Shock Absorbers for the Offroad

Offroad & Offgrid


Offroad vehicles, whether its a weekend warrior, or dedicated trail rig, will see a varying amount of aggressive terrain that needs to be handled with care and optimized equipment. The differences between classes of shocks (twin tube / monotube) can impact not only ride quality, but also handling and safety. Shocks built for the offroad are built with high end components to resist debris, corrosion, and premature failure.

High end offroad shocks gives tremendous capabilities over factory shocks and struts. Not only can they last 4-5x as long, the dampening ability doesn't diminish or fade as the vehicle is put through aggressive terrain at moderate to high speeds. These types of shocks are meant for high heat, excessive debris protection, and consistent ride characteristics no matter the environment.


Most offroad shock options available currently are a monotube design, with a nitrogen gas charge between 150-300psi. Monotube shocks see significant benefits to a twin tube shock, namely better heat disippation, more consistent damping and ride characteristics, larger oil volume, more travel.

That's not to say that all twin tube offroad shocks are bad, Old Man Emu makes a very durable and fantastic riding Nitrocharger Sport, which is a twin tube design with a purpose. Old Man Emu aims to protect the shock with the twin tube design, as certain environments have heavy debri (rocks, mud, etc) that a twin tube shock can defend against. The outer tube can take damage or dings, while still maintaining internal tube function.

Bilstein 5160 Reservoir Shocks on a Jeep Wrangler JK

Remote Reservoirs, needed or not?

A very common question we get is whether or not remote reservoirs will be needed for a specific application. While we certainly see our fair share of #mallcrawlers out here in Los Angeles with reservoirs and tires that have seen nothing but pavement, we dont enjoy overselling customers on something they dont need. Questions to ask yourself if you’re considering reservoir options:

  • Do I go offroading numerous times a year? Yes, reservoirs may be right for you.
  • Do I load up heavy equipment on my adventures to far off lands? Yes, reservoirs may be right for you.
  • Do I mainly do roadtrips and glamping on easy terrain? No, reservoirs are overkill
  • Do I haul heavy loads for work, or the family on the weekends? No, reservoirs are overkill


Reservoir shocks, whether remote (connected with a hose), or piggyback (directly on the main shock body, usually connected by some form of hardware), increase a monotube shock’s capabilities significantly. In most cases, reservoir shocks are also monotube gas design for superior heat dissipation paired with superior travel, you will rarely see a reservoir on a twin tube or emulsion shock.

  • With such a large volume of space for the oil and gas to operate in, this creates a more dramatic difference for internal operating pressures, thus usually increasing ride quality for the driver.
  • Less pressure buildup, less component wear, longer life - buy reservoir shocks if you want an upgrade for life.
  • Further heat dissipation due to increased volume and surface area
  • Increased travel when compared to a normal monotube shock of the same size, this is due to the shared space for oil and gas that the main body now shares with the reservoir.


Get the reservoirs if you’re hitting the trails hard, frequently maxing out the suspension travel on your rig, or want to provide the most life possible to your vehicle and its components. Frequently reservoir options will increase the price of the shock 2x, so ask yourself if that investment is worth it and what you plan to do with your vehicle.