trailers v vehicle loads

Submitted: Monday, Jul 21, 2003 at 20:58
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we've recently returned from a trip across the simpson.dispite the hype about trailers, we both took modified 500kg (loaded) cub campers. we had no more trouble than anyone else was having and the decreased load in the car certainly helped them survive the conditions.Admitedly most campers are a lot heavier and would no doubt cause headaches.while therehowever,I was astounded to see some of the loads people put on their 4bys.Full luggage compartments and roofracks with huge loads of fuel,water,swags,tents and even firewood.My point is this,for my money travelling with a light trailer is far more environmentally friendly than to struggle through in a makeshift double decker bus.what I saw some of those poor vehicles enduring i would never do to my own.Next point for discussion is this.How many people loading roofracks and cargo areas actually know how much the're carrying?It takes surprisingly little heavy items such as fuel,water and recovery gear to exceed the gross vehicle weight,especially if it is decked already with goodies like bullbar,winch,duall battries etc.a decent bingle and you'd better hope the insurance company dosn,t start asking questions.
see yas in the dust sometime
F.M.
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Reply By: Big John (QLD) - Monday, Jul 21, 2003 at 21:56

Monday, Jul 21, 2003 at 21:56
Fastmick,
You are dead right 90 % of of the vehicles crossing the Simpson are way overloaded and there would not be many of us who could say we have never been overloaded . I have had 4x4's now for 25 years and said I would never take a trailer. 2 years age I said I would not go back to Cape York with out a tinnie, the problem was the car was already overloaded so I decided to buy a Kimberly camper (under protest but I also love fishing) so I could carry a tinnie. Its the best thing I ever did, the car travels better now than when it was overloaded and the Kimberly has never hampered where I want to go. The real secret, as in any 4x4 driving is tyre preasures and tyre diameter, we run Cooper 285s on both car and trailer.

Regards john
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Reply By: Mick - Monday, Jul 21, 2003 at 22:23

Monday, Jul 21, 2003 at 22:23
Fast Mick, I can't follow the logic that it's OK to drag a trailer through a fragile environment like the Simpson Desert because there are people with overloaded vehicles going across. Ever heard the old saying ... Two wrongs don't make a right? The only way to do any off road trip is in a vehicle that is not overloaded. I don't care about the headaches the campers cause to their owners but I do care about the damage to the desert and the headaches for those who have to help retrieve them .... mind you the last time I saw a trailer slide off the side of an outback road I didn't stop to help the fool towing it. Fancy trying to tow a 6X4 trailer behind a cruiser on a road just opened after rain! He lasted about a kilometre out of Tibooburra.
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Follow Up By: Tony - Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003 at 07:26

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003 at 07:26
MICK you will look like a red facedbleepif you ever break down and need assistance and everyone just drives past.

I respect your point about fragile environment, but the unwritten law is you allways stop to render assistance to a fellow traveller if its required.
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Follow Up By: jonny knowalittlebit - Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003 at 18:04

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003 at 18:04
wow mick you are a fairly rude bloke. people brake down and stuff up all the time. saying that you wouldnt help them is bigger than the crime of stuffing it up in the first place. i can see both points of view but you seem to get annoyed at any sorts of questions and statements that you find trivial others might not.
maybe you should just stay away from the keyboard whenever you feel the urge to rip into somebody about how stupid they are and how youd leave them on the side of the road.
what goes around comes around youd wanna hope it doesnt in your case.
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Follow Up By: Member- Rox - Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003 at 20:08

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003 at 20:08
He Mick , I thought you said 2 wrongs dont make a wright dont leave the silly bugger stranded as they might be on next weeks news dead!!!! and you wont feel good about that. Help every one in trouble.Around Oz 06/2004
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Reply By: Mick - Monday, Jul 21, 2003 at 22:23

Monday, Jul 21, 2003 at 22:23
Fast Mick, I can't follow the logic that it's OK to drag a trailer through a fragile environment like the Simpson Desert because there are people with overloaded vehicles going across. Ever heard the old saying ... Two wrongs don't make a right? The only way to do any off road trip is in a vehicle that is not overloaded. I don't care about the headaches the campers cause to their owners but I do care about the damage to the desert and the headaches for those who have to help retrieve them .... mind you the last time I saw a trailer slide off the side of an outback road I didn't stop to help the fool towing it. Fancy trying to tow a 6X4 trailer behind a cruiser on a road just opened after rain! He lasted about a kilometre out of Tibooburra.
AnswerID: 25552

