Winter backpacking and 2WD cars with chains?
Display Avatars Sort By:
Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Subaru AWD v.s. RAV 4 4WD on 12/09/2012 00:31:17 MST Print View

I have a RAV4 FD that is 4WD capable but only under 25 mph. As a Ski Patroller I sometimes need that plus my winter All Terrain knobby tires to get to work.

The RAV 4 Four Wheel Drive is less money than the AWD Subaru AND has better highway mileage because of the Rav 4's 2 WD, front drive setup.
With a Subi your're always in four wheel drive, like it or not. It's the nature of AWD, thus the lower overall gas mileage.

Both cars have about the same ground clearance, which is to say "moderate", hot high clearance as in a Jeep Wrangler. BE ADVISED!

1.Always, ALWAYS carry a new, undamaged nylon tow strap (hooks on both ends and rated for much more than your vehicle's weight). This is so kindly 4WD trucks can snatch you from distress.
2.As mentioned above carry at least one shovel. I carry a US made folding entrenching tool year around plus an avy shovel.
3. Also winter and chains, feltpack liners in NEOS boots, blankets and energy bars.

**On front wheel drive/4WD cars like the RAV 4 put the chains on the FRONT wheels.

Edited by Danepacker on 12/09/2012 00:33:14 MST.

David Lutz
(davidlutz)

Locale: Bay Area
"Winter backpacking and 2WD cars with chains?" on 12/09/2012 00:31:23 MST Print View

I used to put chains on a lot and it looks like I'm going back to it (if it snows this year).

It's a drag but not really that big of a deal. Often it was midnight and my wife and kids would be asleep inside the truck. Good times.

I put a kit together in a plastic tool box that included everything I needed: Chains, tensioners, pliers (Lineman's pliers with cutters), bailing wire, gloves and a heavy rain coat.

The worst part was getting back in the vehicle wet and muddy - I tried real hard to avoid that.

David's suggestion of a sheet of plastic is a good one, I'll put some Tyvek in my next kit.

I don't know how many times I've seen SUVs blow by me when I think I'm hauling and then I see them in a ditch five minutes later.

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: Winter backpacking and 2WD cars with chains? on 12/09/2012 00:33:30 MST Print View

From the sierra sun.


Truckee, Calif. — If your kids have had a snow day in March you live in snow country.

If your kids have had a snow day in June you live in Truckee.

If you've ever had to clear snow off your driveway twice in the same day — snow country.

If you've ever had to clear snow off your driveway twice in the same hour — Truckee.

If you've ever bought a season pass in August so you can ski all winter — snow country.

If you've ever bought a season pass in April so you can ski all summer — Truckee.

If you've ever put a 6-foot bike whip on your mailbox to locate it in the winter — snow country.

If you've ever put a 20-foot flag pole on your house to locate it in the winter — Truckee.

If you've ever had to chain up your SUV to get to work you're in snow country.

If you've ever had to chain up your SUV to get out of your drive way you're in Truckee.

If you have ever shoveled your side walk so guests could get to your house for Thanksgiving Dinner — snow country.

If you have ever shoveled your side walk so guests could get to your house for Memorial Day barbecue — Truckee.

If you ever used your lawn mower and snow blower in the same month — snow country.

If you ever used your lawn mower and snow blower in the same day — Truckee.

If you use heat tape to keep Icicles off your roof you live in snow country.

If you use a bat to keep the icicles off the heat tape you're in Truckee.

If you've ever actually worn out a snow shovel you live in snow country.

If you've ever actually worn out a snow blower you live in Truckee.

If you have snow every month from October to May you live in snow country.

If you have snow every month you live in Truckee.

If you think the above is an exaggeration of the truth — you live in snow country

If you think the above doesn't do winter here justice — you definitely live in Truckee.


http://www.sierrasun.com/article/20110607/COMMUNITY/110609915

Jeremy B.
(requiem) - F - M

Locale: Northern California
miata? on 12/09/2012 03:07:12 MST Print View

Since I was running through a similar query myself a little while back, I'll toss out this crazy idea: Take a Miata, give it an extra inch or two of lift (it starts at 4.9"), and stick some Nokian Hakkapeliitta tires on it.

