Best Tips for Off-Roading on Sand

top tips for desert off-road trucks


Guide to Off-Roading on Sand

Taking your lifted truck out in the desert or on some sand dunes can be so much fun. When you’re on the sand, you tend to be in wide open areas which gives you a lot of freedom to enjoy your rig. Sand is also a little more forgiving than hard packed dirt since there is less potential to damage your truck. You can also get some serious air while riding over dunes. Below are our tips to make your ride out on the sand go a little smoother.

Pack Light

When you’re trying to climb up sand dunes, gravity is working against you. A heavily loaded down lifted truck will have a hard time climbing up hills on sand, so leave your camping gear, heavy coolers, and other items you aren’t going to need while out back at basecamp.


Most places will require you to have a flag attached to your vehicle when you’re out. The flag will help other off-roaders spot your vehicle through low visibility areas and uneven terrain. A few bucks can go a far way in ensuring you don’t collide with another off-roader accidently.

Tire Pressure

You’ll want to soften your tires when you go out on sand to help keep your tires from sinking into the sand. Decreased air pressure means your tires are hitting more ground, distributing the weight and giving your tires more space to grip with. You should experiment with decreasing your tire’s air pressure until you find the perfect spot for your rig. If you plan to go out on sand regularly, consider investing in a set of tires with a mild tread pattern to help with floatation. You can always swap between tire sets depending on what type of off-roading you’re going to be doing.

Vehicle Restrictions & Guidelines

There are no width restrictions at Christmas Valley Sand Dunes, but safety flags are required and so are spark arrestors.

Getting Unstuck

When you’re off-roading in forests or on mountains it’s easy to find an object to winch from if you get stuck. In the desert you don’t have many options. Make sure to travel with a buddy who can help pull you out or you may have to get real creative. It’s possible to get buried in sand up to your framerails, so you need to make sure to have sturdy recovery points on the front and back of your truck. You don’t want to have to spend the day digging yourself out of sand.

Keep Moving

Once you start going, momentum is your friend in the desert. Going fast will help keep you from getting bogged down. If you feel your lifted truck start slowing down, resist the urge to floor it and instead ease off and go downhill. When you’re ready to stop moving, don’t hit the brakes. Hitting the brakes will kick sand up in front of the tires and you’ll have a hard time getting started when you’re ready to head out again. Instead, let off the gas and allow the truck to come to a stop naturally if possible.

Watch the Engine Temp

Hot deserts and working your engine hard can spell disaster for your truck if you aren’t paying attention. Keep an eye on your engine temps and stop when your engine starts getting too warm.

Our tips will help you get started with off-roading on the desert. If you’re ready to take your rig out on some dunes, check in with our service department and they can let you know what aftermarket work will help make your lifted truck perform best in sandy conditions.

So what are you waiting for? Check out the online inventory of used trucks in Olympia, then visit South Sound Trucks to test drive the truck of your dreams and find a new weekend warrior to hit the trails with.