Reply By: Mick - Monday, Jul 21, 2003 at 22:23

Monday, Jul 21, 2003 at 22:23
Fast Mick, I can't follow the logic that it's OK to drag a trailer through a fragile environment like the Simpson Desert because there are people with overloaded vehicles going across. Ever heard the old saying ... Two wrongs don't make a right? The only way to do any off road trip is in a vehicle that is not overloaded. I don't care about the headaches the campers cause to their owners but I do care about the damage to the desert and the headaches for those who have to help retrieve them .... mind you the last time I saw a trailer slide off the side of an outback road I didn't stop to help the fool towing it. Fancy trying to tow a 6X4 trailer behind a cruiser on a road just opened after rain! He lasted about a kilometre out of Tibooburra.
AnswerID: 25553

Reply By: johnsy - Monday, Jul 21, 2003 at 22:26

Monday, Jul 21, 2003 at 22:26
Good to see some common sense Mick and John .People seem to believe towing a trailer is akin to bush bashing but if you stop and watch a grossly overloaded 4by trying to use its tyres as the suspension and the whoops left behind you dont have to be a road scholar to work out whos the vandal.
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Reply By: petprass - Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003 at 09:31

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003 at 09:31
This discussion always goes nowhere. Too many variables to list and then to agree on.

Doesn't it in the end depend on the driving capabalities of the person?

A person with a trailer may have excellent throttle control, know exactly how soft the sand dune is and not have to stop near the apex because there is someone comming from the other side. Result = no damage to track and confirmation that "of coarse you can take a trailer" across the Simpson.

But if everone was that good and lucky, then why are there chicken runs all over the larger sand dunes? OK - some 4wd's without trailers and bikes do the chicken runs, but you have to agree that the skill required to travel with a trailer is much greater than just driving a 4wd - even if it is overladen (whatever that means)

So my conclusion is that in general the average driver would probably do more damage to the dunes pulling a trailer - and that includes me.

Peter
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Reply By: Amazed at what I,m hearing - Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003 at 10:16

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003 at 10:16
Yeah how much rain had they had HEAPS
How much compaction of the track was there Heaps.
Try doing it with a trailer under normal conditions and anyone with a bit of common sense Knows only to put light things on your roof
If People used the correct Tyre pressure it would make things a lot easier.
I,m sure the Locals who have to use the tracks DO NOT AGREE WITH YOU.
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Follow Up By: bruce.h (WA) - Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003 at 15:07

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003 at 15:07
amazed
correct me if i am wrong but is not the road accross the simpson a gazeted road, if so those with tralers are as much entitaled to tow their trailers across as those with out,& as to the locals since when has living in an area, given those who do more rights to use or cliam ownership of roads for which we all pay our taxes,people travel in differant ways becauce the size of their family's the amount time they are going ect ect ect,so to you a trailer may be seen as wrong to others it is not ,so live & let live & lend a hand where posible for one day it may be YOU who needs the hand
Regards Bruce
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Follow Up By: Amazed - Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003 at 16:10

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003 at 16:10
BRUCE
correct me if i am wrong
Did I say anything abut not helping others???
I said that people should use correct presures
Sure came across a lot that didn,t thats what recks the track.
Were is it listed as a gazzetted public road I would like to find that

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Follow Up By: bruce.h (WA) - Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003 at 18:18

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003 at 18:18
amazed
your right i did jump on you for something somebody else had said
but i still stand by the rest
as to if it is a public road if it apears on officail maps as a road or track you will find that it is gazeted as such, i must confess to not knowing lots about the simpson.
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Reply By: Member - Colin (ACT region) - Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003 at 11:54

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003 at 11:54
The main point 'fast mick' was making was overloading. The trailer debate is a personal choice and I have towed one on occasions - but I would suggest though, that towing trailers to some places eg. the Simpson or CSR is not wise. In regard to loads, it does amaze me at how much 'stuff' people seem to take. As you will notice from 'my rig', I manage to visit all the 'difficult' places in a small light vehicle - and we still take all the comforts of home. Gear is a 'catch 22' situation - the more gear, the more fuel, the more recovery gear etc etc. We chatted to some people in the Rudall R NP once, who had had to make a detour into Newman to have the chassis welded up on their Troopie - not supprising considering the load they were carrying, there was hardly any room left inside to sit, and the full length roof rack was packed solid as well.

and the moral of this story is - Travel Lightly and Tread Lightly !!Colin - Subaru Forester
- size isn't everything ! -
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Reply By: Member - Karl - Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003 at 12:48

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003 at 12:48
IMHO - a properly set up trailer, that is the proper hitch, tyres, correctly packed and prepared etc is far safer that an inproperly packed and over loaded vehicle.

