Why off road in large caravans? - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
 
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post #1 of 17 Old 06-10-2011, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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Why off road in large caravans?

Admittedly I'm new to the jeep scene. Only 4x4 I owned was a massive 77 suburban back in high school (when gas was about .69/gal). Now that I'm addicted to my jeep I am watching tons of videos and reading lots of threads.

Here's the question: What's the appeal of off-roading in large groups? I get that you are hanging out with a lot of great people but there are in-town events for that. Every video of larger groups has several shots of jeeps lined up, waiting for several minutes per jeep to attempt an obstacle. Next thing you know you've waiting 45 min or more...again, per obstacle. Go out with one or two other jeeps and you don't have to wait as long and are probably involved with each attempt in some way. Plus, you still have recovery support, still have friends around, etc, etc.

I'm NOT trying to start a heated debate. I'm genuinely curious if there's another reason other than the social aspect. Only thing I could come up with is the learning curve "might" be increased if someone better skilled than anyone you know leads (which might be reason enough). Anyone on here actually dislike the larger caravans?

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post #2 of 17 Old 06-11-2011, 12:14 AM
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you have to remember a lot of the pics/videos are from events
events = lots of people

or they are from off road parks, most parks are only open certain weekends so lots of people end up showing up to wheel at the same time

If we all had personal ORV parks or could rent the entire park for closed events, the most people would probably opt for smaller groups.


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post #3 of 17 Old 06-11-2011, 12:21 AM
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It depends.

On easy trails, large club events are a lot of fun. I get personal enjoyment out of seeing newbs learn the ropes and watching their rigs and driving skill develop over time. Gives me opportunities to get out of the cab, relax, take pictures, bullshit with friends, and take in the sights. When I blast through these easier trails with small groups of capable Jeeps, I don't really get to see much of the trail because I'm concentrating on driving the whole time. Many of my most memorable and fun runs were large club runs. These runs generally aren't hard enough to be ruined by the guy running 37s on his D35 and insisting it can do anything a D60 can do, or the "I can run anything without lockers" guy.

On really difficult trails, large groups can be a PITA, especially considering that folks in under-built rigs and inexperienced drivers will always insist on going. these runs often turn into nightmares of overnight recoveries, beating up your own rig pulling the under-built rigs through, exhaustion from hours of stacking rocks, and the frustration of dealing with the "D35 guy's" pissed off attitude as he tears his shit up - which in turn pisses off the other people working their asses off trying to get him through the trail. As I grow older and wiser, I try to keep the difficult trails runs to small groups of people whos experience and rig are up to the task.
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post #4 of 17 Old 06-11-2011, 02:08 AM
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I will second what both venom and desert dog said. On the easy trail rides its fun to have huge groups. I was just one of about 18 jeeps that ran through some trails in the pine barrens and it was a blast. That same group would've been a nightmare on a technical trail with lots of obstacles. I think about 5 vehicles is a good size group for harder trails. No matter what the group size, if ya sit in your jeep and wait for your turn it's gonna suck. If your waiting for someone to clear an obstacle take the opportunity to get to know some people and maybe learn a thing or two about line choice, I learn a lot from watching other people hit nasty obstacles.

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post #5 of 17 Old 06-11-2011, 02:23 AM
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like DD said, it does suck when you have a vehicle in a group that has no business being there

in big groups it always seems like theres one guy who tries to prove that lockers arent needed.

first time I went to the old katemcy, there was a guy in our first group that went out anyway knowing his unlifted grand cherokee had no power steering ("been blown for months") no lockers and almost halfway through the first trail, his t-case blew so he only had 2wd (technically 1wd since no locker) and pretty much stock suspension so he couldnt flex enough to even make it through the bypasses without a strap.
Same trip was a couple of asshats with a little yellow TJ - bone stock with open diffs that they had bought just to bring out and kill. They were hitting big obstacles and just hitting them fast so the frame would hit and bounce them over.
sucked waiting for them to try a climb 15 times that everyone else had walked but they just kept trying to hit it faster and with more throttle cuz they had open diffs, no lift and street tires.
but we were used to waiting pretty quickly - we had a bunch of H2's in our first group that turtled on everything

I'm all for pushing the limits and seeing what your rig is actually capable of, but if you're lacking on the basics dont try the hard trails with big groups of strangers - do it with a small group that understands ahead of time you may need help/slow them down and if they don't mind and are laid back then cool - give it hell and upgrade what ya break!


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post #6 of 17 Old 06-11-2011, 05:46 AM
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Small groups rock. You get to blast through everything and see more wheeling time!

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post #7 of 17 Old 06-11-2011, 06:17 AM
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I like the smaller groups for tougher trails. However, I was impressed by the JKO run at Pritchett. For that many rigs to get done so quickly was impressive.

