Milestar Patagonia MT vs Nitto Ridge Grappler

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Both tires here are although form very different categories, they are still comparable, that’s because both the Milestar Patagonia MT from mud-terrain category, and the Nitto Ridge Grappler form “rugged-terrain” offer you with a very powerful structures with almost similar durability. Though still, one tire does outperform the other in some performance sectors, Let’s find them out.

Nitto Ridge Grappler
Nitto Ridge Grappler shoulder lugs are less aggressive compared to those in the middle.

Being a tire engineer, from my perspective, the Milestar Patagonia MT is better in mud and sand tire, surprise surprise! Moreover, the tire also does better on dirt filled and rocky terrains. On the other side, the Nitto Ridge handles pavements better, where it’s wet traction need some help, but other than that it’s great on dry roads with its superb steering response, it shows better ride comfort and it’s durability is on par to its competitor.

Sizes Facts

The Milestar Patagonia MT provides you with 15 to 22 inches rim diameters with following specs:

  • Speed ratings: Q on all.
  • Load ratings: C to F.
  • Weight range: 50 to 88 lbs
  • Tread depth: 18 and 19/32″.
  • Ratings: No 3PMSF.
  • Warranty: None.

(These also include 3 “black labelled” sizes as well, and these include, 37X12.50R17LT, 38X13.50R17LT and 40X13.50R17).

In comparison, the Nitto Ridge Grappler offers 98 total sizes, in 16 to 24 inches, with following specs:

  • Load ratings available: SL, XL, D, E and F.
  • Speed ratings available: T or Q.
  • Weight range : 36 to 91 lbs.
  • Tread depth range: 13/32″ to 18/32″ (Most common: 16.4/32″).
  • Sizes have no mileage warranty or 3PMSFR.

Detailed review of this tire.

Tread Structure

Let’s start things form Nitto.

Nitto Ridge Grappler
Nitto Ridge Grappler form X shaped grooves in the middle.

The Nitto Ridge Grappler is structured with 4 triangular lugs in the middle section, with 2 featuring full-depth notches on the sides and the remaining 2 (smaller in sizes, slightly) are only equipped with sharp edges and siping.

They make grooves, which makes it a good enough biter, on all types of terrains, including mud, where the Z shaped channels connect the outer wider circumferential ones.

Though the tire does not compromise on dry roads as well, while doing that, as all lugs have foundational supports underneath (enhancing stability needed for directional braking and acceleration).

Moreover, the shoulder lugs also have the same story, they have staggered edges combined with thicker sidewall lugs, and together they yield superb off road bite, especially on rocks, as you’ll see in the upcoming topics.

Though note that they only get to generate better results when you lower down your tire’s PSI values.

Moving on towards the other tire, with the Milestar MT, you get a more aggressive tread pattern.

Milestar Patagonia MT
Milestar Patagonia MT

In the middle there’s only a single rib containing C shaped lugs, making very closed up longitudinal tread voids (compared to outer wider channels).

The closed up lugs here offer directional dry grip, while the full depth sipes in them yield wet traction.

Moreover, with their wrapping/interlocking geometry, they also present a little bit of lateral grip as well.

And where they deliver most of the traction on pavements, the outer bigger lugs, with thicker notches, siping, and off-set edges assign the grip off-road.

They also have staggered outer edges, forming thick mud scoops in them.

And although they don’t make dual sidewall designs, they still make thicker lugs in comparison.


The mechanical robustness of off-road tires is of paramount importance in order to administer adequate performance on rough terrains, where there are a lot of sharp “puncturing” objects. That’s why these tires are made though with thicker rubber skin on top, and powerful plies under the skin.

Having said that, although both tires, features 3 ply polyester, and 2 steel belts on top, the Nitto Ridge Grappler comes with dual cap plies, where on Milestar Patagonia M/T you see just a single nylon layer.

So on paper, although the Milestar is slightly weaker, subjectively, it does not make too much a difference, and if anything, it makes the tire better as it gets to weigh lighter comparatively.

Dry Grip

How much frictional force a tire generates with a road while running on a straight line determines grip, or more specifically, directional grip.

It gets measured with braking distances, and depends on the central area of the tread, which experiences the most weight concentration.

And so although Milestar Patagonia M/T features a closed up lugs in the very middle, (for the very same purpose), they still lack when compared to Nitto.

This is because Ridge Grappler offers a better contact patch meet up with the ground, and it’s blocks stay very stable thanks to solid foundational supports they have underneath.

That’s why you get to see faster stopping efficacy on this tire.

Dry Handling

During corners, the weight transfer of the tire/vehicle to the outer shoulders highlights how important their contact with the ground is for lateral traction.

That’s why with such a balder shoulder design seen on the mud terrain tire, the Milestar Patagonia, it makes sense why you see such limited handling performance.

On the other hand, the Nitto Ridge Grappler with closed up shoulder lugs, having minimal tread features provide smoother contact without any hurdles.

Moreover, it’s better handling is also highly affiliated with steering feedback.

Steering Response

How better a tire responses to the steering inputs depends on the flexing of the lugs.

The Milestar Patagonia M/T although features a little bit of a lighter structure, its wider gaps enforces its tread blocks to mold/bend more during cornering, and braking. This results in limited balance between under and over steering, as energy gets wasted in to bending of those lugs, which could have moved the tire in “time”.

Nitto Ridge Grappler on the other side, does not slow you down that much, and it’s harder compound with foundational supports, and less tread depth ensures the rubber to road contact stay firm. That’s the reason it’s sizes get to have a better speed rating.

