I too would like a narrow 35/36 tire. A 12.50 tire around here can be a hand full when changing lanes. The pavement grooves tend to pull you around.
I can be hitting the bump stops on most gravel roads. Your springs might be stiffer or your shocks can play a role also. If I had 33's then I could get another inch of up travel.
I think the important thing is to figure out where you are going to end up. Doing things twice is a pain. Heck I may end up on 40's. It just depends how bored a guy gets in the winter.
I think you guys have convinced me to go with 35s. Now I just need to figure out the wheel/tire combo. It looks like there are a couple of ways to get to a 35" tire. Looking at tire rack's web site it looks like the vast (and I mean VAST) majority of 5x5 17" wheels are 9" wide and offer a -12mm offset. According to them that will provide 4.5" backspace, but I'm not sure how they do that math.
I notice that AEV's wheels (a trusted name, to be sure) are all 8.5" and they claim 5.2" of backspacing and that 37" tires will fit with these wheels. However, Rock Crawler advises 4.5" backspacing for tires up to 35" and 3.5" backspacing for 37's and beyond.
I realize I am now drifting into a topic that has probably be covered 10,000 times already ("wheel and tire choice with xyz lift"), so if anyone has a link to a good and authoritative answer on this topic, I'd be grateful.
I want to avoid the mall crawler 'tires sticking out 4" past the fender' look