After 20 years in the Army, everywhere we go we take trailers behind our vehicles and carry equipment and loads that most civy drivers would not consider and I have not had any major problems.

Its your choice and you live with the consequences. I take a trailer and I accept the responsibilities.

Karl
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Follow Up By: tristjo - Wednesday, Jul 23, 2003 at 00:12

Wednesday, Jul 23, 2003 at 00:12
Hey Karl,

I totally agree with you. A properly sorted car/trailer combination beats a dangerously loaded vehicle hands down. You make allowances for the trailer, and drive accordingly.

Tristjo.
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Reply By: Old Jack - Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003 at 12:49

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003 at 12:49
with regards to driving heavy vehcials, you used to need to up grade your licence to drive a vehical over 2,500 kg's or so. now your mum can hopp into a vehcial up to 4500 GVM on a car licence, so much for progress!
Anyway as for over loading of vehicals, I'd like to see a dollar donation to the RFDS for every 4WD I've ever seen go past overloaded, Trailer or no trailer, overloading damages your truck, the trailer & the track! No matter how big a set of springs & tyres you put under your truck the Chassis and drive line will only take so much before something gives.
Plenty of people get away with it, some don't!
Broken down & stuck trucks are not a lot of fun, trying to move the 6 tonne of someones elses landcruiser & trailer out off the track to somewhere safe so you can continue your own journy is not a lot of fun and not very rewarding, you end up putting your own life and property at risk because some one has taken everything including the kitchen sink(then wonder why the diff housing is broken)
as some one else said you try to stop and help someone who is broken down, have been happy to help on many occations while travelling and meet some wonderfull people by doing so.
every time I go on a trip I look at what is packed & try to work out what the other half has put in that we really don't need.....

as for trailers & campers off road like anything being sensible about loading & towing at sensible speeds you can get away with it, plenty of people have no problems and drive according to the conditions, like anything else there are a few turkies out there that will do something silly with a trailer on the back of there truck while on or off the road... most people do the correct thing and take the bypass tracks to avoid damaging there own rigs as much as the tracks themselves.

Happy travelling
AnswerID: 25599

Reply By: Greg - Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003 at 15:43

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003 at 15:43
I have towed off road trailers all over this country for 35 years and my only contribution to an argument that will go on until God is dead, is that the Simpson desert is one of those places where trailers should not be taken. My experience is that in difficult terrain it requires far more effort on behalf of driver and vehicle to tow a trailer. I would suggest that those of you who have to take your camper trailers everywhere are probably doing so because you cannot do without a few comforts for a short while - including you partner. There is no doubt in my mind that a trailer towed across the Simpson does far more damage than a heavily loaded vehicle. The tracks on the Simpson are evidence in themselves that trailers and poor driving techniques cause considerable damage to the tracks and that comes from someone who is not a greenie.
AnswerID: 25612

Follow Up By: fast mick - Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003 at 23:49

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003 at 23:49
you are right.I like the comfort of campers.I grin recalling an incident at birdsville campground,snuggled up with the dragon in our double bed complete with dooner,when just on daybreak some poor soul in a swag a couple of camps away yelled at the top of his voice "f**k its cold!".
there followed much stirrings of coffee as averyone was awake then.
However,I must disagree on one point.Having just been there and watched lots of heavilly laden wagons leaping in the air as they rebound off the bumpstops,I fail to see how a lighter loaded one whose suspension is at least handling the conditions and keeping all wheels firmly on the ground can do more damage.
The slopes of the sandhills were in pretty bad shape in places.I had read where they were corregated,bumpy,rutted etc,but nothing prepared me for what it was like.These waves or woofs in the wheel tracks were a wheelbase apart and a foot or more deep,they realy gave the springs and shocks a pizzling.trust me ,slow was the go.And that was travelling light.
cheers
F.M.
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Follow Up By: Greg - Wednesday, Jul 23, 2003 at 13:49

