Huck 101

by AJ Deysel

What is hucking?

Hucking, as it is often known, is the practice of jumping sand dunes either at a beach or in a desert. It can vary anything from small jumps, to massive dunes launching the truck many feet far.

Although sand may be relatively soft, at speed it still is as hard as concrete, and it can easily destroy any vehicles if you do not have the vehicle prepared for the task, or if you land incorrectly.

Huckfest

Huckfest is a major event held yearly at the Oceano Sand Dunes near Pismo beach in California. Originating from a group of friends that went out there with their trucks for a good time, since somewhere in the early 2000s, it has grown into a full-fledged event drawing in excess of 16 000 people yearly from across the globe, bringing anything from their trashed daily driving rust buckets, through to purpose built dune-jumping rigs built by some of the best off-road shops and fabricators in the industry to show off their work and products. It has started drawing most of the top suspension and off-road manufacturers and factory teams as well as some of the top trophy trucks and Baja 1000 race teams. The general use of the term to Huck you truck, most probably became public knowledge with widespread use in the off-road community thanks to this very event.

How are trucks and off-roaders built to huck?

Hucking is usually done either with trucks, buggies or sand rails with long travel suspension. The long travel suspension, instead of articulation for traction as in the case with rock crawler, in this case is needed to dampen the landing, so the suspension absorbs the shock of the weight of the vehicle coming down, instead of that shock being transferred into the other parts of the vehicle and the driver. More often than no, a bump stop will be used, to limit the maximum up travel of the suspension, to prevent the shocks from bottoming out and breaking, think of these bump stops as the last line of defense.

suspension bump stop
Hydraulic Bump Stop Inside Coil Spring

On the other end of the scale, limiting straps are also often used, to prevent full extension of the suspension when the truck is off the ground, to prevent the shock from over extending and breaking, or to prevent coils from falling out when the suspension extends to the maximum.

suspension limiting strap
Teraflex Suspension Limiting Strap Bolted to Frame and Axle

To be able to drive on the sand and not get stuck, the vehicles have to have as much as possible horsepower, with as low as possible weight. Most huck trucks are 2WD, as this allows even longer travel in the front suspension, without the expensive cost of having to also engineer a front differential with side-shafts that can handle the travel and angles of that long travel front end. The traction in sand for a two wheel drive vehicle however, is quite a bit less, so that has to be made up for in horsepower, and lower weight to enable the truck to float on the sand.

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