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Recovery Gear Buyer’s Guide

Posted in How To on July 1, 2011
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You know it when you feel it—that sinking feeling (figuratively and literally) that tells you your day on the trail just got interesting. Being stuck axles-deep in the muck can easily delay a trip, or worse. To avoid “or worse,” we recommend being prepared with the right equipment to get you out of any jam. Once you have determined that you have lost all forward, or backward momentum, and all four of your wheels are left helplessly spinning, it is time to grab the recovery box and pull out the tools that will grant you your freedom again. Don’t have a recovery box, or looking to upgrade your equipment? We have included some of the newest, coolest, and favorite recovery products in this buyer’s guide that will make you self-sufficient when it counts.

Unstick It
What: Rough Country Winches
About: You’ll never see a mud hole the same way again when you’ve got Rough Country Recovery Systems on your side. The new recovery solutions are durable, strong, and sure to come in handy when the situation gets a little murky. Each unit features series-wound motors, which are extremely efficient at higher speeds and less prone to overheating compared to permanent magnet motors. Power ranges from 5.5 horsepower on 9,500-pound capacity units to an impressive 6 horsepower on 12,000-pound units. Better still, Rough Country Recovery Systems utilize a three-stage planetary geartrain boasting a 265.0:1 gear ratio, allowing enormous torque in a compact housing. All winches include a free wireless remote for easy operation, and a replaceable clevis hook for convenience.
Price: From $300

Good Ol’ Rope
What: Bubba Rope
About: Bubba Rope was developed from military specs for safely pulling good ol’ boys’ (and gals’) off-road vehicles out of mud, sand, or snow. Made from double-braided nylon rope and coated with special polyurethane, it has the strength and durability beyond usual recovery ropes, straps, and chains. Bubba Rope is waterproof with an abrasive resistant compound added and has all the kinetic characteristics of a superior snatch rope. Bubba Rope’s 7/8-inch by 20- and 30-foot lengths have over 25,000 pounds of pulling strength.
Price: From $99

Safety Knife
What: Benchmade 915 Triage
About: The new U.S-made Benchmade 915 Triage is the perfect utility tool for any wheeler, featuring a folding knife, a safety hook, and a glass breaker for additional security. The modified sheepsfoot-style blade is a great cutting tool for numerous applications. Built with N680 highly corrosion- and water-resistant steel and ambidextrous thumb-stud openers, the 915 Triage is an easy-to-use tool. The textured G10 handle is available in orange or black and provides excellent grip and feel. Whether you’re using this knife in the outdoors or in an emergency situation, the 915 Triage is the tool to rely on.
Price: From $165

Rope and Thimble
What: Master-Pull Superline and Winch Stop Thimble
About: Master-Pull Superline is a rope like none other. By taking a larger-diameter rope that is pre-heated and stretched to its maximum strength, the result is a smaller-diameter line that is stronger, more durable and has a longer lifespan than the average winch rope. The Winch Stop thimble is created from high-strength aluminum and is designed to prevent fingers from being sucked into the fairlead while winching. Deep channels on the Master-Pull Winch Stop protect the rope better than any other product on the market. To keep the line from being damaged by excess winch heat, Master-Pull has created the first heat protector designed to withstand up to 900 degrees F. Safety Orange in color, the heat protector is designed to alert you when to stop spooling out.
Price: $417

Rope Saver
What: Viking Offroad Removable Rock Guard
About: Viking Offroad offers heavy-duty cushioned and removable Rock Guards to protect synthetic winch lines. These Rock Guard sleeves are designed to be easily installed on synthetic rope when they are in danger of being cut by sharp rocks or other hazardous obstacles. A felt cushion provides crucial padding against damage of the rope and 3M Ultra High Reflective Safety Tape adds visibility, day or night. Viking rock Guards are only used when needed and are a must for rockcrawlers and wheelers who may encounter severe terrain.
Price: $22

Synthetic Compatibility
What: Daystar Rope Rollers
About: The steel rollers on a conventional roller fairlead are not compatible with synthetic rope because they can cause chafing and abrasion, so most rope manufacturers recommend using an aluminum Hawse-type fairlead. Daystar Products now offers a simple and economical way to upgrade a standard winch roller fairlead to work with any synthetic rope. Daystar’s Rope Rollers replace the steel rollers on any conventional fairlead so you can retain the benefits of a roller fairlead while running synthetic winch rope. Designed to withstand the tremendous forces that a modern winch can dish out, the polyurethane Rope Rollers will not groove or gall during angled pulls. Rope Rollers work with any standard 5,000- to 9,000-pound roller fairlead regardless of the manufacturer.
Price: $40

