There's a saying that advises out of all the paths you take in life, it's important to make sure a few of them are dirt. But while dirt can be found most anywhere you leave the pavement, far more challenging conditions and obstacles lie in wait - some seen, and some unseen. Because no two people's definitions of off-roading will be quite the same, we offer a variety of front and rear "off-road" bumpers for 4x4s specially designed to resist scrapes and damage while handling a variety of tasks OEM bumpers can't. Heavy gauge steel bumpers provide extra strength, and angled corners and edges provide extra clearance. Steep approach angles that would damage factory bumpers become no problem with off-road ones.
In this shopping guide, we'll look at the types of heavy-duty steel truck bumpers we offer, and we’ll discuss factors to consider when making your choice. 99 percent of the truck bumpers on our site are vehicle-specific, meaning they’re designed to fit tight and look right on your specific make and model. Additionally, brackets and hardware you’ll receive are created to use factory bumper mounting points – making installation straightforward and easy.
What Makes An Off-Road Bumper Better?
Whether you prefer looks that are clean and minimalist or brawny and rugged, these custom truck bumpers are designed with increased utility and strength as primary goals – all to make off-roading easier and more enjoyable.
Purpose-Built For Utility
For starters, both full- and partial-width bumpers can be ordered with (or without) grille guards, bull bars, push bars, hook attachments, and skid plates. They’re even available as winch bumpers. If you want to mount large additional lights on the front of your truck, most bumpers and horizontal bars come equipped with pre-drilled holes. And if you’d like to transfer OEM fog lights to your new heavy-duty bumper, that will be easy because most of the ones we sell are equipped with recessed light pockets to keep LEDs or halogens damage-free.
Higher Strength Bumpers Protect Themselves And Your Vehicle
Off-road bumpers are made from heavy-gauge steel, giving them strength and rigidity that won't crumple easily. Additionally, robust finishes such as powder coat or polished stainless on these steel bumpers will stand up to damage and corrosion quite well. Whether you bash them into things or scrape them against rocks, these truck bumpers will continue to look and function basically the same. And most significantly, there are no fragile plastic bumper covers to break away like eggshells - damaging lights and other components in the process.
Better Clearance Means Better Approach & Departure Angles
Ask any serious off-roading expert about what makes an off-road bumper worthwhile, and they’ll tell you the best bumper for extreme use (such as rock crawling) is one that's barely even there. What does that mean exactly? Where OEM bumpers are massive and block-shaped, off-road bumpers are not. This is especially true for tubular bumpers.
More specifically, off-road bumpers feature beveled edges that angle upward at corners so there's nothing sharp to catch. Underside bumper areas that run from driver to passenger side also slope drastically toward the front (or rear) of the vehicle. Smaller size and less mass in these locations means better clearance at extreme angles - ensuring a bumper doesn't scrape, drag, or become damaged.
This creates a huge improvement when it comes to the steepest angle a vehicle can climb or descend before its bumper makes contact with the ground. In front of a vehicle, this is known as the "approach angle". In the rear, it's known as a "departure angle."
Built-In Steps Are Available
When visiting either our Front Bumpers or Rear Bumpers sub-sections, you'll see "Yes" or "No" check boxes under the STEP INCLUDED heading. Selecting Yes narrows your search to all steel truck bumpers that feature an integrated step (or stepping area) for your feet. These prove invaluable when working on your engine or reaching into your pickup bed. And if you’ve got an SUV, accessing the roof to wash it or remove snow will be much easier. Jeep owners who have wrestled with soft tops will also appreciate the increased leverage a step in just the right place will provide.
Skid Plates Protect The Underside
Because they serve to protect your differentials and oil pan from direct hits that can leave you stranded, skid plates are essential if you'll be taking your truck over uneven, jagged roads. And they can really be a life-saver when rock crawling. We offer several front and rear off-road heavy-duty bumpers that provide fitted skid plates designed to bolt right in place, which is the easiest possible way of attaching a skid plate. Typically, these are tubular bumpers which feature minimalist designs. Depending on vehicle application, bumper-mounted rear skid plates can serve to protect vulnerable gas tanks.
What Are The Basic Types Of Off-Road Bumpers?
In both our Front Bumpers and Rear Bumpers sub-sections, you'll see check boxes under a heading that reads BUMPER TYPE. Select any of these to narrow your search.
Heavy-Duty bumpers are of the largest, most massive construction. These heavy-gauge steel bumpers provide battering ram levels of protection. Winch bumpers, which are capable of winching large amounts of weight, fall into the category of heavy-duty bumpers. Expect them to weigh more than OEM bumpers.
