crossing the simpson desert

Submitted: Wednesday, Oct 21, 2015 at 21:26
ThreadID: 130666 Views:3025 Replies:10 FollowUps:21
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I'm going to cross the simpson from mount Dare to Birdsville along the French line next june / july with a camper trailer weight is 1 ton loaded with a 3lt patrol up front, just like too know if other people have done it and if they had any problem or to hard at all.
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Reply By: Sigmund - Wednesday, Oct 21, 2015 at 22:19

Wednesday, Oct 21, 2015 at 22:19
The Parks people recommend that you don't tow a trailer. That's cos you'll make the corrugations worse and risk digging moguls. It's anti-social behaviour and you can expect to get called on it while you're out there.
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Reply By: Member - Neil L1 - Wednesday, Oct 21, 2015 at 23:35

Wednesday, Oct 21, 2015 at 23:35
I don't believe that towing a camper necessarily causes more corrugations and moguls than any other 4wd being driven incorrectly and with wrong tyre pressures. I towed a camper on the Canning with a 3L Prado and walked over dunes which stopped others that weren't towing. It all comes down to tyre pressures and driving style. I ran around 15-17psi all round and almost idled over most dunes. I am also planning a Simpson trip at about the same time next year and I will once again be towing a camper. If Pat Callinhan can do it on national TV without raising the ire of the rangers then you can hardly blame others for wanting to do it.
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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 06:38

Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 06:38
Simmo is pretty unique, with 1100+ dunes in a relatively short distance, and a few of the can give trouble for trailers, especially the larger eastern side of the crossing.
French Line is really bad at the moment, shocking undulations between Knolls and Rig, and I personally think it will take a season or 3 for it to even out a bit, if it can ever.
I would go Rig, WAA, Rig, Knolls, and QAA (if going through Birdsville) if I was doing it towing.
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Follow Up By: philip s3 - Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 20:57

Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 20:57
yes I know , but Pat Callinhan don't show you it all with a trailer on unfortunately. ill look at the other roads too thank you.
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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 21:22

Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 21:22
Philip, basically what that is, is a WAA Line crossing, there are a couple of French Line sections in there, but not the really bad undulations.
Mant people towing, or just wanting a less stressful crossing go that route, and a little detour to Lone Gum is within reach too, as well as Approdinna Attora Knolls on Knolls Tk.
Of course other tracks have decent dunes to cross, esp on QAA towards Big Red.
All the best with the trip planning.
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Follow Up By: philip s3 - Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 21:42

Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 21:42
thanks I was looking at the lone gum down rig road
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Reply By: The Landy - Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 06:25

Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 06:25
Philip

I think it all comes down to planning, preparation and experience. And whilst it is suggested not to take trailers it is an advisory as far as I'm aware.

If you are adept at towing trailers on sand and over dunes it shouldn't be a problem, but if you are lacking here, give it some practice as you don't want the trip to be "bogged down" by getting constantly stuck on dunes.

Enjoy, Baz - The Landy
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 07:48

Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 07:48
That's about it Baz. AND we have to be honest with ourselves. Just because one owns a trailer, and has done a few trips and driven along a beach, it doesn't mean one will not damage the desert dunes when towing. Just pulling a trailer up a dune puts more pressure on the driven wheels and digs more sand out than a car on it's own.

We took a T-van down the CSR but I wouldn't do it on our trip across the Simpson on the Madigan line. I also have been towing for decades.

SA Deserts (or whatever their name is) are charged with looking after the place. If they decide that trailers are not welcome then we shouldn't take them. Personally I respect the "owners wishes". Even driving down the mates drive. In the wet it is a quagmire and I wouldn't take atrailer down there. It's the old "respect" thing again. Something that is missing these days in so many generations.

But some want to put "glamping" ahead of respect for an "owners" wishes.

Phil
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Follow Up By: philip s3 - Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 21:07

Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 21:07
thanks for your help I just might go up to stockland beach for the weekend soon , I'm pretty confident with my trailer on the back been towing for ever, 30years
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Reply By: Member - KeithB - Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 07:42

Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 07:42
We did it with a 200 series towing a 1.2 tonne trailer in May. The French Line at the time was in good condition. We ran 13/16 psi cold and had absolutely no problems and caused no track damage, running in 1st and 2nd gear high range and traction control turned off.
Tyre pressure and a gentle throttle are the key.
Have a great trip.
Keith
AnswerID: 591829

Follow Up By: vk1dx - Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 08:33

Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 08:33
Keith

Excellent and I hope that you enjoyed yourself.

"absolutely no problems and caused no track damage". Every car causes damage. And every car plus a trailer must therefore cause more damage. Simply having to "pull" a trailer over a dune does more damage than simply a car driving over it. I fail to see how they won't. It's not just getting stuck that is the problem.

