So you’ve been to a couple of events and seen some kit being used to recover you from a sticky situation. You now have an idea of a few things you might like of your own but you can’t buy this stuff in Halfords. So where do you get it from and what does it all do?
You’ve already been told off for your lack of a substantial recovery points front and rear to attach the recovery kit to. So hopefully you’ve already improved on your standard points. The forces inflicted on these recovery points is immense and is more than it would require to suspend your vehicle in the air from a crane. This is the reason why we insist on a decent connection point before letting you on site. We need to get you out some how! For specific advice on your vehicle then ask a marshal or on the FORUM or check out some websites like this one. www.firstfour.co.uk.
The most basic piece of equipment is the recovery strop/strap. This is flat, usually 5cm wide, synthetic and rated rope. A good one will come with a label permanently fixed showing the working load limit and the safety factor (example HERE). They come in various lengths and can be used for many things. The most common use is for pulling you/others out. 4m or 5m is a good length for this but sometimes a 3m or a 10m do work better in some situations. For this reason a short and a long is a good way to go. I have a 3m and an 8m.
Strops can also be used for many things relating to winching and recovery so you can never have too many. Some people like to leave one attached to the front and one attached to the rear so when they get stuck they don’t have to get muddy attaching it to the vehicle. However the good ones are not overly cheap but if looked after they can last for a good while.
A strop example can be found here. The colour plays no relevance in relation to loading or rating/size of the strop. STROP
Some people prefer to use a sling instead. These are the same as strops but are a continuous loop. SLING
You will need something to attach your strop to your recovery point. The favourite way is to use a rated bow shackle. Different sizes come with different ratings on them but you ideally want the largest you can fit to your recovery point. The smaller ones are only any good for towing a car so steer clear of them. A 4 3/4 tonne working load limit (WLL) bow shackle would be a good shackle to buy. They’re not expensive so get at least 2 (one for each end of your strop). You will probably get a few extra later if you buy a winch or decide you want to use a bridle.
Same as a strop but usually quite short. These can go between 2 recovery points to spread the load if either you are truly stuck or just don’t want to risk stretching your chassis in some way.
Here is an example of a bridle attached with bow shackles to 2 recovery points on the vehicle. BRIDLE
Kinetic/Snatch Strops – BANNED ON ALL TV4x4 EVENTS
These are like elastic bands for recovery. They work really well but can be only used once then need to be left for a few hours before reuse otherwise they break. They also pull recovery points off vehicles and send them at great velocity towards the other vehicle recovering. At a previous event a recovery point broke from a stuck vehicle, a piece of metal went through the rear window of the recovery vehicle and then shattered the front windscreen. It missed the driver by centimetres so we banned them on all our sites. There is no reason to take risks like this.
We always recommend some training before purchasing a winch. You can either search on-line or ask to join one of our marshals doing a few recoveries and asking them to teach you some of the basics. Whichever you choose please be aware that a winch can be very dangerous and safe/sensible use is compulsory.
The winch is an amazing piece of kit and does many things. You’ll need some other items when you purchase your winch as below.
- You’ll need a method to mount to your vehicle and most people go with a winch bumper. Some just a winch plate.
- Firmer front springs is also a good idea to cope with the extra weight.
- Winch blanket/sail to deaden the energy if your winch wire/rope breaks. WINCH BLANKET
- We always advise use of a synthetic (dyneema) winch rope rather than wire as these are considerably safer but they are more expensive. WIRE SYNTHETIC
- A Fairlead respective to your rope choice. WIRE SYNTHETIC
- Safety gloves especially if using wire rope.
- Snatch block to increase winch pulling power or change winching direction from a tree. SNATCH BLOCK
- Tree strop/protector. Similar to a standard strop but usually wider to lessen the damage when connecting to a tree. TREE STROP
- More bow shackles. BOW SHACKLES
- Maybe a wireless winch remote control. WIRELESS REMOTE
WHERE TO PURCHASE?
So now the question is where do i get all this stuff from. Well there are many places to be honest and as long as you buy rated/tested equipment they all do the same thing. Here are a few ideas to get you going.
www.extreme4x4.co.uk – a good place and good prices for strops and shackles. Just click ‘products’ at the top of the page.
www.goodwinch.com – ask them about the TV4x4 members discount! Most of our marshals use Goodwinches and highly recommend them.
www.ebay.co.uk – the good old favourite! keep an eye out for the unrated kit and you should be fine. As always there are some deals to be had!
NomadWebbing.com – These guys sell strops, bridles, shackles etc. Just give them a ring and they’ll advise you correctly.
www.winch-it.com – Very good prices for synthetic winch ropes along with other kit. Most of our marshals use winch-it synthetic ropes.
ARB – Very good quality but you pay a little extra for it. All very good stuff. Do not buy their orange snatch strop as this is kinetic and banned.
If you would like me to add your website to this list then please contact us and advise on any discount you can give our members.