(Currently on winter trips we use an old Civic.)

Mike R
(redpoint) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Re: Chains are a PITA on 12/09/2012 14:05:35 MST Print View

"I'm surprised no-one has commented how much hassle - and how unpleasant - it can be to fit chains. Too many people buy chains but have no idea how they actually go over the tires."

Chains are in fact a PITA to install. When I had a Civic, b/c of the low clearance, it was nearly impossible to fit my hand inside the wheel well. There are other types of chains that are much easier to install [more expensive too] like "Z-Chains" for instance. Either way, you have to practice installing them before you need them. One thing that makes them a PITA to install is you're dealing with snow and steel, make sure you have a pair of mechanic-type gloves stowed with the chains. They should be somewhat waterproof and warm yet dextrous.

Walter Carrington
(Snowleopard) - M

Locale: Mass.
Winter backpacking and 2WD cars with chains? on 12/10/2012 10:49:57 MST Print View

David Olson: "Cut down dump truck chains will get you through
snow pushing on the grill." Really? That sounds like fun, except that it'd probably destroy the front of my car's sheet metal(i.e. plastic).

Snow tires: When I tried Nokian Hakkepelitta, they worked well on snow and ice but wore strangely on dry pavement, causing a vibration. Bridgestone Blizzak is what I use now, much better traction on snow or ice than all season tires. The Tirerack website has tests comparing brands of winter tires and comparing winter tires to all season tires. It is interesting that in their tests a 2wd car stopped faster than a 4wd on ice.
http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tests/testDisplay.jsp?ttid=103
http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tests/testDisplay.jsp?ttid=167

Clearance: This is the main limitation with my FWD Honda Fit. The only time I've gotten really stuck with the Fit I was hung up on snow just a little too deep.

Winter in upstate NY driving an Alfa Romeo was interesting. Rear wheel drive, but with studded snow tires on the rear it was pretty good on snow/ice. It would start reliably at -20F, unfortunately it would get to -30F there. The defroster was completely inadequate -- it was great fun driving with the window at 0F to keep the windshield clear.

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: Winter backpacking and 2WD cars with chains? on 12/10/2012 12:19:13 MST Print View

"Really? That sounds like fun, except that it'd probably destroy the front of my car's sheet metal(i.e. plastic)."

Works only on vehicles like pickups that have lots of clearance all the way round. Even some new pickups may require
special low clearance chains tho .

If you have an old 1/2 ton 2 wheel drive Chevy or Ford and want to surprise snowmobilers and piss off
drivers with expensive 4x4's, just put some on, grab a couple of buddies with shovels, and hit the unplowed forest service roads.

A come-a-long or winch, and logging chain or tow strap, maybe a high lift jack, may come in handy when you get stuck.

Yes 1000
(mamamia)
Putting Chains on all 4 wheels on 12/10/2012 12:51:49 MST Print View

Is there any advantage putting chains on the other pair of wheels which doesn't get any power from the engine.

I bought a pair of expensive link based chains for the front wheels and a cheap cable pair for the rear wheels. With all 4 wheels on some sort of traction, I believe it should be easy for the car move without sliding sideways on ice.

Steve G
(sgrobben) - M

Locale: Ohio
Re: Subaru AWD v.s. RAV 4 4WD on 12/10/2012 13:00:29 MST Print View

" The RAV 4 Four Wheel Drive is less money than the AWD Subaru AND has better highway mileage because of the Rav 4's 2 WD, front drive setup. With a Subi your're always in four wheel drive, like it or not. It's the nature of AWD, thus the lower overall gas mileage.

Both cars have about the same ground clearance, which is to say "moderate", hot high clearance as in a Jeep Wrangler. BE ADVISED!"

Forester starts out at lower price than a 2wd Rav4. Outback is a bit more. All three cars get very similar fuel ratings despite Subi AWD.