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post #8 of 17 Old 06-11-2011, 06:25 AM
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I agree that groups of five work really well. Most of the folks I go with have very capable rigs and know what they can do. I like helping out newbies learn how much their jeep can do and learn to look at lines to make an obstacle less daunting. The time waiting is often very much a part of the whole experience with friends.
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post #9 of 17 Old 06-11-2011, 06:39 AM
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I prefer smaller groups as well.
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post #10 of 17 Old 06-11-2011, 06:49 AM Thread Starter
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I can get the "events" but often they've appeared to be just groups that get together from forums like this...not an actual event like Easter. Sounds like most have the same attitude about it as I would. Thanks for the responses. After my recent solo trip, I'm aware that my jeep is much more capable than I am but also learned I'm more capable than I thought. Years of driving Army 1/4T and H1s and dad letting me drive once in a while. :-)

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post #11 of 17 Old 06-11-2011, 07:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diver_matt View Post
Admittedly I'm new to the jeep scene. Only 4x4 I owned was a massive 77 suburban back in high school (when gas was about .69/gal). Now that I'm addicted to my jeep I am watching tons of videos and reading lots of threads.

Here's the question: What's the appeal of off-roading in large groups? I get that you are hanging out with a lot of great people but there are in-town events for that. Every video of larger groups has several shots of jeeps lined up, waiting for several minutes per jeep to attempt an obstacle. Next thing you know you've waiting 45 min or more...again, per obstacle. Go out with one or two other jeeps and you don't have to wait as long and are probably involved with each attempt in some way. Plus, you still have recovery support, still have friends around, etc, etc.

I'm NOT trying to start a heated debate. I'm genuinely curious if there's another reason other than the social aspect. Only thing I could come up with is the learning curve "might" be increased if someone better skilled than anyone you know leads (which might be reason enough). Anyone on here actually dislike the larger caravans?
I'm a 3-4 rig kinda guy in a group. I don't care for the masses. If I am in a large group it's fun if the drivers/rigs are capable for the trail on moderate/hard trails. Keeps the group moving, but enough entertainment that it doesn't seem too bad. Nothing like watching a guy that shouldn't be on the trail to begin with struggle every couple of minutes holding everyone up!

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post #12 of 17 Old 06-11-2011, 10:05 AM
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I generally feel that 7 rigs is the cutoff. Ideally, I'd be wheeling with 3-4 in my group total, but it is fun to go to the larger events to meet people. That being said, when its time to hit the trails, its a lot better when it breaks up a bit. Thats generally how most of the rides around my neck of the woods go.

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post #13 of 17 Old 06-11-2011, 10:24 AM
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I prefer 2-4 myself. Generally we split up during the day into smaller groups and at night we will have a bigger group just trailriding. Our last ride a guy in a bone stock TJ wanted to ride with us at night. We couldn't say no, but it did get old dragging him EVERYWHERE.
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post #14 of 17 Old 06-11-2011, 11:55 AM
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Like DD said sometimes when you are in a small group you don't get a chance to stop and get out to take pictures or enjoy the sights. Last time up at RC we had about 10 rigs in the morning and we cruised slow down the trails and took in the sights and let the less built guys enjoy themselves. Later 3 of us broke off and we were cruising down the same trails at 15mph on our way to and from the actual trails we wanted to hit. Its hard to enjoy when you are real focused on driving. Both were fun though and I enjoy both.
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post #15 of 17 Old 06-11-2011, 03:01 PM
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I like between 3-5. It sucks when you have a numbnutt who tries to do hard trails with a stock vehicle.

I was going up one trail that at least required lockers or you willing to beat the hell out of your rig. Here comes this old guy with a bone stock brand new jeep minivan. Still had the street tires even.

We told him he probably couldn't make it up the trail. He insisted on following us. Us being nice we helped winch him out when he was about to roll.

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post #16 of 17 Old 06-11-2011, 03:24 PM
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Depends on the group and the club. I cant stand going out with more than 10. Biggest catch is trail guides. Each trip should have at least 2, one at the front and one at the back of the line. These are people that know where they are going and know where theyve been. The same people should know the talents of each driver and the capabilities of each jeep in their group, as well as have the equipment (or have someone in the group that has the equipment) in the group AND the knowledge to get stucks unstuck safely.

Getting in and getting out together is important. If there arent enough trail guides, groups get large.

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post #17 of 17 Old 06-11-2011, 03:57 PM
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Like most have echoed here, the big groups are fine for the easier stuff, but keep anything rated 3.5 and up to smaller groups. Even the easy stuff needs to be broken up if enough rigs are going.

Every year, we have a couple club runs to a popular spot up north. It usually gathers 30-50 rigs in total. Since it's a ~40 mile trail, we split people into groups; leaving the airdown spot every 30 minutes or so. There's always a leader (someone who's run the trail multiple times and has a fully capable vehicle) and a tailgunner with a CB (to speak with the leader, and since there's always people who don't have CB's yet; they're stuck in the middle of the pack).

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