Off-roading is fun, for some people that are into adventures. I can consider myself an adventurer, but with cars, I like to drive them on paved roads. With my personal opinions aside, I know many people that are enthusiastically inclined towards this.
There are two key components for going off-roading – a vehicle capable of that and a set of tires. Your average Corolla won’t get far, regardless of the tires, unless you’re willing to make some drastic modifications to it.
With the vehicle aside, today we’ll be talking about the tires. To be precise, I’ll give you a list of the best mud-terrain tires on the market. Before that, let’s talk about why you’d need them.
Why do you need Mud-Terrain Tires?
Mud-terrain tires differ from road-going ones in several key aspects. The most obvious one is the tread pattern. Road tires, even winter ones, don’t have much tread depth, so they may be acceptable in shallower mud, for example, but will struggle in deeper one. They also help a lot to claw over larger rocks, dig into sand, and plenty of other off-road conditions.
Next up is durability. Mud-terrain tires are designed for torture in these less-than-ideal situations, something the regular tires won’t do so well. The puncture-resistant compound, or the reinforced sidewall for deflation in rock crawling scenarios, make them the ideal options for off-roading.
With the why out of the way, let’s talk about the who and outline my list of the best mud-terrain tires for off-roading.
#1. BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3
A few years ago, BFGoodrich released its updated Mud-Terrain T/A model dubbed KM3. With a handful of changes over the KM2, the company promises a few improvements in key areas, which show in a real-world scenario.
On the road, the Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 is a surprisingly solid tire, considering the category it’s in. The performance isn’t comparable with any road tire, but it’s acceptable enough. On dry and wet surfaces, the tire does a solid job of delivering the necessary grip and traction levels to keep you safe. The aquaplaning resistance is solid, and the braking distances are good enough to be acceptable.
Even though it’s not a winter tire, the performance in these conditions is good, but not in all situations. The tread pattern does a decent job if the snow is unpacked, which is marvelous for an all-season tire. On packed snow, the Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 doesn’t have enough biting force to be considered excellent. As a non-winter tire, the performance on ice is very poor and I may even call it non-existent.
Off-road is what the Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 is designed for, and off-road is what the tire does best. The tire’s ability to tackle any off-road situation is phenomenal. It deals with gravel and mud like a champ, and I’d rate it as one of the best in the industry. Sand is problematic, but it fairs decently well. For situations like rock crawling, as soon as you air it down, it claws over rocks with ease.
Refinement is an aspect that doesn’t get talked about too much with mud-terrain tires. The Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 is a tire that’s decently well-refined when you consider its type. It’s noisy, but not as much as some of its rivals. The comfort levels are good enough if you don’t have the highest expectations. You can air it down a bit for a slightly softer ride.
- Solid performance on the road
- One of the best off-road
- Acceptable refinement
- Snow performance isn’t the best
#2. Falken Wildpeak M/T
Let’s say you’re looking for something that’s a bit more affordable without a massive sacrifice in terms of performance. For this, I present the Falken Wildpeak M/T, a tire that I believe is an excellent balance between price and performance.
The road manners of the Wildpeak M/T are okay to get you from point A to point B. Despite being a mud-terrain tire, the grip and traction levels are acceptable in dry and wet conditions, which should be fine for most. You won’t get extremely short braking distances, so keep that in mind. In harsh rain, the aquaplaning resistance is good, as long as you’re mindful of the speed you’re driving.
Snow performance is something that the Wildpeak M/T can deliver. As an all-season model with deep grooves, the tire can bite in and offer solid traction. Even if you’re driving on packed snow or slush, the tire will remain usable. Ice is its weakest point and, as you can guess, it doesn’t do very well.
As a mud-terrain tire, the Wildpeak M/T does well in off-roading scenarios. The traction and grip levels on gravel are very good thanks to the step-down edges. In muddy situations, the self-cleaning tread delivers consistently good results. They aren’t the highest, but pretty good for a mid-range model. You’d get a mud-terrain tire for its rock-crawling abilities, something this tire doesn’t disappoint. When you air it down, the sidewall keeps the tire sturdy enough to prevent damage, but soft enough to increase the contact patch.
No one’s getting a mud-terrain tire for its refinement capabilities, so don’t expect miracles from the Wildpeak M/T. The comfort levels are on the harsher side, as the tire softens up only the minor bumps, but struggles with the larger ones. This is the main reason you’d feel a bit more vibrations. Noise levels, on the other hand, are solid when the tire’s new. You’ll notice the deep tones, which are decent. Unfortunately, as the tire’s tread depth reduces, you’ll hear more of it.
