HerJeepLife’s Trail Etiquette Basics for Off-Roading

When it comes to off-roading escapades in your Jeep, it’s easy to envision yourself behind the wheel, blazing down the trails with your hair blowing in the wind. It’s a well-known fact that conquering insurmountable obstacles and plowing through swamp-like terrain and mud holes is the fastest way to a dirty Jeep girl’s heart, after all.

Although this may be a fairly common notion of what off-roading adventures are all about, the reality is often quite a bit tamer with slower, more respectful, and enjoyable journeys through lush natural landscapes.

If you are thinking about heading out on an organized trail ride, exploring off-the-beaten-path routes with friends, or are wanting to take your newly modified Jeep out for an inaugural run, here is what you need to know about trail etiquette.

Slow Down, Be Considerate, and Stay on the Trail!

When it comes to the trail, and in keeping with the Tread Lightly! principles, make sure to always go over, or through any obstacles, you encounter such as mud and rocks or remove them from the path. You never want to create a new path around a mud hole or a fallen tree, as doing so can create major devastation for the local wildlife and fauna in the area. Blazing your own trail will only result in destruction, erosion, and fewer opportunities for you to revisit some of your favorite off-road haunts.

Next, make sure you aren’t a lead-foot driver on the trail. Your Jeep is built to take a beating, but you’ll prolong its shelf life if you take it nice and easy over bumps and obstacles. Slowing down on the trails also ensures you have enough time to spot wildlife, hikers, broken down or stuck vehicles in your convoy, and oncoming vehicles while having plenty of time to react. Lastly, slowing down keeps the dust in the air to a minimum, affording you better visibility for all those things we just mentioned along with an overall ability to safely navigate the trail.

If you encounter other off-roaders, hikers, people on horseback, or wildlife, turn down your radio, quiet down the engine, and be respectful and considerate in sharing the trail.

Understand Who Has Right-of-Way to Avoid Dangerous Situations!

It is important to remember that all vehicles which are heading in an up-hill direction have the right-of-way as they often need their forward momentum to get up the incline. This may mean that you have to back up until you find a spot where you can pull over and let them pass you. This does not mean that it is okay to blaze a new trail and it does not mean that if the trail is a one-way, that you continue on. An easy way to deal with this is to have a spotter set up to ensure that the trail is clear for you and as a way to warn oncoming vehicles of your descent.

Garbage: Pack It In, Pack It Out. (Yours and Any You Come Across)

Bring along a trash bag so that you can pack out more than what you bring with you. This is called packing in and packing out, where you stop to pick up any garbage that you see along the trail and take it with you when you leave.

This means that all the garbage that comes from your snacks, your water, and any of your accessories or pets must also go with you. This also means that if you choose to head out into no man’s land to do some shooting, make sure to pack out your expended brass casings or shotgun shells.

A popular item to assist with “Pack it In, Pack It Out” is the Trasharoo Spare Tire Trash Bag. The bag is a great way to keep stinky trash out of the Jeep. It’s durable and looks pretty cool attached to the spare tire too. The Trasharoo isn’t just for trash though. It can be used for the beach and other adventures also. The bag is a great place to hold wet clothes, towels, and shoes.

Official description of the Trasharoo Spare Tire Trash Bag: You can haul away all the trash you accumulate in a weekend and maybe even make the trails a little cleaner as you go. The bag is made from high quality 900 denier canvas with wide buckles and a heavy-duty attachment to your existing external spare tire. Its large capacity carries up to 50 lbs of weight and fits a standard 30-gallon trash bag for ease of dumping. The Spare Tire Trash Bag is treated with a water-resistant interior coating and has drainage holes at the bottom for unexpected leaks.

