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Get Unstuck - 11 Items To Keep You Moving

Posted in How To on July 1, 2013 Comment (0)
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Get Unstuck - 11 Items To Keep You Moving
Photographers: The Manufacturers

If you drive your rig off-road, it will eventually get stuck. There’s no debating this, it will happen. Heck, you can even get stuck on-road, like during a blizzard. How you plan for this inevitability will determine how long you will be stuck and the level of drama required to get your rig underway.

As a general rule we build our rigs to lessen the chance of getting stuck, so we improve their ground clearance and we fit ‘em with lockers and aggressive tires. Even with all that, it’s important to incorporate recovery items. To help you determine what recovery items you need and what’s currently available in the aftermarket, we’ve gathered 11 of what we consider to be the most important recovery items and we’ve listed a few sources for each. Which is best for you will be determined by the type of terrain you traverse, what kind of weather conditions you encounter and how much money you’re willing to spend. Those who engage in recreational wheeling with other wheelers may have different needs than those who use their 4x4 as a tool for work and often travel alone.

No matter what your situation, the aftermarket offers some very cool and useful products to help get unstuck.

Winch
When it comes to recovery tools, a winch is probably the most familiar and commonly accepted mandatory item you can install on your rig. Typically offered in both electric and hydraulic, a winch will allow you to drag your rig off of, or out of, just about any type of obstacle. There are a mind boggling number of companies that offer winches. The vast majority of the winches offered are electric powered, and installation can be as easy as bolting the winch to a mount and wiring it up to the battery. There are also a number of entry-level, low-priced winches available, so there are options for every budget.

Here’s a list of some of the winches available with capacities of 6,000 pounds and higher. In some cases these manufacturers may offer more winches, and you can visit the websites listed for more info.

Brand: Badland
Details: Available are 6,000-, 9,000-, and 12,000-pound units. A wireless remote control is also offered.
More info: 800/423-2567, www.harborfreight.com

Brand: Bulldog
Details: Nine winches are available from 6,000- to 15,000-pound capacity, including the 9,300-pound Alpha unit with a limited lifetime warranty.
More info: 623/581-0121, www.bulldogwinch.com

Brand: ComeUp USA
Details: The DV Series is offered in 9,500-, 12,000-, 15,000-, and 18,000-pound capacities. The three Seal Series winches (so named due to their submersible capacities) are rated at 9,500 pounds.
More info: 503/783-6142, www.comeupusa.com

ComeUp USA

Brand: Dayton
Details: Five winches are available, ranging from 6,000- to 16,500-pound capacity.
More info: 800/GRAINGER, www.grainger.com

Brand: Engo
Details: Electric winches from 6,000- to 16,000-pound capacity. Hydraulic winches in 9,000- and 18,000-pound capacities.
More info: 360/573-0882, www.engousa.com

Brand: Kingone
Details: The TDS line offers twenty winches from 6,500- to 12,000-pound capacity. The KDS line offers eight winches from 8,000- to 12,000-pound capacity.
More info: www.kingonewinch.com

Brand: Kodiak by Quality Gear
Details: The Polar EXT is rated at 8,000 pounds, The Bruin is rated at 9,500 pounds, and The Grizzly is rated at 12,000 pounds.
More info: 888/452-7979, www.kodiakwinch.com

Brand: Mile Marker
Details: Eleven electric winches are offered, ranging from 8,000- to 15,000-pound capacity. Seven hydraulic winches are available from 9,000- to 18,000-pound capacity.
More info: 800/886-8647, www.milemarker.com

Brand: Ramsey
Details: Offering a wide range of winches that include the RE Series, QM Series, REP Series, Patriot Profile Series, Patriot Series, Triple-X, and Patriot UT. Capacities range from 6,000 to 12,000 pounds.
More info: 800/777-2760, www.ramsey.com

Brand: Rough Country
Details: Available are 9,500- and 12,000-pound capacity units. Both are available with steel cable or synthetic rope.
More info: 800/222-7023, www.roughcountry.com

Rough Country

Brand: Rugged Ridge
Details: Four winches are offered in 8,500- or 10,500-pound capacities in both heavy-duty or performance styles.
More info: www.ruggedridge.com

Brand: Smittybilt
Details: Six winches are available in the X20 and XRC product lines and they range from 8,000- to 15,000-pound capacities.
More info: 888/717-5797, www.smittybilt.com