Wednesday, Jul 23, 2003 at 13:49
If the camper tailer had a driven axle then the situation would change a little as the extra traction would help but a well driven vehicle on its own no matter how heavily loaded will be easier to get over the dunes without increasing the already bad scalloping. Taking an overloaded 4wd on such a trip may damage the vehicle and would do more damage than say a lightly loaded vehicle with tyres at the correct pressure and driven well, but towing anything across the Simpson or other similar conditions where there is a lot of sand (or heavy mud for that matter) definitely puts more strain on the vehicle, driver and ultimately the track. Trailers definitely have there place and they are fantastic for the around oz type trips where you want to see a lot of the out of the way places. What realy gets under my skin are the so called off road caravans being taken to out of the way places. What a joke.
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Follow Up By: F.M. - Wednesday, Jul 23, 2003 at 19:35

Wednesday, Jul 23, 2003 at 19:35
Greg.
Agreed.There are trailers and then there are trailers,The off road vans are so far to the left its a joke.Hopefully no one would be silly enough to take one "off the road".As to trailers,like I said ,mine weighs in at 500 kg loaded.Its basicly a double bed,a tent ,a watertank,a place to mount that bloody second spare i've never used and space for the dragons "wardrobe".(I gave up saying less clothes 10 yrs ago)
A lot of camper trailers you see today must be really heavy,they look heavy ,and their load space seems immence,not to mention the rows of jerries and gas bottles up the sides.
Anyway,like I wrote somewhere else,i won't take the trailer into the desert next time. It would be much more laid back exploring it with bare essentials,leaving the bulk of stuff at a base camp.
Cheers
Mick
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Reply By: Simon - Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003 at 21:57

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003 at 21:57
Here we go again

Why is towing a trailer or driving a grossly overloaded 4x4 across the Simpson "damaging a fragile enviroment"?

What a crock.

The only damage that happens is if the track gets dug up and its rough for the next person to come along.

I cant understand where this "enviromental damage" comes from?

The only enviromental damage done was when the track was first put through, after that the only damage is to the track itself.

I think some people should open their mind and have a good thinkbefore opening their mouths.

And I think a local has much more right to the local tracks if they have to use them to live than the rubberneck 4x4 fraternety who only use them for a bit of fun.

AnswerID: 25639

Follow Up By: Brad - Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003 at 22:35

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003 at 22:35
i largely agree with your comments about environmental damage.
with regards to tracks thru the simpson desert national park, i'm uncertain that locals would much requre them for their livelihood. I'm guessing that most of the locals around the fringes of the simpson depend largely (directly or indirectly) on tourism from the 'rubberneck 4wd fraternity' for their livelihood
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Follow Up By: Greg - Wednesday, Jul 23, 2003 at 13:59

Wednesday, Jul 23, 2003 at 13:59
The environmental damage comes because the more the track gets cut up the more likely the next person is to make a new track across virgin country. There is plenty of evidence of this on the Simpson. I recently followed a vehicle with a huge trailer across the Simpson and it was obvious that the damage he did made the trip a whole lot worse for me. I also don't appreciate having to help them out when the trailer falls apart as they often do or they get badly stuck and block the track. As I mentioned above I have towed trailers all over the country and it is possible to set yourself up so that when you go into the extreme terrain you travel lightly without a trailer.
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Follow Up By: Simon - Wednesday, Jul 23, 2003 at 17:54

Wednesday, Jul 23, 2003 at 17:54
I agree Brad, not many locals 'need' to use the tracks in the Simpson, I did mean in other areas where 4x4s frequent.