- Solid off-road performance
- Decent performance in multiple winter conditions
- Comfort levels aren’t the best
- Noise levels increase as the tire wears down
#3. Milestar Patagonia M/T
Continuing the trend of affordable off-road capable tires, we have a model from the domestic brand Milestar. The Patagonia M/T is a tire that can deliver solid performance without destroying your budget, which is what some people are after.
Mud-terrain tires need to be usable on the road, which is exactly what the Patagonia M/T offers. The grip and traction levels on dry and wet roads are limited when compared with road-going tires but are safe enough. We can say the same about the braking distances which, despite falling behind the premium models, are good enough. One thing the tire does well is the aquaplaning resistance. The high void pattern does an excellent job of evacuating water, and keeping the tire stable.
Snow isn’t this tire’s strongest side. You can consider the Patagonia M/T as good enough in a pinch, but I wouldn’t rely on it too much. The tire is acceptable in lighter conditions with decent traction if there’s unpacked snow. On packed snow, it struggles a bit more than I’d like and there’s almost no traction on ice, which is expected.
When it comes to off-roading, the Patagonia M/T is a tire that will initially impress, but it’s not all perfect. On hard-pack surfaces, the grip and traction levels are excellent, much higher than I expected. The positive trend continues in harsher conditions, like mud or rock crawling as the harshest. You’ll have no problems airing down and you won’t feel you’re missing out, especially when you consider the price. The biggest problem is the rubber compound. It’s slightly softer than its competitors, so you’ll notice a degradation in performance sooner than the other mid-range models.
These kinds of tires aren’t the best in terms of refinement, but the Patagonia M/T doesn’t do so badly. The comfort levels are as poor as you can expect them to be from a mud-terrain tire. You’ll learn to live with it, but you won’t say it’s comfortable. The noise levels are surprisingly solid for a mid-range off-roader. It’s there, and it’s not a Turanza QuietTrack, but I’ll say that it’s not the most intrusive one.
- Acceptably low noise levels
- Excellent performance on hard-packed surfaces
- Superb aquaplaning resistance
- Off-road performance will degrade as the tire wears down
- Acceptable comfort levels, but not the most comfortable even in its class
#4. Hankook Dynapro MT2
A list mentioning mid-range models wouldn’t be complete without a model from Hankook. When you factor in the performance it offers and the price, the Dynapro MT2 is near the top when comparing it with the rest of its competitors from this class.
Driving on paved roads with the Dynapro MT2 isn’t the worst experience in the world. Regardless if you’re driving on dry or wet roads, you will get decent performance as long as you’re not pushing it too much. Getting too aggressive will cause a slip. The braking distances are decent for the mid-range segment and even though they’re not the shortest, I’d still consider them safe. Finally, the aquaplaning resistance is the area where the tire impresses, as it remains stable even at highway speeds.
The Dynapro MT2 is an all-season tire and comes with an M+S rating. As a result, the winter performance is barely acceptable and it would get the job done as long as your expectations are low enough. You can get away with using it in lighter conditions as long as the snow is shallow enough. Driving on packed or deep snow isn’t the most enjoyable experience as you’ll get a lot of slip and the doesn’t feel as planted as I’d want.
Out of the overall package, the Dynapro MT2 is a tire that shines in off-road situations. It will handle anything from packed roads to rock crawling with ease. The traction is excellent when driving on gravel roads and the tire will remain planted. Going for anything more aggressive may put you in a situation with mud, where the tire has no issues. You can go into a deep enough situation at which point it will struggle, but that’s in the most extreme scenario. In the worst scenario, the tire’s internal construction has no problem going over rocks with reduced pressure.
So far I’ve talked about tires that are surprisingly quiet for mud-terrain tires, but the Dynapro MT2 is the opposite. The comfort levels are the biggest surprise, and the tire is comfortable, despite its nature and construction. It absorbs far more bumps and imperfections with ease and reduces the vibrations to a point where I’d call it comfortable enough. The noise levels, on the other hand, aren’t as good as most of its competitors, and you’ll hear more of it than you’d like.
- Excellent price per performance ratio
- Solid performance on paved roads
- Comfort levels are good
- Noise levels are higher than I’d like
- Winter performance isn’t its strongest side
#5. Pro Com Xtreme M/T 2
Cheap tires aren’t the best performers unless you find one with an excellent balance between both. With this in mind, I believe that the Pro Com Xtreme M/T 2 is a solid choice, as long as you’re prepared for a few compromises.
