How to choose the right rough terrain equipment for the job

Here at All Star Access Hire & Scaffold we are your dedicated access hire Melbourne specialists.


Customer Service


Low Emission Targets


24/7 support


Industry Leading Machinery

4 minutes
All Star Access Hire

No two worksites are the same. For every site that’s smooth and even, another is anything but. If you work in agriculture or construction, each day—each project—will challenge you with different terrain. And sometimes, that terrain will be rough. Whether or not you conquer the rough terrain will depend on the equipment you choose. This choice is mission-critical for a safe and efficient worksite.  

To help you select equipment that suits your precise needs, this helpful guide will define what rough terrain is and how it impacts your machinery. Then we’ll explore types of rough terrain equipment, focusing on the terrain they’re best suited to. 


What is considered rough terrain?

Rough terrain is any surface that’s uneven, unstable, or challenging to navigate. Think gravel roads, rocky paddocks, or even dunes. These surfaces are unpredictable and sensitive to the weather. The constant change makes it difficult to drive on them safely. 

When choosing the right equipment, it’s important to note that not all outdoor terrain is rough. Some outdoor terrain is considered open terrain. Here’s the difference: 


Open terrain vs rough terrain

Open terrain is any surface that is mainly flat and obstacle-free. Large, level fields and wide cement roads are considered open terrain. Equipment designed for open terrain takes advantage of consistent and stable surfaces by harnessing higher speeds and handling larger capacities.  

Rough terrain equipment, meanwhile, needs a more robust and durable design than open terrain equipment, as it prizes traction and stability over speed. Understanding this distinction will allow you to choose the right equipment for the job.


A 2.5-tonne rough terrain forklift from All Star Access Hire.


How does rough terrain impact equipment?

Rough terrain places considerable strain and pressure on your equipment. The higher levels of shock and vibration felt can cause damage or even malfunctions. In your daily operations, rough terrain affects the following areas of equipment performance:   



The more unstable the terrain, the more unstable—and more dangerous—your equipment can be. Rough terrain machines combat this instability using wider wheelbases and embracing a lower centre of gravity. 



Terrain that is rugged and inconsistent is harder to traverse. Simple as that. Rough terrain equipment meets this challenge by incorporating four-wheel drive, heavy-duty tyres, and increased ground clearance. These features improve equipment mobility. 



Constant exposure to rough terrain will impact your equipment over time. From continuous repairs and maintenance to more frequent replacements, the toll can hurt. This is why every aspect of rough terrain equipment design focuses on strength and durability. 

Knowing how rough terrain impacts your equipment is vital as it helps you choose the best equipment for your worksite. Now let’s look at different types of rough terrain equipment.


A 33' rough terrain scissor lift from All Star Access Hire.

Types of rough terrain equipment

Each piece of rough terrain machinery has distinct features that make it suitable for different tasks. Let’s look at three popular types of equipment and the tasks they’re suited to.


Rough terrain scissor lifts

Rough terrain scissor lifts are built with large, strong tyres, a higher ground clearance, and heavy load capacity to allow aerial work in uneven or challenging environments. Standard scissor lifts are diesel-powered. However, there are electric and hybrid options available, both of which are quieter and produce fewer emissions. These are ideal for jobs such as ceiling repairs, painting, and window cleaning in warehouses. 


Rough terrain boom lifts

A rough terrain boom lift is similar to a scissor lift, the difference being that a boom lift can extend both horizontally and vertically. This versatility allows you to reach places that a scissor lift can’t. Again, the boom lift is built with high ground clearance and larger tyres to deal with uneven surfaces. The reach capabilities of a rough terrain boom lift make it ideal for working on utility lines or trimming trees.


Rough terrain forklifts

Rough terrain forklifts have many of the same features as boom and scissor lifts, such as high ground clearance, four-wheel drive, and large tyres with deep tread for traction. They also tend to be more powerful as they need to lift much heavier loads. Their steering capabilities allow them to navigate tight, uneven terrain quickly and efficiently. Rough terrain forklifts are perfect for outdoor lumber yards and construction sites. 


Track-mounted rough terrain equipment

Another option for tackling rough terrain is track-mounted equipment. Our track-mounted scissor lifts and boom lifts provide better traction, a smoother ride, and less ground damage. 

We hope this guide sheds some light on the matter and helps you make better, more confident decisions regarding rough terrain equipment. 


Tackle any terrain with All Star

Ready to take on that rough terrain? Or simply want more detailed advice on the topic and equipment discussed above? Get in touch with our friendly, expert team today and let’s make it happen!