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Full Version: Ground clearance - is it really an issue?
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For those who bondock in the NF or BLM land with your van or class B .... has ground clearance been much of an issue for you? Most conversion vans and class B's I see look very low.

I assume if you get to an area that looks too tough you would just drive a little further down the road to a smoother area?


No, and yes.

No, because I scout ahead on foot and have a good sense on what the limit is for my van.

Yes, because I am often forced NOT to go down many dirt-roads because it is clear I will get stuck.

Most establish NF campgrounds will be fine, an the same applies to most "well-known" BLM boondocking sights. But you will have to accept that your B is not an off-road vehicle... and definitely by a shovel (and chain) and carry it/them with you at all times. When you do sink in, you will sink straight to the axle.
I have enjoyed having all the ground clearance that I do, when in Baja.  I found the running boards which came on my Van were a limiting factor, as well as saggy rear springs which would cause the trailer hitch to dig a rut into an arroyo crossing.

Just going further down the road to something smoother is not always an option, and backing away from an obstacle can and does lead to issues.


sometimes yes sometimes no and most of the time there is no way to know until you are there even if you have been there before, just my experience.  highdesertranger
There are a few things to have to keep from getting stuck.  This might be overkill (too much)

1)  Shovel yes, but might need a pickaxe for some of these holes.  Just get something strong.
2)  A small pruning saw.  cut some branches up and place under the tire for more traction
3)  Indoor-outdoor rug reminants.  Nice to place under a tire for more traction.
4)  Tire guage.  If you deflate your tires to 15 pounds you can get a whole lot more traction.  did it all the time while four wheeling.  makes a big difference
5)  chain and a come-along small mechanical winch.  might help.  Chain to attach to someone else who can pull you out.
6)  make sure you have a jack.  They come in useful when you use them.

Know how to rock your vehicle.

Know when NOT to stop.

Knwo where to drive. I avoided a mud puddle and got stuck in the grass. Under the puddle was rock. I was in 4 wheel drive.

James AKA Lynx
I'm all about ground clearance, liking the more remote areas, and have removed the running boards off every vehicle that I've bought which had them. They're of rather limited utility and end up getting bashed to $hit eventually, while often leading to rusted out areas where they're attached. ..Willy. 
good list off road I would like to amend.  shovel is a must,  in kalifornia you must have a fire permit to have a camp fire outside of a developed campground to get a fire permit you must have a shovel.  a shovel is a must for back country travel.  watch out with that pruning saw,  you could get in allot of trouble cutting live or standing vegetation.  please if you go the carpet route take your carpet with you after you get out.  allot of people just leave it.  I see it all the time.  have a way to reinflate your tires when you hit pavement and don't air down passenger car tires down to 15 psi you will break the bead.  lastly I like nylon recovery straps much more forgiving than chains.  highdesertranger 
I want to do a lot of camping on BLM and NF lands. Hopefully there will still be plenty of spots if I get a class B with only 8" ground clearance.

What's your sign that an area might be dangerous? Grass? Sand? Big rocks? Moose in the road?
Rocks, ruts, dips, holes..all can make you bottom out.  
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