We’ve done the research for you so that you can get the best tire for your off-road rig no matter the surface you prefer to conquer.
With hundreds of different tires available on the market today, it’s hard to determine which set will best fit your personal needs. That choice can get even harder when it comes to off-road tires. Every company seems to believe that they have cracked the code to provide you with more grip, more reliability, and maybe even more style. Truthfully though, with so many different surfaces to manage once the road has run out, no tire can do it all perfectly. So we’ve picked out the best off-road tire for each surface so that you can outfit your Jeep Wrangler, Toyota Tacoma, or whatever off-roader you choose.
It might not be what most consider a hard-core off-roaders tire but simply put, nothing beats the Bridgestone Blizzak when driving in the white stuff. Throw these tires on a Subaru Outback and you’ll find them completely uncompromising and their performance on snow demonstrates that. Bridgestone uses a tread compound with multi-cell tubes that also feature bite particles to enhance traction. In short, the tread actually absorbs the top layer of water on snow or ice and then uses its bite particles to get more grip at the same time. Add to that technology a bevy of sipes throughout the tread and it’s easy to see why this tire has been the leading winter tire for years.
There may not be another tire here with as much technology baked into it as the KM3. When it comes to mudding, this tire has a section that BFG calls “Mud-phobic”. According to the company, it’s built to continuously remove compacted mud. It also uses a “Terrain Attack” tread pattern to provide aggressive grip regardless of the attack angle. Want to take the KM3 over rocks or other surfaces? It’s good at that too thanks to a feature called “Krawl-TEK” which is the rubber compound employed to reduce chances that the tire will slip on rocky surfaces. It also has enough strength to envelop obstacles when aired down.
Off-roading in sand is perhaps one of the most under-appreciated activities that a tire can excel at. Sinking is a real concern for most tires, no matter how big they might be, and that’s why we love the Nitto Dune Grappler. Its unique intermediate void tread pattern is specifically designed to keep you on top of the sand. In addition, it’s one of the quieter tires on-road here. We also love the awesome styling of the sidewall that also aids in traction. Each side has a different font type to allow buyers the chance to pick whichever fits them and their rig best.
Take one look at the Goodyear Wrangler MT/R and you’ll notice right away that this isn’t like any other tire on our list. The asymmetrical tread allows it to be good both on and off-road, but what we really love is just how happy it is to take on serious boulders. Large void areas provide the space this tire needs to get a huge bite on bigger rocks and the more filled-in areas of the tread pattern give this tire more traction on larger flat rocks. As rocks can be the most likely to puncture a tire, we love that Goodyear has used Kevlar to strengthen these skins. Finally, for those that need a tire that can be used on public roads, this one provides that skill too.
While the Dynapro MT might be a mud tire at heart, it’s simply outstanding on ice. Its V groove tread design allows it to dig deep into the ice. It also is one of the few tires that can be fitted with studs in the event that your situation calls for them. While we wouldn’t recommend studs in the coldest climates, in many northern states they are the perfect addition to this MT. Nylon-reinforced high-strength belts inside the tire provide serious reliability regardless of how cold it might get. Finally, unique zig-zag shoulder blocks allow this Hankook to find traction that other tires won’t.
While the KO2 might not be the best at any one particular off-road discipline, it is the best balanced by far. Throw these tires on a vehicle like the 4Runner and you find that their on-road performance is the best of the bunch, and when the road runs out this tire is comfortable almost anywhere. The KO2 benefits from much of the same technology that its parent company Michelin employs in their high-end car tires. Still, it manages to easily manage gravel, snow, dirt, and some light mud while still carrying a 50,000-mile warranty. For those that need a tire that can get them around town and then deep out into the wilderness regularly, the KO2 is a jack of all trades.
Mickey Thompson is one of the most respected names in the off-road community. It would be easy to select the Baja MTZP3 for a few other surfaces, but it really does shine brightest on gravel where the large void areas allow the tire to get a big bite. Much like the Goodyear Wrangler, this tire is specifically designed to keep rocks from getting stuck in the tread itself. It’s chip and cut resistant as well and features enough siping to keep it from losing traction on wetter roads. Also like many of the options here, its tread features a high silica content that aids in lifespan. At the same time, the Baja MTZP3 is capable of taking on lots of mud too. Throw on a set of these to your favorite farm truck and those country roads will be your playground.