Recovery Gear: Ongoing Discussion and Reviews


Senior Staff
The amount of crap being sold as "recovery gear" today is simply mind boggling. The internet, and even some well known brick and mortar stores, feature a wide array of gear that is questionable at best. Some rated, some not, much of it unmarked and sold right alongside the good stuff. Looking around, I've learned a lot about what to look for and what to beware of.


This thread is intended to shed some light on "what's hot and what's not" in the hopes of saving our members some money, and risk. That said, the internet is full of experts so take the info I post here under consideration but please do your own research as well. It's up to you on what you decide to trust - please share your findings here so we can all learn and above all be safe on the trail!

Note that some of us ( @TangoBlue comes to mind ) have extreme recovery kits with 2 and 3 of everything and all the extras that you'd expect to find in Bill Burke's recovery kit. My own kit is being based off of things that I've seen Tim and Bill carrying in theirs.

First, here are the things that we all need to "check the box" on for basic recovery gear in addition to solid recovery points on the vehicle.

Some considerations for a basic recovery kit:

You need a winch rated to pull at least 1.5 times the weight of your loaded rig.
You need an appropriate fairlead for your winch.
You need a serviceable winch controller. And a spare.
You need a good winch line, rated to match the winch
You need a bag, or some way to carry your gear.
You need at least two good screw pin bow shackles, rated to match the winch
You need a good tree strap, rated to match the winch
You need a good pulley block, rated to match the winch
You need a Hi-Lift jack.
You need a shovel and an axe.
You need onboard air (compressor or CO2 tank).
You need a way to deflate and inflate tires.
You need a good tire repair kit.
You need good work gloves.
You need a basic tool kit (sockets, wrenches etc).

You may choose a good kinetic recovery rope or strap.
You may choose to carry Max-Trax or some other form of sand ladder.
You may choose to carry a Pull-Pal.
You may choose to carry chain (snap chain or choker chain).
You may choose to carry a HAM radio with local repeaters programmed in.
You may choose to carry a variety of extra fluids and spare parts.

You must TELL SOMEONE where you are going before you leave on any backcountry trip.
You must INSPECT your recovery gear on a regular basis to ensure serviceability.

Once you have a basic kit assembled, you need to KNOW every piece of gear and when to, or not to, use it in any given situation.

And you need to know where each piece of gear is stowed in the vehicle so you can access it if need be. Having gear buried “somewhere” in a vehicle is an example of piss poor prior planning.

Be prepared ;)

Subsequent posts here by myself and other members will detail the different recovery gear and accessories on the market. Maybe even some do's and don'ts.


Senior Staff

Just like Ford vs Dodge, Jeep vs Toyota, your brand of winch comes down to preference and how much you want to spend. I like Warn, but there is nothing wrong with Superwinch or Ramsey, Milemarker etc. That choice is up to you - a Harbor Freight winch is better than no winch!


Choosing the right SIZE winch is what is important IMHO. For trucks, it's simple. Take the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and multiply it by 1.5. For example, if you've got a new Jeep Wrangler Rubicon two door. A quick visit to Jeep's website shows the vehicle's GVWR is right about 5,000 lbs. (2,268 kg). Multiply this by 1.5 and you'll get your minimum capacity. In this case, it's 7,500 lbs. (3,402 kg). A WARN M8000 is a good place to start, but for some extra grunt, you can move up to a 9,0000 or 9,500 lb. winch. Remember, you can always go up in capacity, but that M8000 may be woefully inadequate if you have a 12,000 lb truck and camper combo. Your winch will let you know when you're asking too much of it... ;)

The important part to remember is that, unless otherwise indicated, rated capacity is based on the first layer of winch cable (the one closest to the drum). Typically, there are three or four layers and that first one has the "lowest" gear ratio and the most pull.

Next, consider line length. More line on the drum allows you to reach out farther but that's often a mixed blessing. To start, as mentioned earlier, your winch's maximum rated pull is on the first layer of line, so to get maximum pull, you have to spool out lots of line. It's also more likely to get kinked or even tangled if you have too much line on the drum. For those reasons, many prefer less line on the winch but carry an extra 50-foot extension. Having around 100 feet on the drum and a 50 foot extension is ideal for me.

