Originally Posted by dr350jja
But to stay on 'top' of the snow, wouldn't it require floatation type tires? I can't picture skinny tires being on top of the snow.
Originally Posted by Uncle Ben
Chains do exactly what they are designed to do, provide traction on icy or slick surfaces. That's all good if the snow will support the weight of your vehicle or it's shallow enough to keep you from getting high centered on packed snow. When busting drifts chains will get you very stuck very early on as they will destroy what ever crust in on the drift. Barefoot (no chains) and very low air pressure will make any tire (other than bald) float on most deep snow until forward progress is stopped. The true key is to not spin your tires after you stop forward progress and in fact most of the time if you let the snow gently stop you when you realize your not going to make it and reverse at the point of stopping you will most often back right back off for another try. If you spin after your stopped you will need a strap or some other way of resembling "soap on a rope."
UB hit this pretty well. But you are correct, skinny tires just don't go that well in the snow. I ran 33x9.50's for many years and I had to chain up when the snow was more shallow, when fat tired rigs rode on top. You don't need flotation tires, just a wide enough tire for your vehicles weight. For most toyotas, a 12.5 tire at 5 lbs of pressure will work pretty well.
If the snow is shallow enough, chains are awesome. You dig down to the very bottom layer, get tractions and ZOOM! you are outta there. But, if the snow is deep enough that you can hit the frame, or sometimes even just over the axles, chains just dig you down that much faster.
The key to snow wheeling is keeping the vehicle high enough to avoid "plowing". Once you are "plowing" the only thing that will get you through is enough momentum to bust through. If the drift is long enough, you often can't get going fast enough to push through.
I'm really looking at these, or some variation thereof, as a really fun addition to snow wheeling: