Best RC Rock Crawler | RC Rock Crawling Beginner’s Guide 2019

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Remote control rock crawling provides a unique challenge to the remote control vehicle enthusiast. Instead of attempting to maximize raw speed or performance, RC rock crawler racing requires tactical manipulation of difficult terrain to pull ahead of the competition.

It’s no wonder remote control rock crawlers have been popular with experienced racers for years. But as the RC market expands, we see more and more beginners wanting to get involved with the sport as well. That’s why we at Dronethusiast have compiled this guide to the best RC rock crawlers of 2019.

The Best RC Rock Crawlers

If you’re a beginner who wants to get involved with RC rock crawling, you’ll probably choose to start with a “Ready to Run” (RTR) vehicle that doesn’t require much assembly or the purchase of additional parts. Here are the 5 best RC rock crawlers that are ready to drive as soon as you buy them.

Axial Wraith

Read reviews and show for the Original Axial Wraith

The Axial Wraith is a very popular rock racer which also works as “trail rig” (meaning that it can be used for recreational use on nature trails.) It’s compatible with many aftermarket upgrades, and many RC rock crawling enthusiasts choose to stiffen the shocks for better speed or replace the motor for better crawling.

On its own, the Wraith provides a ton of control in tricky terrain and allows for highly precise inputs. It also has great tires and a super durable frame made of high strength composite materials.

best rc rock crawler axial wraith specifications

RC Rock Crawler Specifications:

• Includes vehicle, body, 2.4GHz radio, motor, ESC, and realistic driver figure

• 4 wheel drive

• Ripsaw 2.2 tires

• AR60 OCP-Axle tubes

• 1/10 scale size

Pros:

• Highly durable

• Easy to upgrade

• Great tires

• Precise controls

Cons:

• Battery not included

best rc rock crawler Axial Wraith

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Redcat Racing Everest-10

Read reviews and show for the Original Everest-10 Rock Crawler

The Wraith costs over 350 dollars, which is very reasonable for a high quality RC rock racer. But if you’re interested in a more recreational option at an affordable price, consider the Redcat Racing Everest-10. This RC crawling monster truck is highly durable and features aggressive beadlock rock crawling tires, four aluminum Capped oil filled shocks, and complete ball bearings throughout.

This rock crawler also comes with absolutely everything you need to start crawling, including a controller and battery. All you need is AAs for the remote control!

RC Rock Crawler Specifications:

best rc rock crawler Redcat Racing Everest-10 specifications

• Includes vehicle, 2.4GHz radio transmitter, 2.7V NiMH battery, and battery charger

• 4 wheel drive

• True beadlock wheels

• Locked solid Redcat axle tubes

• 1/10 scale size

Pros:

• Great price

• Battery and charger included

• Very durable

Cons:

• Not as powerful as other racing models without upgrades

best rc rock crawler Redcat Racing Everest-10

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Traxxas TRX-4 Defender

Read reviews and show for the Original TRX-4 Defender

On the other hand, let’s say you wanted something MORE expensive. Maybe the MOST expensive and MOST powerful radio controlled rock crawler on the market. For that, you’re looking at the mighty Traxxas TRX-4 Defender.

This mighty RC jeep for rock crawling includes portal axles which provide huge ground clearance, in-depth and super-precise controls aimed at experienced rock crawling racers, a powerful 21T Titan 550 motor, and waterproof electronics. Plus it looks great – a striking red jeep model with functional accessories and even a spare tire!

The Wraith costs over 350 dollars, which is very reasonable for a high quality RC rock racer. But if you’re interested in a more recreational option at an affordable price, consider the Redcat Racing Everest-10. This RC crawling monster truck is highly durable and features aggressive beadlock rock crawling tires, four aluminum Capped oil filled shocks, and complete ball bearings throughout.

This rock crawler also comes with absolutely everything you need to start crawling, including a controller and battery. All you need is AAs for the remote control!

best rc rock crawler Traxxas TRX-4 Defender specifications
RC Rock Crawler Specifications:

• Includes vehicle, 4-channel TQi radio, and #6533 receiver

• 4 wheel drive

• 2-speed transmission

• All new oil-filled coil-over GTS shocks

• 21T Titan 550 motor

• XL-5 HV ESC

• 1/10 scale size

Pros:

• Most powerful RC rock crawler of 2019

• Super durable

• Super precise controls

Cons:

• Battery not included

• NOT recommended for beginners

best rc rock crawler Traxxas TRX-4 Defender

Click To Shop or Read Reviews

VATERRA Ascender

Read reviews and show for the Original Ascender

This is just a gorgeous model. This VATERRA RC rock crawler has been officially licensed by Chevrolet and is a nearly-perfect scale replica of the 1972 Chevrolet K10 Pickup Ascender. It’s clear just by looking at it that some great attention to detail has been paid to every aspect of this RC car for rock crawling.

Beyond that, it has very good all-around specs, although it’s aimed a bit more at recreational rock crawling and less at serious racers. It’s also quite durable, with waterproof servo, receiver, and ESC that allow it to travel easily through wet conditions.