Some folks like line speed. Me, I was always taught that slow is smooth and smooth is fast. I don't like fast line speed because I'm not competing at King of the Hammers any time soon.


Three basic types of drivetrains have stood the test of time and remain on the market - spur gear, worm gear and planetary. Since the drivetrain has an effect on winch operation, here are the types and the various features that will effect your choices.

Spur Gear: This type of winch uses a pair of spur gears; the big one on the motor shaft and the smaller on the winch shaft. Spur gear winches are fast but have fairly low amperage draw for their line speed because of low internal gear friction. They do need a strong brake to hold the load. The only spur gear winch still on the market is the legendary Warn 8274-50, the basic design of which dates back to the 1960s.

Worm Gear: Worm gears are connected to the motor via spur gears. The motor lies under or alongside the gear housing and the spur gears offer some extra gear reduction. The worm gear winch is very good at load holding, with only a minimal brake needed, and is good at lowering a load under power. Their drivetrains are usually very robust as well and these last two features account for their popularity on tow trucks. On the downside, because of lots of gear reduction, they are far slower than either the spur or planetary winches, especially unloaded. The only worm gear winches on the recreational 4x4 market today come from Ramsey, Superwinch and Pierce.

Planetary Gear: These use a small planetary gear, similar to what's used in automatic transmissions. Their best features are compact size, low weight and low cost. They are in the middle between the spur and worm gear types for drivetrain friction and amp draw. Their primary downside is that most use a brake inside the center of the drum that can get very hot when spooling out under load. Most winches on the market today are planetary types.


Electric winches are either permanent magnet (PM) or series wound (SW). For heavy duty or cold weather use, Series Wound are the best choice. Permanent Magnet motors, normally found on the lower priced winches, draw some 10-15% fewer amps than the heavier-duty series wound motors. They are also less resistant to heat and abuse and tend to lose power in extremely cold weather. For the occasional user the PM motors are perfectly fine.

Milemarker makes a planetary winch with a hydraulic motor that's powered by the vehicle power steering pump. The most serious difference is duty cycle. You can winch all day, every day with a hydraulic as long as the engine is running.

The only downside is that the electric winch can give you five minutes of full power pulling with a dead engine where the hydraulic would be useless. A moot point if the truck is DOA though right?

*Remember: Any winch is only as good as is it's mounting system (bumper, frame etc) and it's wiring. A winch that "looks cool" with a suspect mounting system and shoddy wiring is a liability.


Just like choosing the winch, your brand and type of winch rope comes down to preference and how much you want to spend on steel or synthetic. Both work and both have pros and cons. It is common to see cable diameters of 5/16, 3/8 and 7/16-inch in both wire and synthetic ropes on normal 8K-15K winches. Tensile strength, the point at which the rope breaks or "parts" varies according to type, characteristics and diameter, but is normally higher than the pull rating of the winch.


Wire Rope: Wire rope is the old school choice. It's made of strands of carbon steel wire, usually seven bundles of nineteen strands. 7x19 wire rope is what comes with winches from the factory.


Advantages: Wire rope is FAR more resistant to abrasion than synthetic. It is very heat resistant and the least expensive option.

Disadvantages: It is vulnerable to crushing if not properly re-spooled. It is relatively heavy, with a 120 foot roll of 5/16 cable weighing about 28 pounds with a hook. Wire rope can be spliced but not easily or by novices. Individual wire strands routinely break and create small fish hooks (jaggers), so wearing gloves when handling wire rope is a critical safety consideration. Due to it's spiral construction, wire rope can store large amounts of kinetic energy via the torque of being under load and can whip around with deadly effect if it breaks.



Synthetic Rope: I prefer synthetic for most vehicle recovery situations. If you winch a lot and are concerned about weight, synthetic is a great option since it is lightweight and so easy to handle. As an example, AmSteel Blue (Dyneema) is a torque-free, 12-strand single braid (no core strand) that yields the maximum in strength-to-weight ratio and, size-for-size, is the same strength as steel per Samson.


