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Offroad in the snow
I hope to get after some yotes this winter but the roads I'll be on can get pretty bad and I'll probably be by myself. What do you carry for dirt roads in the snow? Gonna pick up some traction boards, maybe a come along. These roads can get icy from melting and refreezing over and over. Also, years back I would chain up all 4 tires and never had a problem unless the snow was just too deep. Why can't you put chains on the front of late model trucks? Can never seem to get a straight answer. Thanks in advance.
The newer trucks don’t have the clearance between the plastic inner fender and the tire. But they make cables for that very purpose. And they work pretty well. Not as good as well made chains. But pretty darn good. And they are easy to install.
Bags of sand, both for weight and then traction if you get stuck. I'm sure everyone knows that though.
Spade and snow shovels, axe, hydro jack, toe straps, tarp, jumper cables, basic tool kit, and first aid kit are always in my truck. Course sand or gravel is good, if you have space.
Shovel, axe, come-along, bow-saw, farm jack, chain, straps, 2x10s, battery chainsaw, etc. Most trucks can't use chains on the front because of suspension clearance. I have barely 1/2" clearance to the ball joints. I use aggressive 32" Cooper ST Maxx 10 ply tires.
I have all the straps, etc. Just wish I could chain up the front. It doesn't look like a clearance issue. I've been told "it will screw up the differential" and "can't use chains with ABS".
I have very aggressive tires with lug tread coming up the side about 1.5". It has allowed me to push on until I have "floated" the truck onto a bed of hard compressed snow that lifts the entire truck off the ground. It's what's commonly referred to as being stuck.
What I carry is a "deadman". I have a 4' steel bar and a 2' steel bar. The tall one gets driven in towards the truck, It has a link and short chain about 1' off the ground toward the truck and another facing the other direction about 6" from the top. The short rod has a link about 1 foot off the ground toward the tall rod. I carry chain to connect from the top of the tall rod to the small rod. I drive both rods in and then connect the chain, hook the come along to the truck and lower chain on the tall rod and pull. I carry a lot of chain and 50" of 5/8" double braid nylon.
Where I go in the Breaks after deer season, you are hours walking from help, have zero cel service and likely won't see a soul.
I also carry a 2000 EU generator, small ceramic heater, extension cord, and 5 gallons of spare gas for these little jaunts.
It's not tire/fender clearance on the front that causes the issue, it's clearance between the inner sidewall and the upper control arms in an IFS system. Stick your head in there and look...
We hunt jackrabbits and coyotes in the winter and been stuck more times than I can count. It’s a way of life. Not much you can’t handle with a farm jack and a couple good shovels. Just sucks when you keep digging amd the truck keeps dropping and it gets to the door handles cause then you know you also have to shovel a road out.
I remember Tyler and I getting stuck mid day in a bad one. I says well we might as well take our bunny pictures now. Every day we always lined them up for a photo. It was noonish. We were digging until we’ll past dark.
Getting high centred on ice ridges on Lake Winnipeg after dark in a 80km/hr blizzard at -20. Now that sucks! Felt the vomit come up a little!
I was contemplating on getting out to shoot some caribou but the weather report looks pretty blizzards and my kids would probably not enjoy-40 to -55 degree windchill hunting up around Fairbanks.
I have stainless full sized chains on my newer GMC 2500 and the oversized TOYO AT’s alone really don’t cut it on the ice conditions here in Alaska when it is “bad”. Best bet is having a “snow machine” as they call snowmobiles up here and keeping the truck to the maintained roads when they are passable.
Planning to go search for wolves this next week with my neighbor who has a cow moose permit.
Cat litter is supposed to be pretty good for traction. I always carry a come along, alot of line, straps and a snow shovel. A piece of wood or cardboard to lay on ain't a bad idea either.
All of the above, plus a portable power pack for jump starting if needed. Saved my butt this year on an elk hunt.
The small battery jump pacs are worth their weight in gold.
I do it all the time and get stuck a lot even in my beast off road vehicles. Both have winches but never anything to winch too. Traction boards are pointless. Come-alongs are pointless, etc. The only real thing you need are good tires, and a shovel and driving skills. I have never once chained up and never plan to chain up. Chains are your emergency out. Not a way to get into areas. Because if you barely get in with chains and it gets worse then you are not getting out. The hadi man jack is also very important, not so much for snow but when you get hung up on solid ground.
If you cant get there in 4x4 and good tires then don't go.
I always pack other tools, but on new vehicles you are not fixing crap without a shop. That's why I prefer my pre 90s off road vehicles. I can fix about everything with a small tool kit.
Lots of things can go bad with new truck and chains. The clearance issues on plastic, the brake lines ate up. They are especially hard on traction control system and truth is most new vehicles have weak front end not designed to really work at all so the high rpm and the chains break things...
X2 on APauls and the door handles. Brotherinlaw and I did that. Wasn't a soul that could get near us. Hike home and go back tomorrow to pack down the "new" road. Three days and we were out. Probably a good thing I didn't live in Rockies when I was younger.
The 78CJ-7 with lugged tires and v bars chains goes pretty good, sometimes too good.
Was ordered to chain up the short line truck and go down into no mans land on power restoration. (needed the tools on truck) Made it down hill with many attempts for about three miles. Truck stayed down there for a couple of days until road crew could dig it and pull it out.
On deep snow I have found two things that help: 1-air down your tires to increase the footprint 2-don’t spin said tires.
Best of luck
Get the right hookup chain for your winches. Chains have either a narrow or slip hook on the end. Get yourself about 4-5' of chain and put a narrow hook on one end and a slip hook on the other.
It allows you to go around a clump of brush that normally wouldn't hold if you grabbed just one sprout. By grabbing the entire clump you may have enough strength for the winch to pull you out.
Don't forget a couple pieces of 2"x8 or10", a foot or two long to place under your bottle or hi-lift jack.
Airing tires down helps a bunch too. When we go snow camping we air down to 10 PSI and it helps with flotation. You need to have a compressor to air back up though. That and a shovel is all I have used.
A tow strap is handy if there is more than 1 vehicle
I have to agree with coelker on this one. I take my Dodge into the sticks all the time. Most of the time I'm by myself. The key is common sense. I've got 4 wheel drive, tow ropes, shovel, etc.
Don't push your limits based on your preparedness. I don't even use 4 wheel drive until I need it. When I need it, I only go on if it looks to be within my limits.
The best secret I've learned about winter off-roading is if you get stuck in the mud and the muck; your best bet is to wait until the muck starts to freeze. As long as you're prepped and warm, you can usually drive right out of it.
Just my 2 cents worth.
After shooting an elk, then getting my truck stuck in the snow, I am getting these from Santa: https://www.tracgrabber.com/