Brand: Summit
Details: Two winches, an 8,000- and 12,000-pound capacity are offered.
More info: 800/230-3030, www.summitracing.com

Brand: Superwinch
Details: Several winches are offered in the Talon Series, Tiger Shark, LP Series, Husky Series, and EP Series, in addition to the X9 and S9000. Capacities range from 8,500 to 18,000 pounds.
More info: 860/928-7787, www.superwinch.com

Brand: T-Max
Details: The Off-Road Series offers 8,500- and 11,000-pound capacity units, the Outback Series offers 9,500- and 12,000-pound units and the Performance Series offers a 9,500-pound unit.
More info: 800/345-8476, www.westinautomotive.com

Brand: Warn
Details: A wide range of winches split into the Premium Series, Ultimate Performance Series, Entry Level Series, and Heavy Weight Series. Capacities range from 6,000 to 16,500 pounds.
More info: 800/543-9276, www.warn.com

Warn

Jack
The jack that came with your 4x4 is most likely not designed for use off-road. You need a jack that can be operated in any type of terrain. Whether it’s used to lift a rig to simply change a flat tire or if it’s used to lift a rig to remove an obstruction, a strong workhorse jack is an off-road necessity. Here are some of the off-road-friendly jacks that are available. Some will work well with lifted rigs, too.

Brand: American Power Pull
Details: The 4-ton Power Jack has a low pick up with the lifting nose only 4.5 inches from the base.
More info: 800/707-7855, www.americanpowerpull.com

Brand: Bushranger
Details: The X-Jack is exhaust operated with a lifting capacity of 4,400 pounds. It provides up to 31 inches of vehicle lift.
More info: 866/293-9078, www.arbusa.com

Bushranger

Brand: Central Machinery
Details: This jack has a maximum lift height of 42 inches, a minimum lift height of 6 inches, and a capacity of 7,000 pounds.
More info: 800/423-2567, www.harborfreight.com

Brand: Hi-Lift
Details: The X-Treme jack is available in 48- or 60-inch sizes, the All-Cast (rated at 7,000 pounds capacity) is available in 42-, 48-, and 60-inch heights, and the Cast/Steel jack (also rated at 7,000-pound capacity) is available in 36-, 42-, 48-, and 60-inch heights.
More info: 800/233-2051, www.hi-lift.com

Hi-Lift

Brand: Radflo
Details: The Hydra-Jac weighs 13 pounds, offers an 18-inch lift range, and can safely hoist loads up to 2,200 pounds. When collapsed it’s a compact 37 inches in length.
More info: 714/965-7828, www.radflo.com

Brand: Smittybilt
Details: The 54-inch Trail Jack has a handle isolator, removable handle, and is rated up to 7,000 pounds.
More info: 888/717-5797, www.smittybilt.com

Brand: Torin
Details: Two Farm Jacks are offered in 48- and 60-inch lengths. Each is rated at 7,000 pounds and has a minimum lift height of approximately 6 inches.
More info: www.torinjacks.com

Recovery Strap
A recovery strap has many uses in an off-road vehicle, including dragging another (or your own) truck out of a mess to pulling a downed tree out of your way. Recovery straps (not to be confused with tow straps, which often are equipped with metal hooks and not open loops) come in a variety of lengths, weight ratings, and construction methods. Many winch manufacturers offer recovery straps in addition to the manufacturers listed below.

Brand: Bubba Rope
Details: Six types of Recovery Rope are available with breaking strengths from 19,000 (20-foot-long, ¾-inch-diameter rope) to 131,500 pounds (30-foot-long, 2-inch-diameter rope).
More info: 877/499-8494, www.bubbarope.com

Brand: Haul Master
Details: Two Heavy-Duty Recovery Straps are available. The 30-foot-long, 3-inch-wide strap is rated to pull stuck objects up to 9,000 pounds and the 20-foot-long, 2-inch-wide strap is rated at 6,000 pounds.
More info: 800/423-2567, www.harborfreight.com

Brand: Keeper
Details: A wide variety of vehicle recovery straps from a 20-foot-long, 2-inch-wide strap with a 7,000-pound max vehicle weight all the way to a 30-foot-long, 6-inch-wide strap rated for a 30,000-pound max vehicle weight.
More info: 800/562-5625, www.hamptonproducts.com