Advantages: A 100 ft roll of synthetic with a thimble or hook weighs maybe 3-4 lbs - they are up to 80% lighter than steel wire rope. This offers some obvious advantages. On a typical rig, switching to a synthetic winch line and an aluminum hawse fairlead will save about 30 pounds of weight from the front of the vehicle. It doesn't develop sharp burrs like steel rope, and doesn't store as much potential energy when under load. If it does break, it loses tension rapidly and falls to the ground rather than whipping around like steel. It even floats.

Disadvantages: Synthetic rope is more prone to abrasion, and should be regularly inspected for frays or other damage caused by UV, chemicals, and overall use.

Also, UV is very hard on Dyneema fiber so be sure to protect the line from the sun. NEVER tie knots in the line. If you need to repair it, learn how to splice or see someone who can put a splice in it for you. Splices are stronger than the line itself while any knot will reduce the strength of a synthetic line to 40-80% of its original breaking strength.



Synthetic Rope Comparison Table


  • Floats
  • Inexpensive
  • Not sensitive to chemical attack
  • Tough, abrasion resistant
  • Resists wetting
  • No loss of strength in water

  • Degrades in UV
  • Not as strong as other synthetics
  • Stiff, slippery, knots come undone (some softer braids are made)
  • Low melting point
  • Stretches (not as much as Nylon)
Dinghy Mainsheets, Rescue and tow lines, Water ski lines, light anchor lines.
Shoreline Marine Polypropylene Anchor Line, 1/4-Inch x 100-Feet

Rope King HBP-381000Y Hollow Braided Poly Rope - Yellow - 3/8 inch x 1,000 feet

Nylon®, Perlon®
  • Good UV Resistance
  • Absorbs shock (stretches)
  • Good chemical resistance
  • Moderately priced

  • Very stretchy
  • Weaker when wet
  • Smoke is nasty when burning (cyanide)
Stretch reduces shock load so Anchor lines, Some tow lines, Mooring lines, Safety lines.
Attwood Nylon Twisted Anchor Line with Thimble (1/2-Inchx100-Feet)

Norestar Braided Nylon Anchor Rope, 150-Feet x 3/8-Inch

  • Excellent UV resistance
  • Moderate stretch
  • Abrasion resistant
  • Good chemical resistance
  • Keeps strength when wet
  • Moderately priced
  • Not unpleasant to handle

  • Sinks
  • Quite stiff
Best all round line when you don't need ultra strong or light lines. Most common halyard rope material for boat use.
1/2" X 100' Double Braid/Yacht Braid Premium Polyester Halyard Rigging Line
1/4" By 100 Feet Double Braided Polyester Rope

UHMWPE - Spectra®, Dyneema®
  • Very Strong
  • Doesn't wet
  • Very Chemically resistant
  • Abrasion Resistant
  • UV resistant
  • Light and floats
  • Good flex fatigue resistance

  • Slippery, hard to knot
  • Low melting point
  • Creeps under constant load
  • Ropes tend to distort under load unless coated
  • Knots tend to undo
  • Expensive
High performance yacht lines, winch lines, fishing lines.
AMSTEEL BLUE WINCH ROPE 1/4 inch x 50 ft - MILITARY GREEN (9,200 lb strength) (4X4 VEHICLE RECOVERY)

AMSTEEL BLUE WINCH ROPE 1/2 inch x 100 ft Blue (34,000 lb strength) (4X4 VEHICLE RECOVERY)

Aramid - Kevlar, Twaron®, Technora®, Nomex®
  • Very Strong
  • Low stretch
  • Low creep
  • Fire Resistant
  • Good chemical resistance
  • Cut resistant
  • Not Electrically Conductive

