I've wheeled with an auto, I loved it, it was an instant crawler uphill, through the rocks or anything flat. Now downhill is different, for the most part no engine braking at all. You will learn to use the e-brake, it is your friend. Nothing really beats true gear reduction, but an auto trans will put you out there quicker and usually with less money involved. When I built my 4Runner with an auto all I did was to it was lift it, lock it and wheel it.