The performance on dry roads with the Pro Com Xtreme M/T 2 is solid. I wouldn’t give it the crown for the best, but I will say that it’s good enough. It won’t provide you with the highest levels of grip and traction, so you’ll need to be more civilized when driving. You’ll notice a slight drop in performance on wet roads, but the tire remains solid. Driving in heavier rain conditions won’t be a problem for this tire thanks to the excellent aquaplaning resistance. As for the handling, in both situations, you should be prepared for a tire that isn’t very responsive. Most mud-terrain tires aren’t but do a bit better than this one.
Mud-terrain tires aren’t dedicated winter ones, so the performance won’t be as good. The Pro Com Xtreme M/T 2 is solid and, for the most part, you shouldn’t have massive issues. The tire won’t have any issues with unpacked snow and even if you’re driving in a deeper one, the chances of getting stuck are relatively low. Packed snow is a bit of a problem, as the tire will struggle a bit more. When compared to some of the other mid-range models on this list, it’s not a tire that will wow you with this performance.
This is a mud-terrain tire, and it shows once you drive it in off-road situations. Even though the performance isn’t as good as the premium rivals, it’s a strong contender in the mid-range segment. Dirt or gravel roads are not a problem for the tire, thanks to the levels of traction it provides. In more extreme scenarios like mud, it will continue to deliver on its promises without too many issues. The pattern is designed with self-cleaning in mind, so it will be consistent. Finally, for rock-crawling, again, the tire will deliver solid performance. Thanks to the internal construction and the tread pattern, you can air it down and drive over larger rocks without worrying about performance.
The biggest compromise with the Pro Com Xtreme M/T 2 is in terms of refinement. Going for a sturdy construction means that the sidewall is stiffer, resulting in s a stiffer ride. It does acceptably well with smaller bumps, but it won’t soften up the larger ones as good as some of its rivals. The noise levels are also not the best. Around town, they aren’t terrible and you won’t hear them too much. With that said, at higher speeds, the tire becomes more audible.
- Superb off-road performance
- Very good aquaplaning resistance
- The refinement levels aren’t the best
- The road performance is slightly above average
#6. General Grabber X3
Considering how good the performance of the Grabber M/T was, I had high hopes for the newer Grabber X3. The good news here is that General nailed it and made a tire that somewhat surpassed my expectations, especially when you consider the price range.
Despite mud-terrain tires being designed for off-road driving, tires like the Grabber X3 deliver very good performance on paved roads. The tire grips to the surface and offers high levels of performance for its category. You can accelerate or go around a corner in dry and wet conditions without too many issues, as long as you’re aware of its limitations. The handling could use a bit of responsiveness, as it’s a bit slow, but I doubt many people will drive it on the limit. In terms of safety, you’re getting short braking distances and excellent aquaplaning resistance in heavy rain.
Like all tires on this list, you’re looking at an all-season model, so don’t expect the best winter performance. On unpacked snow, the Grabber X3’s tread pattern does wonders and the tire digs in with no problems. That results in excellent performance even in deeper snow. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same thing about packed snow. Sure, there is some performance, and you won’t be sliding all over the place, but I would have liked to see the tire a bit more planted. Considering that we’re talking about a tire with an M+S rating, the performance on ice is poor.
The Grabber X3 feels most at home when you’re driving it in off-road conditions. Hard-packed surfaces pose no problem for the tire, as it puts the power down without too many problems. In doing so, the tire also remains easy to handle. Where General’s tire shines the most is mud. It has no issues with traction in shallow or deep mud and it delivers the performance consistently thanks to the self-cleaning tread design. For rock crawling, the tire will continue to impress, delivering an almost premium-like performance when aired down. I would categorize the overall off-road performance as among the best in the mid-range segment.
In the refinement department, the Grabber X3 continues to deliver impressive results. As a mud-terrain tire, the levels of comfort surprised me. These kinds of tires are usually harsher at regular pressures, something this tire doesn’t suffer from. It absorbs the bumps and road imperfections decently, so you won’t need to tinker with the pressures to get a softer ride. The noise levels are also very good thanks to General’s design. It cancels some noises, making the tire acceptable even at higher speeds.
- Premium-like off-road performance
- Plenty of grip and traction on paved surfaces
- Solid refinement for a mud-terrain tire
- The handling isn’t as responsive as some of its competitors
- It will struggle for traction on packed snow
#7. Goodyear Wrangler MT/R with Kevlar
Don’t think I forgot about the king of the hill for off-roading. The Wrangler MT/R with Kevlar is probably among the oldest tire on this list, but it’s still among the best. There aren’t too many competitors that can outperform it, and if you can find one, then it’s one of the best options out there.
