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Winch Cable Or Rope?

Posted in How To on April 1, 2010
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Photographers: Robin Stover

When you buy a winch, 99 percent of the time it will have steel cable on the drum, but when you hit the trail at least 50 percent of the 4x4s with winches seem to be running synthetic winch rope. So why take off a perfectly good heavy steel cable and replace it with rope? And if rope is so much better than steel cable, why don't the winch companies supply rope in the first place? For one, cable and rope can be competitively priced, though some rope is more than double the cost of cable.

Another reason is safety: Rope is less likely to store energy, making it hazardous should it break under load, whereas cable can. In the end we determined that cable is heavy, strong, and willing to take abuse, while rope is light, strong, and easy to use. (For ease of differentiation we'll be calling the steel stuff cable and the rope stuff rope.)

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Master Pull
Bellingham, WA 98226

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