This might seem like a strange question if you’re already familiar with the hobby, but as it turns out, this is a frequently asked question! Is RC rock crawling fun? For many of us, of course, the answer is simply a resounding “YES! Of course!” But a newcomer may wonder why we’re so enthusiastic about spending hundreds of dollars on toy trucks, even as grown-ups! Fair question.
Things that go are captivating to the young mind. In a world where so much is yet to be understood, a toy car that moves on its own is just wild – do you remember what it was like when young to find a toy that moved on its own? Personally, it was just amazing, and so captivating that here I am decades later still playing with them!
So that’s RCs (radio-controlled vehicles) in general. But what about rock crawling in particular?
The Deeper Question
Two related questions I’ve encountered are: “is RC crawling boring?” and “What is the point of rock crawling?” These questions are more than they seem, I think. The question is really whether it’s engaging, worthy of spending one’s time and money; resources that are limited for many of us. I wanted to give this question the serious consideration it deserves before writing this because there are implications for health and wellbeing beyond simply playing with toy trucks. I’ve concluded that there are a few key things about the RC crawling hobby that are attractive.
Things That Go
Things that move on their own: yep, that same wonder as a child is still there, though tempered by knowledge and familiarity, the wisdom and experience that comes with age. But still, something that moves on its own remains captivating to so many of us.
Scale Is Life
Scale models that actually work: this is another thing that seems to be quite engaging for many of us. Seeing a 4WD drivetrain work just like the real thing, and watching the body bob and move above the axles just like a full-size off-road car, it’s quite satisfying. It’s also why I think the crazy comp rigs are just not as popular as the scale models. You see this at any rock crawling competition – there are just more scale vehicles there than pro class comp rigs by a factor of 10. My YouTube channel is the same – one of my worst performing videos is one that focusses on my MRC 1.9” Mini comp rig – a rig that took national #2 spot, no less! And still, most people just don’t seem interested. I think scale comes into play here in a big way.
The Challenge of Competition
I mentioned competition above and I think this comes into it as well. If not anything so formal, at least the challenge of working a rig (a common phrase to describe one’s RC rock crawler) over a problem (a problem being a rock formation and/or set of gates one must pass to proceed on a course).
Gain Mechanical Experience & Skill
There’s an opportunity to learn how things work and to help develop mechanical skill and experience. Repairs and upgrades can be challenging but are largely accessible with just a few hand tools. The hobby can be as expensive as you might imagine, but can absolutely be done on the cheap as well. To come away with a better appreciation for electronics and basic mechanical operation of vehicles is only a plus – and for many people with a more engineering-oriented mind, can be downright enjoyable.
Face & Overcome Challenge
Overcoming challenge is something humans have done ever since there were humans. There’s something about facing a difficult challenge and overcoming. There’s a draw to it, and to adventure, and then the achievement one feels from conquering such an obstacle is something that speaks to many of us on a deep level.
Adventure in Your Hand!
Related to challenge is the call to adventure! Taking a rock crawler out onto the rocks or to some local (or distant) trail has a way of immersing oneself into fantasy. Your suspension of disbelief kicks in, much as when playing a video game or watching a compelling movie or TV show, and you can get lost in the moment. Driving the little car, negotiating obstacles, watching and enjoying the rig move over and through the terrain; it’s relaxing and enjoyable.
Get Active, Be Healthy
Getting outdoors with one’s RC rock crawler is fun, but also good for you. Chances are with this hobby you’ll be in the great outdoors, on your feet and walking wherever your little scale model is wheeling. This has the obvious health benefits of being active, getting fresh air and for at least half of the year, a good dose of vitamin D courtesy of the sun!
The Mental Health Benefit
Lastly, the social element is not to be overlooked. RC rock crawling draws people of all ages and backgrounds, but there is a noticeable bias to men in particular. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that men don’t easily talk about how they’re doing and they find it more challenging to relate to others on any kind of deep level. Much as with fighting, sports, recreation and work, if we’re somewhere for some purpose to do, perform, fight, play, fix or move something, the best conversation is that which happens in the gaps during that undertaking. There is a real opportunity for mental health, friendship and camaraderie with RC rock crawling and it is with this last point in mind that I so heartily recommend the hobby.
Is RC Rock Crawling Fun?
YES! Of course! And now you know why! Join us!
Craig has been into radio control since the 90s and into RC crawling since about 2010, when a Losi MRC started the obsession! Now it’s all rocks this and crawl that and upgrade all the things! …You know how it is, right? Welcome home 🙂