One of the most adrenaline-pumping activities you can do with your off-road truck or Jeep is rock crawling. Once you get beyond the basics, every move you make counts and can spell success or disaster.

You've heard it said that getting over safely means picking your line first; how do you actually do that? Use these tips to pick the right line to get you over the rocks without high centering or encountering other rock crawling problems.


The first part of picking your line for rock crawling is planning, as without good planning you could wind up in trouble. It’s common for drivers to end up with damage to their vehicle's steel bumpers or completely stuck because they didn’t plan out their crawl and prepare their vehicle with equipment such as aftermarket bumpers.

Safe crawling involves inspecting the obstacle and gauging angles, heights, and footing before you attempt to scale it so you can pick your line and make a skilled approach. Doing so also allows you to get an idea of how challenging the crawl will be for your vehicle and any especially challenging aspects that you need to be concerned with during your crawl. Never just drive up to a pile of rocks or a rock slab and start climbing without first carefully assessing the situation.


Picking your line is the second part of planning your crawl. Once you’ve taken a good look at what you're going to crawl over, map out or pick the path you will take over the obstacle.

Based on factors like ground clearance, gears, vehicle ascent and descent angles, torque, and tires, you must plan your approach and what you must do throughout the rest of the climb once you get going.

Devise a plan that gets you up and over the entire obstacle while avoiding the potential problems like straddling high rocks, driving over sharp rocks, and other problems.

Equally as important, you must also plan out what to do in the event you have trouble part way up. A good line then is one that is feasible for your Jeep or truck, one that allows you the ability to problem solve if things don’t initially go as planned.


The third part of picking your line is preparing your Jeep with bumpers for the crawl, starting with equipment like aftermarket bumpers. Start out getting ready for the crawl by airing down your tires so they are a little softer to give you better traction.

Next set your Jeep or truck into 4-wheel low gear and avoid going any faster than about 3 mph, which should be enough to keep you moving forward without the danger of losing traction. If you have a sway bar disconnect function, disconnect your sway bars so you have greater articulation as you climb.

Drive your line as you’ve chosen, avoid straddling any rocks, keep the underside of your vehicle as high as possible. If necessary, have a spotter help you make sure your tires are going where you think they are. Then just creep along slowly, following your planned approach to get over the rocks. Avoid stopping while you're ascending to keep the momentum going and you should be able to get up and over as long as you have planned well.

Safe, successful, and exciting rock crawling involves finding the right line and then driving it. Following these three essential tips on planning your crawl and picking your line, you should have little trouble getting your Jeep or truck up and over. With good planning, slow progress, and not biting off more than you and your truck can chew, you can feel the excitement of tackling all those rock piles and slabs!