Getting Unstuck Should Be Reason Enough to Invest in Recovery Gear

Posted by Tim White

4wd recovery gear

As someone who’s been on and off the road for over a decade now, I cannot stress enough how important recovery equipment is, especially if your adventure entails driving through rough terrain. Back when I first started going off the beaten trail my choices were quite limited, simply because I didn’t have the financial resources to get all the fancy gadgets and recovery equipment on the 4WD market.

My Land Cruiser came with a winch, so I just got some tow straps, a snatch-block and D-ring shackles for it. I also got recovery tracks, a shovel, and an ax. As I advanced from a rookie into a more seasoned overlander and as my experiences built up, I left out the tools I didn’t find much useful and got some new stuff. That being said, over the years I’ve acquired quite a bit of 4WD recovery gear.

Simply put, your 4WD recovery gear should give you the confidence to enter even the muddiest forest trails and soft-sand beaches. Without it, you’d be in serious trouble, which is reason enough to have at least two or three types of recovery equipment at all times. Here’s a list of the most essential and most popular 4WD recovery gear.

High-Lift Jack

The high-lift jack is a purely mechanical device that isn’t influenced by electrical shortcomings. Once stuck, you lift the car’s differentials out of the mud with the jack, stick some wood or recovery tracks under the tyres to gain some momentum and traction, and you’re good to go. Some of the more important factors that you will need to consider when using a high-lift jack are whether you have enough lifting points on your bumper or chassis, as well as whether the surface is even (if it’s not – use a plate). Also, keep the moving parts creased and the high-lift clean.

Recovery Winch

Recovery winches come in a few varieties: mechanical, hydraulic and electrical. However, they share similar basic characteristics, such as being heavy and costly. You can actually save on weight by getting synthetic lines, but that will cost you. They are used for getting another vehicle unstuck, but you can also unstuck yours if there’s something to latch onto nearby.

Recovery Tracks

Recovery tracks are unarguably the most reliable solution. As aforementioned, they help you build momentum and get traction under your wheels to get out of a pickle. However, you’ll oftentimes need a shovel to dig some of the mud under the wheels before placing the recovery tracks. One of the most popular recovery tracks are MAXTRAX as they’re very compact, provide a firm grip for the tyres and are lightweight.

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