Brand: Mac’s Custom Tie-Downs
Details: Everything from a 20-foot-long, 2-inch-wide unit rated for up to a 3,400-pound vehicle (14,000-pound breaking strength) to a 30- or 20-foot-long, 6-inch-wide strap rated for up to an 11,400-pound vehicle (57,000-pound breaking strength).
More info: 800/666-1586, www.macscustomtiedowns.com

Mac’s Custom Tie-Downs

Winch Recovery Bag
Just because you have a winch doesn’t mean you’re good to go. There are things you need, like a tree strap, snatch block and leather gloves at the minimum. Most every winch manufacturer offers some type of winch recovery bag that you can carry in your rig. You can also build your own bag using products available in the aftermarket because most are available a la carte. We carry a winch recovery bag in each of our winch-equipped vehicles because it’s handy, quick, and safe. Some aftermarket companies offer complete winch recovery bags, like ARB USA.

Brand: ARB USA
Details: Large recovery bag includes a snatch strap, tree protector, winch extension strap, snatch block, recovery damper, bow shackles, and gloves. A small recovery bag is also available.
More info: 866/293-9078, www.arbusa.com

Hitch Receiver Shackle/Hook
Sad but true, the rear of many modern 4x4s is not equipped with adequate tow points. The upside is that many 4x4s are equipped with a 2-inch trailer hitch receiver, and there are many aftermarket companies (as well as winch manufacturers) that offer hitch receiver shackles and hooks. These devices simply slide into the receiver and affix using a hitch pin. This means you can install it when you need it and remove it when you don’t.

Brand: Various manufacturers
Details: The team at 4Wheel Parts offers a variety of hitch receiver-mounted shackles and hooks from several manufacturers.
More info: 877/474-4821, www.4wheelparts.com

Tow Hooks/D-ring Mounts
Arbitrarily wrapping a tow strap or winch cable around a suspension component or axle of a vehicle to recover it can cause major damage and it’s unsafe. This is why you need to outfit your rig with tow hooks and/or D-ring mounts. There are a variety of aftermarket sources for these items and one of the places that offer one-stop shopping is 4Wheel Parts.

Brand: Various manufacturers
Details: A wide range of tow hooks is available from 4Wheel Parts including vehicle specific (mostly Jeeps) and those designed for custom installation. D-ring mounts are also available for vehicle specific and universal applications.
More info: 877/474-4821, www.4wheelparts.com

Shovel
When you get stuck you may have to physically move some sort of obstacle to help free your rig. A shovel can help you do that. Be it sand, mud, or snow, a shovel will help you get on your way. Look for a quality unit that can be easily disassembled or folded for stowing.

Brand: Extreme Outback
Details: The Ultimate Overland Recovery Shovel is a three-piece unit with a multi-core, steel-reinforced fiberglass shaft. The D-handle can even be screwed directly onto the 7.5-inch-wide spade without using the shaft. All three pieces stow in an included bag.
More info: 866/447-7711, www.extremeoutback.com

Extreme Outback

Brand: Rugged Ridge
Details: The Heavy-Duty Tri-Fold Recovery Shovel is powdercoated black and has serrated edges for cutting or digging. It’s 23 inches long when open and 9 inches when folded. A storage case is included.
More info: www.ruggedridge.com

Brand: Smittybilt
Details: This fully functional, collapsible military-style shovel is called the RUT (Recovery Utility Tool). It has a tri-fold design, two-way multi adjustments, fiber-reinforced nylon handle, double serrated edges, heat-treated carbon steel blade, and storage bag.
More info: 888/717-5797, www.smittybilt.com

Multi-purpose Tool
Sometimes you just never know what kind of obstacles you’re going to run into off-road. A multi-purpose tool gives you an advantage because it offers a variety of tools to give you an edge over what nature throws in your path. Look for a stout unit that is easily stowable.

Brand: Hi-Lift
Details: The Handle-All has a telescoping implement handle with four fullsize implements. There’s a shovel head, sledgehammer head, axe head, and pickaxe head. All parts are stored in a branded storage bag.
More info: 800/233-2051, www.hi-lift.com

Hi-Lift

Brand: Forrest Tool Company Details: The Max incorporates seven hand tools into one unit. It’s based on a 3½-pound Hudson Bay-style axe/sledge mounted on a 34-inch fiberglass handle. The complete system includes an axe/sledge, mattock, pick, shovel, broad pick, and a reversible rake and hoe. When not in use the 12-pound system is stored in a carrying case.
More info: 970/375-0003, www.forresttoolco.com

Traction Pad
Remember when you used to stick your floor mats under your tires when you got stuck to get more traction? Traction pads work on the same principle, only better. In many cases they allow you to simply ease out of sand, mud, or snow. The material used to make them varies and some traction pads fold for storage, some stack for storage, and some use plates that disassemble for storage.

