How Low-Ground-Pressure ATV’s Carry Cargo in the Alaskan Tundra

A low-ground-pressure ATV looks a bit like an army tank. With 16 wheels and a low body frame, these unique vehicles can travel across a wide variety of remote and extreme environments. Low-Ground-Pressure ATV’s are essential in moving supplies safely with little impact along the precious Alaska terrain.

Here’s what you need to know about these versatile vehicles:

Why Are Low-Ground-Pressure ATV’s good at navigating different terrain?

A standard passenger car has a ground pressure of approximately 30 psi. Psi’s are a measurement of Pascals, which are the US’s customary units of pounds per square inch. A low-ground-pressure ATV (Which are quite larger than a passenger car!) only rings in at 14 psi. This means the weight is distributed more evenly throughout the vehicle. Due to this, low-ground-pressure ATV’s can go over extreme terrain without a large imbalance of weight.

Unlike passenger cars and cargo trucks, these ATV’s can maneuver through places that are not accessible to traditional vehicles.

What Are “Rubber Bags”?

Besides the large frame, one of the most notable things about the low-ground-pressure ATV is their wheels. Instead of standard wheels, you’d see on cargo trucks, these “wheels” are known as rubber bags. They can be inflated or deflated, depending on the payload and the weather. They are also very wide, measuring at 68 inches across.

The reason why these rubber bag wheels work so well is the rollers they are placed on. The rollers help ensure that if they get stuck, the tires won’t be spinning further into the ground. It would instead just spin on top of the bag. Low-ground-pressure ATV’s often work in groups, so if one vehicle gets stuck, another one can pull it out.

When Are Low-Ground-Pressure ATV’s not able to travel?

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources (ADNR) has tundra travel requirements in which large vehicles can’t travel overland unless there are 6-12 inches of snowfall. But because of the way the low-ground-pressure ATV’s work with minimum impact, they have been approved to travel throughout the summer as well.

What Kind of Cargo can Low-Ground-Pressure ATV’s Carry?

Custom-built low-ground-pressure ATV’s like the ones made by Busby Marine for Peak Oilfield Service Co. are made to handle up to 100,000 pounds of payload. That means they can carry things like other trucks, heavy machinery for construction or the oil industry, and more. In other words, these types of vehicles can carry pretty much anything. They just adjust their wheels to handle the load and the location.

What Other Things are These Vehicles Used For?

Due to the wide wheels and equal weight distribution, low-ground-pressure ATV’s are uniquely qualified for packing down ice roads. Driving along the pre-planned ice road route, these vehicles can pack down the snow more efficiently than a natural freezing process would. These ice roads then meet the conditions for other industries that are trying to move in and out of the tundra.

In short, low-ground-pressure ATV’s help a wide variety of people and industries maneuver throughout the wild Alaskan landscape.

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