Okay then—the endless searching is paying off on educating myself to what I want and actually do/don't need. It's been interesting, yet I always feel like I end up back where I started on decision-making, so I figured I'd throw out some of the specific options I'm looking at to see if anyone has any feedback.
I already acquired a set of 5 JK Moabs (17x7.5), so these are the wheels for them.
I have narrowed down the search for tires to the Toyo Open Country AT2's, Cooper Discoverer AT3's and the Bridgestone Dueler Revo 2's.
I know these are all pretty similar tires among the AT crowd, but each has better characteristics for different conditions, each I'm kind of willing to compromise with based on whichever one I end up getting. So ultimately, it's coming down to what sizes in each I can find and overall looks, I guess.
I've seen quite a few people running the Dueler Revo 2's on their Grand Cherokees and really like the look of them. They also seem to have overall great reviews on performance, so that never hurts. The only thing about them I dislike is the smaller tread depth compared to the other two in the same or close to same size... ie: in P265/70/17 the Toyos are 13/32", the Coopers are 14/32" and the Dueler comes in last at 12/32". Although there is an option for an LT255/75/17 in a C-load rating for the Revo 2 that has 16/32" tread depth, but the compromise is about 4-5 extra pounds of weight to the tire (more gas + comfort loss) and a little more money ($188 each is the best price I found online for the LT's - $175 for the P's).
Would the ride comfort and noise be compromised too much to jump to the LT from the P tires? It's only a C-load, so it didn't seem like I'd be sacrificing that much... Also, would these differences in tread depth between one another make a huge difference or not really?
I also liked the Cooper AT3's in a P255/75/17 size, that gave me a little taller tire to fill the wheel wells like the Revos, which I like. They come in at only 38lbs with 14/32" depth, compared to the LT Revo's at 44-45lbs at 16/32". They are also the cheapest of the three tire options, coming in at $137 per tire on treadepot.com...These also seemed like a good option, but honestly I haven't seen very many shots of the tire on the Jeep or any truck that I like very much. The lack of aggressive appearance definitely isn't a deal breaker for me, but I figured if I'm blowing this much on tires, I need to get what I really want.
And finally, to the Toyos. Originally when I first found and researched these, they seemed like exactly what I was looking for. That is until I saw some of the differences between their load class ratings (P, LT & Extreme) appearances. The P's are seriously lacking in the looks dept. compared to the LT and Extreme IMO, based on photos I've seen online...still can't find any in town to see in person. So the option to get the more aggressive Open Country AT2's comes at a cost in their load range and price, which really sucks. I'm not willing to even consider an E-load tire, just because it makes little-to-no sense for these kinds of cars and comfort is important. I'd like to not completely rule these out either based on this, but it's hard investigating when I can't compare them in person. From here, I'd also go with the 265/70/17 size as a second choice if I can get over the lack of tread/sidewall compared to the larger sizes.
If you are still reading, god bless you for coming this far and I'd love any opinions on this matter if you have them. I know I'll end up getting a great performing/looking tire no matter what in the end, but the assistance of any like-minded Jeepers would help take the weight off my mind until I actually pull the trigger.