Wet Traction

Better wet traction can be achieved by focusing on grip and hydroplaning resistance. So let me discuss them both one after another.

Wet Grip

For maximum grip on wet roads, the tire must be equipped with both siping and flexibility.

And so when it comes to M/T tires, although they have a soft enough compound, they really lack in providing “good-in-number”, siping.

But still in case of Milestar Patagonia MT, I gotta say, that’s the most sipes I’ve ever seen on any mud-terrain, though as they are only in middle, you only get a directional grip with them.

And the tire lacks in overall handling with it’s aggressive shoulder lugs.


Aquaplaning occurs when the tire struggles to clear water from its tread in time, and starts to float.

But in case of these two tires, that’s never really the case, as these tires are pretty heavy, and their highly voided structure allows water to remove itself out very fast.

Fuel Consumption

As the tire rotates, it compresses and rebounds, which creates friction between the tire and the road, That’s why being an aggressive M/T, the Milestar Patagonia MT consumes more fuel.

Even though it’s weight and tread depth is almost similar to its counterpart, (on average), with a balder design, its lugs bear more weight pressure on them, which causes them to bend.

This bending of the lugs wastes energy, that’s why the Nitto Ridge Grappler with stronger reinforced foundations underneath those lugs and relatively a harder composition of the tread, focuses its energy in to rolling of the tire, creating better fuel economy.

Ride Comfort

Ride quality has a lot of variables. One of them is the settling of the bumps and vibrations on roads. And here, the Milestar Patagonia MT with it’s malleable compound, and larger tread depth cushions the imperfections of the road in a better way.

But the tire is by no means what you’d call “comfortable”. This is because with highly voided design, it’s does not offer a stable maneuverability on smooth tracks.

Moreover, the tire is also very loud. This is because noise is just air hitting the walls of the tread, and with such balder design, air particles freely move around and collide with the walls of the tread with full force, generating unwanted sounds.

Nitto Ridge Grappler on the other side, features a crowded structure, with less wider grooves, so it’s stable on roads, and does not produce as much of the noise pollution (though compared to an average all-terrain tire, its still louder).

Winter Performance

Both tires lack a lot when it comes to winter traction, especially on hard packed snow, where they are a complete disaster on ice.

And out of them, the Nitto Ridge Grappler is better. The tire actually has a more closed up formation of the lugs and biters, and they make zigzag grooves which have the snow holding abilities.

This allows them to have a better contact with the ground with the lodged snow.

Milestar Patagonia MT on the other side, can only be effective on off-road snowy terrains.

Off Road Grip

Strong self-cleaning abilities and durability are crucial for off-road tires to perform well on different terrains. Let’s take a closer look at each of these elements.

Muddy Trails

Off-road you need wider grooves, and swooping lugs, and to nobody’s surprise, the Milestar Patagonia MT does a better job here, comparatively.

The tire’s balder design account to superior clay evacuation, and shoulder lugs provide the paddling needed.

Nitto Ridge Grappler on the other hand, lacks due to it’s smaller tread voids, though the tire’s isn’t too far off, it’s central part with tons of biters cut down the mud particles as they leave the tread through Z shaped grooves connecting with shoulder voids with stone ejectors.

Moreover, the tire’s dual sidewall design is also pretty helping here, the lugs their are just as thick as the Milestar M/T , and like that tire, it also provide scooping (which is really helpful where the tire is aired down in mud).

Are A/T tires good in mud? :

Rocky Tracks

To effectively navigate rocky surfaces, it’s important to have a tire with a soft tread that allows the blocks or lugs to bend and provide traction, strong grip, and robust sidewalls that can resist sharp punctures.

And since the Milestar Patagonia MT gets to provide all of these features, it’s a better tire.

Nitto Ridge Grappler on the other hand, is lacking here but only by a margin, and as the tire provides amazing traction values especially with lowered air pressure.

My Guide on Air Pressure:

Soft Sand

On sand you have to avoid sinking of that tire, as that means “game over”.

That’s why the Milestar Patagonia MT with surprisingly a lighter construction in comparison, even being a mud-terrain tire, and providing a softer tread, that provides better footprint with the sand does not dig in too much.

And with it’s elongated shoulder lugs extending down to the sidewalls, it provides amazing paddling, throwing sand backwards and generating forward momentum.

These lugs also enhance the tire’s footprint with lowering of air pressure, and with stronger rim locks, you can go really low with the PSI values.

Nitto Ridge Grappler on the flip side, features a stiffer compound with sharper edges, and it’s sidewall lugs aren’t elongated enough to allocate as much paddling as the Milestar Patagonia M/T.

Dirt-Filled Roads

Dirt and sharp stones can get in the way of tire’s traction on gravely roads, as they stick to the tread, not allowing the tire to properly meet up with the surface.

Though with such wider grooves, the Milestar Patagonia MT doesn’t have this issue at all. The more voids to tread ratio, and powerful stone ejectors provide very great self cleaning of the grooves

Though still there are some mixed results, the tire shows longer braking distances, whereas its handling times are shorter in comparison.

This means, the Nitto Ridge Grappler provides better directional grip on gravely roads (better braking/acceleration), but lacks in overall handling capabilities.

To Conclude

Milestar Patagonia MT is better in dirt, sand, and mud tire, which is not surprising at all, given it’s a mud-terrain tires, though it’s rocky terrain traction is only marginally better here in comparison.

On the other side, the Nitto Ridge does better on pavements, comparatively, it’s fuel consumption is better, it provides superior winter traction, ride comfort and traction wise, its great especially when it comes to steering response (both in wet and dry).

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