'Unsuitable for Trailers'

Submitted: Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 14:06
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When a track is described in the track conditions reports as 'unsuitable for trailers', does this mean that use with a trailer is not permitted? I have a very capable trailer and am experienced in taking it into difficult places without incident, but I do want to do the right thing. The problem is that I have seen some very irresponsible use of trailers which results in them getting a bad name, spoiling it for those who are responsible - a good example being the south end of the Canning.
The other thing that is very vague about 'unsuitable for trailers' is that trailers come in an exceptionally wide range of types, weights and capabilities and I suspect the lowest common denominator may be used to class a track as 'unsuitable'.
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Reply By: Axel [ the real one ] - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 14:43

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 14:43
You have answered your own question , "unsuitable "is a extremely vague term , bit like the old argy bargy that crops up on this forum 3 - 4 times per year over taking a trailer into / accross the Simpson.... Illegal ?? NO , Advised against ? YES , that "official" advice is to stop the fools who think that their 20yr old 6x4 garden trailer that goes to the local dump 5 klm away is "good enough " to go any where.
AnswerID: 354526

Reply By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 14:45

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 14:45
Jim , It could be for a number of reasons, a narrow winding track where you may have to backup a considerable distance to allow others to pass or similar.. I suggest for safety reasons would be the main reason, not just because its rough or a little tricky
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AnswerID: 354528

Reply By: ExplorOz - David & Michelle - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 15:02

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 15:02
Jim - yes ratings like "unsuitable for..." are there to protect people from themselves - the statement is intentionally vague. Unfortunately for Desert Parks SA, whilst they'd LIKE to make it "not permitted" to take trailers to the Simpson they can't say that else they are also taking on the onus of policing that - a task which they agree is near impossible/impractical to police. They are aware that for some, taking a trailer is probably ok - but for an increasing amount of travellers it is not. It's a bit like at my daughters school (government) where they are not allowed to tell us that we cannot pack nuts in our kids lunchboxes but we are strongly advised to avoid it due to the health risk to kids at the school with anaphalaxis reactions to nuts. So "doing the right thing" is a complex choice for you. You can choose to take your trailer with the belief that you aren't going to compound the problems, or you can lead by example - obviously the more people "seen" to take trailers also leads other to believe it is OK to take trailers. It's a bit of a catch 22 when you want to do "the right thing". Personally for us, we have gone out of our way to do a double crossing without trailer purely to "do the right thing" ie. drop off and pick up, when we really only needed to cross once (we had the time and made quite a great trip out of it). Ultimately, it is up to you.
hope this helps,
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
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AnswerID: 354531

Reply By: Shaker - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 15:08

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 15:08
I am sure will find that the trailer ban on the South end of the Canning Stock Route has been placed by the owners of the Station that the track passes through, & is not a recommendation!
AnswerID: 354532

Reply By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 16:25

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 16:25
G'day Jim,

It is a difficult question and one that only you can answer in the end. It sounds like that you skill and trailer are up to the task and that is the main consideration. The other one for us was what risk srtategy we employed. There were two cars in our convoy, we had a truck load of recovery gear including a sat phone to ring either Birdsville or Mt Dare for a very expensive tow if it all came to grief.

Fortunately it all worked out for us and we only used about half of the gear. Mind you a towing recovery occured probably a dozen times.

A lot is said on this forum about the welfare of the place and this is true to some extent but from personal experience we stayed on the tracks and honestly believe that the feral pests (like camels) do more damage. The tracks were put in place decades ago and they represent such a small portion of the total place it is difficult to appreciate the "damage" argument.

Kind regards
AnswerID: 354537

Reply By: Member - Ian W (NSW) - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 16:49

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 16:49
Hi Jim,

Not suitable for "trailers - caravans" etc; is a a recommendation.
It is not a prohibition.

Sounds to me that you are capable, experienced and responsible. I have no idea of the area you contemplate, however I have seen a few roads listed as not suitable for caravans and yet they are regularly used by logging semis and cattle floats.

I get the feeling that most times these recommendations are to discourage the once a year tourers with overweight/length vans behind underpowered tugs. If it does discourage the ill prepared, under experienced and under equipped then its a job well done.

