Synthetic RopeIt has been well over a decade since synthetic rope was first used for winching and recovery. Developed for marine applications, synthetic rope’s ease of handling, low weight, and elimination of corrosion make it an ideal winch line. While the Amsteel rope of old is inexpensive and readily available, there is a new crop of synthetic winch cables with innovative features and traits that push them close to perfection. Some people will always prefer steel cable, but the argument for synthetic winch ropes continues to get stronger—just like the rope itself! Here are a few of our favorite brands and the unique features that distinguish them from the competition.
Warn was late to join the synthetic winch line market, but the company wanted to ensure that its Spydura lines matched the quality and reliability that its winches are famous for. The latest Spyduro Pro synthetic winch rope uses heat-treated Spectra 1000 for maximum tensile strength and load bearing capacity and uses a woven loop instead of just a crimp connector to mount to the drum. The compacted diameter prevents sand and dirt from penetrating the fibers and extends the life of the rope. Coated with high-temperature urethane and equipped with a temperature-resistant sleeve on the first layer and a ballistic nylon sliding sleeve, Spydura Pro synthetic winch rope provides extreme protection against heat, wear, and abrasion. Info: Warn, 800.543.9276, warn.com
Bubba Rope’s synthetic winch line boasts several unique features to make it safer for winching. The rope is banded every 10 feet so you can easily tell how much line you have out, and the last 20 feet are entirely red so you don’t spool the line out too far. The HMPE plasma rope is coated in Gator-ize vinyl armor to protect against abrasion and UV degradation, and it comes with a 3-foot removable nylon chafe guard and Grabber to attach it to your winch drum. Options include an integrated soft shackle or a nonmetallic eye, and they are available in a variety of colors. Available in 1/4-inch or 3/8-inch diameters in lengths up to 100 feet. Info: Bubba Rope, 877.499.8494, bubbarope.com
DuraLine ExoShield winch lines have a 3/8-inch Dyneema SK75 core that has a breaking strength of 18,000 pounds and are available in lengths up to 150 feet. The lines are wrapped with black Dyneema SK75 to protect against abrasion from rocks, dirt, and debris. The last 12 feet of winch line is wrapped with red Kevlar to protect from heat generated by the winch drum. This red wrap also lets you know when you are down to the end of the drum. DuraLine ExoShield winch lines includes a heavy-duty gusseted stainless steel thimble and heat shrink installed to protect the splice, and they come with a G80 heavy-duty hook and rope guard at no additional cost. Info: Trail-Gear, 877.4X4.TOYS, trail-gear.com
VooDoo Offroad’s plasma synthetic winch lines are available with either a traditional hook or a soft shackle integrated into the end of the line. They will not rust, corrode, or develop burrs the way wire rope can. The plasma synthetic winch lines develop no kinks like steel cable and will spool more evenly and pull off the drum easier than steel. They are 86 percent lighter than steel cable, easier to handle, quicker to rig, and safer to use than any steel cable. They are available in 1/4x50 inches for UTV applications and 3/8x80 inches for fullsize vehicles. Info: VooDoo Offroad, 844.866-3661, voodoooffroadropes.com
Hardcore Soft Shackles
Once again borrowing technology from the marine market, the synthetic fibers used to make lightweight winch lines have been applied to the shackle market. Soft shackles are stronger than traditional d-rings yet so light that they float. They can be stored nearly anywhere without clinking and clanking, and they are perfect for wrapping around the tubes of buggies, roll cages, and bumpers.
Bubba Rope’s Gator-Jaw synthetic shackles are made from HMPE plasma rope, the strongest synthetic rope available. They are available in four sizes, up to the Mega Gator Jaw with its 76,400-pound breaking strength. All sizes use a nine-step manufacturing process, including a super-tight button knot, which can be the weakest point of the shackle if not pretightened. Gator-Jaws have a patent-pending vinyl coating and an integrated abrasion guard to resist cutting when used on recovery points with sharp edges. Info: Bubba Rope, 877.499.8494, bubbarope.com
Duraline’s soft shackles are made from Dyneema SK75 construction in 1/4- and 7/16-inch sizes, with the larger shackles rated for 30,000 pounds breaking strength. The DuraLine soft shackles are dyed red for high visibility. The one-piece construction makes dropped or lost shackle pins a thing of the past. Info: Trail-Gear, 877.4X4.TOYS, trail-gear.com
VooDoo Offroad’s synthetic rope shackles are the most secure way to attach the company’s Kinetic recovery rope (or any tow strap) to a closed-loop anchor point on your vehicle. The one-piece, 1/2-inch plasma rope construction makes the VooDoo synthetic rope shackle flexible enough to wrap around most pulling points yet strong enough to withstand the most demanding situations. Info: VooDoo Off Road, 844.866-3661, voodoooffroadropes.com