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A silver 2022 Ford F-150 Tremor is shown on top of a rocky area.

Trail Boss? Tremor? Rebel? Which Off-Road Truck Is the Best?

Forget racing down the highway in a convertible––for real fun on four wheels, you want to go splashing through muddy trails or tearing through the desert in a truck. The problem is, which truck? Sure, we’d all love to get behind the wheel of a Ram TRX or the rumored Ford Raptor R, but for those of us who aren’t made of money (and who have to actually use our trucks for truck stuff during the week), there are a ton of different trims, packages, and options available to equip trusted workhorses like the Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado 1500, and Ram 1500 with off-road features. However, there are so many off-road options available these days that it can make your head spin trying to sort through them all. So here’s what to look for (and what to avoid) when speccing a half-ton truck for off-roading.

2022 Ford F-150 Off-Road Options

What better place to start than with the best-selling truck in America? Not so long ago, your only real off-road option for the iconic F-150 was the basic FX4 package, but those days are now long gone. Even assuming you aren’t ready to shell out the $69,905 for a 2022 F-150 Raptor, there are a ton of options to choose from. If you don’t anticipate particularly tough off-roading in your future, you could just opt for four-wheel drive and call it a day. But four-wheel drive is just the start of what the F-150 offers.

FX4 Off-Road Package

The FX4 Off-Road Package has all the basics you need to turn a standard four-wheel drive truck into a serious off-roader. The most important part of the package is the electronic-locking rear differential, which is not found in standard four-wheel drive models and will make sure both rear wheels keep turning no matter how slippery the terrain is. You also get a higher rear axle ratio, helping the truck put more power to the ground, and a set of all-terrain tires. Other subtle off-road upgrades include more rugged shocks and underbody skid plates protecting the fuel tank, transfer case, and front differential. Rounding out the FX4 package are Hill Descent Control and a Rock Crawl mode, which can help take on tricking driving scenarios. Of course, you will also get large “FX4” decals letting everyone know that you aren’t driving a normal F-150.

F-150 Tremor

The Tremor has been an available trim for the Ford Super Duty for a couple of years now, but it finally made its way to the F-150 in 2021. This trim is a step up from the FX4 package but not a full-blown supertruck like the Raptor. Starting at $54,120, the 2022 F-150 Tremor is priced midway between the Lariat and the King Ranch but offers better off-road performance. The suspension has been revised with trim-specific components, while larger 33-inch all-terrain tires improve the ground clearance. For maximum performance, you will want to add the optional front Torsen limited-slip differential to complement the standard locking rear differential. The Tremor also includes Trail One-Pedal Drive and Trail Turn Assist, two bits of electronic wizardry borrowed from the Ford Bronco that can make off-roading less stressful.

2022 Chevy Silverado 1500 Off-Road Options

A black 2022 Chevy Silverado 1500 Trail Boss is shown from the front at an angle while parked in a field.

Z71 Off-Road Package

The Z71 Off-Road Package is Chevy’s equivalent to Ford’s FX4 package. Like the FX4, it is available on four-wheel drive models and adds a collection of off-road features without breaking the bank. These include a locking rear differential, all-terrain tires, underbody skidplates, Rancho shocks, and Hill Descent Control. Unlike Ford, Chevy doesn’t offer drive modes for the Silverado, but the Z71 does add a dual exhaust on certain trims. Overall, this is a solid package that goes toe to toe with the FX4. Which one is “better” will mostly depend on whether you prefer the Silverado 1500 or the Ford 150.

Silverado 1500 Trail Boss

While Ford offers one Tremor trim, Chevy has two Trail Boss trims for the 2022 Silverado 1500: the Custom Trail Boss for $48,700 and the LT Trail Boss for $54,500. There are plenty of differences between the two when it comes to looks and features, but they share the same off-road performance. Both Trail Boss trims come standard with the Z71 Off-Road Package but take it a step further with a 2-inch factory lift. This results in 10.9 inches of ground clearance, exactly matching the F-150 Tremor. However, the Trail Boss comes with smaller 32-inch all-terrain tires, does not have the option for a limited-slip differential, and lacks the more advanced off-road features of the Tremor. Given these differences, we’d have to give the nod to Ford’s off-road trim.

2022 Ram 1500 Off-Road Options

A red 2022 Ram 1500 Rebel is shown from the rear while off-road.

Off-Road Group

The Off-Road Group is the most basic option offered for the 2022 Ram 1500. Like the FX4 and Z71 packages, it outfits the truck with all the common off-road goodies as well as special “4×4 Off Road” decals.” Among the features, you will find the standard electronic-locking rear differential, all-terrain tires, underbody skid plates, upgraded shocks, and Hill Descent Control. However, some trims also include a 1-inch factory lift, which is a welcome upgrade over the FX4 and Z71. Altogether, nothing particularly surprising and a solid starting point for some entry-level off-roading.

BackCountry Package

New for 2022 is the BackCountry Package for the Big Horn and Lone Star trims of the Ram 1500. In terms of actual off-road upgrades, the BackCountry Package and the Off-Road Group are virtually identical––the only major difference is the addition of Off-Road Information Pages that display helpful details like pitch and roll angles in the driver instrument cluster. Where the BackCountry Package separates itself from the standard Off-Road Group is in its other features, from its unique decals and blacked-out trim to its spray-in bedliner and deployable bed steps. But while these make the package an attractive option, they don’t improve its off-road performance.

Ram 1500 Rebel

The Ram 1500 Rebel is the dedicated off-road trim for buyers who don’t feel like spending $78,890 on a Ram TRX. Starting at $54,885 for a four-wheel drive version (why Ram sells a two-wheel drive version of its off-road trim is open to question), the Rebel is a suitably aggressive-looking truck. However, its off-road features don’t fully live up to its appearance. The biggest difference is that the Rebel rides on larger 33-inch all-terrain tires, but it still only has the normal Off-Road Group 1-inch lift for a total ground clearance of just over 9 inches––almost 2 inches less than the Trail Boss or Tremor. Unlike the other two off-road models, the Rebel can be optioned with four-corner air suspension., but even this upgrade only offers up to 10.8 inches of ground clearance when fully raised.

Which Off-Road Options Are the Best?

The Big Three trucks are best-sellers for a reason, and all of them (plus the GMC Sierra 1500, which is functionally identical to the Chevy Silverado 1500) offer considerable off-road capability right off the lot. If you consider yourself more of an occasional off-roader, then you will find that the Ford FX4 Off-Road Package, Chevy Z71 Off-Road Package, and Ram Off-Road Group all check the boxes you need to tackle light off-roading. With four-wheel drive, locking rear differentials, skid plates, and all-terrain tires, you won’t get into too much trouble with any of these options.

If you are a more serious off-roader, then we have to give it to the new Ford F-150 Tremor. Ford really knocked it out of the park with the Tremor by adding the option for a front limited-slip differential and handy electronic features like Trail One-Pedal Drive and Trail Turn Assist. Still, if you’re a GM fan, then the Chevy Silverado 1500 Trail Boss is still a solid pick––particularly the Custom Trail Boss with its under $50k price tag.

Unfortunately, we can’t say the same about the Ram 1500 Rebel. While the Ram TRX may be the current champion of off-road supertrucks, the Ram 1500 Rebel is more of an appearance package than a serious off-roader and doesn’t really bring anything to the table that can’t be had for less money in a lower-trim Ram 1500 with the Off-Road Group. With all the great off-road options available today, we really hope that Ram will step up its game and roll out a new off-roader that better competes with the mid-market options from Ford and Chevy.