AnswerID: 354541

Reply By: Moose - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 17:47

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 17:47
As others have said - usually means bloody narrow goat tracks where meeting a vehicle coming the other way gives you a heart attack and/or makes you crap in your pants! The degree of severity of either of these depends on which side of the hill you're on (and if you are on the outside, how far it is to the bottom). There are some excellent examples down in the Victorian High Country and a beauty near Hill End.
If you knew there was no-one else coming it wouldn't matter, but there are sooo many blind corners. So those UFT tracks will not test the trailer's capabilities but they will get the adrenalin going!
AnswerID: 354551

Reply By: stevesub - Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 21:03

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 21:03
We once were on a track in Victoria where we had to back for over a km due to the track being impassable because 2 huge trees (and I mean gi-nromous) had fallen over the track blocking it. The track was marginal for getting up there and almost impossible to back down. I had to be guided every cm on the way down in reverse for over a km and it took around 2 hours to get down.

There was no room to u-turn due to a vertical cliff upwards on one side and downwards on the other. If we had a trailer - we would not have made it down the track unless we ditched the trailer over the side - end of story.

AnswerID: 354597

Reply By: APN - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 10:24

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 10:24
Gidday Jim

I reckon more often than not it is because the track is narrow - I can recall a trip in the High Country a couple of years back where we came accross three vehicles all towing trailers (Jayco's and the like!) - they were not able to reverse so we (out of courtesy to a very apologetic trailer group) reversed over a km back down the track that we had come until they could pass.

A little frustrating - if this group had come accross fallen trees they would have struggled to turn there vehicles around.

In the end its all about ability and knowing your limitations together with taking into account vehicles travelling in the opposite direction.

No matter how competent one is in reversing any type of trailer a track such as the Briddle Track up near Hillend should never be used by vehicles towing, but people still do.

AnswerID: 354672

Reply By: Member - Duncs - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 13:45

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 13:45
We are a family of 5 and have been travelling this country for over 15 years towing a trailer. Our current trailer is a Trak Shak that we bought in 1996. I tow the trailer because in my mind it is far safer than a roof rack. (A trip to Fraser Island in 1992 with a full roof rack was enough) It has been to a lot of places people said I couldn't take it. "Mate its just too difficult you'll never get through with a trailer!!!"

The simple truth is that if I did not take the trailer I could not go. I am currently planning a 10 day trip with my son and one other mate. I don't want to take the trailer but I really don't know how I will get everything in. I respect what David said about leaving the trailer and picking it up later but for my family that is not an option.

I have been irrecoverably bogged once(not really 'cause I'm not still there). My mate who did not have a trailer and did have diff locks got bogged in the same spot and had to winch out, so it was a toughie.

Apart from that I have not been stuck. We crossed the Simpson with the trailer and I will type this slowly for you

I never spun a wheel.

I can see you shaking your head but it is true. When I stop going forward I lift my foot off the throttle and stop the car. If I don't I am only making things worse for myself. I back down think about it and have another go.

I have seen plenty of people with 4 tonne loads on two axles with dirt flying everywhere as they gun it through a bog or over a dune. I have also seen the rubbish to the tip 6x4 crumpled at the side of the road because it simply was not up to the task. Like you Jim I feel that the unsuitable for trailers classification is set to discourage those who should probably not go there with or without a trailer.

Trailers are a soft target. It is easy to blame the trailer people because it looks big and cumbersome but I still believe a properly set up and carefully driven trailer will cause no more track damage than a solo car equally well set up and driven. The people who damage tracks are those who have a heavy right foot and who refuse to reduce tyre pressures or slow down. Check out Coffin Bay as an example. I did not see one trailer in there but while I was reducing tyre pressures about 4 or 6 vehicles drove past on highway pressures and blasted their way over the dunes. The tracks in there a badly damaged and horribly corrugated, but not by trailers.

When we bumped the ranger at Steep Point he was unconcerned about the trailer but he did ask about tyre pressures. Once satisfied that they were suitable he did not charge us the park use fee. Said he only charged those who refused to reduce tyre pressures because they damaged the track.

AnswerID: 354709

Follow Up By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 19:26

Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 19:26
Fai comment in all !! Michael
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