Off-road tires

Best Overland Tires 2023 (and How to Choose)

It is often said that the greatest invention in the world was the wheel. I couldn’t agree more, and I’ll posit that the second greatest invention was the tire, with its impressive improvements in traction and comfort. 

For those of us who love to explore off the beaten path in our vehicles, having the right overlanding tires plays a critical role in the success of any trip. They are responsible for keeping the vehicle on the road and handling the rough terrain encountered during off-roading.

With so many options available, choosing the right tires for your overlanding vehicle can be a daunting task. This article is here to help.

Overlanding Tires Overview

Overlanding tires come in several different types, including all-terrain, mud-terrain, and, more recently, hybrid-terrain tires. While these tires have some similarities with tires used for hard-core off-roading, overlanding tires must be able to handle long stretches of on-road travel, as well as accommodate heavier loads that are common when overlanding.

Overland tires
Tires used for overlanding need to balance off-road chops with on-road performance.

To be considered a good overlanding tire, a tire must have several key factors, including durability to withstand rough terrain and heavy loads, good traction for off-road driving, strong sidewalls to resist punctures, comfort for long hours on the road, the right size and load rating to ensure adequate ground clearance and carrying capacity, and a tread pattern that provides off-road traction and mud/sand/snow performance.

When choosing an overlanding tire, you need to consider your vehicle’s tire size limitations, the terrain you’ll travel through, and your payload. Other aspects to consider include tire size (width and diameter), tread pattern, sidewall thickness, and construction (e.g., steel radial). See the glossary of terms below for an explanation of key terms used to describe tires.

As for tire size, the best size for overlanding depends on a variety of factors, including your vehicle and the type of terrain you’ll encounter. It can be helpful to consult with a tire specialist to ensure you choose the best tire size for your specific needs, although, in our experience, you may need to go to a shop that specializes in off-roading to find the correct expertise.

Recommended Tires for Overlanding

There are many tires on the market that will work for overlanding, but the tires listed below are either tires I’ve had direct experience with and trust or tires that people who I trust say are good for overlanding.

BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2

The BFGoodrich KO2s are the tires I am currently running on my Jeep Wrangler. An all-terrain tire, they handle well on the road (my Jeep is my daily driver) but also have legitimate chops for tackling technical off-road trails. I’ve put them through substantial abuse on the trails here in Southern California, and don’t have any complaints. 

These tires are designed with the tough terrain in mind, derived from BFGoodrich’s race-proven Baja T/A KR2 tire. This technology provides split and bruise-resistant sidewall rubber, increased rubber thickness, and an advanced deflection design that deflects protruding objects and protects against sidewall splitting.

Jeep articulation
K02s in action on the Ordeal Mobile. I like the balance between on-road and off-road performance

The tires come with a 50,000-mile manufacturer’s treadwear limited warranty across all replacement sizes, the BFGoodrich KO2 tires offer long-lasting performance. The locking 3-D sipes provide increased tread block stability, and the tire’s footprint shape distributes stress evenly, ensuring more uniform wear.


The tires have a serrated shoulder design, which provides increased mud, snow, and rock traction, especially when driving with low tire pressure. I typically air mine down to 15 psi and haven’t had any problems with losing a bead (knock on wood). The interlocking tread elements maximize traction and handling, both on and off-road, making it easier to conquer challenging terrain.

The BFGoodrich KO2 tires carry the Three Peak Mountain Snow Flake (3PMSF) symbol, meaning they exceed the USTMA’s severe snow traction performance requirements. In my experience, they are good in snow, but not as good as a dedicated snow tire.

BFGoodrich Mud Terrain T/A KM3

BFGoodrich KM3 tires are a great option for those who are looking for a tire that can handle challenging overlanding terrain. Compared to the BFGoodrich KO2 tire, the KM3 offers 5 percent better mud traction and 8 percent better rock traction, making it a top choice for off-road enthusiasts.

The KM3 features a “Mud-Phobic” bar design and Terrain-Attack tread pattern to provide enhanced traction in muddy or soft soil conditions, while its Krawl-TEK compound offers grip on rock and slick surfaces.

Additionally, the tire has a Linear Flex Zone that allows it to envelop objects, Traction-Armor Sidewall Sculpture, and a notched shoulder design for added traction in soft soil and mud. Overall, the BFGoodrich KM3 tire is built to conquer even the toughest off-road challenges.


While the BFGoodrich KM3 is a great choice for extreme off-road conditions, it does come with trade-offs for on-road performance. As with most aggressive mud-terrain tires, you can expect lower gas mileage, more noise, and increased vibration when driving on paved roads.

The aggressive tread pattern and stiff sidewalls may also affect handling and stability at high speeds, making the KM3 better suited for slow-paced, technical off-road driving rather than high-speed highway driving.


Keep in mind that this type of tire is specifically designed for off-road use and the trade-offs in on-road performance result from its superior off-road capabilities. If you’re spending most of your time on the road and only occasional off-roading, a more balanced tire might be a better fit.

Falken WILDPEAK A/T3W Tire

The Falken Wildpeak A/T3W tire is marketed towards overlanders who require reliable performance in various weather and terrain conditions. The tire features a combination of aggressive off-road capability and on-road comfort. The optimized tread design and silica tread compound aim to provide good performance in wear, winter, and wet conditions.

The tire has received the Three Peak Mountain Snow Flake (3PMSF) symbol from USTMA, indicating that it has passed tests for snow traction. The full-depth sipes and grooves are designed to maintain snow and wet traction throughout the life of the tire, with a 55,000-mile Tread Life Warranty.

