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Open Roads Forum  >  Public Lands, Boondocking and Dry Camping

 > Boondocking in the sand -- how soft is too soft??

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wopachop

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Posted: 03/28/21 02:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

opnspaces wrote:


Also know that most 4 wheel drive trucks are really only 2 wheel drive, the back right (passenger) side and front left (driver side) tire. Get out or have your wife get out and observe which tires are spinning when you try to drive and those are the ones you will want to put the carpet under if needed.
Not really true. Manufacturers could omit a lot of moving parts if they wanted to make a vehicle 1 wheel driven.

I understand what you're saying, but in real life applications it's not so black and white. Put some kid in an old Ford ranger and watch him do fish tails in the sand. You will see a roost from both back tires.

wopachop

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Posted: 03/28/21 02:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

profdant139 wrote:

wopachop, I've never felt my axle hop. That does not sound like a fun feeling. I wonder if putting the truck into 4WLO might reduce the hop??
Last week I was towing a big hunk of metal with a Nissan frontier. 4lo and rear diff locked. The back axle was still hopping like crazy.

In sand you have 2 choices. Air waaaaay down and drive slow and float like you have tractor tread.

Or keep normal pressure and use wheelspin to power through.

If your truck was lifted and big tires but kept the stock pinion gear then maybe use 4 lo. You want momentum and speed. Which in general goes against low gear in the transfer case. You will be 3 or 4th gear in low. Or 2rd gear in high.

I would definitely hit the sand section under acceleration. Enter it as fast as the ground allows. If its smooth and you can do 20mph then fly into it.

time2roll

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Posted: 03/28/21 03:19pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

opnspaces wrote:

Also know that most 4 wheel drive trucks are really only 2 wheel drive, the back right (passenger) side and front left (driver side) tire. Get out or have your wife get out and observe which tires are spinning when you try to drive and those are the ones you will want to put the carpet under if needed.
seems that way but the torque is equal. The reason the right rear tends to spin first is that the tork of the drivetrain is putting a downforce on the left side tire giving additional traction. Likewise there is a lifting force on the right rear.


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huachuca

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Posted: 04/01/21 02:32pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Dan, I'm from the east coast and admittedly have limited experience off-roading on our western public lands but I have been driving on sand beaches along our NC coast since the early sixties. Also, I spent two years with Uncle Sam playing around the Chihuahuan desert of southern AZ in my youth and we've visited the Four Corners area several times since retirement (thanks for all your tips and photos). My prior two vehicles were 05 and 12 Tacoma 4WD double cabs with the TRD Off Road package so fairly familiar with what you have.

I don't think many of those giving advice here have noticed the vehicle in your sig - 2013 Tacoma TRD Off Road. The TRDOR package was most common on 4WD Tacoma's but was also available as an option on the two wheel drive models and I'm not sure which you have. Even if yours's is 2WD, it came standard with an electronic locking rear differential which will send power to equally to BOTH rear wheels when engaged. If you're unfamiliar with it, get your owner's manual out and read up on this feature. Posts regarding open differentials and rear wheel spin don't really apply here. I'm also fairly certain your truck has a feature known as Crawl Control. This is a really slick tech that controls wheel spin via the ABS braking system when activated. Check out the details in the manual for this as well. If your truck is 4WD, the low range transfer case, locking rear diff and Crawl Control features will get you through a lot of questionable terrain.

Personally, I'm not a fan of the recommendations to 'just apply more power if you start to lose traction'. The BFG's you're running will quickly bury themselves when they start to spin resulting in the truck's frame contacting the ground. Once that happens, extrication gets much more difficult. I'd suggest stopping immediately at the first sign of tire slippage then get out and lower your air pressure down to 12-14 psi. Actually, I'd do this BEFORE getting into trouble. I always air down when going off road for any distance. The ride is much better, the chance of getting stuck is minimized and it doesn't do any damage to the tires at the reduced speeds you're driving. Don't be afraid to disconnect the camper of necessary - you can always figure out how to get it freed up as long as your truck is mobile. Carry a couple of tow straps (those with no metal hooks) and a soft shackle or three should you need to extricate the trailer.

Carpet is better than nothing but, if you plan to spend much time in sand, I recommend at least one set of traction boards. Good ones aren't cheap, $300+/- for a set of MaxTraxx but neither is a tow or damage to your truck and/or camper. You might also want to consider adding a Come-a-Long to your kit.

Looking forward to your trip reports and photos on the new adventures. We hope to be back your way in early summer.

Al

profdant139

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Posted: 04/02/21 03:53pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Al, thanks for the tip about Crawl Control! I will look into it.

I do have all of the "get unstuck" equipment with me but have never had to use it -- not yet, anyways.

The problem here is that I am not going to spend much time in the sand -- just fifty feet of it. But that's more than enough to ruin my day, if it is too soft and if I handle the truck improperly.

You know what they say about the acronym "4WD" -- it really means "you now have the ability to get stuck a quarter mile further from help than you otherwise would have been." [emoticon]


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time2roll

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Posted: 04/02/21 03:57pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Desert riverbed sand is usually pretty rocky and firm. It is the wind blown sand deposits that make dunes that will get you stuck.

profdant139

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Posted: 04/02/21 04:09pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I hope you are right! I will find out for sure during the coming weeks and will report back in late April.

lane hog

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Posted: 04/06/21 04:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've done a lot of BLM desert driving when we lived in AZ, and would be a lot more worried about high-grounding the trailer as you go in and out of the wash than I would being stuck in the sand.

I won't take a trailer somewhere I haven't scouted first. Drop the trailer if you need to and take a test drive. Ten minutes of hitching up is a lot more fun than three hours of trying to get a grounded trailer to move...



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4runnerguy

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Posted: 04/07/21 11:20am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Here's a quick way to pre-screen boondocking sites in the Moab area. If you are within 30 miles of Moab, if you don't see evidence of a lot of camping spots on the other side of a wash, don't try it. In the Moab area, things get crazy busy and every potential spot is filled on weekend in the spring and fall.

Of course that doesn't eliminate spots where the sand consistency is, well, inconsistent. For instance the Willow Springs road heading the back route into Arches NP has a sand crossing that can be no problem at times, but in the spring after weeks of car, 4x4, motorcycle and ATV traffic, that crossing gets pretty deep sand. Not impassible for most vehicles but no way I'd attempt to take a trailer through it.

Hopefully you've discovered the BLM map showing where one can and can't boondock. Moab BLM camping map PDF Note the blue areas on the map. Those are state lands not impacted by the BLM restrictions. That's why the Willow Springs road is so heavily used. Utlimately it becomes a choice based on the balance between wanting a degree of privacy vs. how far one has to travel every day to get to the parks, the hikes, etc.


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profdant139

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Posted: 04/18/21 06:44pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Well, I just got back from two weeks of boondocking in Utah (Cap Reef/Bryce/Zion). Lots of sand -- never got stuck. We rejected several sites that seemed too sandy.

The best method that I found for evaluating the sand is to dig your heels into a tire track. If you soon hit solid packed sand, that's great.

If you dig and dig and it is still soft, not great.

I will be prepping a detailed trip report and will post a link in a few weeks, after we finish rinsing the red dust off our possessions. My socks will never be the same.

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