Offroad Trailblazers and Envoys

Author Archives: dating women

Recovery Tools and Equipment

Tools and Equipment:

A proper recovery kit will depend on which recoveries you will be performing. Passive Recovery:
  • Jack
    • Hi-Lift
    • X-Jack
    • Bottle jack
  • Ladder
    • Bridging
    • Sand
  • D-handle shovel
  • Carpet strips
  • Tire chains
  • Lift-mate
  • Larger jack base
Dynamic Recovery:
  • Another vehicle
  • Proper anchor points on both vehicles
  • Properly sized dynamic strap
Static Hi-Lift Recovery:
  • Hi-Lift
  • Off road (winching) kit
  • Length of chain (at least 20’)
  • Static (tree) strap
  • D-shackles(s)
Static Winch Recovery:
  • Winch
  • Static (tree) strap
  • D-shackle(s)
  • Pulley (snatch block)

Static Vehicle Recovery (Winching)

Static Recovery:

A static recovery derives the recovering force by steadily decreasing the length of the recovering system. Because this method is slower, it can provide much increased control and safety over a dynamic recovery. Anchor Points: Because of the recovery process here, the system needs an anchor. This can be a tree, a rock, or a pull-pal. When using a tree as an anchor point, it’s important to use a tree strap in order to follow the tread-lightly principles. Tree straps, although similar in appearance to dynamic straps, are static straps, and are not designed to stretch. Because of this, I always label my straps with a D or S at each end to denote dynamic or static. (Ialso label my straps with their WLL rating in lbs. in case the tag gets torn off.) The tree strap should be wrapped around the back side of the tree, and connected with a D-shackle. (Important, whenever using a screw-pin D-shackle, screw the pin in, and then loosen it by ½ turn to prevent binding when under load.) The D-shackle will then become your attachment point for your chain or winch rope. The anchor point should be located as low as possible for strength. When using a rock as your anchor point, it is appropriate to use a chain as an alternative to the tree strap, especially if the rock has sharp edges. With both situations, the tighter the V where the ends come together, the less ‘extra’ load you induce on the tree-strap. For example, if the ends of the strap are inline and essentially laying on top of each other, each end of the strap is taking half of the entire recovery force. If the ends are somehow pointing directly towards each other and inline across the D-shackle, you are effectively inducing an infinite amount of force on each end. This is something to keep in mind, but unless the tree is 4’ in diameter, or you are using two trees, you won’t likely encounter a problem. Depending on the size of the tree, you can position the tree strap at different levels. A large sapling (4”) can be a suitable anchor point, but the tree strap must be positioned at ground level. This is to reduce the bending stresses on the tree. If you place the strap too high, you may end up just pulling the tree out of the ground. As the trees become larger in diameter, you can place the strap higher on the trunk. This can actually produce a beneficial lifting component to the recovery process. If at any time during a recovery you hear loud popping sounds coming from the tree, stop and re-rig immediately. A pull-pal is an interesting mechanism made to create an anchor point in sand, soil or snow, where there is no other suitable anchor point present. Read the manual before using one of these, as they present their own risks, and is not covered below. Hi-Lift Hand-Winching: The hi-lift winch kit (off road kit) can be a handy resource for an off-roader on a tight budget. The first step to this process is attaching the system together. It is important not to use a dynamic strap inline with this recovery because it will store energy and cause unpredictable movement of the hi-lift and vehicle. Since the user must be intimately close to the recovering hardware, safety is extra important here. While chain is somewhat obsolete for off-road recovery these days, this is a situation where chain is integral to the system. The off-road winching kit comes with two attachments for the hi-lift. One attaches to the tongue, and a shorter one to the H-beam at the foot-end of the beam. Use a strap to attach the top end of the hi-lift to the vehicle’s recovery point. Next, set up your anchor point, and rig a chain to the anchor so that the free end of the chain slightly overlaps the chain coming off the lifting tongue of the jack. The chain coming off the jack has grab-hooks attached to it, and should be fed over a link in the chain attached to the anchor. Make sure this connection is as tight as possible; otherwise you have to take up the slack when winching. Make sure the reversing bar on the hi-lift jack is in the up (or lifting) position, and begin actuating the jack handle. You should notice that any slack in the system is taken up, and that the vehicle will begin to move toward you step by step. If you get to the end of the jack and still need to recover further, it is time to use the second, shorter length of chain attached to the bottom of the H-bar. With the vehicle’s weight still supported by the jack, the short chain’s grab hook is pulled tight, and connected to the main chain length. Put the handle alongside the H-bar, and switch the reversing bar on the jack to the down (lower) position. You will now transfer the weight of the vehicle onto the shorter length of chain by actuating the hi-lift handle until the lifting pins let go and the lifting mechanism runs freely along the length of the H-bar. At this point, your load is being held by the chain at the foot of the jack. Return the mechanism to the base of the hi-lift, raise the reversing bar to the lifting position, re-connect the longer length of chain (attached to the tongue) to the main chain, and begin actuating the jack handle again. Repeat these steps until you run out of chain or you don’t need to pull the vehicle any further. If you do run out of chain, you will have to entirely re-rig your system. Before de-rigging, ensure the vehicle is secure by chocking tires, setting the parking brake, and putting the transmission into park. Winch Recovery: People often think that a winch recovery is the simplest. This is not the case, they are slow, and there are many facets to the operation, but it can often be the most sure-fire way to recover your vehicle. Winches produce enormous amounts of force, much greater than even a dynamic recovery in most cases. Unlike a dynamic recovery, the winch can produce these high levels of force over an extended period of time. For these reasons, there are a lot of safety issues to keep in mind when using a winch. The first safety precaution is to ensure proper communication between the marshaller and the driver. I prefer the hand signals found in the figure below. A rotating finger pointed up means winch in, while a rotating finger pointing down means winch out. A palm held up means stop. To indicate bumping the trigger, winch in, make a motion like a ‘duck quack’. Each time the marshaller bumps his fingers together, the winch controller will bump the trigger. Two hands motioning towards the winch indicates that the marshaller is putting his hands in or around the winch. Be careful not to accidently hit the trigger, fingers can easily be severed.