RC Rock Crawler Specifications:

best rc rock crawler vaterra ascender specifications

• Includes vehicle and Spektrum DX2E 2.4GHz radio system

• 4 wheel drive

• Licensed Super Swamper tires with functional spare

• Oil-filled injection-molded shocks

• 1/10 scale size

Pros:

• Looks great

• Easy to add aesthetic customizations

• Good all-around specs

Cons:

• Battery not included

• Difficult to upgrade internal parts

best rc rock crawler VATERRA Ascender

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Team Losi Nightcrawler 2.0

Read reviews and show for the Original Losi Nightcrawler 2.0

The Team Losi Nightcrawler 2.0 is a very solid dedicated rock crawler that comes at a decent price – not quite as cheap as the Redcat, but cheaper than most other models on this list. It doesn’t have a lot of additional features, but it has good solid shocks, axels, and transmission, with an emphasis on precise controls.

Most notably, the Nightcrawler 2.0 also has an exoskeleton frame. This makes it very durable and also gives it a unique, stylish look that’s hard to beat!

RC Rock Crawler Specifications:

best rc rock crawler losi nightcrawler specifications
• Includes vehicle and Spektrum STX2 Radio TX transmitter

• 4 wheel drive

• 4″ adjustable shocks

• 4-link suspension for added control

• 1/10 scale size

Pros:

• Exoskeleton provides additional protection from the elements

• Extremely precise controls

• Reasonable price

Cons:

• Battery not included

• Cheap 2-channel radio controller

best rc rock crawler Losi Nightcrawler 2.0

Click To Shop or Read Reviews

What Is RC Rock Crawling?

Remote control rock crawling is the most popular off-road form of the radio controlled racing hobby. It’s something you can enjoy on your own, but is more often part of a competitive, organized event.

The most common form of the RC rock crawling event is a race in which competitors attempt to achieve the fastest time while driving over difficult terrain. As the name “rock crawling” implies, the vehicles used in this sport are much slower than other RC racing vehicles, but they’re more equipped for driving over challenging terrain and nigh-impossible barriers. There are different aspects to rock racing with different rules, but they all combine elements of offroad speed with dangerous obstacles like rocks and mud. Often, hitting certain obstacles results in a time penalty.

RC rock crawlers themselves are slow and squat, but have powerful mechanical components. They usually have solid axles (as opposed to independent suspension) and locked differentials which require full-time four-wheel-drive. Their chassis are made of highly durable materials while the high-traction monster truck tires are usually soft and glued to the wheels.

RC Rock Crawler FAQ

How can I get involved with RC rock crawling for beginners?

First, you need to buy or build your own RC rock crawler. That’s where the reviews above come in.

faq best rc boats for kids

Then you’ll need to find a place to do some rock crawling of your own. In the US, UK, and Australia (where the sport is most popular) you can often find a local sports complex with an area designed for rock crawling. You may also find local rock crawling groups through Google or Facebook. Failing all this, you can go to an area of rough terrain – such as a nearby park – with a friend and play in an unofficial setting.

Which RC rock crawler is best to buy?

There’s no such thing as a “one size fits all” RC rock crawler. Different customers will want different things in an RC rock crawler, which is why we’ve given you several options to choose from in our reviews above.

Having said that, the Axial Wraith is by far the most popular ready-to-race RC rock crawler for sale, and would be considered the best to buy by most RC rock racers.

Where can you buy RC rock crawlers?

RC rock crawlers can sometimes be found in brick-and-mortar electronics stores, but these days they are most commonly purchased from an online storefront. Amazon is, of course, the most popular option in this area, which is why we’ve provided handy Amazon links to every product listed in the reviews above.

How to build RC rock crawlers?

Very few people build RC rock crawlers entirely from scratch, and we certainly don’t recommend doing so unless you have experience with some form of mechanical engineering. The more common way to build an RC rock crawler is to purchase the parts you want from Amazon, then attaching them with screws and/or soldering as the part instructions suggest.

To build an RC rock crawler, you will need two complete axles with links included, a transmission with motor plate and gear cover, a brushed or brushless speed control, a motor, a servo, a transmitter and receiver set, a battery (typically LiPo or nickel metal hydride), a set of four shocks, four beadlock wheels, and four rock crawling tires.

How to upgrade RC rock crawlers?

Upgrading an RC rock crawler simply involves replacing one part of an existing vehicle with a new and improved part purchased online. The full part list for an RC rock crawler was given in the answer to the previous question. Please note that upgrading a ready-to-race RC rock crawler – despite being a common part of the sport – usually makes it impossible to refund said vehicle and/or voids the warranty.

RC Rock Crawler Conclusion

We hope this article has helped you find a great RC rock crawler and has given you a better understanding of the sport of RC rock crawling. If you’re a beginner who still has some questions about this fun and popular radio controlled racing activity, be sure to ask them in the comments and we’ll reply as soon as we can!

The writer known as I Coleman is a veteran tech reviewer who’s spent seven years writing about everything from PC hardware to drone tech and who joined the Dronethusiast team early in 2017. I brings his characteristic sense of humor and attention to detail to our product reviews and buyer’s guides, making sure that they’re packed with expert analysis in a way that’s still easy for hobby newcomers to understand. In his spare time, I is using drones to create 3D modeling software for a company in his hometown.

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