Beach Driving/Essential Equipment

Submitted: Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 12:16
ThreadID: 19362 Views:3336 Replies:24 FollowUps:23
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Could anyone give me a few tips and advice on Beach driving and the sort of things i should be paying attention. Also the type of equipment that i sould be getting to enable myself to get out of harms way if i find myself stuck. I am planning a trip at the end of the year and need to have enough time to get myself organised.
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Reply By: Rob! - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 12:31

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 12:31

Don't listen to Lucky Vic. He sells toyotas for a living (but drives a subaru).

I'd get a good snatch strap, shackles, rated recovery points, a tyre pressure guage and a shovel to start with.
Apart from that it'll really depend on where you are planning to go.

AnswerID: 93014

Reply By: Graham - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 12:32

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 12:32
AnswerID: 93015

Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (WA) - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 12:43

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 12:43
yep 18 psi for easy going 15 for average sandy beaches 12 for heavy going and down to 8 to get yourself out when bogged. Dont wait till your down before letting them down coz that creates wear on your vehicle. Correct pressure for the conditions will see you go past people digging and sweating like you were on bitumen
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Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 15:04

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 15:04
Davoes's right, if you want to talk sand listen to the guys with (WA) at the end of their name, they no all about it! LOL

If I see beach sand I whack the stuans on, they drop me tyres to 16psi. From their it's only down. I've had them as low as 5psi during a recovery and climbing some dunes fully loaded with camping gear.
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Follow Up By: Member - Clive G (WA) - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 16:07

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 16:07

we not called sand gropers for nothing,, 15psi no ifs or buts just before I hit the beach, not only it makes it easier for you on the beach, but also protects the enviorment, nothing worse then trying to tackle a dune full of corragation from all those ppl that dont let there tyres down and creat wheel spins .

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Follow Up By: slyonnet - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 17:29

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 17:29
Well I have to join in since I'm in WA also.

Agree with all the above. I am not seeing myself as an expert but here is what I gathered from experience and talking to people or reading mags.

I usually start at 18psi and get lower if I find it not going well. However the best pressure for a given sand condition will vary depending on the vehicle. So if others are cruising at 18psi but you are struggling at that pressure, don't hesitate to deflate a bit more. When I first started 4wdriving I was told to put 20psi but that was not really working for the Courier I had at the time. I quickly found 18psi was far more better.
Try not to go lower than 8-10psi unless you really need it and only for short period of time because you could end up damaging your tyres.
Otherwise the trick is to keep up your momentum by selecting the right gear and maintain your revs up. Once again you will have to play a bit with your gear stick to find what's working best for your car depending on the conditions, unless you're lucky and have an automatic because then it does most of it by itself apparently.
Another thing to remember is not to be too harsh on the breaking, the acceleration or cornering and try to make gear changes as smooth as possible if not you're going to dig yourself in. Everything needs to be smooth. Also if you feel the car is sinking (and trust me you will now when it happens) don't try to accelerate like a maniac: it will only make it worst. See if either a gentle acceleration can get you going or come to a stop slowly as well (if you brake too hard then your front wheels are going to dig in further). You can then select a more appropriate gear to go forward or try to reverse in your tracks to try it again. You'll probably get stuck a few times at the begining but that's how you learn as well so don't worry.
Once you're stuck, then you need a good shovel to dig your wheels and axes out, trying to create a ramp so you can get out easier. If that's not enough then you will need another vehicle to pull you out using a snatch strap, shackles and rated recovery points.
On top of that you will need a tyre gauge and depending on where you plan to go a compressor to be able to pump up your tyres once back on the hard stuff.

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Reply By: Leroy - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 12:33

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 12:33
After sticking your Toyota badge to the front of your vehicle, let your tyres down. Probably start with 20psi then experiment downwards from there. If the sand is hard packed you will prob be fine but if soft you may need to go down further.
Flag on a pole if around dunes. One of those 'wog pole' extendable fishing poles worka treat and tape that to your bullbar.
Shovel, snatch strap, shackles and of course an air compressor!

AnswerID: 93016

Reply By: Member - Ross P (NSW) - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 12:37

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 12:37
I'd consider some sort of 4wd training. Depends where you are! In NSW there's people at Stockton Beach north of Newcastle that specialise in sand driving.
The best equipment in untrained hands can be dangerous.
Equipment wise, assuming you have a suitable vehicle to start with:-
Air Compressor and Tyre guage.
Snatch strap and rated shackles. Maybe a winch extension strap if you end up a fair way from firmer ground.
Make sure you have suitable recovery points front and rear
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Reply By: Member - Mozza (NSW) - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 12:42

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 12:42
i agree with all of the above... (except for the toyota badge!)
i live in newcastle and have spent alot of time up at Stockton beach. TYRE PRESSURE IS THE KEY!.
but as said above.. in sticky situations.. shovel, snatch strap, shackles etc all help!.
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Reply By: flappan - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 12:45

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 12:45

First and foremost. Without those No one will help.