Outback Extraction
What: ARB Premium Recovery Kit
About: ARB USA now offers a complete pre-assembled and boxed recovery kit. The ARB Premium Recovery Kit includes everything the off-roader needs to get started. Whether it is a simple snatch recovery or a more serious winch recovery, the ARB Premium Recovery kit is complete with the following: large recovery bag, 17,500-pound snatch strap, 10-foot tree trunk protector, 66-foot winch extension strap, recovery damper, leather recovery gloves, 3/4-inch pin D-shackle, and a Snatch Block 9000. The premium recovery kit represents exceptional value and a savings over purchasing each component individually.
Price: $390

Winch BFF
What: Pull Pal
About: The best winch is worthless without something to hook onto, which is why the Pull Pal is a valuable tool to have. Pull Pal’s new RW16,000 was created for the military and is upgraded with a larger 24x18-inch spade and heavier downtube for GVWRs of 12,000 pounds and under. All models are designed to work in all types of ground (including sand, hard-pan soil, mud, and even snow). Also, the Pull Pal can be used as an anchoring point from the rear to winch out another vehicle.
Price: From $330

Versatile Blade
What: Buck FlashPoint
About: Buck Knives has added the new Model 770 FlashPoint folding knife to its family of safe and reliable knives. Using Buck’s SafeSpin technology, the slide-lock action is easy to open with one hand, even while wearing gloves, and the blade locks open solidly for safe use. The modified drop-point blade is 2 7/8 inches long and is partially serrated for extra cutting strength. Made of Buck’s time-tested 420HC stainless steel, the hollow-ground blade holds an edge and is corrosion-resistant. Lightweight, forged anodized aluminum handles, with rubberized tactile inserts, feature a carabiner and an integrated bottle opener. Whether it’s for hiking, climbing, camping or use around the house, the FlashPoint is an innovative answer to multiple knife applications. Buck also backs the FlashPoint with its Forever Warranty.
Price: $53

Glove Up
What: 5.11 Tactical Scene One Glove
About: This glove is a great choice for dexterity, durability, and protection from impact and abrasion. Whether you’re taking the quad out for the day, rigging a winch, going rockcrawling, or heading out on a night run, the Scene One can handle it all. The flexible molded knuckle and joint protection absorbs impact and keeps the back of your hand from taking a beating. Tough Duraclad reinforcements at strategic abrasion areas ensure a longer wear life for your new favorite gloves.
Price: $60

Pulling Power
What: The More Power Puller
About: More versatile and cheaper than a winch, the More Power Puller can pull from the front, rear or side. It is made of solid iron and can dead lift 6,000 pounds, or drag 12,000 pounds. Available with up to 35 feet of 5/16-inch Amsteel Blue synthetic rope, or with 5/16-inch cable, the More Power Puller is portable power at its best.
Price: $155

Ultimate Performance
What: Warn 9.5 cti Winch
About: Warn’s new 9.5 cti winch is an ideal mix of tough and tech. It has a 9,500-pound single-line pulling capacity with fast line speeds (62-ft/min, no load) and all-new contactor for optimum winch control and performance. This ultra-durable and reliable contactor, complete with cadmium-plated copper contacts, extends heat resistance and provides an outstanding duty cycle. It also has new levels of weather sealing and longevity, adding to the winch’s Ultimate Performance Series qualities. The 9.5cti features a motor-mounted thermometric sensor that provides motor temperature feedback via an indicator lamp located on the winch remote. Speaking of remote, the 9.5cti has a redesigned pistol-grip remote with increased ergonomics, durability, and sealing. Other key features of the 9.5cti include a stout, cast aluminum-alloy housing and a massive integrated control box to protect the electronics from damage. The winch is finished in a durable, chip-resistant high-gloss black powdercoated finish, and includes 125 feet of 5/16-inch-diameter wire rope, hook, and roller fairlead.
Price: $1,525

Drive Out
What: MAXTRAX 4x4 Recovery System
About: The innovative MAXTRAX 4x4 Recovery System makes recovering a stuck vehicle a safe, simple, quick and easy one-person task. The large cleats on MAXTRAX sink their teeth into the tire tread and the terrain under your rig to provide traction. With MAXTRAX you can self-recover from deep sand, mud or snow and at just seven pounds and stackable, MAXTRAX are easy to store, yet built for strength. You can even use MAXTRAX upside down as a shovel to remove excess material from around your tires.
Price: $299 (AUD)

Power Cycle
What: Optima YellowTop Battery
About: Optima YellowTops are the ultimate dual-purpose batteries for automotive applications, with deep cycling and cranking power, designed to support demanding electrical loads and still provide optimal starting power, regardless of temperature. Spiralcell technology is what differentiates Optima batteries from the competition in both appearance and performance. Its unique shape is the result of six spiral-wound AGM (absorbed glass mat) cells that are tightly compressed into a sealed case. This patented Spiralcell design allows Optima batteries to deliver superior performance in a truly maintenance-free design, and in addition to longer life are 15 times more vibration-resistant, mountable in any position, lower in self-discharge, and faster to recharge when compared to traditional lead-acid batteries.
Price: $182

