As you'd expect, paved roads don't often reach the places that are most off the beaten track. Getting to the backcountry therefore means using the right tool for the job, which will often be a four-wheel drive vehicle. This next set of blog entries is for those of you that have no experience with four-wheel driving on really lousy roads, but have a hankering to give it a try. I'll start with some advice on choosing the right chariot for your adventure.
Not so very long ago, that would have been very simple, in the sense that you'd know exactly what to look for. That's because there were only two choices: Jeeps (as in the registered trademark vehicle, not in the generic way the term is sometimes used) and pickup trucks. The former were built to go anywhere, with no compromises for comfort, and the latter were built to do heavy, high clearance work. Finding a place that rented a Jeep might not be easy, but at least everyone knew what you were talking about.
Today, however, there are many different types of cars that do some, most, or all of the same jobs. That's good, because the old Jeeps weren't built to carry much gear, and you don't always need a vehicle that can leap mountains in a single bound. But it's bad in that the choices become more complicated, and it's therefore easier to end up with the wrong tool for the job.