Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you need to forgo camping. With the right knowledge and preparation, getting out into the snow can be an awesome experience and one not to be missed. We’ve put together our top tips and things to know before you head into a wilderness winter wonderland.
Carry & use snow chains
If you know you’re going to be exploring a winter wonderland, packing snow chains is essential. While alpine locations generally dictate if and when chains are required, having them on hand and knowing how to use them is always better than getting stuck without. Snow chains wrap around your tires and give added traction on slippery, icy roads. If you’ve never used snow chains before, it pays to do a test run at home before you go so you know exactly how to use them.
Tip: Having a pair of gloves packed with your snow chains means you won’t be fighting frozen fingers while trying to put them on in the cold.
Have the right tires
Driving in the snow is like driving on sand and requires the right type of tire. You’ll need a tire with good traction and lots of tread, we’d recommend an all-terrain tire. While winter tires exist, it can be an expensive upgrade if you’re only planning on snow driving once or twice a year, so an all-terrain tire is a good compromise.
Tip: When driving on snow an easy way to get more traction is to lower your tire pressure, as if you were driving on sand.
Slow and steady wins the race
Driving slow and steady through the snow is the easiest way to stay on track. Leave lots of stopping distance in between you and the car in front, and keep your steering, acceleration, and breaking steady. Driving in the ruts or tracks of vehicles in front of you to stay on course. This is due to the snow being compacted and firmer, hard packed tracks guide your wheels and mean you’re less likely to lose control.
Tip: If you get stuck in the snow, back up and try again. Each time you drive over the snow it compacts it further and improves the traction.
Carry recovery & emergency gear
When driving through any sort of different or risky terrain it pays to have recovery gear in case of an emergency. While in the snow though you shouldn’t limit your recovery kit to items to dig yourself out, you’ll also want to be prepared for the cold as well. Having warm, dry clothing, a blanket or two, water, and food is essential as you never know when the weather will change and how long you’ll be stuck for. Having a dual battery setup means you'll also have power in case of an emergency. The weather can change in the blink of an eye and the snow can be deadly.
Tip: If you’re planning to go off-road in the snow, it is also handy to have an avalanche safety kit and know how to use it because you never know when disaster could strike.
Have the right brake controller
If you’re planning to tow in the snow, having the right electric trailer brake controller is essential. Having an electric trailer brake controller that has a ‘user-controlled mode’ is essential as it means you can adjust the braking strength to suit the driving conditions. It also means that you can hit the trailer brakes from the control knob, so should you go into a slide, this manual override can pull you out of it. The Tow-Pro Elite has both a Proportional (inertia sensing) mode for highway driving as well as a User Controlled mode for your off road and snow adventures. This means it’s the perfect trailer brake controller for use all year round.
Clear snow from your trailer before you go
While this might seem like an obvious tip, it is often forgotten or overlooked. By clearing most of the snow from your trailer you prevent a chunk of snow dropping onto your tow vehicle when you brake, which can inhibit visibility and potentially damage your vehicle. It also keeps other drivers safe by not shedding snow and ice onto the road as you drive.
Tip: While it can be difficult to get on top of tall RVs, 5th wheelers, and caravans, having a step stool and broom on hand is an easy and inexpensive way to clear all those hard-to-reach places.
Winter is a beautiful season and definitely can make for some awesome travel experiences you just have to be a little more prepared should you choose to head into the wilderness and embrace the snow. For more information on a versatile, all terrain electric trailer brake controller check out the Tow-Pro Elite.
Looking to head somewhere a little warmer? Check out our desert driving tips and tricks blog before heading out on your next adventure.
For more information on the Tow-Pro Elite check out the video below and find out how it can fit into your setup.