Next. a Good quality Tyre Pressure guage . . . not those cheap Stick things.

As mentioned , around 20psi is a good place to start (I use 25 psi myself).

Next , Snatch strap and rated shackle.

Next LONG HANDLED shovel . Its almost impossible to shovel sand away from diffs , with a short handle thing.

Air compressor. Get a decent one. That doesn't mean you need to spend $300 or $400 on an ARB, Blue Tongue , or Max Air , but what it means is DONT buya $12 cheapo from K Mart.

A Bare minimum would be one the $100 compressors from either Supercheap or Repco. Has clips to the battery (NOT cig lighter) , and has a coiled hose.

IF the money is available , then certainly , one the named brands would be a good idea.
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Reply By: Top Cat - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 12:55

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 12:55
Dont knock the idea of putting the toyota badge on the front of his just might work.

I remember watching sesame street when i was a kid.

Ernie said to Bert.........Bert, why do you have a shoe on your head?

Bert replied............To keep the crocodiles away.

Ernie said...........There are no crocodiles arround here Bert.

Bert answered..........Seems to be working aye?

But then again...........maybe you should try putting a shoe on the front?
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Reply By: Member - Sand Man (SA) - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 13:08

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 13:08
As you can read from most of the other replies, correct tyre pressure is the most important thing.
If you are going to do a fair bit of beach driving, a good quality 12 volt Air Compressor will be invaluable, as would a set of Staun tyre deflators. These are available from most 4WD shops (ARB, TJM, Opposite Lock, etc.)
18 PSI would be a fair starting point, then adjust accordingly on experience.

A Snatch Strap is a good piece of safety equipment if you get bogged, but would require another vehicle to "snatch" you out.
Additional safety gear such as exhaust jack, winch, sand anchor, etc. will give you extra security, but is not mandatory.

Some form of driving course will give you increased confidence, but again is not mandatory if you use commonsense.

Another way of gaining experience is to join one of the 4WD clubs, whose membership would be experienced in sand driving (and extraction) and more than happy to share their knowledge.

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AnswerID: 93024

Reply By: Member - Wim (Qld) - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 13:23

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 13:23

Buy a watch. "things i should be paying attention" the tides. Its all in the timing.
As a mate once told me "your going on the sand? you will get bogged" be prepared.
Great fun though.

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AnswerID: 93029

Follow Up By: jackablue - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 13:41

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 13:41
I was going down this list & was suprised that mentioning the tide only came up here. Not too hard to get out of a bogging with the right equipment & other vehicles, but if you make your fourby a reef get a salvage crane. Maybe driving on the hard packed stuff where available would suit, look out for wash outs & other fourbys in dunes.


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Reply By: porl - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 13:25

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 13:25
And if you can, after all the above, your mate in a vehicle behind or in front !!!
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Reply By: locallaw - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 13:33

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 13:33
Gidday,Dont do what they do in the TV commercials and drive like idiots through the water spraying it everywhere.If you want to keep your 4by "KEEP OUT OF THE WATER".They do RUST.
Join a 4by club and learn how to control your vehicle under all conditions ie dont drive across a sand dune unless you want the shiney side down.
Have fun in the sand
Seeya Locallaw
AnswerID: 93035

Reply By: Member - bushfix - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 14:02

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 14:02
G'day Smeetsy,

what comes to mind (apart from recovery gear)...

easy on the brakes, rather the foot off the accelerator to stop. Lower tyre pressures as stated, take it easy on the cornering. Keep an eye on oncoming traffic and cleariy indicate your intentions as you approach. If needing to turn around, generally I believe it is preferable to turn toward the water (if you are not too close already) rather than away where you would usually be headin "up" and into softer sand. Around 60-80 k/h but as stated, watch out for dips from creek lines etc. As also stated, know the tides, you want to get back don't you.

Also, don't forget to pressure your tyres back up when you get back off the sand.

And, keep off vegetated areas, they are delicate. Check if permit is required to access the area you are looking at. You may also need a flag if you are going to be driving the dunes.

but the best advice has already been given, get some formal training from a club.

