Off road recovery is always a challenge, there are almost never the same situations twice. be it vehicle, environment, and weather. The one thing you CAN keep constant is your equipment. Good equipment is key to successful recovery, be it on or off road. Following are some things that are inexpensive to buy and are invaluable to have
A definite must have is a good 20 or 30 foot tow strap. This is usually the workhorse of your pulling components. You want a purpose built strap, as a standard nylon strap will not stretch and rebound enough for it to "snatch" properly.
A spade shovel can in many ways...pay off in spades. Whether its digging around a frame, or moving some stones for traction, it beats using your hands (trust me).
You can get a good set of work gloves for under 10 bucks, recoveries can really rip you hands up bad, its cheap protection and they work.
Again, these are a really cheap insurance policy to prevent serious injury. I always have at least 2 sets with me. You never know what and when something is gonna fly, shoot, snap, or drop on/at you.
I carry 3, one is mainly for small electrical, the other 2 are socket and wrench combos/general tools. If I know I am going far from home I toss my electrical "go bag" in which has a fluke dmm, soldering iron, heat shrink, solderless connectors, various sized zip ties, and various sized e-tape. You never know what you are going to encounter out there, better to be over prepared than under prepared.
Some rough cut chunks of wood can be very useful out there. 2x2's, 2x4's, and 4x4's can really save your ass, 3 feet is really the max you would need.
Bottle Jack (not factory):
A 12 bottle jack can be had for under 50 bucks in most places, and will lift most anything (within reason). Coupled with a 4x4 and shovel you can lift the corners of the truck enough to put stuff under the tires to get some traction.
these are all things that are cheap and effective...
Winch recovery calls for a lot of the same equipment as vehicle to vehicle recovery. There are some things that are much different and much more expensive.
Winch: Selecting a winch can be somewhat difficult with all the options available. The biggest choice is weight rating. MAKE SURE YOU CHOSE A WINCH THAT LEAVES PLENTY OF ROOM. This means, if you have a 7000 pound truck, an 8000 pound winch severely limits you. Remember, a truck on dry ground and a truck stuck in mud or deep snow are 2 totally different loads. Mounting options vary from hitch mount, external box mount, custom mount, and winch bumper. Again select the choice that will best suit your needs. Winches go between 400 and 2300 bucks depending on company and load rating.
Single Line Pull: This is the max rating for the winch with only 1 full layer of wire around the winch drum. When a winch is said to pull a max of 10000 pounds it is when this condition is met. The manufacturer will tell you how much it is derated for each additional wrap. For example, my winch is rated 17500 pounds single line pull, 2 layers is 16500, 3 layers is 15750, and 4 layers is 14500. Remember this when selecting a winch. This rating is because as the more line you have on the winch the more it can crush and damage the wire underneath and also pull the wire between wraps.
Snatch Blocks: These are invaluable to any winch system. Not only will it allow you to pay out more line to get a stronger pull, it will also allow you to double the pulling force (NOT THE WEIGHT RATING) of the winch. You can also use it to change the direction of the line in tight situations. Its the same as any block setup, 1 snatch block = 2:1, 2 blocks = 3:1, etc. Now, when you increase your force, you decrease your speed. So if your line speed is 10 feet per minutes, adding a snatch block brings it down to 5 feet per minute. Most winches come with them, but they can be purchased separately.
Tree Saver: This is a strap that can be put around a tree during recovery as an anchor point to keep from damaging trees. I use my tow strap, I really need to get a tree saver though. They are usually shorter and not as stretchy.
Clevis, D-ring, Shackle: There are a bunch of names for them, they serve many purposes. Great for attaching things to other things and not having to worry about a hook slipping off.
Chain: Sometimes the best way to hook to a vehicle or object is chain and hooks. BEWARE, shock loading chain can cause it to violently snap, this is why i did not include it in the standard recovery section. You really need to pay attention to the load rating, Breaking load is nice to know but you really want to look at WLL or working load limit. If the chain is not worn or abused it "shouldn't" break when used properly. There are different grades, pay the extra money and get grade 70. Its worth it.
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Last edited by 2500-HD; 11-26-2012 at 04:07 PM.