  • UV sensitive
  • Sensitive to shock loads
  • Sensitive to Chlorine, protective gloves cannot be bleached with chlorine.
  • Poor flex/fatigue resistance
  • Weakened by knots, often special terminals.
  • Sensitive to internal friction
  • Expensive
Winch lines, Sometimes as steel rope replacement where weight saving is important. Used in large ships where having a non conductive cable with no electromagnetic interference is useful. Not much used in boats except for stays. Lifting straps, paracord/survival line.
X-cords Paracord 850 Lb Stronger Than 550 and 750 Made By US Government Certified Contractor (100' BLACK DIAMOND KEVLAR ON SPOOL)

SGT KNOTS® Technora 950 Survival Cord - 100 Feet



Senior Staff


Also known as a clevis or just a shackle, you'll need a couple of these that are properly rated for rigging your particular vehicle in a recovery. I've got a pretty good collection going and have become a bit of a shackle snob... Here's why.

There's a hundred different websites selling various shackles, but Skookum is best IMHO, followed in no particular order by Columbus McKinnon (CM), Crosby, Campbell and Chicago - all Made in USA. Van Beest (Netherlands) makes good ones too. More important than brand though are the ratings - a good shackle is clearly marked with some very important information. Note the different Working Load Limits (WLL) on these excellent 7/8 shackles.

Skookum 7/8 screw pin bow shackle

Crosby 7/8 screw pin bow shackle

Columbus McKinnon 7/8 screw pin bow shackle

Chicago 7/8 screw pin bow shackle

Knowing the correct terminology of the load ratings helps in specifying the correct item for your application. The following load definitions are the ones most commonly used in the industry:

Working Load or Working Load Limit
The maximum recommended load that should be applied on the item. The terms Working Load (WL) and Working Load Limit (WLL) refer to straight in-line pull with respect to the centerline of the item unless otherwise noted.

The average load to which an item may be subjected to before visual or permanent deformation occurs. It also refers to a testing procedure where a load is applied in the performance of a proof test.

The weighted average load at which the item being tested fails or will no longer supports the load.

Is a resulting load caused by the rapid change of movement such as impacting or jerking of a static load. A shock load is typically significantly greater than the static load. In some cases it will double the static load instantaneously and should be avoided as both a potential hazard to equipment operators and to the equipment itself.

This is an Industry term denoting theoretical reserve capability aka Safety Factor. This is usually expressed as a ratio such as 4 to 1 or 5 to 1 (4:1 or 5:1). It is normally determined by dividing the rated ultimate strength by the stated working load limit (WLL). It may also be based as a weighted average (as per the ultimate load definition above), or as a minimum factor. In which case the ultimate tested load meets or exceeds the stated design factor.

Terms to be avoided or not to be used at all:
Safe Working Load or Resultant Safe Working Load are not widely accepted industry terminology and do not denote specific product capabilities. Working Load or Working Load Limit are the proper descriptors.

Safety Factor is not an accepted terminology. Design Factor is the proper descriptor.

Interesting trivia:

For bow shackles 3/16 to 2 3/4 inches, the specifications are derived from Federal Specification RR-C-271, “Chains and Attachments, Welded and Weldless.”

Shackles are sized by the diameter of steel in the bow section NOT the pin size.

So, you want good shackles with clear markings right? Working Load Limit (WLL) is always clearly legible on quality gear. However, the standards are meant for the overhead rigging industry not winching a Jeep. So if you want shackles, snatch blocks, etc. that are tested and rated with generous safety factors then buy products designed for overhead rigging like Skookum, Crosby, CM, Campbell and Van Beest that are designed with a 5:1 Design Factor (safety factor).

Van Beest "Green Pin" - made in Holland

Many oddball shackles sold today on eBay and Amazon are "forged" but this says little about the actual metallurgy being used. The difference is in the steel - "alloy steel" (Federal Specification RR-C-271F Type IVA, Grade B, Class 2) vs "carbon steel" (Federal Specification RR-C-271F Type IVA, Grade A, Class 2) and quenching/tempering to some extent. Forged is superior to cast in this application, and the made in USA shackles listed above are forged. If you get a cheap Smittybilt shackle it is more than likely cast. Forging offers uniformity of composition and structure. Forging results in metallurgical recrystalization and grain refinement as a result of the thermal cycle and deformation process. This strengthens the resulting steel product in terms of impact and shear strength. Forged steel is generally stronger and more reliable than castings and plate steel due to the fact that the grain flows of the steel are altered, conforming to the shape of the part being made.

