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17th November, 2020

Recovery Basics: Part I


Swap stories with any off-road enthusiast and tales of muddy or sandy peril are guaranteed to emerge. The risk of getting stuck is wrapped up in the joy of four wheeling and hey, we’ve all been there. What often separates an uneventful delay from a story-worthy catastrophe is having both proper recovery gear and a working knowledge of recovery techniques.

With one of the most well-rounded product lines in off-roading, ARB has the vantage point to design vehicle accessories for the best of times – and the worst. The ARB Recovery Kit is purpose-built with a selection of items that will come in handy the next time you get stuck. Read on to learn about these necessities and then make sure your kit is well-equipped. We want your ‘tales from the trail’ to be much more about victories than muddy, sandy frustrations!



A snatch strap, as the name suggests, is used to “snatch” a vehicle that is stuck and can no longer maintain momentum under its own power. A snatch strap uses kinetic energy that has the ability to stretch to a significant degree and return to its original length. The elasticity combined with the momentum of the recovery vehicle creates a “snatching” effect that can extract a vehicle from the most precarious positions without compromising the integrity of the vehicle and its recovery points.

When choosing a snatch strap, it is recommended that the strap you choose has a minimum breaking strength (MBS) between two and three times the gross vehicle weight (GVW) of your rig. When using a snatch strap to recover a stranded vehicle, the MBS should be suited to the GVW of the lighter of the two vehicles involved in the recovery process.

ARB offers snatch straps in 17,600, 24,000, and 33,000lbs MBS. ARB Snatch Straps are manufactured from 100% nylon webbing and feature reinforced eyes for additional durability. It is important to select the correct snatch strap for your vehicle. If a heavy MBS strap is used on a light vehicle, the desired stretch may not be achieved and more stress will be placed on the recovery points.

NOTE: Due to the nature of synthetic fibers, recovery straps require rest periods between use to return to their original length and capacity. Be aware that excessive pulls on a recovery strap over a short period of time can cause buildup of heat and possible failure.


Designed primarily to protect a tree from girdling, in conjunction with a shackle, the ARB tree trunk protector can be used to connect a winch as a tree anchor point. Make sure the tree is well-rooted and wrap the tree trunk protector around the tree’s base. Placing the tree trunk protector at a higher position and/or snatching the tree may cause it to uproot which could cause serious injury or vehicle damage.

The tree trunk protector should be wrapped around the base of the tree ensuring that it is not twisted. Bring both ends together and join with a bow shackle. The shackle then becomes the recovery point to which the winch cable or extension strap is attached.


As the name suggests, this strap is used for the sole purpose of extending the reach of a winch line. The winch extension strap is simply connected to the anchor point at one end and to the winch cable at the other.

If using a snatch block, ensure that the winch extension strap does not interfere. Any twists should be removed before the strap is subject to load.

ARB winch extension straps are available in both 9,900 and 17,600lbs (MBS). They are each 65ft long and constructed of 100% polyester.



A snatch block has two main purposes. It can be used to double the pulling capacity of a winch and it can be used to alter the direction of a pull if straight ahead isn’t the best option.

To attach the snatch block to the cable, slide the plates so that they are 90 degrees apart. Place the cable around the pulley and realign the plates. The pulley is then attached to the anchor point via a shackle through the same side plate holes.

ARB Snatch Blocks are offered in two styles. The standard model is rated to 15,000lbs working load. This is suitable for 6-12mm winch line. The ARB Ultra-Light Snatch Block is rated to 20,000lbs working load and is suitable for 8-13mm line.

NOTE: Do not use a snatch block with a synthetic rope if a steel cable has been used with it prior. This can cause excessive wear or failure to the synthetic line.


Shackles that are load-rated should only be used for recovery. Working Load Limit or Safe Working Load should be visible on the shackle. Shackles with a rating of at least 3.25 tons should be the minimum and are suitable for attaching one of the straps.

Never over-tighten the shackle pin because the forces exerted on the shackle by vehicle recovery can cause the pin to seize. The correct method is to tighten the pin until it seats, then back off the pin approximately ½ to a full turn.

ARB offers a full line of recovery shackles from bow shackles to a soft shackle. The ARB Soft Connect Shackle is engineered to float in water and is a safer approach to the standard bow shackle.


The ARB Recovery Damper is designed to restrict the whipping action of a strap or winch cable in the event of a failure, therefore reducing the possibility of vehicle damage and personal injury. Recovery dampers are mandatory accessories for most 4WD competitions and the ARB Recovery Damper exceeds current minimum competition weight requirements. The damper is designed to be worn over the shoulders for ease of carrying and comes in a highly visible, safety orange with reflective tape for night use.

The ARB Recovery Damper should be fitted to the middle of the strap or winch line. To install, simply pull apart the hook and loop tabs and fold the damper over the strap/cable, then press the hook and loop firmly back in place.



  • Never exceed the breaking strength of the strap.
  • Ensure attachments such as hooks, shackles, chains, cables, and clevis pins have a breaking strength equal to or greater than the strap.
  • Avoid twists and kinks in the webbing. Always coil your straps during storage.
  • Never allow your strap to rub against sharp edges or hot surfaces.
  • Clean your strap in warm water with a mild detergent and allow to dry thoroughly before storage.
  • Never use the strap as a lifting sling.


  • Always wear gloves during a recovery procedure, especially when handling cable.
  • Clear spectators well away from the recovery area before proceeding and until the recovery procedure is over.
  • Ensure you fully understand the correct and proper use of all recovery equipment before use. We recommend attending a local 4WD recovery class.


The Premium Recovery Kit comes in our large winch pack and includes a snatch strap, winch extension strap, tree trunk protector, snatch block, recovery damper, bow shackles and gloves.


  • 17,600 lbs snatch strap
  • 9,900 lbs winch extension strap
  • 26,000 lbs tree trunk protector
  • 19,800 lbs snatch block
  • Recovery damper
  • Winch pack storage bag
  • Two 4.75T bow shackles
  • Recovery gloves


The Essentials Recovery Kit contains everything you need to get off-road, including a tree trunk protector, snatch strap, bow shackles and snatch block.


  • 17,600 lbs snatch strap
  • 26,000 lbs tree trunk
  • 19,800 lbs snatch block
  • Snatch pack storage bag
  • Two 4.75T bow shackles


The Weekender Recovery Kit brings together components for snatch recovery, including a cotton canvas bag, an 17,600lb snatch strap, two 4.75T bow shackles, and a pair of gloves.


  • 17,600 lbs snatch strap
  • Two 4.75T bow shackles
  • Recovery gloves

Up Next:

Recovery Basics: Part II

It doesn’t matter how well-equipped your rig is or how good you are behind the wheel, every 4WDer is bound to get stuck. The correct recovery...