Tires matter as much as the vehicle if you drive in mud

I’ve been testing all sorts of vehicles for several years, trying to find the perfect hunting and fishing vehicle. But I’ve learned in that time that what’s more important than the vehicle itself are the tires that are rolling along under it.

It’s great to have a souped-up, high-zoot, winch-equipped monster truck for hunting and fishing. And there are times when a really good four-wheel-drive system is absolutely necessary. But maybe even more important than the type of vehicle you’re driving is the tread pattern on the tires underneath that rig.

I’ve long been a fan of the Cooper Discoverer S/T Maxx. They’re a great all-terrain tire that rolls well on the pavement, but still gets good traction in mud, snow and ice. I have yet to find another tire that gets better traction on such a wide variety of conditions, and still runs for 30,000 miles or more. I generally get about 35,000 miles out of a set of Discoverer S/T Maxx tires.

My curiosity was piqued a few months ago at the Rocky Mountain Driving Experience, though, when representatives from BF Goodrich brought their T/A KO2 tires. These are the tires their Rally and Baja drivers are taking through some of the roughest terrain on the planet. They had a couple of their drivers at the event, and they swore by these wheels. I’d love to get my hands on a set and test them out on my driveway. In a given week, my driveway can show me the gamut of what I can expect to find on just about any forest road in the state.

The BF Goodrich T/A KO2 is billed as an all-season, all-terrain tire, and the Baja drivers say the tread pattern is even better for mud and snow traction than my Coopers. In the next few months, I’m going to try to get my hands on a set of these tires and test it for myself. I hope to have it figured out by elk season, so I can give you good advice on what kind of tires you ought to have under you when you head to the hills.

Until then, I’ll keep pushing my luck with the all-highway Firestone Transforce HTs that came on my new truck. Good thing I have a full set of chains.