This refers to a basic bumper design that can be built up in a variety of ways due to add-ons a customer can select. For example, the bumper bar can be ordered with full, straight, or stubby end caps for the corners. Modular bars can also be personalized to accommodate lights, a winch mount, skid plate, hoop bar, and more. Add-ons will vary depending on bumper manufacturer, design, and vehicle application.
Pre-Runner bumpers are tubular bumpers styled with one main tube running across the width of the vehicle. Slim in design, these bumpers offer a stylish, minimalist look – often matching the natural curves of a truck’s front end. In some cases, an additional push bar or stinger bar may branch off of the main tubular bumper “pre-runner bar”.
Pre-runner bumpers are very lightweight compared to larger ones, and tend to offer the best approach/departure angles because of their slim design. While these tubular bumpers are strong for their size, they aren’t really designed to absorb high impacts.
Other types of bumpers may feature pre-runner bars added to a more beefy, modular style of bumper underneath. Such bumpers will use the label “…with pre-runner bars”.
Tubular bumpers feature the same overall design elements as pre-runner bumpers, but typically feature multiple round bars spanning the entire width instead of just one. Bars also tend to be a little larger and more massive, giving you a higher level of protection than pre-runners. Tubular bumpers are often available with stinger bars or hoop bars.
Available in the Front Off-Road Bumpers sub-section only, selecting the "Stinger" box lets you see various styles of bumpers equipped with stinger bars. These protrude pretty far forward, and angle upward at roughly 45 degrees.
Should your 4x4 start to tip too far forward when descending a steep slope or rock, stinger bars will contact the ground first and prevent and end-over-end tumble. Stinger bars can also provide necessary leverage and lift for sliding up over large barriers.
I Prefer Less Width For Clearance. What Width Choices Do I Have?
While off-road steel truck bumpers are available in “full width” coverage, they are also available in shorter configurations that span only a portion of the way across the vehicle. When you’re in either our Front or Rear Off-road Bumper sub-sections, check boxes under the WIDTH heading let you view bumpers that fit into three width categories.
"Full" (full-width) off-road bumpers provide body coverage that matches your OEM bumper. The off-road bumper may not be as massive or stick out as far, but it will wrap around and cover corner areas if original bumper covers did.
Existing primarily for Jeep Wranglers, “mid” style truck bumpers cover most of the way across the vehicle. In the front, coverage will span roughly to the outer edge of the headlights – leaving fender flares and corner areas exposed. In the rear, coverage runs from tail light to tail light with little or no coverage in the corners.
These are the shortest width bumpers available, and leave a noticeable amount of open space at the corners of the vehicle. This provides the most clearance for oversize tires. “Stubby” bumpers should be considered if you do off-roading where larger truck bumpers become an impediment.
What Factors Should I Consider When Buying A Front Off-road Bumper?
Will You Need Protection From Heavy Brush?
If you'll be travelling through wooded areas on narrow trails overgrown with branches and brush, you may want to consider off-road bumpers with grille guards. Such assemblies take a heavy, solid horizontal main bumper piece and add tubular steel bars that extend upward to surround and protect the grille area and/or headlights.
Tree limbs and branches will be pushed off to the side instead of causing damage. Some grille guard style bumpers may even feature a mesh plate in the center to maximize protection from loose rocks and smaller debris. As with all items we sell in this section, grille guard tubing is shaped to fit the contours of your specific vehicle so that headlights are not blocked and radiator airflow is not compromised.
Will You Need To Push Another Vehicle Out Of Trouble?
If you've ever 4-wheeled in mud, streams, sand, snow, or other conditions where uneven footing and holes hide from view, you've probably come across another truck that's gotten mired and needs a slight push. For those who may find themselves using their off-road vehicle to help push another one out of trouble, "push bar" steel bumpers may be a smart purchase.
Push bars are typically equipped with an extra horizontal bar incorporated into a standard bumper, or they may have two vertical bars spanning from top to bottom over the front tubes of grille-guard style tubular bumpers. Regardless of exact design, push bars on these bumpers are designed to align with the bumper of the truck being pushed - allowing a gentle shove with even pressure. Horizontal push bars are often referred to as pre-runner bars.
Do You Plan To Install Lights On Your Bumper?
When you're doing any kind of off-road driving at night, the right lights will brighten your path, make the adventure more enjoyable, and literally save your life if the going gets rough. So, to start with, most off-road bumpers we sell are equipped with at least two pockets built into the main horizontal bumper bar. Designed for mounting factory or aftermarket fog lights of a variety of sizes and shapes, these pocket holes are usually located near the corners.
Others may have rectangular openings tailored for LED light bars. Additionally, many of these custom truck bumpers we sell feature pre-drilled holes or hardware for mounting larger lights onto horizontal surfaces of push bar and grille-guard bars.
Will You Be Rock Crawling?
