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. For some it’s a rare occurrence, for others it’s on a regular basis and in most cases, a tow truck can’t make it to the trail. Luckily, the correct recovery equipment can get you out of most sticky situations.
Be sure to read our Recovery Basics blog post for the fundamentals of off-road recovery and essential items that belong in every 4WD recovery kit. Here, we will expand upon recovery devices to add to your arsenal for more challenging terrain and situations.
In short, a winch is a self-recovery device. Safety is key when considering your options thus we recommend going with a reputable manufacturer – our choice is Warn Industries. A winch’s capacity should be roughly double the gross vehicle weight rating GVW of your vehicle. Most winches are offered with either a steel cable or a synthetic rope; each have their advantages and disadvantages.
Steel cable is standard; it requires less maintenance and is less susceptible to damage. However, steel cable does carry more kinetic energy under load. If the line fails, the cable will whip which can cause severe injury or vehicle damage. A recovery damper is highly recommended to prevent this. Steel cable also adds more weight when compared to synthetic rope.
Although synthetic line is considered an upgrade, it does have its downsides. When under tension the line is very susceptible to damage. It also requires maintenance after each use. If not maintained, the line will become fragile. Visit Warn’s website for more on winch maintenance.
ARB’s vehicle-specific winch bumpers are designed to accommodate a range of Warn winches and have been tested to accommodate a winch that is rated appropriately for the vehicle. Do not exceed the bumper winch rating.
Specifically designed for misadventures off the beaten path, a recovery board is designed to provide additional traction when it matters most.
TRED offers a full line of recovery boards that are suitable for most 4WD vehicles. TREDs are designed to handle intense levels of torque, flex, weight, and impact. The hex grip nodules and aggressive ramp entry teeth provide a great amount of traction which makes them ideal for almost every recovery situation. Each TRED board can also be used as a shovel.
Jacks are a great way to lift a stuck vehicle, so you can place rocks or logs under a tire for additional traction. With many options on the market, it can be difficult to decide on the style that best suits your 4WD. Let’s review your options.
A farm jack has been used in the four-wheel drive world for ages. Like most jacks it can be used to lift a vehicle; however, it also has the ability to pull a vehicle and break a tire bead to perform a tire repair. Most have a maximum capacity of 2315 lbs and a maximum lifting height of 37 inches.
Although a farm jack is a handy piece of equipment when you’re four-wheeling, it is considered an outdated piece of equipment and can be extremely dangerous. They’re inherently unstable and there are countless instances of users getting injured from a rogue handle or getting their hands caught between the handle and body of the jack.
The ARB Jack is a safer approach to the traditional farm jack. With the ARB Jack you can simply lift your vehicle to fill voids beneath the tires, then lower the vehicle with the push of a button. The ARB Jack can also be used to break tire beads when a tire repair is necessary. The ARB Jack is capable of lifting 4,409 lbs and it even has a built-in safety blow off valve to prevent the user from exceeding its load capacity. This safeguard prevents the vehicle from suddenly dropping if the working limit is exceeded. When compared to a traditional farm jack, the ARB Jack takes up less room in your 4WD, is five pounds lighter, and exceeds its lifting height by 11 inches. For these reasons, it is a very popular piece of recovery gear.
The ARB Bushranger X-Jack is a unique approach to a jack. At first glance, it looks like a balloon or flotation device. The X-Jack utilizes pressure from an exhaust or air compressor to inflate and lift the vehicle. Its large footprint provides a wide platform to lift a stuck vehicle in the sand and snow. Although this Jack has a large lifting footprint, it is relatively compact when stored due to its collapsibility. The X-Jack is suitable for vehicles 8,800lbs or lighter and is capable of lifting up to 4,400 lbs up to 29 inches.
When using any jack, first secure your vehicle from rolling by applying the handbrake and chocking the wheels on the opposite side. The driver and all passengers should exit the vehicle during jack operation. Place your jack under or into a suitable jacking point. ARB Bumpers offer safe and secure jack points for traditional farm jacks or an ARB Jack. When using an ARB X-Jack, never lift from under a fuel tank or exhaust system. Select a strong underbody location that is capable of supporting the weight of the vehicle. Avoid sharp body protrusions, brackets, or edges. It is important to use a jack stand if you are removing a tire or will be working under the vehicle.
A solid recovery point should be at the top of every four-wheeler’s accessory list. Recovery points are required to perform most recoveries. Unlike a tow point, a recovery point is a frame attachment that is rated to handle a tremendous amount of load and stress without affecting the vehicle’s air bag system.
ARB offers a full line of frame-mounted recovery points that are rated for use with 4.75t shackles and 17,600 lbs snatch straps. Recovery points can also be found on certain ARB Deluxe, Stubby, and rear bumpers. Unlike their competitors, ARB Recovery Points are designed and tested for both straight and angled recovery.
The design features a long slot that allows the bow of the shackle to be fed through and the strap to attach via the pin instead of the bow. This enables the shackle to pivot within the recovery points and avoid side loads on the pin. Additionally, it reduces stress on the strap eye.
ARB recovery equipment comes in a range of high visibility safety colors. Different strap types are instantly recognizable and come with warning tags that include information such as strap type, rated capacity, material type and precautions.
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