Finally, be prepared to experiment with tire pressure, if you have a way to reinflate before hitting the pavement at speed. Lower pressure softens a tire, making it easier to "wrap" over obstacles for added traction, and enables a bigger "footprint" for flotation on sand. It also slightly decreases ground clearance, however, and makes it easier for the tire to pop off the bead. If your truck calls for 35 psi on the highway, consider going down to 25 psi for soft dirt trails and sand at slower speeds. Be wary of going lower unless experienced, and always pump pressure back up before driving on pavement to prevent blow-outs once back at highway speeds.

If you take all the necessary precautions and are careful about how you drive and preserving the surrounding environment, four-wheel-drive sport/utes and trucks provide a great way to experience America's back country.

More essential trail gear
When you take to the trails, you'd be wise to bring along some items not found on a vehicle options form. Perhaps the most useful of these are a friend and another vehicle. While escaping civilization is a major motivation for off-roading, surely there's at least one person whose company you'd enjoy. And an extra vehicle can help pull you out of a sticky situation that might otherwise leave you stranded. In general, pack items that address common off-roading issues, such as flat tires, getting stuck, and minor injuries. But also be prepared to survive the night in case your vehicle breaks down or gets stuck.