Bridging Ladders and Sand Ladders
During off road expeditions one occasionally comes across a ditch or washout that is too wide or deep to cross, or a vertical step that can't be negotiated. For these situations you need a ramp or bridging device that you can place across the gap and drive over. Some people (and even vendors) get confused between bridging ladders and sand ladders, and think they can use them interchangeably. Of course this is not the case, as a bridging ladder needs to be capable of supporting at least a quarter of the weight of the vehicle, while a sand ladder can be much more flexible and lighter (see below). Of course, you can use most bridging ladders as sand ladders if you wish, saving you from carrying both.
When it comes to choosing a set of bridging ladders, it does not pay
to try skimp and cut corners. If they fail while you are driving over
them, the results could be disastrous! The best and strongest
bridging ladders I have seen are a design I recently found at British
Pacific, pictured at left and at the top of this page. These
ladders are made from aluminum alloy and are 5 feet long, but weigh
only 20 lbs each! They will accommodate the weight of a Range Rover with
no problem. Cost is about $450 a pair; special mounting brackets for
securing them to a roof rack are also available for about $89 a set.
Sand ladders are useful in any very soft terrain -- including sand, soft snow, or even mud, to spread the weight of your Range Rover over a wider area of ground. In the old days, owners of Model T's used to remove their running boards to use them as sand ladders! More recently, the type shown at right, used by Land Rover in the Camel Trophy and other expeditions, have become available and proven themselves in many situations.
This type of lightweight aluminum ladder is easy to carry and very effective -- they are thinner but wider than the bridging ladders above, in order to spread the weight over a wider area. They are 5 feet long, 17 3/4 " wide, and weigh only 16.5 lbs each. They are NOT designed to be used as bridging ladders!!
Cost is approximately $240 a pair, and special mounts for attaching them to your roof rack, Camel Trophy style, are available for about $89 a set. (photo courtesy of British Pacific).