Sand Ladders

Submitted: Monday, May 01, 2006 at 16:14
ThreadID: 33418 Views:5721 Replies:8 FollowUps:6
This Thread has been Archived

Can some one please tell me why Sand Ladders are not popular here in Australia?

The are great in sand, mud, assistance in getting over rocks etc. I can understand peoples reluctance to not carry any more recovery gear and that these are big and bulky but I haven't ever seen any over here and yet the are so popular with all 4x4's heading into the North African Desert.

Any one any ideas why they are not used here?
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Crackles - Monday, May 01, 2006 at 17:13

Monday, May 01, 2006 at 17:13
Possibly as the majority of sand driving in Oz is over parralell dunes, so if you get stuck more often than not you just back up & have another go where as in the Sahara they are continuous live dunes so have no option but to dig the 4by out & poke sand mats under the tyres for traction. They did seem to work well on the Paris to Dakar ralley.
Similarly we've used the old aircraft landing strips to great effect at work to debog trucks as they are far easier to winch when you get them up out of the goo.
Cheers Craig...........
AnswerID: 170053

Follow Up By: Kiwi Kia - Monday, May 01, 2006 at 19:06

Monday, May 01, 2006 at 19:06
The old aircraft stuff was known as PSP (Pressed Stell Plate) or PAP (Pressed Aluminium Plate) Big difference in weight but it works great. A simple little trick that I have seen is tie a short length of rope from them on to the back bumper. When you get going you do not want to stop till you reach firm ground again, then yo would have to trudge a long way back to pick the ladders up if you have not tied them on.
FollowupID: 425452

Reply By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Moses - Monday, May 01, 2006 at 17:44

Monday, May 01, 2006 at 17:44
Grumpy they are something more to carry too. I reckon it is better not to do too much damage to the dunes and keep the pressures low all around. In the African deserts there are just drift dunes over lots and we are trying to maintain vegetation. A friend took some crate bases from cake boxes (much bigger area than milk crates) going across the Simpson but letting the tyres down was a much better way to get anywhere

For the rally the speeds they expect to do means they want to keep the pressures higher to stop overheating the tyres too. I would have thought they would have better tyre pressure monitoring and control to handle the changes in conditions. I am just a watcher though with them.

The sheets of steel have been popular with some though, reading of Tom Kruse the Birdsville Mailman in years gone past. Ruth at Birdsville may throw some light on when they were used, not that she was old enough to remember ;-)
AnswerID: 170058

Follow Up By: Footloose - Monday, May 01, 2006 at 18:16

Monday, May 01, 2006 at 18:16
John, AFAIK they were also popular with the Lassiter mob when trying to find his reef in the 30's. Back then they were probably made out of wood. I know they had to use em time and time again to get the Thornecraft over dunes and up slippery creek tracks. Of course that was west of Alice, not the Simpson.
FollowupID: 425436

Reply By: Member - Michael O (NSW) - Monday, May 01, 2006 at 18:14

Monday, May 01, 2006 at 18:14
They must be massively difficult things to cart around...

Met Adrian and Lara at Louth at Easter. They drove a Land Rover from London to Sydney and had sand ladders strapped onto the roof racks. Hardly used them he said...

Read about their adventures on
AnswerID: 170066

Reply By: Member - Doug T (QLD) - Monday, May 01, 2006 at 18:37

Monday, May 01, 2006 at 18:37
I found that it is better to have 2 Auto diff locks and lower tyre pressure and my troopie just walked over what ever I tackled , within reason of course but that way the aid is hidden away out of sight inside the diffs and inside the car or on the roof taking up room for other important gear.well it did work fine for me until i went pumped the tyres up to early on the Rig Road , see link
Site Link

gift by Daughter

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 170074

Reply By: Bilbo - Monday, May 01, 2006 at 21:21

Monday, May 01, 2006 at 21:21
Whilst not a good tip for pure sand areas - no trees etc, I've found that if you're faced with a deep muddy track and have no mats, ladders etc, just cut off a few branches or use dead wood if possible, Lay 'em ACROSS the muddy ruts for however long you think the bog is and ,,,,,,,,,,Go for it. Just be careful that you've left no "sticky-up" bits that can rip a sidewall on the tyres.

