Today I want to "drop" some reading resources on you for your further exploration of drop bars for off roading. I by no means am the only person that rides off road with drops and there are definitely more experienced folks out there doing it. In fact, some of them write about those experiences. These are the folks I'm going to point you towards today.
Mike Varley: Mike has been around mountain biking longer than I have and was there for the first big drop bar craze of the late 80's. He wrote this excellent article for a publication that is a great example of what drop bar mountain biking was and looked like in circa 1990. I really like the picture of the original WTB drop bar he has in that piece. There are no bars for off roading quite like those. Too bad they don't make them like that anymore!
You can get more of Mike's excellent wit and wisdom about all sorts of bicycle related topics at his shop blog, Black Mountain Cycles.
Don Person aka "Shiggy": I know Don and he has been a devoted drop bar user off road for 20 years or more. If it can be done on a drop bar mtb, Shiggy has probably done it, and done it first. From full suspension bikes to single speeders and everything in between. Shiggy has a ton of drop bar experience. Check out his scribe on drop bars here. Shiggy has some excellent photography there as well. Pay particular attention to his brake lever placement, bar height, stem choices, and the animation showing all the usable hand positions is awesome.
Then when you are finished, take some time to look around at mtbtires.com. Shiggy does a lot of tire testing and reviews. He has a great resource there for tire info.
Matt Chester: Matt is a frame builder with a somewhat chequered past, but be that as it may, he is an authority on drop bar use, especially from a historical perspective. So I will point you to a great review he did on On One Midge bars here. Matt also did another review on Midge bars for 63xc.com here. Pay attention to the details in set up and bits of history sprinkled into these scribes. You can catch Matt Chester at his blog occasionally when he isn't fabbing or becoming a dyed in the wool roadie in Ontario, Canada.
If you can't figure out drop bars for off roading after all of that, well............it isn't for you then, my friend!
Look for my screed on available drop bars, stems, and brakes for drop bar mtb's coming soon!