.)
  10. beadlocks (locks tires to the rims for low tire pressures)

Over-sized, low-pressure, knobby, mud-terrain tires are used.

Most vehicles have a low-geared transfer case to make the most torque in the low speeds used for rock crawling.

Suspension-wise, rock crawling vehicles sometimes have after-market lift kits installed, raising the chassis and increasing suspension flex, though the rock crawlers running the tougher trails often have fabricated suspension systems, or home-assembled leaf packs to cheaply achieve the goals, making it easier to drive over larger obstacles with less risk of damage to the vehicle. Most suspensions are made to be highly flexible, allowing for the maximum amount of tire area to contact the ground, while keeping the vehicle as low as possible.

Due to the conflicting nature of the dynamics and needs of rock crawling and road driving vehicles, it is not unusual to modify a vehicle solely for off-road recreational usage as on road handling will be severely changed (often not for the better for road use). If you want to go all out and make an extreme Rock Crawler then extreme modifications may result in your vehicle being deemed “off-road only” i.e. not driven on the roads and trailered to trails or off road centres. The modification possibilities are endless if trailering your vehicle isn’t an issue.

Those with the technical, mechanical and engineering know how can build their own rock crawler. The biggest benefit of this approach is that the owner has complete control over what their vehicle is capable of, since each part of the vehicle can be custom designed. Building your own vehicle also saves expense as no labour charges are applicable.

What Is Rock Crawling

Rock Crawling is a form of off road driving that can range from driving over small bolder to extreme size bolder and walls of rocks.

Wikipedia defines Rock Crawling as:

Rock crawling is an extreme form of off road driving

Rock crawling is an extreme form of off road driving using vehicles anywhere from stock to highly modified to overcome obstacles. In rock crawling, drivers drive highly modified four-wheel-drive vehicles such as trucks, Jeeps, and “buggies” over very harsh terrain. Driving locations include boulders, mountain foothills, rock piles, mountain trails, etc.

Rock crawling is about slow-speed, careful and precise driving, and high torque generated through large gear reductions in the vehicles drivetrain. Rock crawlers often drive up, down and across obstacles that would appear impassable. Such vehicles to rock climb are primarily 4x4s.

Rock crawling competitions range from local events to national series. A rock crawling competition consists of obstacle courses that are about 100-200 yards long. Each obstacle is set up with gates, similar to a ski course.