Armstrong Tire Desert Dog M/T Tires: 2000-Mile Initial Impressions Overview

Armstrong Tire Desert Dog M/T Review

Meet the Desert Dog M/T – A Super Aggressive Tread Pattern That Features Great Road Manners… So Far

If you know anything about my posts on Trail4R.com or follow me on Instagram, you know I love tires. I’ve run over 15+ tires in the last 10 years over five vehicles, and I got the opportunity to test another new tire, which very few of us have run.

We were sent a set of Armstrong Tires from our friends at SimpleTire.com. The model is the Desert Dog M/T, and it’s one seriously aggressive-looking mud terrain, yet surprisingly well-mannered on the road… so far.

This will not be a full review post, as we’ve only put about 2000 miles on the tires. Instead of a full review, I wanted to give you guys a first look and my initial impressions of the tires overall.

Find them online: 

Quick Specs:

  • Style: Mud Terrain
  • Tread Style: Symmetrical
  • Size: 35X12.5R17
  • Load Range (E): 10PLY
  • Weight: 76 lbs

Standout Features

  • Zigzag Stone Ejectors
  • TUFF Tusk™ tread blocks
  • Rugged sidewall blocks
  • Wide, angled shoulder scallops
  • Enhanced grip rubber compound

Overview

Armstrong Tires Desert Dog M/T

To start, Armstrong offers an impressive 6-year warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee! You don’t see that very often. 

Designed for heavy abuse both on-road when pulling/towing and off-road for increased traction when aired down – this tire is made to be a true workhorse. Armstrong’s Rhino-inspired mud terrain bogger-style tread pattern provides excellent performance on many terrain types but excels when towing heavy loads, loaded down with lots of weight, and off-roading in mud and wet sandy terrain.

The staggered zigzag cuts in the lugs, the high void ratio between each lug along with the gnarly sidewall and shoulders are all stand-out features on this tire. Each is sure to provide traction on dry rocks, loose rocky mud, aggressive ledges, and wet uneven terrain. Instead of stone ejectors on the base casing alone, like most Mud-Terrains, the Desert Dog M/T added stepped zigzag cutouts directly on the side of the lugs – and after running them, we can vouch, they work very well!

Armstrong offers the Desert Dog in Load Range D, E, and even F. The sidewall structure protects the tire from external damage, such as punctures, cuts, and impact damage from heavy abusive loads. The tire was made to extend and improve upon your traditional mud-terrain service life, hence the 6-year warranty.

For on-road performance, Armstrong designed the tread pattern to increase surface contact stability while in motion. This results in better steering response time, and because of the strengthened structure, provides optimal pressure circulation.

The Desert Dog M/Ts utilizes a special compound that stabilizes and strengthens tread. The stability of the tire’s contact patch ensures even pressure distribution which prevents irregular wear. This slow and even wear significantly extends the tire’s overall tread life.

To sum it up, the tire is made for heavy loads on-road and harsh conditions off-road.

Quick Takeaway

After almost 2000 hard miles on the Armstrong Tires Desert Dog M/T – I’m pretty impressed. We covered everything from washed-out flooded roads, hail-covered roads, mud, sand, snowpack, gravel, and most everything in between.

One look at the tread pattern and you would think these tires howl on the road. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Granted the tires are new, however, these are more mellow on the road compared to my Toyo M/Ts when they were new.

The dry road performance was very responsive and the wet road performance shocked me as these tires didn’t break loose once. Clearly, there was enough well-designed siping and water drainage between the lugs to get me through the heavy rain on-road. Loose sand and mud performance are where these tires shine. The large voids in between primary lugs and massive rotating shoulder lugs ate every section of wet/dry sand along with mud and clay pockets I pushed them through.

All in all, a killer tire out of the gates but time will tell to see how they hold up over a few seasons.

Tread Pattern

Armstrong Tire Desert Dog M/T Rhino Tread Pattern

If you look closely, you can see the center tread lugs are Inspired by and shaped like Rhino horns. This tread is unlike anything on the market. At first, I was a bit unsure as it’s nothing like the traditional Wildpeak M/T, Toyo M/T, Yoko Geo M/T, or even an STT Pro. However, after I got these aired down, and started snapping some shots, I was pleasantly surprised at how aggressive it made the 4Runner look. The curvature of the sidewall to the contact patch reminds me of a BFG KM3 where the sidewall curves around the shoulder and up to the surface area of the lugs. You can compare this to something like a Mickey Thompson Baja Boss M/T where the sidewall, shoulder, and contact patch are more squared off. If you’re looking for a tire that will tuck into a fender well, this might be a good option.

Road Noise

Armstrong Tire Desert Dog M/T Road Noise

The tread pattern is incredibly aggressive looking yet sounds like a high-end M/T on dry roads. The road noise is surprisingly minimal for the looks (quieter than my previous Toyo M/Ts), and the handling is on par, if not better than the Toyos as well. I was shocked at the road noise or lack thereof with the Desert Dog M/T.

Wet Pavement

Armstrong Tire Desert Dog M/T Wet Conditions

On wet pavement, these performed extremely well! We drove through 8-10 flooded road sections from Inyo and Mono County to El Dorado County and these tires didn’t break loose once. I tried to spin them with A-trac off… nothing. Granted, they’re still brand new, but very impressive compared to an STT PRO, for example, with horrible wet road performance out of the box.

Stone Ejectors

Armstrong Tire Desert Dog M/T Rhino Tread Pattern

The stone ejectors didn’t hold on to rocks consistently which is insane. I’m constantly plucking rocks out of my Toyo M/Ts once I get back on the main road… not the Desert Dogs. The zig-zag stone ejectors just flat-out work. I’ve never seen anything like that.

Sand & Mud

Aired down, these crushed it in the wet sand and mud, as you would expect with its massive lug separation and alternating shoulder scallops. This is where the tires really shined. They got me through some gnarly pockets of wet sludge.

Snow

We didn’t drive directly on snowpack so it’s hard to tell how the siping and massive lug separation would have performed on snow-covered roads. Regardless, Mud Terrains just aren’t made for snow.

We did however push the tires through 3’ x 80’ drifts of slushy snow powder in spring and when aired down to 15PSI, they did well for a mud terrain. In addition to the drifts, we did encounter a couple hours of hail from Conway Summit into Bridgeport and the tires didn’t give us any indication that they weren’t built for the job.

Price

As for price, these are priced around $100 less (or more) per tire compared to other major name brands. At the time of writing, a 35″ Armstrong Desert Dog M/T is priced at $326, and a 35″ BFG KM3 is $499.99. Crazy price difference!!

If you like the tread pattern, I say go for it. You can’t beat the price, warranty, strength, durability, and performance overall compared to the competition. This tire is going to be for you if you have a heavy rig loaded down with lots of weight, pull heavy loads, and are wheeling in harsh conditions like mud, rock, ledges, sand, and loose rock.

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Stan
Stan
6 months ago

You never mentioned the true height or ratio of the tire ,35″ or 34.5? , if the siping goes all the way down to the core , the weight of the tire , how did it balance?

Dave
Dave
10 months ago

Too bad they don’t make them in 33’s.

santiago
santiago
10 months ago
Reply to  Dave
Dave
Dave
10 months ago
Reply to  santiago

For 17 inch wheels. I didn’t clarify that.

Chris Fortunato
Chris Fortunato
10 months ago

These tires look aggressive, awesome article Brenan!

Konrad Chojnowski
Admin
Nomad
10 months ago

Those photos! Haha

RayC
RayC
10 months ago

There’s a photo-bombing Bronco!

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