(photo: Amazon/Trasharoo)

The three points above are the most critical aspects of off-road trail etiquette, but there are some other common tips to keep in mind. These include the following:

  • Know the trail that you are heading to and make sure you are authorized to wheel there. You’ll also need to find out if there are any permits, rules, and fees required. Further, you need to know whether the trail is open to your Jeep (some trails are only open to small vehicles such as ATVs). Lastly, make sure you read any, and all signs posted as these will have valuable information on them such as modes of transportation permitted and levels of difficulty.
  • While maintaining a decent interval (the space between vehicles), keep checking on both the vehicle behind you and the one in front of you. You don’t want just to assume that the Jeep behind you has made it through the last obstacle because they may be stuck or have gotten caught in a dust cloud and missed a turn.

For the vehicle in front of you, watching them navigate an obstacle can help you choose your own line when it’s your turn.  Remember to keep a little distance between your Jeep and it so you have some reaction time while driving – if they are on a steep incline, they could roll or slide back into you. Be sure to wait for the vehicle in front of you to clear an obstacle completely before proceeding.

  • Make sure to let yourself be known to other vehicles outside of your group. It is common practice to tell others how many vehicles are in your group and to indicate if you are the last vehicle in line.
  • If you take more than half an hour to get over or through an obstacle, call it. There is nothing wrong with getting help through it if you cannot make it on your own. You might get a little ribbing from your friends, but it’s better than trashing your Jeep or unnecessarily injuring yourself or someone else.
  • Do not let others pressure you into making a trail run that is uncomfortable. You are the driver of your Jeep. If you’re not comfortable attempting an obstacle, don’t. You can try again later after you’ve gained a little more experience.
  • Stop to help others and do not leave anyone stranded. There will be times when professional recovery trucks will have to be brought in, but in most situations, the right recovery gear can get most vehicles unstuck. If you have to send someone for help, make sure the driver left behind has food, water, and a means of communication.
  • Lastly, NEVER WHEEL ALONE. Although this is listed last, it is the cardinal rule in off-roading. Going it alone on the trails only sets you up for failure. You might make it out on your own a few times, but at some point, you will get stuck or lost without cell signal, and no one will be there to help. Going it alone only increases your chance of injury or death.

By following the above trail etiquette tips, you will be able to keep the entire adventure enjoyable for everyone involved and ensure that you preserve the trail for future use. Off-roading can be dangerous, but it should never be reckless. Have fun out there with your Jeep but stay safe while you’re at it.

A/T, M/T, R/T…….OH MY!!!! How’s a “HerJeeper” to Decide Which Tires Are Best for Her Jeep?

Photo Credit: toyotires.com

In the off-roading world, one of the most important decisions you will ever make regarding your Jeep is which tires to go with. This is such a pivotal decision because your entire rig literally rides on it. Being that your tires are the only part of your Jeep that is actually designed to come into contact with the ground, it’s essential that you set yourself up for success for the type of terrain you plan to do most of your driving on. Tire type can have major impacts on your fuel economy (Ha! I said fuel economy in reference to Jeeps) and your Jeep’s ability to perform the way you want it to.

JK Willys stock tire: 32″ BF Goodrich Mud Terrain T/A.

First things first. Let’s get some tire abbreviations and definitions out of the way so you can follow along more easily if you’re not familiar with these terms.

A/T = All Terrain – This type of tire is designed specifically to handle both on- and off-road driving. With a brawnier tread design as compared to the H/T, the A/T tire is favored by those seeking a more rugged visual aesthetic while cruising around town.

M/T = Mud Terrain – The mud terrain tire is purposefully designed with off-road capability as its primary purpose, while keeping in mind the secondary purpose of highway driving (you’ve got to get to your off-road driving destination after all). If you are a fan of Toyo Tires, you’ll know that they consider M/T to also mean “Maximum Traction.”

R/T = Rugged Terrain – A relatively recent addition to the tire market (introduced by Toyo in 2014), R/T tires are designed as a cross between the aggressive look and grit of an off-road M/T tire and the smooth, quiet ride quality of an A/T tire.

  • Per Toyo, “Off-road performance meets on-road comfort with the all-new Open Country R/T. Built rugged for any terrain, this powerful 4×4 tire offers excellent off-road traction, durable construction, and aggressive styling. Its ability to tackle mud, dirt, sand, and rocks is inspired by the legendary Open Country M/T, while its quieter ride is a nod to our best-selling Open Country A/T II.”

