Top 6 sand driving tips

By: Michael Borg, Photography by: Matt Fehlberg


When you’re driving on sand there’s a bit of technique involved, especially if you’re towing. So here are our top sand-driving tips.

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1. GET YOUR TYRE PRESSURES RIGHT

We all know we need to drop our tyre pressures down on sand, as it increases the tyres’ footprint, which spreads the vehicle’s weight over a larger surface area to prevent the tyre from digging into the sand.

The average tyre pressure to run is between about 14-18psi, but this can depend on things like your vehicle’s weight and the type of tyres fitted. The camper trailer’s tyres should be lowered, too, and sometimes you’ll need to drop them even lower to get the same effect due to the camper trailer’s lower weight. A tell-tale sign that the camper’s tyre pressures are too high is if they are skimming across the top of the sand instead of rolling or the tyre isn’t ballooning (bulging) on the bottom.

2. DRIVING THE RUTS

To help reduce the amount of resistance caused by the sand in front of your tyres, try and drive in any existing wheel ruts that are going in your direction. It’ll help reduce the load on your engine, which can affect everything from power to engine temps.

Plus, if your camper trailer sits in the same wheel ruts as your 4WD it can literally half your vehicle’s workload.

3. SWIFTLY SHIFT GEARS

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The increased resistance from the sand means your vehicle will lose momentum very quickly when you back off the throttle. The trick is to shift gears swiftly and smoothly, and try and change gears either on the flats or as you come down a hill.

4. BACK OFF THE BRAKES

Thanks to all that extra resistance, applying the trailer brakes on sand will just about launch you through the window if you’re not careful. Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating slightly, but nine times out of 10 the brakes will be a hindrance rather than an asset for sand driving, so don’t be afraid of backing them off if need be. Trust me, you’ll stop just fine!

5. MEET DUNES HEAD ON

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It doesn’t matter if you’re going up or down a dune, approach it head on nice and straight. This is especially important when towing, as the camper’s weight could cause it to slip sideways before dragging your car along with it. And we all know that’s bad news on a hill – unless you like barrel rolling, that is!

6. PARK DOWNHILL

Use the dunes to help you, not hinder you! That means park facing down hill so it’s easier to take off again.

Check out the full feature in issue #108 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.