Stinger bars are a feature that the most serious rock crawlers should look for. Stinger bars may be integrated into a front bumper, or they may bolt in place. They protrude much further forward than typical push bars do, and they angle upward at steep rake. When off-roading down a steep hill, a stinger bar will prevent your vehicle from tipping off its wheels onto the front end. Additionally, if you're in a large hole, stinger bars are very helpful in allowing you to slide out of it without burying your front end.
Do You Plan To Install A Winch?
Whether you're off-roading on rough terrain where getting stuck is simply a matter of when, pulling tree stumps on your property, or reeling in marine equipment at the docks, nothing provides the ability to move heavy loads at virtually any angle like winches do. And if you've ever been on the trails pulling yourself back on your feet or performing a rescue for someone else, you understand the most important factor about tough situations is getting out of them fast.
We offer a selection of winch bumpers designed for mounting heavy-duty winches up to around 16,000 pounds. For those who don't need maximum pulling power, we've got winch bumpers rated for 9,000 pounds to 12,000 pounds. Specifics can be found on the product description of any particular item.
I Need To Tow My Vehicle Behind A Mobile Home. How Will Off-road Bumpers Handle That?
If you’ll be towing your vehicle with all 4 wheels on the ground behind a mobile home or truck, look for front truck bumpers with "D-ring" attachments. These are essentially round eyeholes that can be used for attaching D-ring clamps, bolts, or other hooks to.
If you're using a tow bar (see our "Tow Bars" subsection within our Trailer Hitches category) designed for pulling another vehicle over the road, a front steel bumper with D-ring attachments has the layout and strength to serve as an easy mounting point.
Look for these off-road bumpers with D-ring attachment points in our Front Bumpers sub-section. Under the D-RING MOUNTS INCLUDED heading, select the "Yes" check box. You'll also find an assortment of specialized hooks designed for towing purposes in our Off-Road Bumper Accessories sub-section.
As a note of caution, vehicles with full-time all-wheel-drive may suffer transfer case damage if towed in Neutral over the road. Check with your vehicle manufacturer to ensure your make and model is suitable for being towed in this fashion.
What Should I Consider When Buying A Rear Off-Road Bumper?
Swing Out Tire Carriers
Is your factory spare tire location taking up too much cargo room inside your 4x4? Rear custom truck bumpers with attached tire holders let you move the spare to a safe mounting point outside the vehicle. Along the left side of the Rear Off-Road Bumpers sub-section, you’ll see check boxes under the TIRE CARRIER INCLUDED heading. Select "yes" to see what’s available.
These rear steel truck bumpers feature a built-in arm(s) designed to support the full weight of a spare tire as well as other gear such as liquid containers and jacks. When you need to open the tailgate, the arm (with spare on it) swings outward away from the vehicle to provide clearance.
If your vehicle already has an external tire carrier, odds are it's mounted on the tailgate itself. After replacing your stock truck bumper with one of our rear swing-out bumpers, the heavy weight of your wheel can be transferred to the bumper where it belongs - removing stress that causes tailgate hinges to sag over time. When you consider how much twisting force and stress rock climbing and off-roading put on a vehicle's frame, swing-out tire carriers really make sense because they're far better suited to handle the weight than tailgates.
If you’ve got oversize tires, no problem. We have tubular bumpers with swing-outs for SUVs with a special drop-section designed to handle tires up to 40 inches in diameter. We’ve even got spare holders designed to cradle oversize tires inside of pickup truck beds – ideal for rallye competitions.
Integrated Tow Hitches
Many of the rear off-road bumpers we sell come equipped with trailer hitches integrated into the bumper itself. So if you'll be towing anything, this type of rear truck bumper is worth considering.
Because you're spared the need for a separate tow bar assembly bolted to the frame of your 4x4, overall vehicle weight will be reduced. And because the hitch is part of the steel bumper assembly that's designed to absorb crash energy, damage to the vehicle itself during a low-speed rear collision would be reduced as well.
Rear Bumpers with D-Ring Attachment Points
D-ring attachments on steel truck bumpers feature round eyeholes designed to hold heavy-duty D-rings found on the end of tow straps, chains, or cables used for pulling or winching a vehicle out of trouble. A good portion of rear off-road bumpers we sell offer D-ring attachments. Those attachments are either welded directly on to the face of the bumper, or they're offered as bolt-on pieces in the Product Options field. Keep an eye out for this feature if you go off-roading regularly.
In our Rear Bumpers sub-section, select the "Yes" check box under the D-RING MOUNTS INCLUDED heading.