H/T = Highway Terrain (yeah, we use the term “terrain” lightly with this one) – This tire is specifically for paved roads. Most stock sedans and minivans come equipped with H/T tires – but you’re not driving a sedan or minivan, are you? Even if you are the proudest Pavement Princess around, you wouldn’t be caught dead with a set of H/Ts on your Jeep. And if you are, yes, we’re judging you.

There, now we can move on and dig into the nitty-gritty of what all that means for you and your tire-based decision.

I’ll use my own Jeep, Miss-Chief, as an example to illustrate my point. Because Miss-Chief is a Willys Wheeler edition, she came from the dealership brandishing M/Ts. I decided to upgrade my tires from 32’s to 35’s and in doing so, elected to keep the M/Ts on her because I like the aggressive look of them and I had plans to do some serious off-roading and muddin’. Purchasing tires; however, shouldn’t be based on appearance and price point alone.

Miss-Chief’s Toyo M/T tire. Cat not included.

An M/T tire typically features large tread blocks with spacious channels between them. While the channels are wider to allow for faster mud and water displacement (aka mudslingers), the tread blocks are composed of a beefy texture to ensure maximum traction in dirt and mud. Further, this type of tire often features an “over the shoulder” lug that extends from the tread area down onto the sidewalls which allows for even more grip as needed on trails with deep mud, snow, gravel, and rock. When aired down, the protruding lugs become an impressive part of the traction equation. Despite the popular misconception that M/Ts are horrible for the sand at the beach and snow in the mountains, an aggressive lug tire can do well in the sand, even without airing down, and a well-siped tire does well in the rain and snow. The Toyo Open Country M/Ts have an aggressive lug and are well-siped.

Miss-Chief in the sand at the beach.

I learned through my tire-based research that some of the downsides to the M/Ts are, however, that they don’t last as many miles as A/Ts (e.g., Nitto Trail Grappler M/T Light’s approximately 45k miles versus the Yokohama GEOLANDAR A/T G015’s 60k miles), and because of the added grip their tread blocks provide, some can be overbearingly loud on the roads – especially if you’re rocking a soft top. Another downside to the M/Ts is that additional energy is required to move that bulky tread, so a drop in fuel economy is almost inevitable.

In contrast, the A/Ts pros counter the cons of the M/T. Meaning, you’ll get more mileage for your dollar (in tire and fuel) and a considerably quieter ride on pavement. These factors make A/Ts ideal on your daily driver and are perfect for commuters and traveling longer distances but they’ll still allow you to hit some lighter trails. While A/Ts perform decently on many trails, they will never perform as well as M/Ts which are designed specifically to take you where you want to go off-road.

Miss-Chief after off-roading. Close-up of M/T tire tread.

And this brings me to the R/Ts.

R/Ts are the Goldilocks of tires. Not too aggressive, not too passive. They’re just right because they are a perfect blend of the best-combined traits of the A/T and M/T. It’s a tire that is tailored towards the daily driver and weekend warrior (weekdays for work, weekends for trails).

Toyo put a lot of thought into crafting a tire that would provide drivers with the best of both worlds. With a 3-ply polyester casing to resist punctures and improve overall tire durability when under heavy loads or being operated in an “aired down” state off-road, Toyo backs their R/Ts with a generous 45,000-mile treadwear warranty.

The R/T is like hitting the Vegas jackpot of a tire shelf life. Even better, Toyo offers a no regret trial period of either 500 miles or 45 days. In their words, “Buy ’em, try ’em, love ’em. If you are not completely satisfied after 500-miles or 45-days, we’ll take them back.” Think about how many other tire manufacturers you have ever heard say something like that?

At this point, and especially if you haven’t clicked on any of the outbound informational links sprinkled throughout this post, you’re probably wondering how much a set of these tires is going to cost you. I’ll tell you up front that you may want to consider selling a kidney because quality off-road tires don’t come cheap. And if you do choose to opt for a lower priced tire, you’ll likely sacrifice in quality and performance. That said, you can expect to pay anywhere around $250 for A/T; $300 for M/T; and $315 for R/T, per tire. For this comparison, I chose the popular tire size, 35/12.5R17, and the Toyo brand on Amazon.com. Smaller tire sizes, like 33”, typically cost less. We’re not even going to discuss H/Ts because they don’t deserve it.

