Siberia is doubtless one of the world’s best and least explored off-road destinations. Why? Because it is largely roadless! Many villages and even cities have no road connection to the rest of Russia. Access is by all-terrain vehicles able to traverse the rough terrain, by boat or by driving on ice. From November to April a huge network of temporary roads opens up on frozen rivers. By late winter the ice is 1.5 to 2 metres thick and can support 25-tonne trucks.
However, off-road adventures in Siberia take many forms, not only on ice. Several of our tours, like those in the Kodar and Udokan Mountains, require off-roading in summer. This is because Russia is still better at building off-road vehicles than roads. The most iconic of these is the transport tank, or vezdekhod. It’s name in Russian literally means “everywhere-goer” and it moves on caterpillar tracks. The Soviets designed it to transport people and goods but be convertible into a military tank in time of war.
Another Russian all-terrain vehicle is the 6-wheeler monster known as Trekol. The driver can reduce tyre pressure so much that it can run over a person causing no harm. More usefully, it can also drive in deep snow and swamps without getting stuck. It can drive on ice that is far too thin for normal cars. And if it does crash through the ice it can float at a speed of 10kph!
There are myriad other Russian all-terrain vehicles such as Sibur, Petrovich, Sherp, Burlak, Yamal, Vakhtovka, Kamaz, Ural, Khishnik, Strannik, Argo, Kerzhak, Gaz 66 and more. Each has its own features and is useful on different terrain. Around northern Baikal we tend to use Ural where possible. For our tours in the Kodar and Udokan Mountains we often use the classic transport tank (vezdekhod).
Please see a list of our set tours which include off-road sections below. Alternatively contact us to design your own off-road itinerary around northern Baikal or the Kodar and Udokan Mountains.