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  • General Tire Arctic LT :: Long-Term Review

General Tire Arctic LT :: Long-Term Review

Born and raised in sunny South Africa, I had minimal experience driving icy winter roads before heading to the Northern Hemisphere. When preparing for a winter expedition to the Arctic Ocean in the darkest depths of winter, I realized I still had much to learn. That learning was the entire point of driving up to the Beaufort Sea in early March; I wanted to push my limits, escape the comfort zone of (relative) warm weather international overlanding, and liberate ourselves from extreme cold weather travel anxiety while enjoying the stark beauty of an ice-bound world.

One of the most important considerations for such a long and treacherous drive was the ever-moving palm-sized surface where the rubber meets the iced road. Without traction and control, most other factors were superfluous; our safety and the success of our journey depended on fitting the right tires made explicitly for the task at hand.

After much research, we equipped our 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 Nimbl camper with studded General Tire Arctic LT 275/70/R18 tires, a decision that would play a crucial role throughout our journey. As we traveled north, we encountered snow-capped mountains, frozen lakes, fields of white, and roads so thick in ice that road markings were entirely invisible and the verges indiscernible. Driving thousands of miles in these conditions demanded complete concentration. We often passed vehicles rolled into snow banks, flagged with police accident tape, most with their wheels pointed to the sky like dead, forlorn beetles. Each accident we passed served as a stark reminder of exactly how treacherous our journey would be, and, eventually, we would be far from assistance should the worst occur.

We convoyed with our friend Jon Turner in his 4WD Ford van. Unfortunately, the empty, frigid stretch of road from Whitehorse to Dawson City would be particularly challenging. Cresting a rise one crisp morning, we watched in horror as Jon’s van drifted into a snowbank and somersaulted, landing on its roof in an explosion of white. Miraculously, Jon and his service dog, M-Kat, were unharmed. After recovering the van and having it relocated to a safe location, we all set off for the Arctic Ocean in the Nimbl, my knuckles white on the steering wheel.

The General Tire Grabber Arctic LT

The Grabber Arctic LT, crafted specifically for light trucks and SUVs, is a studdable winter tire that delivers excellent traction on roads blanketed with snow, ice, or water. The tire’s Duragen Technology aims to achieve both formidable strength and durability, qualities essential for withstanding harsh winter environments. Its design emphasizes exceptional grip and reliable braking performance, ensuring superior control, especially in low-temperature conditions and on various winter road surfaces. First-class steering response and dry handling capabilities, especially for a winter tire, enhance the overall driving safety and experience. Marked with the 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake Symbol, this winter tire can be studded for additional traction.

General designed the Arctic LT with a light truck tread compound, which is a cut and chip-resistant material. This compound retains its flexibility in cold weather, ensuring excellent winter traction while promoting long and even tread wear. Additionally, the tire is equipped with interlocking winter sipes. These straight sipes lock together to offer exceptional grip in snowy and icy conditions, alongside strong wet and dry braking and stable handling. Furthermore, the tire’s snow traction ridges, located in the tire’s grooves, enhance grip during cornering, accelerating, and braking in deep snow. The 275/70/R18 size has a load index of 125 (Load Range E, 3,640 pounds per tire) and a speed rating of R (106 mph). Its diameter is 33.2 inches, it weighs 56.6 pounds, features a rim protector, and can be inflated to a maximum pressure of 80 psi.

On Road Performance

Throughout our expedition, the Arctic LT was subjected to various extreme conditions. The tire is quiet and sure-footed; the addition of studs did not noticeably affect handling on dry asphalt. On iced roads, the studded tire demonstrated superior grip and control that offered confidence that grew the farther we drove, and the further the road conditions deteriorated. Our vehicle was heavy (around 12,000 pounds) and loaded with winter essentials, fuel, and water. At no point did I feel that this ponderous weight taxed the tires, and we were sure to run at relatively high pressures (70 psi at the rear and 65 psi up front); we checked the tire pressure every morning during our pre-trip inspection and not once did we have to add air over three months.

Braking on ice roads (we even drove on frozen rivers, such as the Mackenzie and Peel) will never be as rapid and predictable as on dry asphalt or even unpaved roads. Still, the Arctic LTs performed brilliantly for everyday braking, even under hard braking, when we pulled up to the aforementioned accident scene. Returning to the milder climates of the Lower 48, we removed the studs, but Jon chose not to replace the tires for the rigorous trip back to the Yukon in summer, towing a trailer with the Nimbl to recover his stranded van. Without studs, the Arctic LTs performed just as well as any other road tire we have used in wet and dry conditions.

Off-Road Performance

Since this journey was predominantly constrained to paved highways and gravel or dirt roads were under many feet of snow, we did not have frequent opportunities to test this tire in a traditional off-road setting apart from the incidental unpaved dirt road in rural southern Canada. That said, we had a very interesting occasion to test the tire in the relatively deep mud of a thawed spring field as we left a cozy cabin after a week of rest.

The field had thawed, and we were at the bottom of a hill and had to climb out. With low range and 4WD engaged, we plowed along, losing traction once, reversing, knocking down half a fence, and then plowing ahead again, arcing sprays of black mud as I swung the steering wheel and mashed the accelerator to maintain momentum. Had we not been able to escape the clawing field, I would have deflated the tires, but that proved unnecessary; the tires, coupled with the 5.9 Cummins diesel, powered us out, and we were duly impressed. It is worth noting that the Grabber Arctic LT is not specifically designed as an off-road tire.


As you can tell, we put the Arctic LT to the ultimate test, driving from Reno to the Arctic Ocean, where we drove in temperatures below -65°F. Upon our return to the USA, the vehicle was then driven, fully loaded, sometimes in temperatures exceeding 110°F. In total, the tires covered over 20,000 miles during this test. The General Tire Arctic LT transcends the typical winter tire category. Its robust construction and the ability to accommodate studs, along with the 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake rating, make it a top choice for harsh winter driving. However, its ability to maintain performance in various other conditions, as experienced during our extensive journey, underscores its versatility and reliability. Tire wear was even and minimal throughout the test; we never suffered a puncture, and we were seriously tasked to find even one fault with this tire.

For anyone embarking on challenging journeys, particularly in winter conditions, the General Tire Arctic LT has undoubtedly proven to be a smart, utterly reliable, and versatile investment.

From $250 per tire | generaltire.com

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Graeme Bell is an author and explorer who has dedicated his life to traveling the planet by land, seeking adventure and unique experiences. Together with his wife and two children, Graeme has spent the last decade living permanently on the road in a self-built Land Rover based camper. They have explored 27 African countries (including West Africa), circumnavigated South America, and driven from Argentina to Alaska, which was followed by an exploration of Europe and Western Asia before returning to explore the Americas. Graeme is the Senior Editor 4WD for Expedition Portal, a member of the Explorers Club, the author of six books, and an Overland Journal contributor since 2015. You can follow Graeme's adventures across the globe on Instagram at graeme.r.bell