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Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (WA) - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 14:50

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 14:50
I guess it depends on the beach but 60 - 80kph sounds way to fast especially on the crowded eastern states beaches. I usually am in high 2/3 or low 2/3 depending on how soft it is which limits speed to 20-40kph. Only once have I travelled on a beach in h4 60-70kph and that was on the deserted beach run from cape culver to Israelite bay which was hard packed due to low tides
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Reply By: snow - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 14:11

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 14:11
and...BEER :)
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Reply By: 3.0turbob - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 14:18

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 14:18
As well as all the above, don't leave it to the end of the year to do the sand driving,
get the necessary equipment, do a course or at the very least go out and practise sand driving regularly, BUT have someone go along with you in another vehicle that knows what they're doing (join a club maybe).
Also have a look through the various 4WD magazines, they often have articles on sand driving.

AnswerID: 93050

Reply By: beatit - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 14:48

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 14:48
G'day Smeetsy,

Had a flat once and one of those inflatable air jacks are great in the sand - your conventional jack become almost pointless as it sinks in the sand.

Kind regards
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 15:03

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 15:03
beatit they also make a beautiful pop when they let you down not so gently. Use a jacking plate under a bottle or highlift jack as the $250 explosion of an exhaust jack is a danger. Mine didn't get past two uses.
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Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 15:11

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 15:11
JohnR, I've used an exaust jack for 5 years and used it many times even on the bitumen (when my bottle jack cacked it'self). It's Never "let me down" (exuse the pun LOL).

You have to be a little carful, they come with rubber mats to protect it but I find grabing the rubber mats out of the vehicle to be much thicker and larger. Don't put it near your exaust!! DEEEERRR! And don't put it anywhere where there are protuding bits of suspension etc. It's not that hard to take those procusions and they are very very awseome.

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Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 15:12

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 15:12
Oh yeah, but in saying all that if you get under any car supported only by a jack your and absolutebleep. Especially and exaust jack!
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Follow Up By: Member - bushfix - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 15:13

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 15:13
G'day JohnR,

what brand mate? Was it a puncture or did the bag just burst? I agree with your jacking plate suggestion, part of my normal stow.

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Follow Up By: beatit - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 15:27

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 15:27
I was just talking about changing a flat, wouldn't dream of crawling under a car that was just supported by one of these. I've had mine for a few years and have had to use it twice (once on a dirt track) - no problems. My latest truck has one of thos big angled cut exhausts that doesn't fit the dam hose - had to get an adaptor to stick on the end of the exhaust seems to be servicable again. Hope I never have to use it!

Kind regards
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 18:07

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 18:07
We were using it on the beach at Robe and trying to unbog my Nissan - sand not stones, it had been on clay earlier. Just ask Member Lucy, he was beside himself after it went off. He was beside the yellow bag when it went off, nearly under.
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Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 18:44

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 18:44
a pop! indeed Mr R, my ears are still ringing
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FollowupID: 352098

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 18:55

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 18:55
I can imagine if it did pop it would have made a bloody great big noise! What brand was that one? I spose different brands make different qualities in workmanship??
I can't even remeber the one I've got, it's an oldy though...
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Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 23:26

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 23:26
Guys, I guess you have Bonz testament it was a trifle noisy yellow bag that carried the brand Bushranger. I guess you could say it didn't hold us up for long :-(

Bonz says it would make a good spare cover. I don't think it would be tight enough for that. I don't really know what troggered the pop!
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Reply By: Member - Hugh (WA) - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 16:00

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 16:00

I think everyone has you covered for gear.

Driving on sand (with your gear on board) is another thing. As most people have mentioned, tyre pressure is the key. The other two factors not mentioned are vehicle momentum and gear selection (for manual). From my experience, the latter two are linked and you can loose a lot of momentum when changing down only then to bog in.

As mentioned above, take a course or get involved in a club. If not, then I'd suggest you at least go out with somebody else for your first few trips. When you get stuck it is nice to have someone with you to help, snatch out, etc.

Above all else, have fun!

AnswerID: 93072

Reply By: Lone Wolf - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 17:18

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 17:18
Well, all you need now is.................... a BEACH!!

Good luck.

