It all depends on what you want to do. This article will help you make a decision on exactly what you need if you’re heading out solo, or with another vehicle.
As the title says, these are all items you can use without the need for another vehicle present.
Often brightly coloured, and mostly made of sturdy plastic compounds; poke these under your wheels to get yourself out of most boggy situations. They are most useful in mud, snow or sand. After a little digging and preparation, you just wedge them firmly under the wheels and drive on out of there!
Kangaroo or Hi-Lift Jack:
An awesome self-recovery tool, but very dangerous if not used correctly. One of these will lift a wheel 10 times higher than a bottle jack, and much faster too. They are not to be used for changing wheels or tyre repairs as they are too unstable. However, they will lift a vehicle right out of a bog for filling holes under tyres, and can be used to break tyre beads, straighten bent components. One could even be used as a winch if absolutely necessary!
Exhaust or Airbag Jack:
These jacks are less versatile than the Kangaroo jack, but what they do, they do well. Because of their large footprint, they will raise a vehicle on the softest sand or mud where any other jack would just sink. You just slip it under the 4WD (check for sharp or hot objects first), attach a hose from the jack to your exhaust, and up she goes!
Not necessarily one to help recover yourself, but these can come in handy on the tracks. Yup, you guessed it! Just use it to drag obstructions off the track, most often branches or logs.
2 Vehicle Recovery
If you’re out wheeling with a friend, this gear is going to fix the problem when self-recovery cannot.
The snatch strap often looks the same as a tow strap. Unlike the tow strap though, it has elastic properties. During a recovery, your snatch strap can stretch up to 20% which builds up energy in the strap to essentially catapult the stuck vehicle free! They are best used on boggy surfaces such as sand, mud, or snow. There are actually a few weight ratings to choose from. The general rule is to select one with a breaking strain around 2 to 3 times the weight of your vehicle.
People have died in snatch recoveries gone wrong. All that energy in a giant elastic band with metal on either end. A damper blanket is designed to arrest this energy should it all go wrong. Hang one as a minimum in the middle of the strap, or preferably two blankets with one towards either end. Some of them have pockets that can be filled with sand to increase their effectiveness.
You’ll need a way to connect straps to vehicles, and bow shackles are a safe way to do that. Only ever use shackles stamped with a working load limit, marked as WLL. And ensure that your vehicle falls underneath that weight rating. Never use cheap, unrated hardware store shackles.
You may have noticed we didn’t go into winches here. There’s a lot to be learned, enough to be worth its own article! So stick around for a future post covering that.
Now you know what you’re looking at, make sure you get some training on how to use it. Some of this equipment is very dangerous if used incorrectly. Once you’re all set up, get out there and have fun! You can feel safe knowing that wherever your Rhinohide takes you; you’ll get back again easily.