Crossing simpson desert with camper trailer

Submitted: Friday, Feb 07, 2003 at 20:12
ThreadID: 3266 Views:7200 Replies:2 FollowUps:2
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re earlier letter crossing simpson desert with camper trailer
My wife and I along with 4 children are going to cross the simpson desert
this july
We will be driving a nissan patrol 4.2turbo diesel pulling an allmost
bullet proof off road camper similar in size to a jayco hawk
With 2x70lt water tanks and 1x70lt fuel tank it has a gross weight of about
1250 kg it has 31x10.5R15LT tyres and caries 2 spares
The patrol will be wearing its 750x16 tyres allso with 2 spares.
However the trailer tracks 250mm wider then the car we have a fair bit
of expirience in off road trailer towing but not on sand.


P.S. Thanks for the responce to the last letter.

Darren & Joanne

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Reply By: Geoff - Friday, Feb 07, 2003 at 22:47

Friday, Feb 07, 2003 at 22:47
Darren,

I have done the Simpson twice with a trailerand not had a problem... in fact many have commented on how easy we made it look. There are however many variables, here are a few that I consider important:

you need to be experienced in relation to sand driving and competent at reversing down dunes as you will not get up all first go;

keep the trailer weight to a minimum...don't take the kitchen sink etc.;

you must be prepared to run you tyre pressures down faily low (run the trailer at about 18psi)...i.e I have gone as low as 14psi on the car but I would start at around 16-18psi and drive accordingly....don't be in a rush;

travel west to east as the dunes are not as steep;

try and speak to someone with experience that has recently done the trip to get a report on track conditions ie. has there been rain recently or is the sand extremely loose?;

and finally what makes it somewhat difficult/slow with a trailer is the scolluping that has ocurred to the dunes, much of it caused by four wheel drivers using incorrect driving techniques. Good luck and have a great trip.

Geoff
AnswerID: 12682

Reply By: John Eggenhuizen - Friday, Feb 07, 2003 at 23:11

Friday, Feb 07, 2003 at 23:11
Hi Guys,
Your probably not going to like my message, but I would strongly recommend that you do not take the trailer accross the Simpson. I know that lots of people have done it successfully, but there have also been a lot of failures. The scalloping that occurs on the dune faces is largely due to incorrect tyre pressures and people towing trailers. Quite often is the case that when someone towing a trailer can't make it up the dune face, they look for an alternative track or worse still make there own. There are enough environmental issues in the Simpson without making it worse.
National parks in SA would also prefer people to not tow trailers in the Desert. They haven't made it illegal yet, but I am sure the time is drawing closer.
So by all means enjoy the desert, but please, without the trailer!!
AnswerID: 12684

Follow Up By: Geoff - Friday, Feb 07, 2003 at 23:32

Friday, Feb 07, 2003 at 23:32
John,

You are quite right about the incorrect tyre pressures, referred to in my response as 'incorrect driving techniques'. Unfortunatley from my two experiences I witnessed significant damage (scalloping) by idiots driving far too hard in their 4WD's with road like tyre pressures; some simply do not have any idea of how to drive in sand, I hope the time is drawing closer for this group as well. I acknowledge your point however that a competent sand driver in a 4WD only is going to stress the environment less without a trailer than with one.

cheers Geoff
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FollowupID: 7412

Follow Up By: Phil G - Saturday, Feb 08, 2003 at 21:20

Saturday, Feb 08, 2003 at 21:20
I agree with John. NPWS people don't like trailers for good reasons.

This trailer also tracks 250mm wider than the vehicle towing it. I'd expect the sand to be particularly soft this year because of the dry conditions. July school hols is the busiest time of the year.

Also, i believe there are heavy fines for dumping trailers out in the desert after they fall apart. Rewelding broken axle flanges in the desert on so called "Heavy Duty Offroad Trailers" is no fun either.

Cheers

Phil
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FollowupID: 7417

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