Miss-Chief tackling the rocky terrain with Toyo Open Country M/T.

So, while this might seem like a pretty pro-Toyo post, in all honesty, Toyo is the most popular manufacturer of R/T tires for off-roading. And, as a testament to their quality and reputation in the off-road community, I have Toyo’s on Miss-Chief with plans to eventually upgrade to the R/Ts once my current set reaches the end of its tread life.

Miss-Chief’s personal review: These are great tires (M/T) and I highly recommend them. I’ve had them on for about fifteen months now and they’ve done me right. I’ve gone off-roading with them many times and they have gotten me through the most challenging trails. I’ve gone through sand, rain, mud, rocks, and pavement and these tires have taken everything I threw at them. And they’re actually not as loud on the pavement as other aggressive tires. I barely hear them when the window is lowered and the radio is off.

Toyo has been around since 1938. It is not your more affordable tire but what you’re getting is a damn good tire! And it is a brand you can trust!

Tidbit knowledge: Nitto makes a great tire too! That’s because they are owned by Toyo. (insert winky face here)

Herjeeplife is NOT an affiliate of Toyo Tires. Herjeeplife has NOT been paid to write this post.




Jeep Jamboree USA 2018

Jeep Jamboree Convoy

2018 is Well Under Way and the Latest Season of Off-Road Adventure is Upon Us!

JeepHERS are simply cut from a different cloth than other women.

Maybe it’s because the general female population has yearned to be free of their societal shackles for several millennia or maybe it’s because of our distinct history with our nation’s favorite off-road past-time. The reason doesn’t really matter, does it? Because whatever it is, we’re just different. But in a good way, mind you.

And that’s why, no matter what New Year’s resolutions we’ve already given up on, this year should be our year of adventure.

To quench our need for muddy, rocky, off-road fun, Jeep Jamboree USA has organized an even more robust calendar this year than those past. With a wide selection of events for all skill levels across the country to choose from, JeepHERS (and their Jeeper counterparts and offspring) can benefit from the best-organized off-roading experiences available today.

But before you get too deep in the mud of booking your Jeep adventures and beefing up your 4×4 steed, take a few moments to learn about the tradition and heritage of Jeep Jamboree USA.Jeep Jamboree USA 2018

The Legacy of Jeep Jamboree USA

Although Jeep Jamboree USA wasn’t officially founded until 1982, for almost three-quarters of a century, Jeep enthusiasts have been organizing and leading guided off-road trail rides for Jeep devotees from around the world.

Beginning in 1953, founder Mark A. Smith (click on his name to learn all about this legendary Jeep icon) put together the would-be organization’s first adventure which crossed the Sierra Nevada Mountain range via the aptly named Rubicon Trail.

Around the same time and after learning how successful the initial event had been, then manufacturer of Jeep vehicles, Willys Motors, decided to join in on the fun. Since the two entities joined forces, it’s been a beautiful partnership that has grown the Jeep tribe by bringing Jeep people together through the decades for good, clean dirty fun (yeah, that’s an oxymoron. I know).

What Are Jeep Jamboree USA Events All About?

Family and friends. That’s the simple answer. But really, Jeep Jamboree USA events go much deeper because they are all about building a vast network of like-minded people, from all walks of life, and coming together to support one another. That’s something seemingly rarely seen anymore in today’s society.

Whether you are a seasoned 4×4 veteran, or a noob with a stock Jeep Wrangler (although not limited to Wranglers), Jeep Jamboree USA introduces you to a tribe who will welcome you with open arms as long as you are willing to actively participate and contribute to the community.

Every Jeep-centric overland excursion is guided by experts who are just as enthusiastic about showing you what your Jeep can do as you are in learning about it.