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Follow Up By: Mad Dog (Victoria) - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 19:11

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 19:11
And afterwards plently of water pressure to wash the steed!!
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Reply By: Chucky - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 20:51

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 20:51
test your pressure gauge to make sure it reads true before you go out. I bought a VDO one and found out too late that the bloody thing was reading 10psi low. Though I had 12psi in the tyre and really had 22psi. To make things worse I was towing a c.t as well.
AnswerID: 93130

Reply By: scottcamp - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 21:13

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 21:13
Do not know how much interest this book might be to you. I found it a great read and full of usefull information and should answer any question you have about driving on the sand. the book sahara-overland II is fantastic and the information is relevent all over the world not just the sahara. The desert driving video is also outstanding. I bought both these items a year ago and i am still reading the book, recently upgraded to the second addition even better.

Another great book is Tom sheppard expedition guide, probably the best expedition prep guide out at the moment. I would recommend the effort to import these items as you will be reading them for years.
AnswerID: 93133

Reply By: Member - Camper (SA) - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 23:55

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 23:55
Not all that experienced in sand, but here goes.

If your tyre pressures are really low beware turning corners in the sand as you can roll the tyre off the rim enough to deflate it completely and coat the rim liberally with sand just where you need seal to reinflate it.

Any turning manouver takes more power especially at low speed, and risks wheelspin which will dig you in pronto. Avoid wheelspin like the bubonic plague.

When turning around on a narrow beach its three point turn with the nose up the beach into the dunes so that you can do the reversing bit downhill. Not the other way!

Fuel consumption goes through the roof in sand. Will you have enough to finish the trip?

Drive in the tracks of others. The sand is compacted and harder so you dont have to push a 'wave' of sand ahead of each tyre.

Leave the trailer behind - it will act like a parachute.

When driving on a surf beach go slow past parked vehicles, people fishing and playing etc - they will not here your approach because of the roar of the surf and kids and fisherfolk busy with lines etc. may easily blunder into your path.

Beach sand is not always consistently hard. There can be no warning that you are entering a real soft spot. When you do you will slow, the engine will labour and you will sink. Trying to snatch a lower gear takes real skill and fast reflexes if you are to manage it before you lose momentum. A good reason to leave exploration to Dr Livingstone and stick in the tracks of others.

Sand driving is the skill of having just enough speed to maintain momentum and remain safe. Practice is the only way to get this right. Too much speed is just looking for trouble.
All the best,

AnswerID: 93164

Reply By: Smeetsy - Saturday, Jan 15, 2005 at 07:27

Saturday, Jan 15, 2005 at 07:27
Thanks everyone,

I seem to have got all the answers i was looking for. I am planning down go to SA Yalata country and will not be venturing all that much on the beach but i still wanted the basic opinion of the ART OF SAND DRIVING! As for clubs haven't got enough time but will take it slow and try and learn very quickly if i have to! Vehicle wise i know someone will have a go but got a Paj DiD and seems to go alright (does what i want it to do). Once again thanks to everyone who has given me some advice.
AnswerID: 93179

Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (WA) - Saturday, Jan 15, 2005 at 21:10

Saturday, Jan 15, 2005 at 21:10
A paj did should be an awsome weopon in the sand being far lighter than a 100 for instance and heaps of go. with low enough pressure it should be near immpossible to bog. That big camper of mine is crap on sand but I have never got it bogged on a beach coz I am not scared to let the tyres down
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Follow Up By: Member - Ross P (NSW) - Monday, Jan 17, 2005 at 09:46

Monday, Jan 17, 2005 at 09:46
Pajero NM and NPs revell in sand work especially on the OE highway tyres. ATs are bit more aggressive and can "eat" in a bit more. Lower your tyre pressures and switch off ASC and others will be amazed what the Paj will do if you're just a little carefull.
Becarefull if you do get a bit adventurous on the dunes. A Number of NMsd and NPs have lost their rear bumbers. They seem to act as a scoop and come adrift.,
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Reply By: harry5 - Saturday, Jan 15, 2005 at 11:43

Saturday, Jan 15, 2005 at 11:43
Smeetsy the very first thing to get is a tide chart then have a look at the beach to see where the previous tide came to and the height of that tide,if there is a big surge expect the tide to come up higher,If this is not possible try to travel on an outgoing tide till you get a feel of the beach. As for tyre pressure usually getting on and off is the hard part if it has rained you may not even need to go below 24/25
every beach is different some are as hard as a highway,i start at 25 , 22, 18 but i listen to how the car is handling it. If it gets a bit dicey select low range and maybe 2/3 gear a bit of speed (but not too much as THAT CAN GET A BIT UNTIDY).Try not to spin your wheels,Its not that hard you should enjoy it.If it is a bit soft hop in some one else tracks . Have a good trip
AnswerID: 93222

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