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With the onset of winter, many of us are eyeing up the slopes in readiness for the first dump. That first foray on to the slopes is like no other of the season. The anticipation of the season to come, how well has the field been compacted? Is the base layer enough to hold the top layer? Unless you’re cruising in a 4 X 4 or planning to use “the goat” to get up the mountain, you are likely to need a set of chains. But how do you choose which ones are the right size and what are the pitfalls? What are chains? Chains are temporarily fitted to the driving wheels to improve traction in snow, ice or mud. They are temporary, only use them when required and at speeds of less than 20 km per hour. Be aware, not all chains are suitable for off-road/ gravel roads. It depends on the model and fitment of each set. This will be specified in the features of the product you are purchasing or ask the sales team. A set of chains will cost you between $109 and $949 depending on size and durability. Cheaper chains will be lighter construction and therefore unlikely to last as long as a heavier duty set. If you an avid skier, don’t skimp on your safety. Find the best quality you can that will last you for many seasons. If you are only on the mountain once or twice a season, then perhaps a cheaper set may suffice. At the Roof Rack Centre, we supply Thule/ Konig chains as they are well known and reliable. They use a diamond configuration, giving optimum traction with minimal noise or vibration, while still being easy to fit.

It is imperative you get a set of chains to fit your car, as many vehicles do not have the clearance between tyres and body work, and/ or brake lines to allow chains to be fitted. If your tyres are equipped with electronic sensors, poorly fitted chains can also interfere with them. As with all safety equipment, practice using them BEFORE you need them. It ain’t no fun, fitting chains for the first time in a snowstorm… The product manual will explain how to fit your chains and what clearances are required. Ensure your chains can be fitted without having to move the vehicle. This makes fitting in that snowstorm so much easier. Look after your chains - Clean dirt, snow or ice off your chains after each use to prevent surface rust. Shake off the ice and snow after you have used them and leave them out of the bag to dry overnight. Driving with chains: As stated, chains are only to be used at slow speeds, so take your time. Take it easy; if you lose traction, ease off on the gas. Spinning your wheels will eventually wear through the chains, causing them to break and possibly damaging the underside of the car. Avoid sudden movements.

Microstuff drybags keep phones, ipods, wallets, cameras dry Extra safety clip USA company Seattle Sports makes these strong .75 litre mini drybags for all those things you need close at hand. Straps securely to your bouyancy vest. Made from PU coated rip-stop nylon with RF welded seams. Available with or without audio port

As normal, brake on the straight, before turning into a corner. Take the corner even slower than you usually would and start to accelerate again when the vehicle is on the straight. Drive to the conditions; Exposed bridges and overpasses ice over faster than roads because the wind and weather cools them faster. Gullies and shaded corners are always icier as they are shaded from direct sunlight. Hard packed snow will turn to ice when it freezes, making the conditions more dangerous at night and early in the morning. Increase your following distance: Your vehicle will take longer to stop on snow or ice. Deep snow: If you get stuck, clear the snow from around the vehicle and create a track for the tyres to move through. Once you’re on ground with less snow covering, you’ll get better traction. Black ice is common in shaded areas, around waterways and lakes, so be careful when and where you brake to prevent skidding or sliding. If you encounter a skid or slide, take your foot off the accelerator and turn the steering wheel in the direction the vehicle is moving to help gain control. If the conditions are severe, stay at home! There will always be another day.


Distributed by Great Stuff. email:

Smoothly does it, brake gently - Start softly and only apply more pressure as the vehicle starts to slow. Keeping brake pressure smooth will avoid locking up the wheels.


Issue 93 Autumn 2019


Profile for Canoe & Kayak

New Zealand Kayak Magazine Issue 93