North American 4x4's Recovery Block: Cheaper Than A Winch
"Think creatively" is a motto to bear in mind when your truck is stuck. Off-roaders have devised solutions such as removing hoods and doors to use for traction when all else fails. Tape-and-rubber-band engineering has saved countless off-road trips, sparing intrepid 'wheelers discomfort, hunger, and thirst. Many of these ideas born in the trenches of off-road combat gave rise to commercially available products that make off-roading safer and more fun.
One of the better products is the Recovery Block from North America 4x4. It is intended as a snatch block for a recovery strap, allowing an angled pull when the rescue vehicle cannot access the stuck party with a straight approach. The Recovery Block is anchored to a tree or rock at one end, while the recovery strap between the vehicles makes its way through the other end of the Block. The Recovery Block is available for 2-, 3-, and 4-inch-wide straps, boasts a lifetime warranty, and doesn't cause abrasion to the recovery strap.
Undeniably, a winch is the first choice for recovery gear. Winches can be used without another vehicle present. A quality winch is also very expensive, so many more people are equipped with recovery straps than winches. The Recovery Block takes advantage of this situation, and it offers recovery strap users a way to make their straps more versatile through now-possible angled pulls.
Successful Block users will make sure their recovery straps are free of twists and will anchor the Block using nylon tree-trunk protectors as opposed to chains. Using chains on the Recovery Block will void the warranty. There are no moving parts, and the Block will self-center as the strap is pulled through.
The Block is constructed by boring two holes in two sections of tubing. Solid 1-inch rod is inserted into the tubes, and the joints are welded together. To further strengthen the Block, washers are mounted inside the tube ends, lying flat against the sides of the rods. The centers of the washers receive rosette welds, and the outer edges of the washers are welded to the tube's inner walls. This three-step weld sequence assures solid construction and worry-free use.
Initial impressions upon unpacking the Recovery Block were directed to its substantial feel. It has a no-nonsense look and beef to go with it.
Finding a trail location (anchor point) to test the Block proved a bit tough. Trees don't grow everywhere, after all. Nor is there an embedded rock sitting ready at every turn. Using a second recovery strap as an anchor meant we had a potential range of about 30 feet from anchor point to Recovery Block. Further, using a common 30-foot strap means 15 feet between the Block and each vehicle. In open country, a winch anchor, such as a Pull-Pal, will be necessary to use the Block. A third vehicle can also serve as an anchor point.
In use, the Recovery Block lived up to its billing. We can now do angled recovery pulls that were never possible with a strap alone. The Recovery Block will add to a stuck 'wheeler's arsenal and provide more creative ways to extract a stranded vehicle. This creativity can spare the cost of a professional off-road extraction, which will run much more than purchasing a Recovery Block
Do we still recommend a winch? Absolutely. However, the Recovery Block has proven to be a low-cost, completely attractive alternative to a winch for those whose trucks aren't equipped with a steel cable and spool setup. For more information, contact: North America 4x4, Dept. OR, 771 Dahlia, Louisville, CO 80027, (303) 868-1379.