It's like building a bridge and it's a lot easier than digging the bluddy thing out! I've used this heaps of times in mud in the W.A. Goldfields.

AnswerID: 170122

Follow Up By: Off-track - Monday, May 01, 2006 at 22:30

Monday, May 01, 2006 at 22:30
Actually PSP stands for Perforated Steel Plate.
FollowupID: 425502

Reply By: Geoff M (Newcastle, NSW) - Monday, May 01, 2006 at 22:54

Monday, May 01, 2006 at 22:54
For me, too bloody heavy and hard to pack.
Like Bilbo said, deadwood is the go.

I thought the stuff the Army used was called Marsden Matting. Didn't know it had an acronym.

Landcruiser HDJ78,
Grey hair is hereditary, you get it from children. Baldness is caused by watching the Wallabies.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 170143

Follow Up By: V8 Troopie - Monday, May 01, 2006 at 23:47

Monday, May 01, 2006 at 23:47
They don't have to be heavy nor hard to pack to work, its just a matter of a little lateral thinking.
My fist trip into the desert many years ago was with an unsuitable 4WD (insufficient ground clearance). So, lowering the tyre pressure made little difference in crossing dunes as the car bottomed out in the wheel ruts.
What got us through were 6 lengths of 25mm x50mm section mesh, about the length of the bull bar and about twice as wide than the wheels. They could be hooked together to make a long track. It was a simple home made solution that did the trick.
Yes, they got a bit bent after the car passed over it but they were easily straightened by jumping on them. They were carried tied to the bull bar when not in use, easily got at and they packed away just as easily, fairly light too as the wire was only 3mm thick. The hardest part was finding them again after passing over as they just disappeared in the loose sand, ended up tying colored ribbons to each to spot them easier.

A few years later I did the same trip in a more suitable car (my troopie) and had no problems with the dunes until I decided it would be a nice place to take a picture and stopped on top of one. Troopie bogged, had no LSD nor any diff lockers back then. The grids saved a lot of digging and got us rolling in no time. Even the weight of the troopy did not bend them beyond usability, I still have the grids in the shed ready for a future trip.
I would imagine they work well in mud too, did not have to try that one yet ;-)


FollowupID: 425509

Follow Up By: Member - Bware (Tweed Valley) - Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 03:11

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 03:11
Good stuff Mister Troopie. Can't agree with you more on the lateral thinking. Here's a tip for anyone that gets bogged on the beach with no one in sight and no recovery gear. Maybe you do have recovery gear! Lay beach towels in front of your spinning wheels in the same way you would a 'ladder'. Hey presto! It works a treat. The towel doesn't get sucked underneath the tyre and spat out behind; it seems the surface area of the towel on the sand and the weight of the tyre/vehicle keep the towel in position (well, that's my theory). You just need someone to run back and recover the towels and shake the sand out before putting them back in the vehicle (partners and kids are very handy at this point in time).
But who would go sand driving on deserted beaches with no recovery gear except beach towels? Certainly not me; my brother's mate's girlfriend's uncle said it happened to his neice's boyfriend's mate's brother ;)
FollowupID: 425515

Reply By: Member - MrBitchi (QLD) - Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 08:27

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 08:27
Saw some "plastic" ones at the Brissy 4WD show that looked the goods. Light weight but strong. Could be carried on a roof rack or bungied to the rear wheel.

Can't remember the name OTTOMH...
AnswerID: 170171

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 08:41

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 08:41
I wonder if that cross hatched plastic fencing / edging you can buy from garden stores would do the job?
FollowupID: 425524

Reply By: Shawsie (Member - Bris) - Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 09:24

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 09:24
I've also often wondered about how effective those 10mm foam matresses you can buy at BigW for $6 would be. I've got a couple in the garage that the kids say are too thin to sleep on so next time we go to the beach will give it a go. They roll up neatly and are very very light.
AnswerID: 170182

Sponsored Links