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Recovery equipment and safety.

Old 02-24-2017, 02:47 PM
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Default Recovery equipment and safety.

Ok, I really don't speak my mind much on these subjects unless I see trolls out for fun, giving bad advice. With that said, on a couple social media sites (sadly ours included), I see the same guys quick to chime in on the simplest of subjects with "You're gonna die!" and "Don't ever ride with us unless you buy THIS product!"

Which now brings me to our subject, Recovery Equipment. There are various forms of recovery equipment such as, Hi-Lift, Winch, Come-Along, Chains, Straps, Ropes and Kinetic ropes/straps. All are acceptable and safe forms of recovery as long as you use them properly. Let's look into each.

The Hi-Lift: This handy tool has been around since a majority of us were even born and has recovered/assisted more than we can imagine. It can be used as a winch, a spreader or a jack (duh!). This handy tool is still a basic staple of the off-road community to this day. Now, you can go pick a decent 48" unit up for about 50 bucks.

Saftey: Now a few things you should note on these. 1) Always keep tension/control of the handle as the lever mechanisms can use the weight of the vehicle to smack or beat you senseless or cause injury. 2)Never get underneath of a vehicle supported only by this jack. If in the woods, use a large rock or wood as a makeshift jackstand (for those who dont carry a jackstand) if necessary. The base on these tools are very flimsy and unstable by themselves. 3)Do not exceed the weight limit of your model. The pins, feet and "hook" are only rated to hold it's rated weight. If you need a larger capacity, please spend a little extra on the next bigger model.

The Come-Along winch: Yet another old time winching device. This little tool can be had in 2,3 and 5K capacities and stored in the back of your rig easily. It can be used for emergency winching of a vehicle. (Yes, slow and you will have an arm like Popeye the Sailor once done but it works) and helping to pull logs, trees and debris from the trail.

Safety: 1)Just like with the Hi-Lift, please do not exceed it's weight limit. It will break causing injury. 2) Keep control of your handle at all times while retracting or releasing. If not, it may go into "freespool" causing injury or damage. 3) The Cable. As with any cable device, a cable is only rated for so many pounds of straight pull. Please take a wet tshirt, shackle or any other dead weight and drape over the cable during operation (I will explain later in this post)

Straps, Chains and Cables: Here we have a few basic forms of recovery equipment. They are cheap to purchase, easy to store (except the chain or cable) and available at every tractor, industrial or 4wheel supply store.
Straps: These pieces of woven fabric are available in various lengths and different strengths and can easily be stored in the back of any rig. Chains: Same as the strap, they can be had in custom lengths and equipped with any end of your choosing. Only downside is a little heavier to lug and store than a strap.
You will NOT die if using a chain, as some like to think. So before one of you go posting those "chain breaking" YouTube clips to try and "prove" this wrong, see the Safety post concerning shock and you will know why they broke.
Cables: Some people have industrial tow cables. Another item available in various lengths, strengths and equipped with whatever end piece you see fit for application. These will work but at the cost of being bulky, heavy and a pain to store on your rig unless you have a truck bed.

Safety: 1) Again, please when purchasing one of the following, buy one rated for your weight or more. Same can be said for it's attachments/ends. All of these components are only rated for soo much weight. So for example, a 5K lb chain does no good for 5K lb rig if you cheaped out and bought 1.5-2K lb end pieces. (Are we noticing a reoccurring theme here yet?!)
2) SHOCKLOADING. Sadly I see far too many people shock loading the following pieces of equipment. They are designed for a straight, steady pulls ONLY. Yes, you may "bump" one if really stuck. But by bumping I mean a 1' or less of slack and light bump. NOT the irresponsible 1-3 car length, full throttle, running start kind either. THIS is what gets people hurt or killed. By shocking these items, you briefly load the gear kineticly with more weight/stress than it can handle. This is where you see all the YouTube videos of recovery breaks causing damage or injury. If you insist on doing recovery like that, see our next item listed. 3) As stated earlier with the Come-Along cable, please drape a wet shirt, shackle or "dead weight" over the chain or cable devices. This is so that in the event of breakage, the weight will help force the chain/cable downward instead of straight up and through your window.

