I'm hoping that this is the right place to put this.

I'm going four wheel driving on a sand island for a couple of days this weekend. I drive a Ford Ranger truck (ute in Australia).

My question is, should I drive with the a load in the back or should I avoid a load? I can see advantages to both but, due to my lack of experience, I don't have a definitive answer. Hoping someone here can clear this up.


2 Answers 2


For pickup trucks on snow/ice, the conventional wisdom is to throw some weight in the back (sand or cat litter) to add weight on the rear axle, increasing friction and making it less likely to go into a spin as the rear tries to go faster than the front. (And, should you have no traction, the sand or cat litter is right there to help).

On sand, you really don't need to worry about going into a full-blown spin without really trying - there would still be a lot of lateral drag on the rear tires even if they shimmy a bit. My experience in sand is that you generally need way more throttle than you might think as you try to push through the sand, and your problem is too slow and just bogging down. More weight results in more sinking into the sand, needing more throttle. Then you need so much torque to get going again that you just spin wheels and sink in further.

This can be alleviated to some extent by lowering tire pressures, increasing the tread area on the sand. Again, generally, you can't lower pressures enough for the sand to become slippery before they pop off rims (even with bead locks), and you continue to need more throttle than on pavement.

Now, my experience is mainly dry sands/dusts of the American southwest. Watching way too many videos from Australia seems to indicate that beaches, although damper or wetter, really aren't that different.

  • Perfect answer. Thanks, mate. The sands over here are much lighter than SW US. They are up to 80% silica so very floaty. This just makes your answer much more accurate! Cheers
    – Wildcard27
    Oct 31, 2018 at 3:14

You want to be light with big tires with tread. The idea is to float.

Look up Baja 500. None of those vehicles are weighted down.

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