On the road, the Wrangler MT/R with Kevlar drives as good as you can expect it to. The levels of grip and traction aren’t on the same level as a road-going tire but are good enough for daily driving scenarios. You will need to be mindful of the limitations, so don’t push it too much. Despite its nature, the tire handles pretty good, and it’s easy to drive without too much strain. Even at the limit, it’s predictable and won’t catch you by surprise. The braking distances are also excellent and are very near the top of the category. Finally, the aquaplaning resistance is very good thanks to the high-void pattern, enabling the tire to evacuate more water from beneath it.
Looking at the tread pattern gives you the impression that the Wrangler MT/R with Kevlar will crush any tire in snowy conditions. That is true, but not in all of them. As long as the snow is unpacked, the tire won’t struggle with grip and traction. The problems start once you drive on packed snow. It’s not terrible, but it lacks a bit more biting force to deliver solid performance. Even though these kinds of tires aren’t superior on snow, some of its rivals seem to do a slightly better job.
We come to the best part – off-roading. Throw the Wrangler MT/R with Kevlar in any non-paved situation and it won’t disappoint. Starting off with gravel, the tire has very high levels of grip and traction, which combined with the short braking distances make it the best there is. In this regard, I’d even put it as slightly ahead of the BFGoodrich model. The tread design with those massive voids does a marvelous job in muddy situations. It will dig in and find traction in situations where others may struggle. While doing so, it will ensure that the tread is clean, enabling it to deliver consistent results. The Kevlar reinforcement does wonders when you air it down for rock crawling. Not only will it offer the best performance, but you also won’t worry too much about sharp rocks and punctures.
When looking at the refinement, there are some positive and negative sides to the Wrangler MT/R with Kevlar. The positive is the comfort levels, which are pretty good for a mud-terrain tire. It can soften up or absorb most of the bumps and imperfections, which is a rare sight in this category. Unfortunately, the noise levels aren’t as impressive. The tire is noticeably noisier than even some of its mid-range rivals. It’s livable, but you will notice it a bit more.
- One of the best off-road performance
- Responsive handling for a mud-terrain tire
- Class leading dry and wet performance
- Noise levels aren’t as impressive
- Among the most expensive mud-terrain tires
#8. Cooper Evolution M/T
As part of the mid-range segment, Cooper released the Evolution M/T as a mud-terrain tire. The thing that makes this model different from the rest of the mid-range segment is the price. It’s on the more affordable side of things without massive compromises to the performance.
The performance on paved surfaces is good for daily driving, but it’s not the best in some conditions. On dry roads, the Evolution M/T is a very good performer. It will provide you with plenty of grip and traction for daily driving and with the planted handling and stability, you won’t feel like you’re missing out. With that said, the wet performance isn’t as good as I was hoping. It’s fine for daily driving, but it’s not as grippy as some of its mid-range counterparts. This also translates into slightly longer braking distances when compared to the best in class. One positive thing is the excellent aquaplaning resistance, which is thanks to the large void between the blocks.
When it comes to winter performance on snow, things are more or less similar to most of the other mud-terrain tires. The Evolution M/T does a solid job at delivering traction on unpacked snow, even if it’s deeper. With that said, it struggles a bit over packed snow. You’ll notice it slipping a bit more than you’d like. A twist in the story is the fact that this is a studdable tire. As a result, once you fit the studs, the tire transforms and delivers one of the best snow and ice performance in the mud-terrain category.
Considering the lower price point, I didn’t have high hopes for the tire. Luckily, I was wrong. The Evolution M/T delivered consistently impressive results when driving it on anything from dirt to rock crawling. On hard-packed surfaces like gravel or dirt, the tire’s traction levels are more than enough to get you from any situation. Going for something more aggressive, like mud, the pattern does an excellent job of digging in and finding traction. You won’t find too much dirt stuck in the tread thanks to its ability to remain clean. In rock crawling situations, the tire will have no problems running at lower pressures to increase the footprint and deliver high levels of traction without the risk of damage.
The most noticeable compromise with the Evolution M/T is in the refinement area, specifically the noise levels. I wouldn’t classify them as obnoxiously high, but there are quieter tires on this list. The noise becomes even more noticeable at higher speeds or on rougher roads. The comfort levels, on the other hand, are decent. It won’t dethrone a touring tire, but it will deal with bumps and imperfections decently enough so that it won’t feel too harsh.
- Option to add studs for improved snow and ice performance
- Very good performance overall
- Wet traction could use a bit of work
- Noise levels are slightly higher
#9. Yokohama Geolandar M/T G003
In the world of mud-terrain tires, there are a few names that always pop up whenever you look at some lists and Geolandar is one of them. The release of the Geolandar M/T G003 was an interesting one because Yokohama didn’t make upgrades to the previous model, it made a completely new model.