Although there are no prerequisite skill levels required to attend a Jeep Jamboree USA event, there may be vehicle and minimum gear requirements as described on each event’s itinerary.

Because many of the overland treks are multiple days in length and consist of crossing remote areas and challenging terrain, mandatory equipment requirements must be adhered to in order to participate.

Items such CB radios are mandatory for all Jeeps participating so that warnings, emergency information, and terrain details can quickly be passed back through the convoy. Here’s the official Jeep Jamboree USA MANDATORY EQUIPMENT LIST for all vehicles:

  • CB radio is MANDATORY! There are many safety issues regarding upcoming obstacles transmitted over the CB radio by your trail guides. It is required that each vehicle have a CB radio. Learn interesting facts about the area – history, local plant, and wildlife, as well as exciting stories (and sometimes off-road scavenger hunts).
  • Jeep vehicles must have four-wheel drive with a low-range (4-LO) transfer case.
  • Front and rear tow points must be properly mounted to the frame with grade-eight bolts.
  • Drawbars, receiver hitches, or aftermarket bumpers with manufacturer-installed clevis or D-ring anchor points are acceptable alternates to tow points. If you don’t have tow points, you may be turned away without a refund.
  • All open-topped vehicles, including older models (CJs, Scramblers, and Willys), must have roll bars.
  • A full-size spare tire; a space-saver spare (donut) just won’t do.
  • Street legal vehicle with current license plate.

Although Jeep Dogs are often our favorite family members and trail companions, Jeep Jamboree USA strongly discourages participants from including their furry friends in Jeep Jamboree USA events due to pet exclusions in certain areas, allergies, and the often punishing conditions extended off-roading exposes them to. Here’s their official statement:

“Jeep Jamboree USA strongly suggests that pets are not appropriate on Jeep Jamboree USA events. Long hours in vehicles, association with people unfamiliar to the animal, access to inappropriate foods, restricted park areas, leash rules and laws, and many other drawbacks make including pets in the events punishing to the pet, the owner, and the other participants.”

If you’ve read to this point, you should be starting to feel that pleasant Jeep wanderlust tingle. Why not take a trip on over to the Jeep Jamboree USA website now to learn everything you need to know about choosing, registering, and preparing for a Jeep Jamboree USA adventure and make Jeep memories that will last a lifetime.

Click here to view 2018 Jeep Jamboree USA Jeep Trips that start in March and end in November around the country.

Jeep Wrangler JK at Jeep Jamboree USA event.
Miss-Chief sporting an ARB awning/room enclosure combo at the October 2017 Jeep Jamboree USA event at Uwharrie National Forest, North Carolina.

Have you attended a Jeep Jamboree USA event? Tell us about your experience and share your photos on the herjeeplife.com Facebook page.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this post and don’t want to miss out on other cool blog posts like this one, be sure to subscribe to this page and “like” our Facebook page at herjeeplife.com. You can also find us on Instagram @herjeeplife. Thanks for visiting!


HerJeepLife.com’s UnOfficial Guide to the Jeep Wave

When you purchased your first Jeep Wrangler and drove it off the lot (or the previous owner’s driveway), you were probably pretty giddy with excitement. Once just a dream, your Jeep ambitions were finally coming to fruition. On your way home, however, you might’ve noticed a strange thing beginning to happen that made you feel like part of something – a movement even. It made you feel like you “belonged.”

It’s just a small gesture, really. But complete strangers making eye contact and waving as they drive past in their own Jeep Wrangler conveys a whole lot. It might be a full hand that waves out a window, or it could be just two fingers lifted off the top of their steering wheel, but this my friend is the Jeep Wave. Not just relegated to folklore, Jeep owners really do wave at each other in the real world.

Much like motorcyclists and Mini Cooper drivers waving to one another, Jeep owners show their respect for each other by this simple gesture which fosters community and solidarity. Esprit de corps, if you will.

Because Jeeping is a way of life.

