Badlands Appreciation



On October 6th, I headed to Indiana to go off-road in my H3 Hummer. The place I went to is called Badlands Off-Road Park. Residing where I do, this is off-road park is about my only option for a day trip off-road. The place is great, it used to be a quarry in the past but has since been converted over to just having fun. Dirt bikes, four-wheeler (quad if you prefer), full-size vehicles, and basically anything is all welcome to wheel here. Badlands has a little bit of everything contained in the 800 acres. Rocks, mud, deep water, huge hill climbs, and one of my favorites. Frozen streams in the winter to drive on and eventually breakthrough.

So customer appreciation at Badlands is exactly what it sounds like. The park holds this event to show appreciation for its customers and it’s a really fun weekend to be there. At night, Badland’s staff offer free food, drinks, fireworks, and night races. The night races are one of my favorite reasons for going to this event.

This time around at Badland’s customer appreciation I met up with a bunch of H3 Hummers there. I met up with these guys for a couple of reasons. But the main reason I had shown up was because of my rock sliders. Rock sliders are similar to step bars but they much stronger because you literally need to be able to support the weight of the vehicle with them. Some people like to call them “rocker panel protection,” but think the jargon name “rock sliders” explain what their used for better. With a set of rock slider bolted to the vehicle you can bottom out the vehicle, pivot on trees, jack the vehicle up, and more without the worry of damaging the area directly under the doors on the vehicle.

Anyway, I had heard that the OEM rock sliders weren’t strong enough and the aftermarket ones just didn’t seem right to me. So after some thought and a few months, I built my own rock sliders that felt just right to me. However, I didn’t know if the design of my rock sliders worked the way I intended and need to test them out.

The testing was a lot of fun because I was purposely trying to bottom out and high center the Hummer. High centering is where both the front and the rear tires are not touching the ground and the weight vehicle is being supported by the rock sliders. The hummer basically looks like a turtle that cannot touch the ground. If you look closely at the photo attached to this post you’ll see that I’m bashing the rock sliders one way or another in each photo.

I was surprised to find out that most of the H3 Hummers that I was wheeling with didn’t have a quality CB radio in their vehicles. The value of CB radio off-road is not a need, but a must. Going off-road is dangerous and there needs to be a safe way to communicate with all the drivers and passengers in the group quickly and easily. Trust me when I say that their many situations that can happen whereas CB is the only answer. A cell phone doesn’t meet any of those key requirements and handheld CB radios haven’t ever performed good enough yet for me to recommend them.

Having been surprised by the group’s communication problems I realize that I should post up a list of things that should be done to the H3 Hummer and the general order in which to do them. First and foremost in this list is to get a CB radio before you ever go off-road. Your dealing with full-size vehicles and communication is key to keeping everyone safe while having fun. Anyway here is what I think the order of which everyone should obtain parts for their H3 Hummer.

  1. CB Radio – I highly recommend this one
  2. Rock Sliders (Rocker Panel Protection)
  3. High Clearance Leaf Spring Mounts
  4. Longer Shackles Level out the front end, and 35-inch tires – do this all at once
  5. Skid plate from the front all the way to the back of the transfer-case
  6. Rear Locker if your H3 didn’t come with one
  7. Winch

With all these parts bolted on to an H3 Hummer, the vehicle will be worlds better than it was in the stock form. Keeping up with any mildly modified wrangler wouldn’t be too much to ask of this H3. The ground clearance gains from the couple inch lift and the skid plates make for some huge differences off-road. A winch is always handy and very helpful when someone gets stuck. Rock sliders and skid plates keep the vehicle protected. And if you H3 didn’t come with a locker from the factory, this will be the best upgrade you could ever do to the vehicle.

After all that there is just but one thing left to do after bolt all those parts on the Hummer and that is to, Drive it.