Now for an example of what to beware of. ARB makes great recovery equipment but I'm not a fan of their shackles. Why? When it comes to shackles ARB is just a reseller. Like many other companies they do not manufacture the shackles, they are made under contract in China.

ARB 1" screw pin bow shackle

This ARB207E is a 1" nominal size shackle with an actual pin diameter of 1-3/32" and a load rating of 8-1/2 ton, which is not an actual rating or certification. It is essentially just whatever arbitrary number the Chinese chose to stamp on there. Whereas the made in USA shackles have actually been rated and certified via a private lab - tested to failure.

ARB lists three different load ratings for the ARB207E; 8-1/2 stamped on the shackle, "18,700LB" in the title and "19,000 lbs." in the description. They are opening themselves up to potential liability IMHO.

Warn Epic 3/4 inch screw pin bow shackle
warn epic.jpeg

Warn, a company that I've always loved, also has some recovery gear that's been outsourced. Their Epic shackles look great, and at least have a WLL and CE stamp on them, but AFAIK still lack the rigorous testing that the made in USA shackles have been subjected to. The shackle is a 3/4" nominal size and "rated" for 9 tons/18,000 pound WLL. Warn states that it meets Federal Specification RR-C-271F TYPE IV A, CLASS 2 with a minimum proof load of 39,600 pounds. So it is significantly better than any no marking cheapo shackle off eBay IMHO, even if it is made in China. The reality is that not long ago anything that said "Made in Japan" was considered garbage. That used to be true with everything coming out of China too but there is actually a lot of nice gear made in China today for various companies.


What is CE? A CE marking affixed to a product is the abbreviation of the French phrase "Conformité Européene" which literally means "European Conformity". This mark indicates that it complies with the relevant European 'New Approach' product safety directives that a product must meet to be sold in the European Union (EU), it reminds me of a UL mark in the USA.


Technology is always advancing, and synthetic rope "soft" shackles like the Gator Jaw by Bubba Rope are changing the game. Versatile, and able to attach to tight locations where a screw pin bow shackle may not work. We recommend having a couple of these in your bag of tricks!




Senior Staff


Pulley Blocks AKA Snatch Blocks increase your winch's pulling power and give more options in a self-recovery situation when properly rigged.


It's easy to get confused on pulley blocks, this diagram shows the basic layout for single, double and triple line pulls - double line pull "doubles" your pulling power on the first layer on the drum while a triple line pull can "triple" your pulling power on the first layer of the drum - make sure that your gear, and your recovery points, can withstand these forces.


As you can see, having a good gear set with a variety of properly rated shackles, straps, and pulley blocks is a big advantage that can save the day. An 8000 pound winch could potentially pull with 24,000 pounds of force... so rig wisely lest you create bigger problems than being stuck.

Ask yourself: Is the winch properly mounted? Are the winch line, shackles, block and strap in good working condition and rated for the forces you will be applying to it? Is it SAFE?

As far as pulley blocks go, there are a few different styles. One of the benefits of this old school style by Warn is that fact that it is ready to receive both eyes of a strap without the need for a shackle.


This one commonly available from ARB is the lightest I've seen with a rating this good and ability to handle up to 1/2 inch line. I really like this one because it is so light.


This Warn Epic pulley block is considerably heavier, but is also rated at 18 tons and ready to accept a 7/16 or 1/2 inch line for full size truck and camper recovery.

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Senior Staff
Tree Straps, Snatch Straps, Kinetic Ropes Etc


Tree Straps

Considering our impact on the environment and mitigating damage is the key to keeping access open in the areas we love. Tying a steel winch line around a tree not only damages your winch line it also runs the risk of "girdling" or "ringbarking" the tree and killing it via choking it. Using a tree protector has several advantages beyond just saving a tree as it can also me used on other anchor points like large rocks etc. Usually made of 100% polyester they do not stretch and can even be used as a winch line extension when properly rigged.