Forester and Outback have same ground clearance as Jeep Wrangler Sport. Rav4 is lower.

Tjaard Breeuwer
(Tjaard) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota, USA
picking chains on 12/10/2012 13:02:10 MST Print View

If you are going to get chains, make sure to get the fancy quick mount style with the hoops. As people pointed out, you will be putting them on in unpleasant conditions, so less hassle is worth the extra $$.

The style with the cable hoops goes on very fast and comes off with less tangling.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Winter backpacking and 2WD cars with chains? on 12/10/2012 13:30:50 MST Print View

For a lot of years, vast numbers of people worked out in snow with nothing but 2wd and chains, and did fine. Forces you to be a good driver and plan, but it works. When I was a kid, it wasn't unusual to see tracks in 10" of snow in the bar ditch, where some oilfield pumper drove down to the next lease road in the ditch so he wouldn't have to take chains off and put them back on.

Otherwise................4wd gets you stuck deeper, farther from the highway!

David Affleck
(UtCoyote)
Straps w/out hooks, please! on 12/11/2012 08:48:54 MST Print View

"1.Always, ALWAYS carry a new, undamaged nylon tow strap (hooks on both ends and rated for much more than your vehicle's weight). This is so kindly 4WD trucks can snatch you from distress."


Eric, I'm one of the kindly 4WD trucks that occasionally snatches sedans (but more often other 4WD trucks...) from distress. As someone who has performed many dozens, perhaps even a hundred vehicle recoveries, my advice is to carry a nylon YANK strap, not a tow strap, and even more importantly, carry one WITHOUT hooks on the ends. Simple nylon loops are much preferred.

The yanker or "snatch" strap rather than a tow strap because the snatch strap is specifically designed to yield and rebound on shock loading for snatching vehicles from distress. Tow straps are specifically designed NOT to yield making the recovery process significantly more violent and likely to damage both vehicles but especially the stuck sedan. Also, snatch straps are typically rated for much higher working load limits than tow straps.

Good snatch straps don't have hooks on them though, only cheap crap straps have hooks. For the simple fact that should the strap break (which they do, all too often), a hook on the end can become a dangerous missile.

As a kindly 4WD truck owner I carry a full array of recovery gear and so don't depend on the stuckees (usually cheap/dangerous) straps. I carry high quality ones. But the single biggest problem with most vehicles I stop to help (and I ALWAYS stop if at all possible), is a lack of suitable recovery point. All too often on todays cars, there simply isn't anywhere to easily attach a strap that isn't likely to damage the vehicle when pulling force is applied. Often, either myself or the owner ends up covered in muck and wet from climbing around under the vehicle attaching the strap to an axle or frame member. Not uncommonly though, due to angles and lack of attachment point, I can't pull a stuck sedan out of a ditch without damaging it. Just have to get a wrecker on the scene that can gently lift without a straight hard pull.

- Dave

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Thanks for the info on 12/11/2012 12:20:52 MST Print View

Dave,

I need a new strap anyway since it got a bit frayed by a VW running over it after I pulled him from a snowbank. The idiot never stopped as I told him to do and would not even pay for a new strap. "No good deed goes unpunished."

So now I'll get a proper snatch strap per your advice. My RAV 4 carries 2 tow eyebolts that screw into the front bumper once I pop off the hole covers from the bumper cover and screw them in. So at least I'm sure of corrrect tow points. In the rear are shipping tie-down points.

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Been happy with Honda CRV on 12/11/2012 12:33:12 MST Print View

Pros- Within 500 miles of a 200,000 mile odometer rollover. New radiator, strut and brake work the only major costs so far. Studded snows an all 4 fours. Fully independent suspension on all
fours like the first army jeeps and the back of VW bugs (which do well in the snow). Higher clearance than RAV's and most
Suburu. Great for snowy roads, better than high clearance trucks due the center of gravity,

Cons- Lack of low range makes all the mini sport utes no good for trail/ steep rough roads tho.

I don't know about new RAV's but the old ones weren't big enough to hold an infant seat.