You may have seen my list about best off-road SUVs, but in writing it, it occurred to me that there are enough badass off-road pickup trucks to make a whole separate list. When you want to ditch the blacktop for muddy trails, some trucks come to mind. Pickups, while extremely utility-based, are also made to get down and dirty. Here's a list of the 10 best pickups for off-roading.
10 Ford Raptor
The Ford Raptor is the truck you ask yourself, "Is this practical?" It's a beastly 5.2 L V-8 with over 500 hp. You'll likely never need this kind of power and capability all wrapped up in one off-road package, but the bragging rights alone are enough to justify its hefty price tag. Not to mention the amount of fun it is knowing you can eat dirt at a rocket's pace.
9 Tacoma TRD Pro
Putting the Tacoma on this list is a simple no-brainer. Between Toyota's legendary reliability and long history (especially overseas, think FJ-40) of off-road prowess it'd be a crime not to put this mid-sized truck on the list. Its smaller body and gripping 4-wheel drive can not only take you places, it'll get you out of the ones you don't want to be. The newly redesigned for 2019 Tacoma is sharp and aggressively styled, and having 4 doors and seating for your friends is handy too. MPG is respectable at 20 city/23 highway. You can afford to drive it's like it meant to be — on the dirt road!
8 Nissan Titan Pro 4X
While Nissan seems to have a much smaller footprint in the American pickup truck market, especially compared to its domestic rivals, it still has a lot to offer. If there was an underdog on the dirt road, it'd be the Titan. Lost in the noise of Ford and Chevy, Titan, despite its name, is an unlikely gentle giant. The current model year boasts 390 hp and 394 lb-ft of torque. That'll come in handy when your bestie needs a tow from the trail he's stuck in. Its interior, while roomy for passengers, stretches the body of this full size 4-door ride making it, well, a Titan on the trail. It's no slouch on features, including heated and cooled seats for ultimate comfort.
7 Chevy Colorado ZR-2
The younger sibling to the Silverado, Colorado has made waves, or dust in the trails, with its venerable ZR2 addition. Aimed directly at Jeep's Gladiator and Ford's new Ranger, the off-road-ready edition of Chevy's mid-sized pickup is impressive. It offers all the bells and whistles you'd want in a truck. The one attribute this Chevy has over its older sibling is its size. Colorado (or GMC Canyon) is midsize and more nimble on the tight spaces on the trail. Despite its midsize classification, this bad boy is still able to tow some 5000 lbs. so if your wheeling buddy needs a bale out, you can lend a hand.
6 Dodge Powerwagon
While most of these trucks are a modern flavor of 4x4s, the Power Wagon from the 1940s was an important predecessor to them all. In fact, it was the first civilian 4x4 available to the American public. With its classic styling and an enclosed all-weather cab (unlike the Willy's "Jeep" of its time), this pickup not only looks cool, but it can handle its own on the unpaved dirt road. But with such a good-looking truck like this, you might not want to let it play in the mud after all.
5 Ford Ranger FX-4
American manufacturers are always on the tow-ready, mud splashing, all-terrain driving lists. Ranger was reintroduced this year with almost as much anticipation as the forthcoming Bronco. This year's Ranger was first on the scene, however, and is making its mark nicely in this category. The FX-4 trim level brings all the necessary unbeaten trail accessories like undercarriage skid plates and meaty all-terrain tires.
4 Nissan Frontier Pros 4X
This list contains a few siblings from the same manufacturer, and Nissan is one of them. Frontier Pro 4X is the younger brother to the Titan. Its midsize version squares off well with its competitors like the Ranger or Tacoma. This trim level of the truck comes with knobby tires and a peppy V6. Although its styling has been criticized as being outdated, it still remains a good seller. With an attractive price and its rudimentary utility, it makes a great no-nonsense workhorse. And with the ready-to-play off-road package, you have all you need to conquer your off-road adventures.
3 International Harvester Scout 800
Between the 1960s and 1980s, International produced the Scout, a square-back, burly V8 SUV to compete with none other than Jeep. The Scout can compete closely with its rivals although it's not an off-road favorite, as Jeep has that honor. The Scout's smaller wheelbase and configurable top make it versatile for both muddy trail driving and summer cruising. It can certainly handle its own. In fact, it won the BAJA 1000 off-road race in 1977. That's nothing to sneeze at.
2 Chevy Silverado Z-71
Chevy has a long history of making beautiful and capable pickups through the years. The Silverado is one in particular that stands out because of its towing and all-terrain prowess. The Z-71 off-road package makes this classic even better. It adds a factory 2-inch suspension lift and 18-inch Goodyear Duratrac all-terrain tires that make this American classic a highly desired off-roading machine.
1 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon
Of course Jeep finds itself on the list with its latest offering, the Gladiator. This Wrangler-based 4x4 pickup is second to none when it comes to trail riding. Its selectable terrain system helps you find the perfect footing for your off-road needs. Whether it's thick gravel or snow, you'll find the right gearing for your situation. Its ground clearance alone gives way to obstacles with more than 11 inches on the Rubicon edition. There a plethora of off-road features that put this truck on the top 10 list. One of them is the forward-facing road cam Jeep calls "TrailCam Off-Road Camera." As the name implies, this camera not only gives you trail vision but also the best way forward through the trail. It's similar to how a reverse cam works in guiding you in backing up. This can be a key feature when the trails are tight and every move counts.