It happens every now and again that a new Jeep Wrangler owner slips through the cracks and isn’t informed by her Jeep salesperson of her new Jeep Wave obligation. Shame on those Jeep sales associates, but we’re here to rescue those who don’t know about it from continuing to receive those ugly glares of judgment and disdain because they either:

  • didn’t initiate a wave
  • didn’t return a wave.

You see, there’s a certain “hierarchy” to owning a Jeep, and therefore, to the Jeep Wave. In fact, here’s the official statement from Jeep Nation on the subject:

“Warning: Owning, registering, insuring, or driving a Jeep implies knowledge of and intent to abide by the following rules, regulations, and guidelines. Failure to obey the letter or spirit of the rules may result in your being ignored by other Jeep owners as you sit along the side of the road next to your stalled vehicle in a blizzard surrounded by Saturns, Yugos, and Hyundais.”

Sounds a bit dubious, right? I know. But it’s really a simple matter because you see, when you own a Jeep Wrangler, no matter where they are around the world, every other owner of a Jeep Wrangler is a comrade and should be treated accordingly – hence, the Jeep Wave.

Jeeptalk.org tells us:

“The Jeep Wave: An honor bestowed upon those drivers with the superior intelligence, taste, class, and discomfort tolerance to own the ultimate vehicle – the Jeep. Generally consists of vigorous side-to-side motion of one or both hands, but may be modified to suit circumstances and locally accepted etiquette.”

While the Jeep Wave is rendered in good-natured fun, there are some rules that govern its delivery. Let’s take a look at those now. The hierarchy previously mentioned is based on a few different factors. Those being:

  • The model and year of your Jeep
  • Mods and upgrades versus stock
  • Pavement Princess versus Mall Crawler versus Off-Road Beast
  • Daily driver versus Tricked out Overlander
  • Nostalgia

Typically, though, most Jeepers and JeepHers will just wave to any other person driving a Jeep Wrangler, regardless of the aforementioned factors. But there are those who take the Jeep Wave quite seriously for what it represents, so for that reason, it’s good to be well informed on the subject.

That being said, thanks to Andrew Boyle over at CJPonyParts.com, there is an actual Jeep Wave Calculator to help you determine where you fall in the Jeep Wave food chain and who should initiate the wave.



Pro Tip: If you’re ever in doubt, just whip it out and wave. No one will fault you for being proactive in your Jeep Wave prowess.




If you’re still confused, the helpful folks over at Reddit had a pretty lengthy discussion on the topic which resulted in this handy flowchart, which should be taken with a grain of salt and for the fun it’s meant to be:

(Credit: Reddit OP NikonD3s)

Now, on to the different types of Jeep Waves. Because we’ve received a few questions regarding the proper style or format of Jeep Waving we’ve conducted exhaustive research on the subject. What follows are our findings of the matter via All Things Jeep, Jeep Guide, and a few dozen Jeep forums.

*Observe closely and make note that: should you attempt a particular style of Jeep Wave without first familiarizing yourself with its proper execution, you will be pointed and laughed at – most likely before a return wave has been rendered.

(Credit: Reddit OP deleted)

Here’s some guidance borrowed from All Things Jeep:

  • Topless: One-handed wave above windshield or outside body tub (HJL Note: the latter particularly if your doors are off)
  • Topless in blizzard: Shiver and nod, hands may remain frozen to steering wheel (Head nod to Gina in Fayetteville, NC)
  • Southern/rural locations: Raise fingers from steering wheel and nod

While there has been, in recent years, a number of new additions to our Jeep Wrangler family who, through no fault of their own, have not been properly informed of their Jeep Wave responsibilities, it is up to us, the seasoned Jeep Wavers to educate them and lead by example.

All in all, the Jeep Wave is a way for Jeepers and JeepHers around the world to acknowledge and salute one another along the highways of life. Whether it’s a soccer mom who never leaves the hardball or a country girl who loves to go topless and get dirty, flash a wave and carry our Jeep Wave tradition forward to new generations.

If you like this blog and don’t want to miss out on future blogs, be sure to subscribe to this blog page, “like” our Facebook page, “HerJeepLife.com,” and join the “HerJeepLife.com” group. We’re also on Instagram @herjeeplife.