Philip
Have you considered the WAA line? We went that way a few years back and it was a much easier drive. A lot less traffic as well.

Phil
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Follow Up By: Member - KeithB - Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 09:39

Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 09:39
Phil,
We ran 13psi in the trailer and, sure, we left tyre tracks in the sand, just like any other vehicle would, but no more severe and perhaps less so. Tyre marks in sand to no equate with track damage as they disappear with a day or two of wind.
Bouncing all over the place and spinning wheels is what causes track damage. In fact there is a strong argument that the passage of traffic actually keeps tracks open.
Keitht
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Follow Up By: philip s3 - Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 21:15

Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 21:15
thanks , just like walking on the sand it leaves foot tracks, they will disappear soon if we all take care , that what is all about , taking our time to enjoy, ill will look at the WAA line too thanks
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Reply By: lancie49 - Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 07:49

Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 07:49
Just interrupting for a few moments chaps..............

I'm afraid I can't add any experiences to this topic but I was wondering what distances and time scale would be involved in a trip like this.

Ya never know, one day............:-)

Lance
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Follow Up By: muzbry - Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 09:10

Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 09:10
Gday
Give yourself tree nights minimum and youl be ok.....
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Follow Up By: Member - Peter&Lynore - Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 09:24

Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 09:24
Hi Lance we did the Simpson at the very start of this year, it took us 3 days, Q A line , French Line, but was much to fast, we are going back next June , Birdsville Mt Dare & back will be staying longer in the desert as didn't see enough, l think roughly 500 Ks one way, 3lt patrol both tanks full & 2 jerry cans, it's great if you can get out their.
Peter
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Follow Up By: philip s3 - Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 21:22

Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 21:22
Lance it look so nice out there I can't wait to get there i'll be going to the big red bash too when I'm there.
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Reply By: Ozrover - Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 12:55

Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 12:55
Forgetting for a moment that towing trailers of any kind does damage the dune approaches, places more stress on both the vehicle & the occupants, annoys the crap out of most desert travellers & is frowned upon by the Parks managers, go ahead & do it, but be forewarned & prepare both the vehicle, trailer & occupants really well for the trip.

Also budget for a potentially costly recovery & repairs if it does go wrong, I had to tow a 3.0l Patrol out of the Simpson a few years ago that had blown it's clutch trying to tow a camper trailer across the desert, (the recovery process also damages the dune faces by the way), the cost of recovery & the fitting of a new clutch at Mt Dare cost in excess of $4500.00, that was quite a bit cheaper than it could have been as the owner did most of the work fitting the new clutch, which was a mongrel of a job!

AnswerID: 591846

Follow Up By: birdnerd - Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 20:07

Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 20:07
So do we annoy the crap out of "most desert travellers" in all deserts or just the Simpson?
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Follow Up By: philip s3 - Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 21:32

Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 21:32
with nrma top road side cover dave from mount dare or someone from Birdsville will pick you up and the car / camper too at no cost as nrma told me. I'm not there too break down, just too have some fun.
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Follow Up By: Ozrover - Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 22:34

Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 22:34
Don't know about the other desert crossings but this discussion is about the Simpson Desert, & after spending five years at Mt Dare & speaking to countless (Simpson) desert travellers, the consensus was overwhelmingly that most people get pretty annoyed when encountering those towing trailers out there.

Lots of luck getting towed out at no cost, you will have to be pretty lucky if they do cover you if you tell them exactly where you are.

Most road service providers declined if they were told the whole story, some however were happy to pay once the customer & vehicle were safe. NRMA, RAA & RACV were the worse, RACQ were the best at paying up.

Btw, Dave is no longer there, Grahame or Tony should be able to help out tho.


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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Friday, Oct 23, 2015 at 07:18

Friday, Oct 23, 2015 at 07:18
It annoys crap out of MOST people due to the fact MANY towing do get stuck.
Often.
When it's busy out there, this is very annoying as no joke it is comparable to crawling along in peak hour traffic.

WAA Line is your best bet, if you really want to do Poeppels you could tie up and back to WAA if you budget fuel etc.

That's another thing, besides the strain on all mechanicals esp if auto trans, you will need a heap more fuel.
Most take 170lt with a very generous safety margin for crossings (but generally use around 100lt), if towing you will need quite a bit more to keep within safety margins for detours or worst case a turn around.
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Reply By: Member - Odog - Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 20:00

Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 20:00
G'day all
We are in the process of planning a Simpson trip next year, three vehicles, and have all agreed to leave the camp trailers behind, and tent or swag it.. (Would rather sleep under a million stars than canvas anyway)
Sure it's nice in the camp trailer, but we, like many others, will make do without it..
After towing the trailer out of black point in SW WA, in dry deep sand, and watching the temp guage rising, I'd personally, rather give it a miss.. Figure it's not worth the strain on the vehicle.. Move fun not towing anyway.. Just my thoughts... What was that.. Keep your thoughts to yourself! All good fun. Can't wait! Enjoy your trip, either way.. Cheers Odog
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Follow Up By: philip s3 - Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 21:39

