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Old 04-18-2014, 12:10 PM   #1
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Anybody been to White Pocket, AZ in their SMB?

We are going to White Pocket, AZ next week.

I have read that the roads into the area can be extremely soft and sandy. A 10% chance of rain is expected.

I was wondering if anybody had any tips if they had been there before with their SMB?

We are taking TREDs, a shovel, food for about 5 days, 18 gal of water on board, plus 2+ cases of bottled water. Don't have a winch. Besides the usual camping gear, is there anything else I should throw in the van ?
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Old 04-18-2014, 01:05 PM   #2
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Re: Anybody been to White Pocket, AZ in their SMB?

What are your communication tools (cell phone, CB, HAM radio)? If it's just a cell phone, a signal booster wouldn't be a bad thing.

A good, 100% duty cycle compressor to air up your tires. A good jack, and maybe a strong platform to use underneath it so it doesn't sink into the soft ground.

If there's rain, don't camp in any washes.


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Old 04-18-2014, 02:17 PM   #3
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Re: Anybody been to White Pocket, AZ in their SMB?

It's really just sandy up on the Plateau. And if the area gets rain (not that likely this weekend) then it would probably help your cause.
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Old 04-18-2014, 02:20 PM   #4
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Re: Anybody been to White Pocket, AZ in their SMB?

No, but close. I've been down Rock House Road a few times to the AZ border and also at the Wire Pass lot. Sometimes that road is soft or muddy (yecch). I need to go further on down the road (sounds like a blues song).
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Old 04-18-2014, 03:59 PM   #5
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Re: Anybody been to White Pocket, AZ in their SMB?

Thanks for the input, gang!

Comm: Cell phones, cell booster, FRS/GPRS walkie talkies.

Ham, an ExtremeAir and a Hi-Lift is on my list of things to get (when will my list start getting shorter?).

I have some good wood planks for leveling the van at the campsite. Those should do for jacking.
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Old 04-23-2014, 11:15 AM   #6
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Re: Anybody been to White Pocket, AZ in their SMB?

I went there three years ago. There is soft sand but if you deflate your tires to about 15-20 PSI, you shouldn't have to much problem.
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Old 04-23-2014, 12:00 PM   #7
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Re: Anybody been to White Pocket, AZ in their SMB?

We camped at Wire Pass with 2 SMB's but decided to take the third vehicle (Toyota Tacoma) to White Pocket. With the sand conditions pretty dry there we decided not to risk getting the vans stuck. Air down, have all your recovery gear handy, and be prepared to extricate yourself.....there's not much help around and a tow is going to be very expensive. I would think MaxTraxx/Treds or the equivalent might be more handy than a hi-lift.

There are a couple of grades that were deepish, loose sand and honestly would have sucked to get stuck on with a van.

As for comms, we didn't get a speck of cell signal there.

That's not to scare you, just be prepared. White Pocket is really spectacular......post some pics when you get back!
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Old 04-23-2014, 12:54 PM   #8
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Re: Anybody been to White Pocket, AZ in their SMB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dparkwy
That's not to scare you, just be prepared.
So with your hindsight knowledge, would you go in there now with a heavy vehicle or not? I was contemplating on going to White Pocket next month but one of the vehicles in the group is a full size 4wd pickup with cab-over camper with duels in the rear. We will have extraction gear. (winch/strap/air compressor/pull-pal/shovel - but no boards)
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Old 04-23-2014, 03:58 PM   #9
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Re: Anybody been to White Pocket, AZ in their SMB?

re: heavy vehicle...I would give it a go only if fully prepared and with another vehicle to assist.

I don't recall there being a lot of good winch points so a pull-pal would be needed. Sand ladders/maxtraxx/etc probably would have got you out of most tricky spots pretty quickly. But....

I remember one or two grades that were no-stop zones about 80-100 yds long. Loss of momentum meant getting bogged down and stuck for sure. Recovery with a second vehicle might have been a little tricky.

Definitely go if you have gear, a few extra hands, and a little experience on sand. White Pocket is worth it.
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Old 04-25-2014, 07:58 PM   #10
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Re: Anybody been to White Pocket, AZ in their SMB?

Got back last night. The road to WP was sandy all the way, but like Dparkwy said, there were only about 4 or 5 places that felt like the van might get into trouble. The longest deep sand run is on the last hill before you get to the parking area. Near Poverty Flat was another very squishy area.

The TREDs never got used, though I thought I would have to break them out when the road passed through a corral full of calves and cows. The calves were scared of the diesel noise, and started running back and forth across the road like squirrels. Had to stop and let them calm down and move away. That's when I felt the van settle a few inches. I don't like that sinking feeling!

The road was very narrow most of the way. I don't know if it would be possible to move a helper vehicle around a stuck vehicle. There are lots of small trees, but probably none are large enough to use as a winch point.

Turns out I was worrying too much about the drive. I have sand driving experience, but not with the SMB. I aired down to about 75% of normal pressure (could have gone lower), and kept the speed up.

We spent two nights there. During the day, we saw a Mazda Tribute, GMC Acadia AWD, several Toyota and Nissan pickups, Suburban, Tahoe, and a 2015 Cherokee (a rental!) come and go. As far as I know, no one got stuck.
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