Dust – Keeping it Out!

I have been four wheel driving for years now and I’ve always had a thing for large wagons compared to utes or dual cab’s for one reason – dust.  Utes and dual cabs suffer from getting all their gear dusty. This is especially true when heading into the outback on long drives on dirt roads. Even on short trips on dirt roads dust is a challenge.

Troopy at Mt Dare after Oodnadatta Track
Troopy at Mt Dare after Oodnadatta Track

We recently travelled through the Oodnadatta Track in South Australia and then crossed over the Simpson Desert. To say the very least it was very dusty. For me there is nothing worse than having all of our gear covered in dust when were setting it up and trying to sleep. By the time we hit Mt Dare there was dust everywhere on the car – all over the sides and rear. You would go to put something in the bin and dust would fall off it from everywhere. But we had nothing in the cabin!

So how did we keep it spotless. On forums and Facebook groups I often see people looking at all kinds of wacky ways of keeping the dust out. But 15 – 20 years ago I remembered reading an article that made solving this problem as simple as turning the fan on! Yep – that’s it.

The Theory!

Take your fan, turn it on with fresh air! You might be tempted to turn it onto recirculate to be more efficient (if you’re running the air conditioner) but it needs to be on fresh.

The reason that it works is because it increases the pressure inside the cabin just enough that any gaps in the seals leak air out. This leaking air prevents dust from entering the car and keeps everything clean.

If you put the fan onto recirculate you will not get the increase in cabin pressure and therefore will most likely experience dust entering the vehicle.

Obviously this requires all the windows in the vehicle to be closed in order for it to be effective. If you are like me you normally cruise around with the windows down and arm resting on the side of the window. On long trips I tend not to do this due to the sun and risk of burn.  In this situation you can still win though. I use my quarter glass in this situation to funnel air into the cabin. Using the vehicle as a ram it forces air into the car in a similar fashion. It will have less effect at lower speeds but if you want the windows down it’s a good compromise.

Did it work?

You bet it did! After 10 days of travelling on nothing but extremely dry, rough dusty roads the inside of the back of the car was spotless.

No Dust in the Back
No Dust in the Back

This is one of the reasons I would never have a dual cab or ute for outback travel. I’m not sure how you would solve this problem in a vehicle like that. If you have a solution we would love to hear about it (unless it involves cement!).

See you out in the Blue Room!

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