Making these changes resulted in some improvements in certain areas, like performance on paved roads. The Geolandar M/T G003 will provide plenty of performance in dry and wet conditions, as long as you don’t drive like you’re on a track. There is some headroom for you to push things a bit, but don’t expect miracles, as that’s not what the tire is designed for. The braking distances are short enough for the category and there aren’t too many competitors that outperform it. Like with most mud-terrain tires, the high-void design does wonders for water evacuation, resulting in excellent aquaplaning resistance.
There is a pattern with mud-terrain tires and that’s in terms of snow performance. Like most of the models on this list, the Geolandar M/T G003 is decent on snow, but not in all conditions. If you’re driving on unpacked snow, the tire will be more than up for the task. Even in deeper snow, it will have no problems delivering traction, making it an excellent performer. With that said, it will struggle on packed snow, which is to be expected with this kind of tire.
In off-road conditions, the Geolandar M/T G003 is a tire that won’t break a sweat trying to deliver the necessary performance. On hard-packed surfaces, the levels of traction will be far more than what most people would need. In slightly harsher conditions, like muddy terrains, the tire’s tread pattern will have no issues scooping the mud and providing plenty of traction. The best part is that its self-cleaning properties will keep the tread clean and the performance consistent. Finally, in rock crawling scenarios, the tire will deliver the traction and durability you need to get over anything. You can air it down and, thanks to the internal construction and the rubber compound, you won’t have to worry about damaging it in these conditions.
One of the several things that Yokohama worked on in terms of improvement over the previous generation is the noise levels. As a result, the Geolandar M/T G003 is a tire that’s noticeably quieter, which is a good thing, considering we’re talking about a mud-terrain option. When it comes to comfort levels, that’s another aspect of the tire that impressed me. Considering its nature, you will get solid comfort levels from a tire that will soften up most of the harsher bumps on the road.
- Well refined
- Exceptional off-road performance
- Decent performance on paved roads
- Lacks a bit in terms of handling responsiveness
- Traction on packed snow isn’t on the same level as its competitors
#10. Atturo Trail Blade M/T
The last entry on this list is a tire from a brand that isn’t in the industry for too long. Atturo is a small company compared with the rest of the entries on this list and it gives us the Trail Blade M/T. With this model, we’re looking at an affordable tire with plenty of off-road performance.
Going for an affordable model means that there will be some compromises and with the Trail Blade M/T, they come in the form of paved road performance. On dry surfaces, the tire isn’t all that bad. You’ll get dependable grip and traction levels, which will be fine for daily driving scenarios. It comes combined with decent handling characteristics and acceptable braking distances. Wet is where the tire takes a hit, even when compared with the rest of the “affordable” models. It’s safe enough, but you will notice a bit more slip when compared with the other tires on this list. As a result, you should also expect slightly longer braking distances than the leaders in the mid-range class. The positive side of the tire is the aquaplaning resistance, which keeps it stable even at higher speeds.
Winter performance is similar to what most mud-terrain tires can offer. As long as you’re driving on unpacked snow, the Trail Blade M/T will have no issues providing excellent traction. This is thanks to the tread pattern, so no surprise here. Another area where you won’t be surprised is the limited traction on packed surfaces. To be fair, I would even call this tire average in these conditions, as it’s not as capable of biting into the snow as some of its rivals, especially from the premium segment. The performance on ice is almost non-existent, so this is another area where you won’t be surprised.
As a mud-terrain tire, the Trail Blade M/T will provide you with more than you’d need in almost all conditions. Over gravel, the tread blocks provide high levels of grip and traction, resulting in a performance with almost no compromises. Going for conditions like mud, the tire continues to impress with its ability to scoop up the mud to a point where it will get you going. Even in deeper mud, it won’t struggle too much to get you out of that situation. The weakest point of the tire is rock crawling. You can deflate it and it will do a decent job, but you’ll notice it struggling for traction in some situations. It’s not a massive drawback and you won’t be stranded over every larger rock. With that said, some of the mid-range and most of the premium options offer a bit more.
The overall refinement will be acceptable for people that don’t expect too much. On the noise side of things, you shouldn’t expect the Trail Blade M/T to be a quiet tire. It will be acceptable around town but will be noticeable on the highway. Things don’t improve too much on the comfort side of things. While it does acceptably well in dealing with bumps, the overall ride quality is slightly on the harsher side.
- Solid dry performance
- Traction levels on mud are excellent
- Plenty of biting force for superb performance on gravel
- The performance on wet roads is average
- The refinement levels aren’t the best in class