Summertime Beach Camping!
PS: For the latest on HWFS Hatteras Wave Jam Summer Edition
The OBX Summer Beach Camp is a unique experience for local and visiting vacationers who own a 4WD vehicle and take it onto the sand. Though, there are a number of beach closures during the summer months, the areas which remain open pack with vehicles and beach campers enjoying the warm inviting sand and water. I have always enjoyed the beach camping experience as it allows the freedom to bring everything out onto the sand for an enjoyable summer day. Though with the closures, the areas which remain open do pack up, especially on the northern side of Oregon Inlet.
With all the visiting summer vacationers, many drive onto the sand for the first time. Often vehicles get stuck as unfamiliar drivers dig their wheels deep into the sand until their underside bottoms out. Also, many attempt to drive on the sand with 2WD vehicles and are often stuck soon after leaving the pavement. Its a common site during the summer months.
If you are new to beach driving, note the following:
- Do not spin the tires! If you wheels start to slip, immediately stop and try reversing. If you spin, you will dig and soon be stuck with your axles resting on the sand.
- Use 4WD Low The Low option allows for better torque from the transmission to prevent strain while running though soft sand. This is especially the case for manual transmission vehicles. Often we smell the scent of burning transmissions when drivers attempt to drive across soft sand.
- Air the Tires Down to 15 PSI Initially, all sand drivers should air down to 20 PSI, especially for standard road tires. Though if you get stuck in exceptionally soft sand, take them down to 15 PSI for added traction. Lowering tire PSI also helps avoid burning the transmission as the soft tires "float" better on the sand. Once back on the pavement, most "local" gas stations provide free air services for refilling back to recommended road pressure.
- Use the Parking Brake If you get stuck, especially while stopping to check the surf at S-Turns, a nifty trick is use of the parking brake. Set the parking break, and reverse out of the stuck position in the sand. The brake helps prevent tire spin allowing the vehicle to climb out of the stuck position. This technique works very well with automatic transmissions.
Ahhhhh, OBX Summer Time....