Make sure that your strap is large enough for the trees in your neck of the woods - better to lug around a 16 foot strap and not need it than to have a 10 foot strap and be SOL on a large fir, pine or live oak!

The Bubba Rope Tree Hugger has a breaking strength of 47,000 lbs - my full size Ram 2500 fully loaded only weighs in at about 12,000 lbs with a camper so that's plenty strong enough for any pull I could ever need!


Snatch Straps


Snatch straps, as the name implies, are used to "snatch" a bogged down vehicle. They are made of nylon and will stretch unlike tree straps which are typically made of polyester and do not stretch much.

How does it work? A snatch strap is an elastic recovery device that stores kinetic energy and has the ability to stretch to a certain degree (nylon stretches about 20%) and return to it's original length. The kinetic energy generated by the elasticity aids with the recovery itself, while at the same time reducing the likelihood of vehicle damage. The ginormous weight of the average truck and the resistance (mire factor) of whatever caused the stuck puts tremendous strain on the recovery points. Without some elasticity, there is a risk of vehicle damage.

This ability to stretch is the difference between a snatch strap and a tow strap - snatch straps are elastic when under load while a chain, tree strap or common tow strap is not. For 4x4 vehicle recovery, a snatch strap is more suitable than a simple tow strap designed for on road use with little to no shock loading.

Kinetic Ropes

Kinetic ropes serve the same function as nylon snatch straps but are safer due to their higher ratings IMO.

A quality kinetic rope like Bubba Rope aka a "mudders rope" is my preferred tool for a kinetic recovery. The Big Bubba rope comes in 1 1/4 inch x 20ft or 30 ft for recovery of full-size trucks and large SUVs. It has a breaking strength of 52,300 lbs :cool:

Costly, but will certainly and safely save the day in certain situations!



Founding Member
I disagree with the Hi-Lift being a "need" item.

Edit: Looks like I got into the middle of your "saved" spots. Move my post if you need to Dave.
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Senior Staff
I disagree with the Hi-Lift being a "need" item.
That's cool. But it's been my experience that when you need one, nothing else will do. Is there something else in your kit that can act as a spreader or cutter (jaws of life) in a rollover situation? Adding the JackMate to one gives you the ability to turn your Hi-lift jack into a hydraulic power like tool. The Jack Mate slides over either end of the Hi-Lift Jack bar using quick release pins. When used as the base plate, the Jack mate has “gnarly teeth” which dig into logs and rocks giving greater stability and support. As the top clamp, the Jack Mate adds greater stability and strength to the bar. It also has a slot for a 3/8” chain and a 1” hole for clevis attachments. Using a Hi-Lift Jack, a chain and the Jack Mate, you can have a powerful bender/straightener to get those bent tie rods closer to straight on the trail.



Founding Member
I'll never disagree that they are very useful it some situations, and I happen to have several of them that I've collected over the years.

However, there is rarely a spot to use them on a newer vehicle, my '06 GMC Sierra for example, I might be able to use the hitch receiver, but other than that, I'll destroy something on the truck trying to lift it with a Hi-Lift. Unless you travel alone, there are bound to be 15 of them on any given trail run, 14 of them have never been used, and the owners of 13 of them don't even know HOW to use them.


Founding Member
^^^^That's probably not a fair answer. I've been on a fair number of "newbie" runs. I don't mind be a tail gunner on such runs (it's how I met Richard, actually), that's where I tend to see shiny Hi-Lifts with $100 brackets holding them to a roof rack/hood/tossed in the back waiting to kill someone, etc. It's rare that the vehicles they are attached to have an appropriate location on the vehicle to use a Hi-Lift. They were told they just had to have one to go off highway. I've seen any number of gadgets for said Hi-Lifts, most also in pristine condition.

From my previous answer you may wonder why I have several Hi-Lifts. One actually works, the other two have been destroyed over the years while rock crawling (bent the jacking bar on both). My rock Jeep is built to utilize a Hi-Lift to it's fullest extent. It's been used as a spreader a couple of times, and as a jack countless times.

