Whether you’re the kind of off-roader who looks for the deepest, nastiest bogholes or gnarliest hillclimbs to throw your 4WD at, or you get your kicks out of touring to out of the way places and stunning campsites, getting stuck is a part of life. It’s not like it’s a failure on your part either – it’s just the price of admission into the 4WD arena. The difference between skilled 4WDers and those who get themselves into seriously bad situations, is knowing how to deal with any given recovery scenario.
We could write a book on it all – and plenty have tried. But the best thing to do, is make a mental note of every tip and technique you hear of, and keep em up your sleeve for when you need em. On that note, here’s five cool tricks you can pull off with a well-equipped recovery kit. We’re using Drivetech 4×4’s new Mammoth Recovery Kit because it’s got just about everything you’ll ever need in one tough bag. No stuffing around in the back of the 4WD looking for missing parts – if you’ve got this kit, you have the ability to get yourself out of the proverbial.
[dropcap]1[/dropcap]Snatch straps are bloody clever bits of gear. Think of em like a big rubber band – they stretch, and store and disperse energy in a very specific way. This does two things ñ first, it takes the hard jolt out of recovery. Secondly, when you stretch the strap, it stores a whole heap of energy for a moment, and then exerts that energy by contracting back to its original length, which in a lot of cases pops the stuck vehicle free. Thing is, snatch recoveries can be dangerous if they’re not done correctly, so to make them as safe as possible, try a static snatch recovery. Attach the strap using rated bow shackles to proper rated recovery points on each vehicle. The stuck vehicle applies its brakes while the towing vehicle then drives as far forward as possible. At the very moment the towing vehicle can’t drive any further forward, its brakes are applied and as the brake lights come on, the stuck vehicle’s brakes are released. It might take a couple of tries to get the hang of it, but it’s a whole lot safer than backing up and hitting it hard in third gear low.
[dropcap]2[/dropcap]So your mate’s stuck, and you’ve come to the rescue with your winch. Problem is, he’s just dragging you forward towards him, instead of you winching him out. Grab your tree trunk protector and wrap it around a tree behind your 4WD, and then secure it to a rated recovery point on the rear of your vehicle. Now your 4WD’s anchored rock solid, and it ain’t going anywhere. Remind your mate of your heroic actions next time he gets up to go to the fridge or the esky…
[dropcap]3[/dropcap]Winch extension straps aren’t just for winch recoveries. Sometimes you need to do a snatch recovery, but you can’t get the recovering vehicle close enough to the stuck vehicle. In this case, it’s perfectly fine to use a winch extension strap joined to a snatch strap. The stretch in the snatch strap will still allow the snatch recovery to work properly ñ never use just a winch extension strap, or two extension straps for a snatch recovery as they aren’t designed to stretch. Simply pass one strap’s loop through the eyelet of another and then back through itself, using something like a roll of toilet paper or a rolled-up magazine to prevent it binding on itself.
[dropcap]4[/dropcap]This technique right here is known as slingshot winching. When you’re in the lead position on a tight track and the vehicle behind you gets stuck without a winch, you can use your snatch block to run your winch cable forwards and then back to the stuck vehicle. It saves having to find a place to turn around ñ if that’s even an option at all ñ and the snatch block effectively halves the load on the winch, meaning it will make light work of any recovery situation. Just remember, whenever you’re winching, that you need to always use a winch dampener on all runs of the winch cable as protection in case the cable breaks.
[dropcap]5[/dropcap]Synthetic winch rope is light, strong and really easy to work with. It’s downside however, is that it can be damaged and even snap if it is rubbed up against a rock, root or dirt bank. The simplest solution? We grabbed the foldable shovel out of the kit and used it upside down as a smooth run for the rope to pass over. It’s now protected from rubbing against the ground and in no danger of getting frayed.
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