Use the Force
What: SOG Specialty Knives & Tools Force
About: The first thing that is obvious about the Force is how stout it is. The thick 6-inch blade and minimal grind profiles maximize the strength of the blade. This is a beast of a knife and will be virtually unbreakable. The full tang runs out the back of the glass-reinforced handle and into a glass breaking point. The handle is perfectly contoured and covered in aggressive checkering that is not for the faint-handed. The Force is recommended for extreme, long-duration operations and all outdoor excursions.
Price: $180

Tire Saver
What: Power Tank Tire Repair Kit
About: Power Tank has responded to customer feedback and now offers its exceptionally complete tire repair kit in a roll-up nylon storage bag. The new tire repair kit has the same complete collection of parts as its older tire repair kit in the blow-molded case, but now stows more compactly. Power Tank’s tire repair kit includes: high-quality metal tools, 30 plugs, a pair of pliers, two feet of stainless-steel wire to sew a sidewall, valve stems, four-way valve stem tool, knife, lube, photo instructions, tire pressure gauge, and an Allen wrench. To top it off, Power Tank offers a lifetime warranty on the tools.
Price: $50

Mobile Device
What: Mac’s Custom Tie-Downs Trail D-Vise
About: Born on the Rubicon Trail when an off-road enthusiast needed to change a universal joint, the portable vise is an invaluable tool for mechanics, racers, contractors or anyone who needs to make repairs on the go. Engineered to mount in a trailer receiver like a traditional ball mount, the D-Vise weighs only 17 pounds, yet has all the features of a full-size 8-inch vise, including high-grip cross-hatch jaws, a convex pipe holder and a built-in CNC-cut adjustment wrench. The compact design allows it to fit easily behind the seat of a truck or in most toolboxes. Using the Trail D-Vise is simple, just slide the vise into the receiver and tighten it down with the included Mac’s billet wrench. To prevent theft, the hitch pin cannot be removed without a socket or wrench once the Trail D-Vise is slightly tightened down in the receiver. Made in the U.S.
Price: $160

Heavy Lifter
What: The Hi-Lift X-TREME Jack
About: Hi-Lift’s X-TREME is an all-cast version for the serious Hi-Lift user. Available in 48- or 60-inch sizes, the X-TREME comes with special features that include a charcoal metallic powdercoat finish, gold zinc-coated hardware and handle, and a special top winch-clamp-spreader attachment. The special powdercoat provides a unique look that separates it from the standard Hi-Lift, while gold zinc-coated hardware ensures the greatest rust resistance for extreme use. A unique winch-clamp-spreader attachment replaces the top clamp-clevis of the standard Hi-Lift, and the Hi-Lift X-TREME can winch, clamp, or spread up to 5,000 pounds.
Price: From $100

Blue 92
What: ProMark Blue 92-foot Synthetic Rope
About: The ProMark Blue 92-foot Recovery Winch Synthetic Rope is safer, lighter, and up to 15 times stronger than traditional wire cable: No more burrs, kinks, or permanent coiled shape. This 12-strand braided cable rope will not recoil if broken. ProMark synthetic winch rope is UV-coated, easily spliced, and floats in water.
Price: $130

Snatch and Grab
What: TJM Snatch Straps
About: TJM Snatch Straps are available for the first time in North America. Manufactured in Australia and individually serial numbered for quality control, TJM Snatch Straps feature 100-percent nylon construction, eye reinforcement at both ends, bright, high- visibility safety colors, and protective dual nylon sleeves. TJM Snatch Straps are available in 13,000-, 17,000-, 24,000-, and 33,000-pound tensile strengths.
Price: $60

Exit Strategy
What: CRKT ExiTool
About: Concerned about being trapped in an accident? If so, Columbia River Knife & Tool has the ExiTool for you. The ExiTool fits unobtrusively onto any standard seatbelt with a simple folding clasp. It includes a seat belt cutter, a tungsten carbide window breaker, and a bright LED flashlight. The seat belt cutter has been carefully designed so that is virtually impossible for even the smallest fingers to accidentally reach the blade. Its blade is made of Razor-Sharp high-carbon stainless steel, and will cut seat belts in one quick pull. The CRKT Limited Lifetime Warranty protects all of CRKT’s knives.
Price: $27

Self Help
What: Ramsey Patriot 9500 UT
About: Ramsey introduces the next generation of its Patriot winch, the 9500 UT. The Patriot 9500 UT has been outfitted with all new features such as a state-of-the-art patent pending semi-automatic clutch, improved looks and function, and a stylish solenoid assembly that provides the winch with more structural integrity. The high-torque 5.5hp series-wound motor is sealed and delivers a no-load line speed of 35.4 feet per minute. A sealed drum and sealed gear assembly protects winch vitals from the elements. When used with the patented Ramsey Wireless remote, the operator can engage and operate the winch from up to 50 feet away.
Price: $1,456

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