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Latest 4WD Trips & Techniques

View All: Trips | Techniques | Touring

Sand can be one of the trickiest surfaces to drive on. A lot of that is down to it being unpredictable and giving a lot of variation. Sand can be a firm surface that gives decent grip, or it can be a loose nightmare that will swallow you up to the axles the moment you make a mistake.

It also changes, often very quickly. Dry, loose sand can be firmed up by rain – but if it gets waterlogged, not just wet, it might drag you down even quicker than when it was dry. Wind can move sand surprisingly quickly, turning any dips in the ground into traps full of loose sand just waiting to catch you. But if there’s one thing that can shift the stuff faster than wind, it’s water.

Most off road driving experts talk about tyre deflators a lot – we often recommend them ourselves. Any time you head for the bush you should have a set of deflators in your toolkit; they’ll make life much easier, and help you keep yourself mobile in Australia’s toughest terrain.

Deflators are a pretty simple concept. When you cross soft ground you want lower pressure in your tyres to keep them turning instead of digging in.

A few years ago just about every off road vehicle in Australia had a manual gearbox. That’s changing now thanks to some big advances in automatics; most modern 4wds and Utes come with an automatic option, and in fact sometimes it’s the only option you get.

Manuals still have a lot of fans, though. Many experienced off road drivers won’t go near anything else. No matter how good an automatic is, a properly used manual transmission gives you more flexibility – and that can translate into more pulling power when the going gets really tough.