Securing The Hard Parts
Any seasoned (or cautious) off-roader carries at least the minimum list of parts and tools to extract or fix potential problems that one might run into while far away from any help or rescue. The problem is that many of the tools and spare parts are very heavy, and it's very dangerous to not have them all secured down-especially when off-roading and bouncing around. If you take a bad bounce, or worse yet roll over, you definitely do not want a Pull-Pal or an extra axleshaft flying at your head.
At the very minimum, we like to carry a number of tools, spare parts, a Hi-Lift jack, and a Pull-Pal in case of any situation when traveling off-road. It was a no-brainer to safely secure the spare parts and extra tools with a few heavy-duty steel Tuffy security boxes, but the Pull-Pal and Hi-Lift were a little big and needed something else to secure them in the truck. Luckily for us Fourtreks has been busy at work making some nice billet aluminum mounts to secure a Pull-Pal or a Hi-Lift to standard DOM or chromoly tubing.
We took the time to install every bit of strapping, locking, or closing device we could on a big-block K5 Blazer that we treat a little rough. After some thorough year-long testing, we can safely say that the Tuffy security boxes and Fourtreks mounts hold all our gear in place through the worst off-road conditions.
How Much Will You Use a Pull Pal?
Every off-roader wants a Pull Pal, but we think there are some guys questioning how much they'll really use one if they pony up the money for it. We had this same question too, right before an off-roading trip through Central America. Right before the trip we decided it was best to get one to keep in the truck. If we got it too stuck and had to leave the truck, we knew we'd be losing it and writing off the loss on taxes.
We were only on the second day of our excursion when we came around a corner and absolutely buried the truck-up to its bumper. And we were on local roads, not some off-road trail!
A good 12,000-pound winch and a Pull Pal are two things you're really not as appreciative of as you should be until they mean the difference between saving or losing your truck.
We took our very first try with a Pull Pal (no practice here) and were able to save our truck. It was almost unbelievable to see the shovel end of the Pull Pal dig in and provide enough of an anchor for the winch to pull our 1-ton Super Duty from the sticky mud. The sudden plunge into the road bog had bent the steering stabilizers so severely that we had to remove them to be able to steer the truck, but our truck was saved thanks to the Pull Pal and a big winch.