Rear Bumpers Suitable for Winch Mounting
Most off-roaders mount winches on their front bumpers, but if you've ever been in a situation where using the rear of your vehicle to pull yourself or someone else out of trouble was the only option, you understand a rear-mounted winch bumper can be worth its weight in gold. While virtually all of our rear bumpers are suitable for welding a winch mount plate to, we understand not everyone wants to deal with welding or a custom truck bumper. For that reason, we offer rear off-road bumpers that come ready with pre-punched holes designed for bolting on a winch plate.
You’ll find them in our Rear Bumpers sub-section by clicking on the “Yes” check box under the WINCH MOUNT INCLUDED heading.
Are There Choices Regarding Bumper Finishes? Can I Customize Mine?
To both questions, the answer is yes. Most of our off-road bumpers are available in multiple finish choices, which you'll find displayed in the Product Options section of any individual product page. Or, you can narrow your search using check boxes located under the FINISH heading along the left side of the screen.
If you opt for "Black" off-road bumpers, you'll see both glossy and matte (some textured) powder coat finishes. The "Silver" check box lets you see a smaller selection of bumpers in silver matte powder coat. Also in the silver category are bumpers made of aluminum. In the "Chrome/Polished" section, the majority of choices are stainless steel bumpers that have been buffed to a gleaming shine. For a limited number of vehicles, there are bumpers finished in actual chrome. "White" is also a powder coat finish choice for a limited number of off-road bumpers, most of which feature a textured, medium-gloss surface.
If You Wish To Customize Your Bumpers
If you prefer custom truck bumpers with colors of your own choosing, select the “Raw” checkbox to see aluminum and steel bumpers available in unpainted form. Because these are typically shipped in bare metal without primer coat, you’ll want to get any steel bumpers painted as soon as possible.
Are There Accessories I Can Add To My Bumper Later?
We've got a number of accessories in our "Off-Road Bumper Accessories" sub-section. Should components on your bumper (brackets, end caps, hoop bars, D-Rings, etc) become damaged during use, we've got individual replacement pieces made by the manufacturers of the bumpers themselves. We recommend a look through this section because you may come across something useful that you hadn't considered. Along the left side of the screen under the ACCESSORIES TYPE heading, you'll find selection boxes as described below.
Bumper Brackets - Because mounting brackets often get bent or broken during trail use, a wide variety of replacement brackets can be found.
Bumper Guards - These are metal plates that fill gaps which may exist around the bottom of your new bumper. They’re not skid plates, but they can protect a radiator from flying debris.
Bumper Mounting Kits - Nuts and bolts of the exact size and length needed for bumper installation.
Can Adapters - J-shaped hooks designed for carrying a jerry can/canteen.
D-rings - D-shaped hooks that use a pin to mount onto specially designed eyeholes found on many front and rear off-road bumpers. These can be used with towing straps and hooks.
End Caps - These are the pieces that fit onto the ends of left- and right-side bumper edges to create a finished look. They may be multi-faceted in shape, or they may resemble simple round lids.
Grille Guards - Here, you’ll find hoop bars (see below) as well as protective tubular sections for headlight areas.
Hitch Adapters - If your off-road bumper doesn’t come with a built-in trailer hitch, these are essentially hitch pieces that can be bolted or welded on.
Hoops - Curved, tubular bars that mount on top of the front bumper to protect the grille area from brush.
Light Kits - Here, you’ll find bracket pieces for mounting lights on hoop bars, fog light mounting brackets (some include lights), license plate brackets with lights, 3rd brake light assemblies, and bumper end caps customized with pockets for lights.
Other - Assorted useful pieces such as bumper end caps designed for hidden storage, winch trays, winch carriers, and more.
Plates, Pods & Steps - Here, you’ll find assorted bits such as license plate relocation brackets, skid plates, cover pieces for the area between bumper and grille, and more. We’ve even got “recovery loop steps” that allow D-rings to be locked in place horizontally so they can serve as steps for your feet.
Stingers - These are stinger bars sold individually. They can be bolted or welded to an existing off-road bumper.
Tire Carriers - Here, you’ll find assorted linkages, handles, and brackets useful for securing rear-mounted spare tires.
Tow Hooks - All sizes and shapes of bolt-on hooks designed for towing, some of which are even designed to swivel.
If you bought your 4x4 or Jeep with the intention of taking it off-road, and were disappointed by the factory truck bumpers, we trust that this Shopping Guide has enlightened you regarding all the advantages provided by off-road bumpers.
These include: Better approach and departure angles when the climbing gets steep; Increased strength; Rugged looks; Cleaner, simpler lines; The ability to mount useful things such as grille guards, lights, and spare tires. You’ll find that these features and benefits become part of your life once you’ve installed off-road steel truck bumpers on the front and rear of your vehicle.
They also make a great gift for the automotive enthusiast in your life. We’d love to hear from you with any product questions, and we’re open 7 days a week to help you make the most informed purchase possible.