Winter tires


New member
Have a vehicle similar to Earthroamer with MPT 81's. What dedicated winter tires/rims do you recommend? I will switch out seasonally.


Active member
I don't know of a 20" snow and ice tire but it might be possible and easiest for you to stud and sipe a new set of MPT81, or the GY275 which a lot of folks are turning to after using MPT81.

I use 22.5" wheels (simple Alcoa rated to 10k lbs, balanced with dynabeads) and I've had very good experience with Conti HDW2 in a 315/80, esp on icy and ice/snow mix covered roads which are typical to US West/Mtn West winters, particularly getting up and down passes. I swap winter and summer wheel/tire sets seasonally and my mounted spare is always an HDW2. Soft rubber w/sipes in a rubber compound developed for heavier trucks has good longevity on lighter 550/5500 chassis trucks <18k lbs. Chains are helpful-essential in ~6"-deeper snow, especially old/dense/windpack snow. In my experience chains are the best thing to eliminate downhill sliding on rough winter roads, esp. where you are breaking trail or traveling on snow over ice. You would need to sort out wheel size/etc. differences, but the following link is to the HDW2 in 295/75r22.5 which is narrower than your MPT81 and has higher speed rating with similar diameter and load rating to MPT81. I think it would perform as well or better than MPT81 in certain respects, esp. in winter.
Looked again, we are 17k - assuming about 7k-10k front to back ratio. What tire pressure?
1) don’t assume anything!! Weigh your vehicle with all tanks (water and fuel) full, tools etc, add ~5-600 lb for 2 people + food/personal stuff.
2) as a first approximation, tire pressure should be ratio of actual load to rated load, times specified pressure at max load.
3) If you’re going to run at or especially above speed rating (the latter is NOT advisable), add 5-10 psi.
4) some truck tires (mainly but not exclusively Michelins) have a “singular point” = a second rating- higher speed/lower load, or vice versa. It’ll be printed on the sidewall.
In other words, the pressure/load relationship for highway running is linear. If you don’t believe me, look at your or any inflation table.
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Active member
These tires from Nokian might be worth a look. Finn/Russian-made Hakkapellitta studded tires have been top notch for me on a variety of trucks and cars though haven't tried them on my camper. They were all manufactured in Finland/Russia prior to this year, now made in Tennessee I think. Both are siped/soft rubber and E2 is ready for studs. Both should have a weight rating that works for you if you can do 22.5 wheels:

Note the chart is showing axle load (= 2 tires for SRW setup). The 295/80r22.5 tire diameter is 1064mm or ~41.5". They also offer the tire in 275/70r22.5 which is 38" and a 315/80 which is ~42". I would let load rating dictate your choice but tire width is not necessarily better in winter traction.
+1 charlieaarons advice above. Learn both of your axle weights fully loaded with all gear+passengers+etc. and make sure your tires can easily handle that weight. The last thing you want to be thinking on any trip is that your tires at max PSI are limited to "X" lbs and you realiize what you've got on your rear axle is near that or might even be heavier.
One of the challenges with getting the tires right on an F550/5500 chassis truck camper with SRW setup is that the load on the rear axle can easily be twice the load on the front. On ice without siped+soft rubber winter compound tires, I've found this to result in the rear end being prone to sliding and wanting to regularly swap places with the lightweight front end when going downhill. Not ideal. A 3PMSF or "M+S" label is better than nothing but a dedicated winter tire will be a heavily siped soft rubber compound. Siped winter tires will do much to mitigate sliding on ice. Chains are for going slow but even better for traction and well worth the time&effort when conditions are challenging. To each his own but for me, winter is no time to be in a hurry in a heavy camper. Trygg makes high quality chains of every type: heavy/aggressive chains for deeper snow&offroad and lightweight chains for the typical winter storm conditions on paved and dirt roads. I run Tryggs with cams, lighter weight (ScanTrak) up front and more aggressive (Square Ice) on the rear. It works well when I need the traction. The chains will add a bit to your wheel diameter so make sure you have room to make full turns.
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