Kinetic ropes & straps: Now that we have basic straps and items covered, let's examine one of the other forms of strap. The "kinetic" rope/strap. Yes, these may be more expensive than your regular strap or rope but they are more suitable for you throttle happy, 4 car length, running start people. Why's that? Because in a short version, these things are like a giant rubber band. They are designed for a little more of a harder pull and use that energy to help get you unstuck. That's because they "stretch" some and then snap back with that force you just tugged on it with.

Safety: 1)Get one rated for your vehicle. 2) These things are giant "rubber bands", please step away from the vehicles being recovered. If it breaks, imagine getting struck with a rubber band about 3" wide and stretched out over 20' in length. Yeah, that's gonna hurt.

Winches: Really, there's not much of an explanation needed on how these things. A simple cable or rope device with an electric motor. They come in a variety of sizes but the general rule of thumb is the weight and a half of your vehicle should determine the size you need. IE: your rig weighs 6K lbs. Now 6 + 3 = 9, so a 9K winch would be your best bet. Also take into effect the excess weight of all your accessories as well (offroad bumpers, sliders, armor, etc..).

Safety: Do the math and get one rated for your vehicle size. As for cable or rope, that's a personal preference or fashion statement (depends on if you actually use your winch or it's just for looks). With cable, use a wet shirt or dead weight on it in case it breaks. Rope does not snap back like cable BUT should regularly be checked for dry rotting or fraying. Especially if you live in high UV or rocky areas. For both cable or rope, DO NOT yank or shockload these. They are both meant for a dead/straight pull, not for "bumping" someone out.

Basic Recap: There are many different forms of recovery equipment. Choose which is right or needed for you and your price range. You are not any less of a wheeler if you dont have one of the expensive winches or kinetic equipment. Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise.

Safety Recap: First off, if no one has caught onto the reoccurring theme yet, PLEASE select equipment rated for your rig. That includes the attachments that go on the ends. 2) Except for kinetic recovery equipment, DO NOT shockload them. Failure to take note of either of these two things will cause serious injury, death or damage to your vehicles. 3) DO NOT be "that guy" and stand close to vehicles being recovered, flying equipment or parts will cause serious injury. 4) Please attach all recovery equipment to a solid point or dedicated recovery point and not just sheet metal.
We understand, getting stuck happens, it's just a part of our hobby. So following a few simple guidelines and using the proper rated equipment will help lessen the chance or injury or damage.

Anything I may have forgot to include, feel free to add. Have fun and stay safe.

Last edited by cruiser54; 02-25-2017 at 08:34 AM.
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Old 02-24-2017, 07:21 PM
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Excellent thread with tons of useful information. This needs to be a sticky.

I store my straps, clivis, tree saver, gloves, etc inside of an ammo can. Makes it really easy to carry everything out to where you need it just my grabbing one container.
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Old 02-25-2017, 03:19 AM
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I will add some things to the list,A full first aid kit and fire extinguisher are a must and not a lot carry both.And a shovel and ax are a must on some trails that are under a burn ban or fire risk.
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Old 02-25-2017, 04:28 AM
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Thank you Outlaw and guys for all the great info..

I would also like to add a little.

A safety issue Ive see happen way too many times, wheeling alone/not prepared with some of the proper gear like the guys have mentioned here.
Now I'm not talking about the little spin in some dirt pit you go to all the time.
I'm Talking about deep trail or way out there places.. Ive been on some logging roads/trails that look ok. But once you get into it,,it gets spooky(will the Jeep make it stuff lol). And once in a blue moon I will come along some poor guy/guys thanking god up and down that I came along when I did(getting dark,getting cold miles from anywhere).. Most of the time it was just a little and I mean little tug with the strap to get them going again.
So if they had another rig with them,or even just a handheld cheap come-along..you get the point.
But if you must wheel alone for whatever deal(Ive done it myself).
Make sure you are prepared for just about anything,, tools, straps,BLANKET, I mean everything, Bigfoot repellent if you must.