And Greg you answered your own question.
Its not enviromental damage your worried about, its your own personal inconvinence.
I agree some people dig up tracks with their trailers, but some do just as much damage without trailers.
It annoys the hell out of me too but its just a fact of life that there is a power of people out there who like to tour around our country who have no idea about setting up and driving there vehicles.
(and they are usualy the ones with the most to say about enviromental damage too)

I think the best way is to stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and just concentrate on doing it right yourself and leading by example.
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Follow Up By: F.M. - Wednesday, Jul 23, 2003 at 18:42

Wednesday, Jul 23, 2003 at 18:42
I had nothing better to do today than to come up with this mindless drivel. TRIVIA. The simpson desert regional reserve according to my book is 29,642 sq km. There are aprox 900 km (!) of access tracks. At say 5 metres wide, that makes 4.5 sq km of road surface.Now lets be generous and add half that again, allowing a 50 metre track to a camp every 100 metres. That makes a total area of 6.45 sq km of track area. That comes to a grand total of 0.025 of 1 percent of the park area !
Surley even the worst greeny cant begrudge the general public the use of that much,especially seeing its already there.
Cheers
Mick
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Reply By: fast mick - Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003 at 23:20

Tuesday, Jul 22, 2003 at 23:20
Interesting discussion gents.didn't really mean to open up the whole trailer or not routine again,both sides have valid points for and against and never the twain shal meet.It is personal choise and I prefer travelling with a trailer.There are drivers and drovers and even the drivers have their moments,its not the trailers fault.
I'm sure the other Mick didn't mean the bit about driving past a breakdown,that is just crazy talk.
I was interested to hear the responces to my comment on overloading.We all know that suspension and tyre upgrades allow our trucks to handle big loads more comfortably,however,the vehicle GVM is set in concrete and as far as the authorities are concerned,no correspondence will be entered into.Just ask any truckie.
As to the simpson?Well if I could work it,no,I wouldn't take the trailer across again.Not because it was a hassle,but because it was not necessary.The real reason for the camper is to get there and back.Its a bloody big country.Our trip was 19 days with 5 in the desert.The big problem is getting the time to go across the desert twice,which you'd have to do if you left the camper at birdsville or dalhousie. I'm working on that one, and as I wrote in the book at poeppel,I'll be back.
cheers and beers.
F.M.
AnswerID: 25651

Follow Up By: Member - Allan - Wednesday, Jul 23, 2003 at 00:16

Wednesday, Jul 23, 2003 at 00:16
Fast Mick, your certainly stirred up the masses. I totally agree with your sentiments though. My vehicle does not have have a set of draws or a roof rack but I know that if I fill up the fuel tanks, put a 30 can block of beer in the fridge with the normal spares I am already overloaded (I have been over the weigh bridge and had it verified). I bet most Patrols and LC's with the usual toys will be over the GVM before they even get out of the driveway. I'll stick to towing a trailer because I love the creature comforts but I'm not sure if I would tackle the desert with one though. I will have to put the old girl (the cruiser that is) on a weight reduction program first.Cheers
Allan
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Follow Up By: Member - Russell - Wednesday, Jul 23, 2003 at 11:43

Wednesday, Jul 23, 2003 at 11:43
Good to see a bit of passion..... The key point for me is just as you say. If I want to go all around the place, and 90% of the trip is fine for the camper, what do I do? Leave it at home in Melbourne and endure the nausea of swags and tents for the whole trip? Leave it at Birdsville or Dalhousie and go across and back? I guess there are a number of routes and you could do that, but how many people do? I've seen the overloaded trucks, and done it myself once - never again... That's one of the big reasons I bought the camper, and has also prompted me to think a lot harder about the STUFF that seems to find its way into the truck. We plan to go across the Simpson next year, but with or without the trailer is to be decided.Russell S
Prado RV6
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Follow Up By: F.M. - Wednesday, Jul 23, 2003 at 18:27

Wednesday, Jul 23, 2003 at 18:27
Hey Russell,
is that you we met at Hawker a few weeks ago?If so ,maate, just letting you know the rice pudding was bloody delicious and the disco had no trouble pulling the skin off it,its still on the back door to prove it!
Hope you had a trip as good as ours.PS.The rover averaged 12.6 L/100 over the 5,600k
cheers
F.M.
(if i've got the wrong russell,maybe the right one will see it)
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Follow Up By: RussellS - Wednesday, Jul 23, 2003 at 19:34

Wednesday, Jul 23, 2003 at 19:34
No, you've got the right one! Glad you had a good trip - ours was good too apart from some tyre problems in one spot. From memory, you had thought about the task, and made good preparations, so I'm not surprised that you had no trouble. I also recall that you had a big turbo-diesel cruiser to help if things went awry! I assume it purred over everything?
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