Motorhome Stuck in the Mud? How to Get Out of Mud and Avoid.
If you are stuck in the mud remain calm and take it slow. Keep revving down to a minimum, in fact, no throttle is best. Try and slowly pull yourself out, sometimes second gear will be better than first but you will need to use the accelerator pedal. You don’t want to create holes for your wheels.
The best place for your motorhome to park up for the night is on the hard – a hardstanding or on the road. Sometimes you may be camping on the grass, most notably at a festival or possibly a campsite with no hard standings.
But what if you get stuck in the Mud? With a heavy motorhome, what can you do?
The best way not to get stuck is to really inspect the ground you are going to drive on to. Put down tyre mats even if you think the ground will take the weight of the motorhome. Most importantly – drive gently, very gently. If the tyres are not gripping at a very gentle slow speed, they will not grip if you are revving like a crazy person – you will just dig in further.
What if you are Stuck in the Mud?
The very first thing is to remain calm. Panic is what causes the excessive revving of your engine to well and truly dig yourself into a hole. Once you are in a hole its a lot more difficult to get yourself out.
In first gear slowly bring up the clutch with the revs low – not even touching the accelerator is good. If the wheels turn at tick over you are stuck and will need to try to provide traction for the tyres to grip on. But before you do try the same thing in reverse, bring the clutch up slowly keeping the revs low.
Reversing out of the space you are in seems to work better for us. Luckily I have managed to get off of soft ground most of the time without too much digging but sometimes it is necessary if your tyres have sunk into a hole. Once you are sunk it is really difficult to get free, mainly because of the weight of the motorhome – your tyres need a decent amount of traction just to move it, getting it out of a hole requires more traction.
Once you get free, keep going until you are on solid ground. If you stop before then you may get stuck again. Once is enough as far as I am concerned.
Things to help you get out of Mud
Tyre Traction Mats – can be useful and usually, your tyre will grip to these mats very well. The only problem is that the mats tend not to grip to the mud very well and can come flying out at high speed from the wheels. You want to be clear of the motorhome and anything you put under the wheels before you start to engage the engine.
Tyre mats should be placed under the drive wheels. Sometimes you can rock the motorhome back and forward to allow the mats to go under the wheels. The best and safest way is to dig out a bit of the mud at the rear of the tyre so you can get the mat in and then try to reverse out.
They are light and do not take up much room. They are great for parking on and are not very expensive.
Bread Baskets – a lot of people like to use cut down bread baskets. These can provide much-needed traction when you are stuck in the mud. They tend to be cheap and work in a very similar way to a sand ladder.
The only difficulty is getting a hold of a bread basket, They seem to be getting quite rare.
Sand ladders or Waffle Boards are quite good and work in the same way as a bread basket would, except they grip even better. They are basically a plastic mesh strip that you place under the wheels. They sink into the mud allowing your tyres to grip on the sand ladder and for the sand ladder to hold in the mud. Although they are designed for sand but work well in mud. They are very strong and are thicker than the tyre traction mats so are able to get a really good grip.
I pack a pair of these if we are camping on grass, two pairs would be better. They are a bit heavier than some of the traction mats and take up a bit more room. They are a bit more expensive but will be worth it if you ever need them.
Snow chains – great for snow and can sometimes work in the mud but they can dig you in deeper if there is nothing for them to grip on. If you are going to try snow chains use with caution. Snow is a very different problem from mud.
Tow Rope. A tow rope is really an essential piece of kit. I use the tow rope as a last resort to get towed off my muddy pitch. It’s a really good idea to keep a good tow rope in your motorhome. That way you are not relying on someone else to have a tow rope if you need help getting unstuck. Make sure you know where the tow points are there will be one at the front and some motorhome have one at the back. Check for yours now so you know where they are and you will not have to find a tow point in the mud when you need it, The tow points are usually mentioned in the handbook.
Free Styling – If you don’t have any of the above inventions for helping you get out of a sticky situation you can use some things you may have in your van such as carpet, rubber mats, wood. You want to provide a bit of traction between the mud and the tyre and I have read that people have used these things and it got them out of a sticky situation but just be aware that whatever you use it will get wrecked and can come flying out from the wheels so be very careful.
Be especially careful with planks of wood as these can kick up and really damage your motorhome.
Finally, if you have a tyre pump with you try letting the tyre pressure down to about 15psi. This will improve the grip of your tyre but you must pump them up again before you go on the road. You do not want to drive anywhere with low tyre pressure in a 3.5-ton vehicle.
If no one has a pump then avoid this one.
Ways to Avoid Being Stuck in the Mud
Survey Your Pitch
The best way to avoid getting stuck in mud is to actually get out and test the ground in the area where you want to park. Make sure it’s hard enough to support the weight of the motorhome. If you have any doubts don’t drive on there.
Make sure that the weather is not going to turn and become very wet. If it does and you are parked on the grass make sure it’s not getting boggy. If it is boggy get the motorhome off.
Once parked on the grass make sure you are pointing in the direction of an easy escape. You want to get to the tarmac as quickly as possible. You may want to be parked on mats, wood or whatever you have to spread the load of the tyres so you don’t sink.
If you drive onto a boggy pitch and you can feel yourself sinking, don’t stop, just drive back off – assuming its safe to do so of course.
Winter tyres are possibly one of the best ways to not get stuck in the first place. They are a made from rubber that is a bit softer and grips better in wet conditions. They also have a good tread pattern for gripping slippery surfaces. This is one of the most recommended ways to avoid being stuck in the mud and although an expensive option makes sense. If you are going to replace your tyres anyway then it makes sense to buy something grippy.
For more information on tyres see – how to check the age of motorhome tyres.
Spread the Load
Most of the time we get stuck is after we have been parked up. By just moving around in the Motorhome the tyres start to bed into the mud ever so slightly with each movement. So when you do stop and are parking on grass put down your tyre mats or whatever you have and park on top of them. This will help to spread the weight of the motorhome and will prevent you from sinking into the mud while you are parked up.
You can buy a variety of clever products for this, some people have use breadbaskets, various types of mats, sand ladder or you could even use old bits of plywood for this. All you are trying to do is spread the load a bit so the tyres don’t sink and by parking, on a mat, you have a great place to start from when you want to drive off your grassy pitch.
Protect the Area Around the Motorhome
Once you are parked up on a grass pitch you may need something that will let you get into the motorhome and not cause the ground you walk on to become a swamp. There are a few things you can use for this that will help to keep your motorhome cleaner inside and your sanity intact especially if you have young children running about. Mud is very special for children, they can’t resist it.
Once you park up a good idea is to put down a few interlocking mats at the door. The good thing about these mats is that they work quite well and can keep the mud levels down for quite a while.
We have had some seepage but that was in extremely muddy conditions.
You can also get a ground sheet and put that down but they can be a real pain to clean when its time to move on.
In summing up, the best way to avoid getting stuck is to prepare. Check the ground, make sure you can get out easily, park on mats, have some basic equipment for dealing with mud. Do this and you should be fine – no guarantees obviously, mud can be tricky.