So the points are, Always bring your best buds and another rig when doing deep out of the way trips and don't have(ALL) the proper gear to do it yourself .
Why do I say bring your best buds? It seems to help not feel so bad when the laughs from being stuck in the mud comes from them...

Small tip for ya..bring a beat up little tire(Honda civic) you can bury it in the ground three feet deep or whatever with a winch line around it ..boom now you have a winching point if none around.

Last edited by Dumajones; 02-25-2017 at 06:40 AM. Reason: speeeling..lol
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Old 02-25-2017, 06:10 AM
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Great thread! Thanks for all the info guys, this is definitely a well needed sticky.

One thing I don't think gets stressed enough is proper recovery points. Please have a plan and know where all your recovery points are before they are 3 feet under mud/water. Man I get so irritated when I see people wrap their strap around their stock bumper or cross member and then get mad when they ask a guy driving a diesel truck pushing 900 ft/lbs to pull them out and he tears the front of their rig off.

Also keep in mind traction devices are an extremely safe and effective way for recovery. Whether its Max Trax, sand ladders, or even a roll of old carpet. These can be especially useful this time of year for snow wheeling or also for sloppy mud.
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Old 02-25-2017, 09:52 AM
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I'm about to purchase my first hi-lift jack. Is it worth paying the premium for the hi-lift jack brand or are all the brands pretty much the same?
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Old 02-25-2017, 11:06 AM
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Pay the few dollars extra and get the one that's been proven for decades...when your rig, and possibly your life, depend on it, I wouldn't chance it.

Excellent write-up, Lee.
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Old 02-25-2017, 12:00 PM
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Just a quick note great tread by the way.

I have taught recovery to the special forces for a few years and you are very right and well informed. A couple things I will add is a winch is slow and most people forget or disregard the fact that a Winch motor is designed for momentary use and will over heat or burn up if not used in that matter. We teach it is for only self recovery as a Last resort. If you have another rig with you use that and a winch rope extension ****** block and anchor for best results. Going for the safety theme a ****** block is not a kinetic tool as the name implies. It's simply a pulley the either redirects or doubles the pull effectively cutting the load weight in half depending where you place it. There are classes on utube if you look. Be careful which ones you look t though. Also sticking a tire in the ground is a excellent tip I prefer a winch anchor myself. It's easier to get back out and reposition if needed.

All in all this should be a very popular tread though I'm sure it will not be.
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Old 02-26-2017, 12:41 AM
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A couple of things else i can add,If you get stuck make 100% sure your exhaust is clear before you start your engine if not exhaust can back up in to the jeep and kill you over time.Some videos most need to see
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Old 02-26-2017, 08:27 PM
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Default Recovery points

Let's talk a bit bout recovery points on most the videos posted here I see people hooking up to the receiver hitch as a recovery point. Now I know most people out there are smart and know what they are doing in this realm. But I also think it's grossly overlooked that the receiver hitch Is just that a hitch. The receiver on my 08' F350 is only rated for a tow rate of 8,000 lbs. a I don't have to mention that you don't ****** on a trailer. Jeeps are only rated for like 4-5,000 lb load. So use recovery points not hitches.
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Old 03-03-2017, 09:17 PM
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Ok CF, seeing as a few have added some good info and advice to this thread, I have decided to give it one more week before I mildly edit it and Stick it. So thank you to the ones who have contributed.

As for a mild edit to my OP, remember the saftey statement on Hi-Lifts about handle control or serious injury can occur? Well, here's an example. He lost control of the handle and it came back like a bat to the face. STAY ALERT and safe please.
Attached Thumbnails Recovery equipment and safety.-fb_img_1488593491364.jpg  
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Old 03-04-2017, 12:16 AM
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^^^Ouch! I think that needs to be in the sticky! Then maybe people will take it seriously lol!
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Old 03-04-2017, 03:38 AM
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Never wheel alone and if you have to let someone know where you are going and a time you should be back,And after so many hours to have some one come find you.And before you go out make sure you have everything you and in working order.Leaving a high lift jack strapped to your roof for months in the weather,You might wanna make sure it works and oil it before going out.Even a 20 min quick check list can safe your life one day.
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