As you may have noticed from the cover, April’s issue focuses on vehicle recovery and the equipment you need to get it done. One thing we did not touch on perhaps as much as we should have was that vehicle recovery can be very dangerous, and potentially lethal. Winches, ropes, D-rings, chains, and large vehicles all come into play when trying to extract a vehicle from being incapacitated. All these items, if used incorrectly or beyond their limits, can hurt man and machinery. While most of us probably learned by doing (including me), please consider some type of training course if you are a newbie off-roader, if possible—not even so much for driving skills but to learn the basics of vehicle extraction.
A good course will teach you the basics of piloting your ride through off-road trails, how to respect the areas you're recreating in, and how to safely recover a stuck vehicle. This will not only keep you and your vehicle protected, but the area around you, as well.
Having experience with vehicle recovery can drastically change your perspective on what you may or may not try off road, and what items you may or may not choose to carry.
These days, I cannot imagine leaving my house without some basic tools and a recovery strap. In fact, every vehicle I own has some sort of package I’ve assembled that includes these items plus enough fluids to limp my truck back to civilization if necessary. For off-roaders, that seems to be a growing trend. More people seem to be bringing the correct equipment into the dirt these days—likely due to the fact that the proper equipment is more readily available and enthusiasts are better educating themselves. A winch and good straps are almost the standard. Even mild SUVs are hitting the trails more equipped with removable winches and overhead racks that carry a shovel and a Hi-Lift jack.
It's those kinds of equipped guys you want around you when you go off-roading. But don’t rely upon others to carry the equipment for you—there's a good chance no one is going to be around when you're in trouble. You need to make sure that you have the right stuff in your truck, not at home in the garage waiting to be picked up and brought out by a friend. Keep your recovery equipment with you at all times and you’ll never forget it.
If you ca'’t or don't want all that equipment on your daily driven truck all the time, get things like hitch-mounted winch carriers and ditch the weight for the weekdays of work. But remember to have the right rescue gear with you when it's time for weekend play. OR