Thursday, Oct 22, 2015 at 21:39
I would love too leave the camper at home but I will be on the road for 4 weeks just don't have the room for it all with no camper ,4 in the car and I would like too know what other peoples thoughts are. thanks for your input.
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Reply By: Member - Odog - Friday, Oct 23, 2015 at 15:02

Friday, Oct 23, 2015 at 15:02
Hey Philip
We are also doing 4 weeks, just two of us in the car, and I'm wondering how to fit all the camping gear.. If you have 4 plus gear, I see why you need to take your CT.. Personally, if I was towing, and noticed another vehicle behind me, wouldn't you make room for them to pass, if your holding them up.. Just be the nice/right thing to do... Who needs road rage out there! But I understand different needs and reasons for towing across the Simpson, everyone is entitled to their own choice.. I'd still give you a wave...Lol.. Cheers Odog
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Follow Up By: philip s3 - Friday, Oct 23, 2015 at 22:14

Friday, Oct 23, 2015 at 22:14
yes that's way I need to take the camper trailer , if i'm going slow on any type off track I will always pull over too let other people through not too hold any one up, and just don't just wave at me stop and have a beer together odog.
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Saturday, Oct 24, 2015 at 08:56

Saturday, Oct 24, 2015 at 08:56
We mainly travel with two only in the car. When just two of us I take the rear seat out and install a shelf that lines up with the drawers. All "dangerous" (stuff that will hurt in an accident) gear goes under the shelf and is thus secured in case of an accident. All that is left consists of pillows, blankets and soft bags with clothes. All food goes in the two fridges and one drawer. The second drawer has the two butane stoves and all the car stuff like spares, tools etc. All recovery gear goes in a void besides the drawers. For sleeping either a roof top tent or swags, stored on the roof. One luxury that we do take is a port-a-loo that is securely bolted to the shelf.

Been doing it like this for years.

But I will add that the GVM has been increased as we are "over" the standard GVM. Especially when taking two spares (steel rims) and extra fuel on the rack.

Towed a hired T-van down the CSR because we had one grand kid kid on board and wanted to shift some weight off the car as the GVM upgrade hadn't been finalised. But that is it. Wouldn't bother again though. The beauty of being able to "test" drive one without purchasing one.

Phil
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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Friday, Oct 23, 2015 at 23:44

Friday, Oct 23, 2015 at 23:44
Saw this at Birdsville......

Without comment!
Cheers
Allan

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AnswerID: 591906

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Saturday, Oct 24, 2015 at 07:05

Saturday, Oct 24, 2015 at 07:05
July when I needed a torsion bar mount fix, they had a couple before me lined up for various repairs, and a write off on trailer where all the off-road mount welds were sheared right off.
I reckon trailer / camper repairs done over the years at Mt Dare could be counted in the 1000s.
You have to be very sure if all your gear, especially trailers that might only get use once or twice a year and little maintenance.
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Reply By: dad1340 - Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 09:21

Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 09:21
My 2 bobs worth,

I, like many others, have been the popular bloke on the block by getting people out of trouble towing trailer campers - too many times unfortunately.
As more and more charge off into remote area's this seems to be occurring more frequently.
3 Straps in 4 years and all on helping others; as you do.

I've heard about the level of Mt Dare camper repairs (seems a staple $ diet these days) and it reminds me of the garage compound at the Tip (Cape York) littered with broken, crashed and thrown away trailer campers.

People can please themselves taking campers anywhere but working within sensible parameters and destinations seems lost on a few. Remember, I'm not talking about the few who go through trouble free (there is always reasons) but the majority of those who tow.

As I was told by an old mechanic on the Cape, "What's not OME generally breaks up here"
He spoke of aftermarket gear, campers, trailers, particularly LRF tanks etc. I'm sure his words of experience apply elsewhere.

For every towed camper that's made it through any decent 4WD trip there is more with stories of woe. Clearly more track damage occurs towing - check out YouTube

It all depends on how much stress you need.

We'll be going through from Mt Dare in June as well with the straps (new) ready ;)

Cheers

dad1340
AnswerID: 592304

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 13:07

Tuesday, Nov 03, 2015 at 13:07
And certainly, in the Simmo in particular, towing vehicles WILL get stuck more, need more difficult back downs on dunes for another run with more momentum, and definitely chew up ruts more in first attempt(s), get stuck on peaked dunes, etc.

If this is June / July / Aug / race time, this can cause incredible delays at each and every dune sometimes, with traffic both ways backing up in substantial traffic jams !!
If taking trailers / campers, please do it in more shoulder seasons, and take WAA Line.
Otherwise other travellers ARE going to get frustrated, believe it.
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