I practice most of what I preach. Blew an axle shaft U-joint on the Dusy-Ershim, top of Kaiser Pass. Handle is out of the jack when not needed, tire under the Jeep in case it falls (jack is only leaning a little bit).



Senior Staff
Having quick access to your gear is a must! Tucked away in a drawer is ok if your just tooling around town but when on the trail easy access to your winch controller, a couple shackles, a kinetic rope, and a tree saver when you need it will save time and frustration.
Very true!


Senior Staff
Founding Member
Having quick access to your gear is a must! Tucked away in a drawer is ok if your just tooling around town but when on the trail easy access to your winch controller, a couple shackles, a kinetic rope, and a tree saver when you need it will save time and frustration.
Very true. I have 2 kits. The first is the Blue Ridge Overland large recovery bag from @Goose Gear . It is the "quick" bag for the basic stuck, a couple shackles, strap, gloves, soft shackle, this bag is stowed away in the cab where I can get it easily. Then the rest of the recovery gear is stored under the sleep platform. If the secondary bag is coming out, that means the stuck is bad and I am going to be there for a while. Which means I can have a snack and get out the bag and think about what needs to be done.

I piece of advice I was given a long time ago, and I can't remember who told me this. Keep the winch controller where you can reach it from the driver seat (mine is in the center console). If you are in a sticky predicament and sitting in your rig with the foot on the brake and need your spotter to grab your winch line, it does no good if you can't get the controller out.
I piece of advice I was given a long time ago, and I can't remember who told me this. Keep the winch controller where you can reach it from the driver seat (mine is in the center console). If you are in a sticky predicament and sitting in your rig with the foot on the brake and need your spotter to grab your winch line, it does no good if you can't get the controller out.
Yep, mines in a Blue Ridge Overland bag on the back of the front seat along with a couple soft shackles.


That's a really good brake down. And I do agree that ther's plenty of poor quality stuff sold as real recovery gear. Low price attracts attention, but you always have to keep in mind that good things cost money.


Founding Member
(constructive criticism) The issue I see with your arrangement is if your truck is laying on it's right side, or even just up against something on the passenger side you (or anyone else) can't access your winch controller.

It's a rare occasion, but I've been in a recovery where we had to jump the winch on a vehicle sliding off an off camber hill. Driver couldn't reach his winch controller, for some crazy reason Warn winch controllers are not interchangeable, so we used a paper clip to jump the terminals to get the winch working. It was a little dicey, but we had a successful recovery.


Founding Member
This was a few years ago, variety of winch models and era's. It was easy enough to jump the connector, the bitch was not to getting run over while doing it.

In-cab controls solves the dilemma. I still contend that the controller should be accessible by the driver while sitting in the driver seat.

In our situation, we could get to the back of his Jeep, but opening the tailgate wasn't going to work, the Jeep that was out of shape, was REALLY out of shape, and the driver was REALLY freaked out, to the point that we didn't want to shift weight in any direction, until we had him on a wire.
Speaking of shackles, is anybody using those soft shackles from Bubba Rope, Gator Jaws I think they're called?

I notice they list a breaking strength of 32,000 lbs, but not a WLL. I guess only stuff used in overhead rigging comes with WLLs. At first glance, 16 tons seems like it would be more than adequate. Still if you use 1/4 of the breaking strength as the WLL, then it's WLL is only 4 tons, and if you use 1/5 or 1/6 it gets even worse. I'm not sure it's worth the money. Any thoughts from the rest of you?
I have been guilty of having the right gear, but not having it quickly accessible. Just last season, on a trail I have run with no issues a hundred times, but not recently... I found that ruts much deeper had been made, and it was wet and it is clay.... and I wound up with the need for my winch, with the controller and all other associated rigging gear in the back. Whoops. All worked out in the end but not as easily and as safely as it should have been. So I take the comments to make sure you have your gear accessible to heart. 27 years of wheeling and still learning...
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