Tips On Off-roading On Sand

4x4 car driving on sand

If you’ve tried off-roading before, you’ll be familiar with the different types of terrains a single trail can present to you. Some are easy to go through while there are far more challenging ones too.

If you ever had the chance to go off-roading in Southern Utah, you’ll be faced with trails that have fairly rugged parts. Prepare for rock crawls and dune shredding over the sand.

It all sounds great and exciting until you find yourself stuck in the sand. So what do you do now? Do you have the tools, equipment, and skills to get yourself unstuck? Let’s help you figure that out.

What Is Off-roading On Sand?

Off-roading on sand can be just as exciting as off-roading on rocks, but it is also much more challenging. The reason is that there’s no solid grip to hold your tires steady when you try to climb up the dunes. It takes a lot of effort and skills to pull this one-off.

Regardless of whether you’re an experienced Jeep trail rider or not, it’s always important to be prepared for any surprises along the way otherwise you may put yourself in unnecessary danger. That being said, here are some tips that will help you prepare for an off-road trip on the sand.

How To Prepare For A Sand Dune

Prepare for a long trip

If there’s anything that you should always bring with you when going out to the desert, it should be plenty of water and food supplies. You definitely do not want to go off-roading on sand without extra water and snacks in case you get lost or stranded somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Plan your route ahead and pay attention to landmarks so you won’t get lost.

Bring along shovels, axes, tow ropes, ladders and sand ramps

It is important to have these tools since they are essential in getting yourself unstuck when you get stuck up in the dunes. Remember, getting yourself unstuck can take hours especially if nobody comes by to help you out.

One thing that is great about driving in the sand is that you won’t have to worry about puncturing your tires since there’s soft sand below them. However, it can still be challenging if the wheels start digging deep into the sand. If this happens, use your sand ramps and ladders to get your 4×4 unstuck in no time at all.

Check if your vehicle is in tip-top shape before going off-roading on sand

The last thing you need when stuck up in a dune with no one around to help would be an engine failure due to lack of maintenance and care. Make sure everything looks good and anything that looks like it needs fixing is fixed before heading out for an off-road trip.

Practice driving on sand

The best thing to do when you’re preparing for off-roading on a sand adventure is to try it out first at the dunes near your house or wherever you can find decent hills with deep sand. This way, you’ll know what to expect and also how well your vehicle performs in soft sand. It’s highly likely that soft sand will be different than hard soil since there are no solid grips for your 4×4 wheels.

Tips For Going Through The Desert In Southern Utah

Slow down

On normal terrain like dirt trails, most drivers like to speed up as they go along especially if all their friends are doing the same thing behind them. However, it’s best to slow down especially when you’re off-roading on the sand.

Slowing down allows your 4×4 wheels to grip the sand better. It also helps reduce the chance of getting stuck somewhere in the dunes where you can’t free yourself up.

Use low gears

Do not shift your transmission into high gear unless you are going through small dunes or shifting to a higher gear before climbing a steep hill. Once again, this is because slower speeds help improve traction. Don’t be tempted to shift into high gear as soon as possible. It will only make it harder for your 4×4 wheels to climb up the dunes.

Watch out for other people

It is important to watch out for other drivers that are also off-roading on the same dunes and trails as you. They may not know how to navigate their 4×4 vehicles through soft sand. This, in turn, will make your navigation efforts useless. It is hard for others to follow your tire tracks when they get lost themselves.


Your off-road vehicle will perform ten times better in deep sand compared to hard ground. However, this does not mean that you can always go full throttle once you reach the desert. Make sure you apply these tips whenever you’re going out for an off-roading trip on the sand. Hopefully, everything will run smoothly.

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