Do you need a 4x4 to get to rivers in BC?

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BenS
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Do you need a 4x4 to get to rivers in BC?

Post by BenS » Sun Apr 10, 2011 3:25 pm

Hi

We are going paddling to BC in the summer and were wondering if anyone has any experience of getting to rivers out there? We were thinking of hiring a motorhome but wondered if a fifth wheel trailer would be better so you can drive down to rivers in 4x4?

Thanks

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cswalker
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Re: Do you need a 4x4 to get to rivers in BC?

Post by cswalker » Sun Apr 10, 2011 3:40 pm

A 5th wheel would be better, as some of the roads can be narrow and steep, however it really does depend on the runs you want to do as some are pretty road side. Others are not however and an RV would be tough. Using an RV or 5th wheel is a great idea for the comfort levels though, plus you don't need to use campsites then, you can use FSR's to park up for the night.

What area's / rivers are you thinking of?

Look into to getting the backcountry road maps of BC, available from Amazon.ca or most good BC gas stations.

BenS
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Re: Do you need a 4x4 to get to rivers in BC?

Post by BenS » Sun Apr 10, 2011 4:52 pm

Thanks for that! Our plan is:

Flying into Vancouver, then travelling:

Vancouver - Whistler - Lilooet - Silver creek - Chilliwack - Vancouver

over two weeks and stopping at various rivers on the way

Cheers

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Re: Do you need a 4x4 to get to rivers in BC?

Post by John Saunders » Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:50 pm

Hired a this Jeep Commander from Enterprise in Vancouver last summer for a trip up and around Route 99, The Sea to Sky Highway. Wasn't paddling but as you can see, it came with roofrails and bars ready for boat carrying, and, depending on how many of you are going, you could easily sleep a couple in the back of this 7-seater.

Image

I used Enterprise because they offered unlimited mileage (used National on Vancouver Island and got hammered on additional mileage, but they offered pick-up/drop-off at a separate location (for a charge); as you're starting/ending in Vancouver this shouldn't be an issue).

Enjoy driving in a country where parking spaces will fit cars this size, and you'll laugh at the gas prices. Have a great trip!

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Re: Do you need a 4x4 to get to rivers in BC?

Post by mpooleman » Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:09 am

I've been out to BC twice and I would say that you don’t necessarily need 4 wheel drive, but you DO want a lot of ground clearance and chunky tyres.

We hired one 4x4 and one normal car 1st time, ripped the side wall on the tyre of the car and had enormous faff getting it fixed (costing as much as the difference between the car and 4x4 pretty much)

Also, 4x4's or "SUV's" often come with roofbars, our first one did, but second trip it didn't (but did have rails to lash to)

My advice would be to avoid a motorhome because many of FSR's are narrow and if they are disused, are a bit overgrown. We found ourselves struggling to turn a car around on some of them. It would be a nightmare if you ripped a tyre on a motorhome half way up an FSR.
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Re: Do you need a 4x4 to get to rivers in BC?

Post by Mark Gawler » Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:17 pm

Don't forget the 4x4 won't be insures once you leave the tarmac, I believe one group discovered this to there cost a few years back. I'd hire a 4x4 for the roofbars*, but as mentioned above a 4x4 is not strictly necessary for most river access.

[*] It has been know for the manufacture fitted roof bars to collapse with a full load of boats. strengthening them is recommend.
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Re: Do you need a 4x4 to get to rivers in BC?

Post by jamie stoddart » Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:29 pm

On a more important note.

I would thoroughly recommend stopping off at Chilliwack Airport for some of their famous pies and cakes. You can also get cheap flights to scout out places from the air.

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Re: Do you need a 4x4 to get to rivers in BC?

Post by DaveBland » Mon Apr 11, 2011 2:58 pm

Yeah, wot they said.
I'd go for something with boat space on the roof and enough but not excessive ground clearance.
Even things like the big people carriers [Dodge Grand Caravan etc] work out pretty good and go most places okay.
dave

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Re: Do you need a 4x4 to get to rivers in BC?

Post by siwiles » Mon Apr 11, 2011 7:12 pm

Also watch out for the 4x4's that actually aren't. We hired a Jeep commander from JFK in USA, and drove up to Quebec... Only realising after a while that there is a 2wd version of this vehicle for some reason. I guess its the USA version of the Chelsea tractor...

Which only turned out to be an issue when our shuttle driver got it firmly stuck in deep mud...

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Re: Do you need a 4x4 to get to rivers in BC?

Post by kevinf » Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:24 pm

Image

Bobby Burns Creek - the short-cut!

YES

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Re: Do you need a 4x4 to get to rivers in BC?

Post by DaveBland » Tue Apr 12, 2011 2:29 am

kevinf wrote:Bobby Burns Creek - the short-cut!

YES
To be fair, most 4x4s would have a job with that. You can hire docking great 5/6seater pickups that you can just slam your boats in the back of, but they are heavy on fuel.
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Re: Do you need a 4x4 to get to rivers in BC?

Post by purelandexpeditions.com » Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:33 am

We hired a Toyota Corolla, no issue...put boats on and drove it to Dease Lake and back, all over Squamish and sure it was not ideal but cheap. The Matrix may be a good option.
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Re: Do you need a 4x4 to get to rivers in BC?

Post by steddyjames » Wed Apr 20, 2011 3:14 pm

We had a normal car (Crysler Sebring or something, god awful really) and for three weeks in Alberta and then BC it was fine. We had a few moments on some of the non-tarmaced roads but hey ho that's just part of the fun! We just used a handirack instead of roof bars.

I'm sure a camper or RV would be fine and handy, personally we just stayed in hostels and campsites the whole time.

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Phil Hk
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Re: Do you need a 4x4 to get to rivers in BC?

Post by Phil Hk » Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:45 pm

We spent a couple of months touring BC in a VW Westfalia, including a lot of Forest Service tracks. Had no problems

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Re: Do you need a 4x4 to get to rivers in BC?

Post by stefano » Sun Apr 24, 2011 11:12 pm

We are going paddling to BC in the summer and were wondering if anyone has any experience of getting to rivers out there? We were thinking of hiring a motorhome but wondered if a fifth wheel trailer would be better so you can drive down to rivers in 4x4?
If you just have a motorhome you won't be able to run any shuttles. Most of the "normal" runs on the circuit you have planned have reasonable dirt road access that is possible with just a car, but the roads aren't 200 feet wide. You'll probably still want some sort of truck or SUV though as pretty much all the shuttles are on dirt. The cost difference between a car and truck should be minor.

The only classic spot you might want 4x4 for is in the Ashlu valley above the dam. You'll still ruin your paint though, and things will be too high up there until August this year anyways.

Here's some river information for you:

http://www.liquidlore.com/bc/bc.html

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