Forever I have loved off-roading. It began with driving tractors (with giant tires) on my grandparents’ 240 acre dairy farm in DeKalb County, Illinois. By the age of 12 I could back the tractor and spreader into the barn between the gutters, pull the hay bailer and wagon loads of hay, and drive the brush hog through the woods chopping up the underbrush. This meant traversing the creek and some muddy terrain sometimes. I found out a lot about off-road tire grip.
Fast forward to my drivers license where I got acquainted with vehicles such as cars, trucks, motorcycles, and dump trucks. I learned about traction, getting stuck, and getting unstuck. Over the years I formed a few opinions.
On a few of my trucks I had mud tires. For off-road use on soft ground, they worked pretty well. But on hard-packed dirt, not so much. They did not get good traction on concrete roads either. When stopping fast, they could sure make one heck of a squeal though.
While on my street vehicles I would use street tires, on my off-road/trucks and SUVs, I started going with all-terrain (“A/T”) tires (BF Goodrich were and are my favorite). The A/Ts worked well in any circumstance. They rode smoother and quieter on the road than the mud tires, and had much better traction. Even in icy situations with Texas sleet-covered roads, I was surprised at how well they performed.
There are some off-road enthusiasts who find that they get the best benefit out of mud tires on their Jeeps or rock crawlers that they tow to canyons in Utah or swamps in Louisiana, or wherever. But for the most part, whenever I see an off-road capable vehicle traveling the streets of Frisco, Texas, outfitted with big mudders, I am pretty sure it is just for show. As for me and my fleet, we will use A/Ts!