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How to tow your caravan on sand

Own a caravan and plan on heading into the outback or onto a beach? Here’s what you need to know about towing your caravan on sand, without getting bogged.

Most 4X4ers should have a fair idea of what tyre pressures to run on their vehicles while beach driving, but there’s not a lot written about the poor old caravan tyre pressures to help prevent them acting like a big ol’ anchor. Not adjusting correctly, will see you bogged sooner rather than later, regardless of how much oomph your 4X4 may have.

Here’s a beaut way to get you started, but keep in mind you’ll need to compensate accordingly for your individual vehicle, trailer and loads.

  • Lower your 4X4’s tyre pressures to the required pressures while parked on a hard surface; let’s say you usually run 18psi in soft sand;
  • Measure the length of the tyre tread touching the ground at 18psi – don’t drive anywhere, just lower and measure. To make it easier, run two lines out from the tyre and measure between them;
  • Now, still while parked on flat hard ground, slowly lower your caravan’s tyre pressures until you achieve the same measured length in step two above; and
  • Record that pressure and bingo, you’ve got a great starting point to pressure for your caravan.

As your caravan’s load varies, you’ll have to alter pressures, just like you should with your tow vehicle.

Note that the pressure in your 4WD will not be the same as the pressure in your caravan’s tyres, so make sure you record it, or log it into your brain somewhere.

These lower pressures are only for off-road use, same as your tow vehicle, and need to inflate up to on-road pressures when you hit the hard top. You do carry a decent 12-volt air compressor and tyre pressure gauge, don’t you?

While it depends on the beach conditions, and no two beaches are the same, if you should start to ‘bog down’ in the soft stuff, if you have room and if the beach conditions allow, steer downhill (towards the waterfront) to firmer, more compact sand. Keep accelerating, without wheel spin, to keep momentum ensuring you don’t come to a total stop in the soft sand. Don’t get too close to the water and ensure you know the tides. As much as possible, beach driving should be restricted to low tide or a few hours either side.

If forward motion stops … that’s a fancy term for getting bogged… back off the go-pedal straight away to prevent digging yourself deeper, making recovery even harder.

Assess the situation, get your long-handled shovel out … you packed that, didn’t you? Start digging and employ whatever sand recovery skills you may have learnt … you did learn them before you left home, right?

This is an edited extract from an article on

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