4x4 necessary?

Self-driving the Silk Road.
KaYe
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4x4 necessary?

Post by KaYe »

Hi there

We would like to travel through the Stan's (starting from Europe) with a campervan in a few years time. We are currently in the process of buying a van to convert it into a camper. But it's quite tricky to get hands on a decent used 4x4 van.
Therefore our question; is it necessary to have a 4x4 for the Stan's? And would we miss out on all the great attractions e.g. Pamir Highway if we travel without 4wd?

Thanks &
Kind regards
KaYe
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bwv812
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Re: 4x4 necessary?

Post by bwv812 »

You don't need 4WD to do the Pamir highway. Most vehicles on the road there are not 4WD, and when a road is washed out by spring flooding 4WD alone isn't going to handle it.
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KaYe
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Re: 4x4 necessary?

Post by KaYe »

Thank you so much. Great news! Btw by any chance did you travel by your own car in the Stan's?
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bwv812
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Re: 4x4 necessary?

Post by bwv812 »

No, but there are a number of other frequent posters here who have self-driven the region many times. Roro and mazeno are two that come to mind.
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KaYe
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Re: 4x4 necessary?

Post by KaYe »

Thank you, I'll check it out!
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Tot hier en verder
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Re: 4x4 necessary?

Post by Tot hier en verder »

Hi KaYe,

My family and I drove a VW T4 through Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan (also Karakalpakstan) and Turkmenistan in 2016. We had some difficulties with muddy off-road tracks in Mangystau (near Shakpak Ata) and booked a tour to Bozhira in Ustyurt plateau as we didn't trust our van to get us there, but otherwise we were fine. Later in Georgia and Armenia we discovered we didn't need a 4x4 for most mountain passes either.

Where are you planning to go?

Joost
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jelger
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Re: 4x4 necessary?

Post by jelger »

Tot hier en verder wrote: Later in Georgia and Armenia we discovered we didn't need a 4x4 for most mountain passes either.
True, but higher clearance would be nice to have on some of the rougher roads in places like Svaneti (Mestia --> Ushguli and beyond) and the road to Tusheti. For the latter you wouldn't need a 4WD perse if the weather has been good, but you definitely need a proper ground clearance.
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wakeyjamie
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Re: 4x4 necessary?

Post by wakeyjamie »

Hiya Everyone,

We are also just in the final stages of planning a big trip to Russia and Central Asia. Our camper is just 2wd but it is something I have long worried about. Like KaYe says, its hard and expensive to find 4wd vans. But in the end we have a nice newish camper based on a Fiat Ducato Medium wheel base. Once we are traveling I will let you know what the state of the roads are.

Just one other quickie, Does anyone reading this who has traveled in a van know how easy it is to find water along the way. I've heard that in the mountains there are often springs but what about down on the plains?

Many thanks
Jamie
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wakeyjamie
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Re: 4x4 necessary?

Post by wakeyjamie »

Sorry just to add,

I've been reading this blog of a French family (2 adults 3 kids) who did a similar trip in a very traditional motorhome and said they had no problems. Its very inspiring and a great resource.

Use chrome or Firefox to auto translate.... http://www.untouracinq.com/

This one also has some great pics of a french motorhome on mountain passes... - http://famillelocatelli.over-blog.com/page/2

thanks
Jamie
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Tot hier en verder
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Re: 4x4 necessary?

Post by Tot hier en verder »

We just always made sure to have a couple of 5ltr bottles of water in the van. Even on desolate stretches like Beyneu - Nukus this would be fine. Finding diesel was harder than finding water, occasionaly :-)

And Georgia is a bit off topic, but we managed to get to Tusheti (wouldn't necessarily recommend it in a 2WD) and they are improving the Svaneti road at the moment. In October 2017, they were about halfway between Mestia and Ushguli.

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Last edited by Tot hier en verder on Sun Mar 11, 2018 1:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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