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The ultimate first question of every four-wheel driver – Top 5 things to have in my recovery kit
A recovery kit is vital for anyone who wants to venture off the blacktop. Of course, anyone can wander into a four-wheel drive shop and pick up a kit off the shelf, but do you really know what you need to have in your recovery bag? Let’s look at the Top 5 things you need in your recovery kit.
1. Snatch Strap
The humble snatch strap is first off the bat. If you could only take one thing with you for recovery purposes, this would be it. They’re a dynamic strap, so they stretch and recoil once there’s tension on them. Perfect for recovering a mate, and you look like a legend when you’re bogged up to your sills and already have a strap attached and rolled out ready to be recovered by a random passer-by. Not just a schmuck who’s bogged with no gear and no idea. This one is pretty much a non-negotiable. Don’t leave home without it!
2. Tree Trunk Protector
Aside form preventing trees from being ring-barked, a tree trunk protector will prevent your winch rope from damage, save it binding on to itself and can also be used as an equaliser strap by attaching it to two recovery points. Saves trees and recovery points! Pretty good, yeah?
3. Rated Shackles
Rated shackles are the other non-negotiable. They absolutely need to be rated, upwards of 4.75T (most recovery shackles are rated to that as a minimum). If you happen to get yourself some soft shackles, even better, but just make sure you’ve got rated shackles. If you use the wrong type and they let go, chances are they can, and will, kill someone.
4. Winch Damper
Just about anything can be used as a winch-cable damper. Whether it be a specifically manufactured one or the bag the recovery kit came in, make sure you lay something over the winch rope or snatch strap when performing a vehicle recovery. If something breaks, the damper will slow down a winch hook or steel shackle, and if it hits someone it will hopefully only hurt them a bit, not kill them.
5. Snatch Block
These things are the single greatest thing since sliced bread. Mechanical advantage is what these puppies are for. They halve the speed of your winch but double its pulling capacity and torque. If your 3-tonne 4X4 is suctioned down to the mud and your 9500lb (4300kg) winch is struggling to pull you out, a simple snatch block can get you out of there.
On top of these five items, other gear that will come in handy includes gloves, a winch extension strap, a come-along winch, hitch receivers… but so long as you stick to the five essentials you’ll generally be able to get yourself and your mates out of a jam. My ARB recovery kit cost around $300 and it’s a solid bit of gear that I know I can rely on, both for my pride and joy and perhaps even my life. There are plenty of recovery kits on the market but which ever one you choose make sure it includes the above five items at a minimum. I’ll run through what’s in my recovery kit in a little while, and then head out and show you the right way to use the gear, so make sure you stay tuned.