Brand: Rampage Products
Details: The Grip Track package includes two Grip Tracks folded into a nylon bag. Each 24x7-inch Grip Track is made of molded plastic and has directional, raised angle grip plates and hexagonal honeycomb edges for superior traction.
More info: 951/277-4949, www.rampageproducts.com

Brand: Smittybilt
Details: Element Ramps are made from heavy-duty, nylon-reinforced plastic and can support up to 7,700 pounds each. They feature a high traction surface and come with a 600 denier ballistic-nylon carry bag.
More info: 888/717-5797, www.smittybilt.com

Brand: Maxtrax
Details: The MKII measures 3.77 feet long, 13 inches wide and they stack together at a height of 3.3 inches. Each MKII weighs just 7.9 pounds. They’re made of UV stabilized, flexible, super tough engineering-grade reinforced nylon.
More info: www.maxtrax.com.au

Brand: Tow Truck in a Box
Details: The Standard Model comes with three traction plates and is designed for cars, SUVs, and small trucks. The Widetrack Model is larger, comes with four traction plates, and is designed for SUVs and trucks and for those who off-road, hunt, fish, or camp in remote areas.
More info: www.towtruckinabox.com

Brand: Rovers North
Details: The Aluminum Traction Sand Mat Set includes two heavy gauge aluminum traction mats that measure 60x17 inches and weigh 14 pounds each.
More info: 800/403-7591, www.roversnorth.com

Ground Winch Anchor
Have you ever been stuck but there’s nothing to connect your winch cable to? This presents a problem and that’s why ground winch anchors were invented. These anchors dig into many types of terrain as you spool in the winch cable, creating a firm winch point. We’ve used ‘em numerous times when wheeling alone when no winch point was available and they’ve been a lifesaver.

Brand: ARB
Details: Foldable, easily carried, and weighs just 31 pounds.
More info: 425/264-1391, www.arbusa.com

Brand: Pull Pal
Details: Four models are available and they include the RW16,000 (for vehicles weighing up to 12,000 pounds GVW) , RW14,000 (up to 10,000 GVW), RW11,000 (up to 6,000 GVW), and RW6,000 (up to 3,000 GVW). Each has a forged chromoly plow assembly, welded construction, Grade 8 bolts, and is foldable to the size of an ordinary bumper jack.
More info: 970/963-4507, www.pullpal.com

Pull Pal

Brand: Smittybilt
Details: The collapsible WASP (Winch Anchor Support Platform) has three angle settings, a flexible mast to accommodate any angle, a solid breaker bar to break through the toughest ground, and includes a storage bag. The WASP is 40x24x30 inches when open.
More info: 888/717-5797, www.smittybilt.com

Tire Chains
We all know that snow and mud can stop a 4x4 in a very undramatic fashion. Chains can give you the edge in these types of environments by providing a major traction improvement. There’s a reason some states require chains be used in snowy weather, for example. Most tire chain manufacturers have done extensive testing to ensure that their chains will work on a specific vehicle, but it’s always advisable to test fit the chains to ensure there is no interference between the chains and the vehicles mechanical parts or body.

Brand: Pewag
Details: A wide variety of chains are available including the Pewag Mud Service chains. These have an oversized cross chain combined with a heavier side chain to deliver traction in deep mud.
More info: 800/526-3924, www.pewagchain.com

Brand: Security Chain Company
Details: A number of chain options are available, including the Z-Chain. The Z-Chain has manganese alloy crossmembers that offer superior all-around traction performance. No chain tighteners are required so they’re a good choice for vehicles with alloy or protruding wheels. Fast, secure installation and removal.
More info: www.scc-chain.com

Brand: Thule
Details: The lineup of chains includes the K-Summit XXL for big SUVs. This chain has an innovative ratchet system that acts as a force multiplier and permits effortless fitting. The chain itself features special injection-molded plastic plates with hard metal studs and special alloyed steel. Welded bars provide better grip and performance on ice and snow.
More info: www.thule.com

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