Off-roading is always fun and exciting. Driving through the dunes or the rough mountain terrain is something that all adventure enthusiasts deeply cherish. Not knowing what’s coming next is thrilling, but a challenge to overcome in itself.
When planning your off-roading adventure, you need to prepare yourself for the long haul. Assembling a complete vehicle recovery kit is an essential part of this. After all, the roads don’t always have a fair disposition.
Having the right set of tools and understanding responsible off-roading are keys to overcoming all the challenges that dirt, sand, or snow may throw upon you.
In this post, we have shed light on ten off-roading equipment that you must never forget to carry when you set out into the unknown.
A. What Should You Carry in Your Off-Road Recovery Gear?
A vehicle recovery kit and prior knowledge of off-roading are paramount for your safety. Here’s a list of the off-road recovery equipment that you must take along with you:
Winch ropes play an integral role in helping recover vehicles stuck in mud, snow, or ditches. These are attached to the front bumper of a car, facilitating easy pulling from where it’s stuck. It is one of the simplest and most essential equipment in an off-road recovery gear list.
The winch primarily comprises three parts: the drum (the cylinder around which the cable is wound), the motor, and the gears.
Although a winch is simple to use, you should be cautious when using it to avoid injury or damage to your car. Here are a few basic rules to remember when using a winch:
- Wear gloves
- Use a damper
- Don’t double the winch cable back or attach it to itself
- Never stand too close to the cable when it is in use
- Never step over the winch cable
- Never use a dead or rotten tree as an anchor
- Don’t winch too quickly
2. Snatch Block
A snatch block is a type of pulley, and comes with a side that can swing open freely. Since the side opens up easily, you don’t need to thread a winch cable through the opening. You can open the side plate instead and align the cable over the pulley. You can then close the side plate.
A snatch block is a must-have in your 4wd recovery gear if you’re planning to use a winch. It’ll allow you to either change the angle of the winch pull or increase the pulling capacity of the winch ropes. However, remember that snatch blocks enhance the pulling capacity at the cost of speed.
3. Winch Extension Straps
A winch extension strap is used with a snatch block. As its name suggests, a winch extension strap helps extend the length of the winch line so that it easily reaches the recovery or anchor point.
If your vehicle’s recovery requires more than one snatch block, you are likely to come short on cable. A winch extension strap ensures that the winch can reach the recovery point, and your efforts to pull off the vehicle don’t go in vain.
4. Tree Saver Straps
You must not forget to carry tree saver straps in your off-road recovery kit. These straps are also known as tree trunk protector or rigging straps and help in attaching the winch ropes to a tree. They’re made of nylon and can handle high-capacity winch pulling.
You’ll need a D-shackle or clevis to attach the straps’ looped ends together and then fix the winch hook.
Tree saver straps are specifically designed to withstand high-intensity winch pulling and aid in the vehicle recovery process. They help protect the tree being used as an anchor from winch-rope damage by distributing the pressure being exerted on it.
5. Recovery Straps
Recovery straps are essential equipment in off-road gear. Though they’re similar to tree saver straps, they differ in their functioning.
A recovery strap has elastic properties and is specifically designed to snatch or pull out a vehicle. A tree saver strap, on the other hand, is non-elastic and is designed to rig the winch line to a solid object.
Chains and wire ropes often cause significant damage to trees during the recovery process of a vehicle. Recovery straps are an effective alternative to these and work wonders without causing any significant damage of tree trunks. They work by seamlessly absorbing the shock of heavy pulls due to their elastic rebound energy.
You can use a recovery strap as a rigging band in combination with a screw pin shackle to fix the winch rope or straps to the anchor points.
When fixing the recovery straps to a tree, ensure that they’re capable of bearing the load. Also, check whether the tree trunk is wide enough to work a strong anchor point. Additionally, don’t forget to fix the recovery straps close to the ground for better strength and efficiency.
6. Screw Pin Shackles
Screw pin shackles derive their name from a bow-shaped piece of metal fixed with a clevis pin or bolt across the opening. The bolt is usually threaded in from a single direction. These shackles are often referred to as D-shackles, though they aren’t precisely the D rings.
The best thing about screw pin shackles is that they allow different rigging configurations to be connected or disconnected seamlessly. They also help connect winch lines or recovery straps to a stuck vehicle. However, you must use at least two or three-pin shackles for maximum efficacy. Owing to its efficiency, you simply can’t exclude it from your 4×4 recovery kit.
7. Tire Patch Kit
Do carry a tire patch kit in your off-road recovery gear, unless you don’t mind waiting for a tow truck in the event of a puncture. Your tire patch kit must include the replacement valve accessories, tire patch materials, and tire gauge. You should be able to repair tubeless radial or bias-ply tires without having to remove the tire from the vehicle or rim.
You can’t leave out winching gloves or any kind of heavy-duty gloves from your replace gear. They not only save your hands from rope burn or burrs, they also improve your grip when dealing with recovery accessories.
9. Recovery Bag
Recovery products are both bulky and heavy. Carrying all off-road recovery equipment in a recovery bag makes it easy to load and unload the tools when needed.
Whether it is a waterproof duffle bag or a backpack, you should use a durable bag to carry your recovery gear. You will be able to keep all your recovery kits together so that you can access them easily whenever necessary.
10. Medical Kit
Make it a point to check the basic medical kit off of your off-road checklist. You can carry bandages, basic medication, antiseptic burn-remedy gels, and so on to treat injuries that may occur when operating the off-road recovery tools.
B. Why Having Great Off-Road Gear Is Essential?
Regardless of the type of off-roading you indulge in, there is a high chance that your vehicle will get stuck. That’s why you should know how to perform vehicle recovery, while ensuring your personal safety. The process requires heavy-duty recovery gear capable of withstanding extreme pressure.
Worn-out or compromised gear can pose a severe threat to both your life and vehicle. That’s why it’s always best to carry equipment capable of operating at maximum potential. It’s better to replace any unsafe tool as soon as possible.
Before you start your off-roading trip, make a list of the off-road recovery tools you have. Divide them into ones that are in proper condition and those that need to be replaced. Test the ones found to be in good condition on your vehicle a week before the trip just to be sure.
Safety should be your primary concern when buying your off-road gear. You should buy only that gear which comes with a lifetime replacement warranty. It means that the gear is premium-quality and capable of withstanding the wear and tear that comes with vehicle recovery.
You should never compromise on safety when off-roading. Carrying a complete vehicle recovery kit will help you avoid unforeseen mishaps. Additionally, you’ll be able to perform recoveries more effectively.
Whether you’re venturing solo or with a large group for off-roading, being prepared for vehicle recovery should be your topmost priority. Hopefully, this guide will help you decide on the tools you must carry for your trip to overcome all the off-roading challenges. Best of luck!