In terms of technology, the Wildpeak A/T3W includes Falken’s 3D Canyon Sipes and a proprietary lower sidewall. It has the deepest tread depth in its category, which may contribute to its overall performance. The tire is available in various sizes, including LT sizes, with 19/32nds inches.

Falken Wildpeak At3w

Overall, the WILDPEAK A/T3W tire provides a well-rounded solution for overlanders who need good performance in various weather and terrain conditions. Its deep tread and 3PMSF symbol make it a strong contender in snowy and wet conditions, while its silica tread compound and optimized tread design aim to provide good performance in other conditions.

NITTO Ridge Grappler

The BFGoodrich KO2s are the tires I am currently running on my Jeep Wrangler. An all-terrain tire, they handle well on the road (my Jeep is my daily driver) but also have legitimate chops for tackling technical off-road trails. I’ve put them through substantial abuse on the trails here in Southern California, and don’t have any complaints. 

Traditionally, there were two types of tires used for off-roading and overlanding, all-terrain and mud-terrain tires. Recently, a new category has emerged, the hybrid terrain tire, and has become increasingly popular. It combines the all-season handling and grip of an all-terrain tire with the off-road capability and durability of a mud-terrain tire, making it ideal for overlanding. The Nitto Ridge Grappler is one of these tires.

Nitto Ridge Grappler

In terms of on-road performance, the Ridge Grappler lives up to its promises. The tire is indeed quiet and comfortable, with a tread pattern that effectively cancels out road noise. The tire also handles well on the highway, providing a stable and confident ride.

Off-road, the Ridge Grappler is also a decent performer. The tire’s aggressive sidewall lugs and tread pattern provide good traction in loose terrain, and the tire’s shoulder and lateral Z grooves help to clear mud and maintain grip. The tire’s reinforced block foundation also helps to reduce flex, making it easier to control the vehicle in off-road conditions.

Nitto Ridge Grappler

Overall, the Nitto Ridge Grappler is a well-rounded tire that is capable of performing well in a variety of conditions. While it may not be the best choice for pure mud-terrain performance or pure on-road performance, it is a good option for those who are looking for a tire that can handle a mix of conditions.

How to Choose Overlanding Tires


When choosing an overland tire, it’s important to consider its ability to withstand rough terrain and heavy loads. A durable tire will be able to resist punctures and cuts from sharp rocks and debris, while also maintaining its shape and stability under heavy loads. Look for tires with reinforced sidewalls, extra-thick rubber, and sturdy construction.


Good traction is essential for safe and comfortable off-road driving, especially on loose or slippery surfaces. When selecting an overland tire, look for a tread pattern that provides maximum grip on all types of terrain, including mud, snow, and rocks. Consider a tire with large, aggressive tread blocks and multiple biting edges for improved traction.

Sidewall Strength

Strong sidewalls are crucial for resisting punctures and other types of damage when driving on rough or rocky terrain. When selecting an overland tire, look for a tire with reinforced sidewalls and extra-thick rubber that provides extra protection against cuts and punctures.

Comfort/Ride Quality

Overland travel often involves long hours on the road, so it’s important to choose a tire that provides a smooth and comfortable ride. For optimal comfort, consider a tire with a variable pitch tread pattern that reduces road noise, as well as a comfortable ride on both smooth highways and rough roads.

Size and Load Rating

Selecting the right size and load rating for your vehicle is important. This will ensure adequate ground clearance and carrying capacity, as well as a comfortable and safe ride.

Tread Pattern

The tread pattern of your overland tire is an important consideration, as it will determine the tire’s ability to perform on different types of terrain. Consider a tire with a hybrid all-terrain pattern that provides good traction on both off-road and on-road surfaces.

All-Terrain Capability

Overland travel often involves a mix of paved and unpaved roads, so it’s important to choose a tire that can perform well on both. Consider a tire with a versatile all-terrain pattern that provides good traction and handling on all types of roads, including gravel, mud, and snow.

​Tire Terms Glossary

Here’s a list of terms used to describe tires, with short explanations for each:

  1. Tread – The pattern of grooves and raised areas on the tire’s contact patch that provide traction and grip on the road. The tread design affects the tire’s handling and performance in different weather conditions, and is an important factor to consider when selecting tires for overlanding.
  2. Bead – The inner circumference of the tire that fits snugly against the rim of the wheel. The bead is important for maintaining air pressure in the tire and for securing the tire to the wheel.
  3. Shoulder – The area of the tire that sits between the tread and the sidewall. The shoulder design can affect the tire’s stability and handling, as well as its ability to dig in and grip in soft terrain like mud and snow.
  4. Sidewall – The part of the tire that extends from the bead to the tread, providing support to the tire and helping to absorb impacts from obstacles. The sidewall design can also affect the tire’s handling and stability, as well as its resistance to punctures and cuts.
  5. Tread depth – The distance between the top of the tread and the base of the tire, measured in millimeters. Tread depth affects the tire’s ability to grip the road and can influence its performance in different weather conditions.
  6. Compound – The mixture of raw materials used to make the tire, which affects its durability, grip, and handling.
  7. Load index – A numerical value that represents the maximum weight that a tire can carry. The load index is important for selecting tires that are appropriate for the weight of your vehicle.
  8. Speed rating – A letter that represents the maximum speed a tire can safely handle, based on a standardized test. Speed ratings are important for selecting tires that can handle the speeds you’ll be traveling at.

These terms are all important to consider when selecting tires for overlanding, as they will impact the tire’s performance and handling in different conditions, including off-road terrain.

Overland Tire FAQs

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