Rock Crawling or Jeep Bashing?

by Larry

Rock crawling in the world of Jeeps is hot these days.

A reality of this sport is that there is often a fair amount (if not a lot) of Jeep bashing in the form of carnage during many rock crawling outings. Body damage, broken axle shafts, snapped u-joints, and roll-overs can occur, even on some of the easier trails especially when the driver is inexperienced.

So, who cares? I've heard the expression in the Jeep-o-Sphere that "if you don't break something your not wheeling your Jeep the right way".

Before I go any further let me make it clear: It's your Jeep and you can do whatever you want to with it, as long as you are not endangering anyone else.

First of all, Jeeps are expensive. New Jeeps are very expensive. Even an older model can run into big bucks with all of the aftermarket additions such as big tires, stronger axles, lockers, winches, bumpers, armor, on and on.

Broken parts and body damage run into more dollars and often lost time using your Jeep; an especially difficult thing if it is your daily driver.

So, why take such a high risk of damaging your Jeep by rock crawling just to be able to say you made it; you conquered a level 5 trail; you made it to the top? Was it worth it?

For the avid rock crawling enthusiast the answer will usually be a resounding "yes". For the poor guy who took his new $40,000 Rubicon out and rolled it on the first trail the answer might be a little different.

Maybe the guy with the new Jeep doesn't have enough pockets
to hold all of his spare cash, and can afford to bash his new ride. So be it. However, most of us live from paycheck to paycheck. We have obligations like school, work, family, etc.

Therefore, I've decided that I have put too much blood, sweat and money into my Jeeps to bash them up unless I am...uhm...forced to run from Zombies, escape a natural disaster, or side-step an out of control Hummer H2 on a narrow trail.

Don't get me wrong. I actually like the sport of rock crawling and have done my share. Watching others tear up their rigs is like rubbernecking a wreck on the highway. It's hard not to look.

I still cheer on the guys trying to climb that 4-foot vertical wall to make it to the top. I hope they make it unscathed. Not likely...but I hope anyway.

The point to all of this is that if you are an average Jeep owner like me, don't feel pressured into taking unnecessary chances bruising your rig on the rocks and insane inclines.

The allure of rock crawling is powerful and other Jeep guys will often question your manhood if you aren't willing to risk it. I now have no problem saying "no thanks". I'll watch and maybe help pull you off that tree when you hit bottom.

Just a thought, but there are alternatives to crawling the rocks. One that I like is exploring the back-country and camping often referred to as "overlanding"...loads of fun with less risk of carnage.

As always, it is your call. Just consider this: Lack of wisdom and common sense will often be very expensive.


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