To begin a winch recovery, first determine your anchor point. For now, we will assume this is a single line pull. For a winch, it is important to remember a couple things when choosing an anchor point. First, you want it to be at a distance where you will be pulling out most of the winch cable, and leaving at least 5 or 6 wraps on the drum. A winch’s max pulling force is directly related to the number of wraps on the drum, below the working length of cable. Wrapping cable on top of each other can also cause chafing between the coils of cable, and can sometimes produce kinks in the line. The other thing to think about when setting up your anchor, is to position the anchor almost directly in front of the winch. A side-pull on the winch can induce more strain on the fairlead, but also makes the cable bunch up on one side of the drum. As before, this will lessen the strength of the pull, and can produce kinks in the line. Once a suitable anchor point has been chosen and set up, connect the winch controller to the winch. If you are planning to winch from inside the vehicle (preferred unless you really need to keep a watch on the terrain), be sure to run the winch controller line where it will be kept safe. Tie a hitch around a brush guard, run it under the wiper, and wrap it around your rear view mirror before bringing it through the driver’s window. Winching from inside the vehicle is preferred, as it provides added protection against a broken winch line, allows the driver to control the vehicle heading, rev the engine (to increase output from the alternator), or give throttle to the wheels. Put the winch in free spool mode by releasing the clutch, and pay the line out by hand. It takes much less time, and is much less strenuous on the winch to pay out by hand. It is important to wear loose fitting leather gloves when working with a winch cable. This can prevent your hands from getting torn by cable burrs. It can sometimes be helpful to do this before setting up the anchor point in order to determine the best positioning of the anchor point. If using an open hook as the attachment mode to the anchor point D shackle, make the connection with the hook’s open side facing upward. In the event of any hook failure, this will make the hook fly into the ground, instead of into the air. Engage the winch clutch, and begin to snug up the cable. This should be done by bumping the winch trigger until the cable is taught. This prevents the winch from encountering shock loads. If possible, keep back-tension on the cable during this process to ensure the winch line pays onto the spool smoothly. Otherwise the cable may jump around once tension is put on the line. Once the line is taught, re-check the anchor point to ensure the hook is seated properly. When crossing over a winch cable, step on the cable. Always assume the rope can become live at any time. When there is tension on the winch line, never cross it. Walk around it. Use a ‘parachute’ on the winch line on each free-section of line. A parachute is a heavy blanket or other mass that helps minimize the backlash of a broken line. It is then time to winch. Keep the engine running when winching to provide power back to the battery. A Once the vehicle is in a position to move forward under its own power, pull forward a bit to induce slack on the winch cable. Be sure not to drive over the cable, as it could get caught in a wheel or damage the winch or a suspension component. Snatch Block (Pulley) Recovery: A snatch block or split sheave pulley can be useful in three scenarios. The first is a change of direction recovery. This would be a situation where you are not inline with, or in front of the stuck vehicle. A pulley can be used in this instance, anchored to a tree, to redirect the cable to the proper direction. When using a pulley, always ensure the pulley and anchor point are rated to at least twice the capacity of the winch. While a change of direction recovery does not increase pulling capacity, keep in mind that it does induce up to twice the stress on the pulley anchor point because you have double the tension working against the pulley. The second scenario for using a pulley is a double line (or more) winch recovery. This effectively doubles your winch’s rating by compounding the power. The best way to determine your compound factor is to count the number if free-line segments that are getting shorter during the recovery. If you have two line segments that get shorter, your potential pulling power is doubled.

Double Line

To perform a double line winch recovery, run the cable out from your winch to the anchor point. Run the winch line through the pulley and back to the vehicle. Because this scenario has the potential to produce forces up to double the rating of the winch, it is important to ensure that your bumper is firmly mounted to the vehicle with appropriate hardware. The third scenario for using a pulley involves running the winch line from the winch, through a pulley located at an anchor point, and then extending the remaining winch line to another anchor point. You may ask yourself, what is the point of that? If you remember, the winch obtains it’s highest pull rating when on the first wrap of the drum. If your only anchor point in front of you is 20 feet away, it can be appropriate to use a pulley here, and use a secondary anchor point at an appropriate distance so as to be pulling with the appropriate amount of cable on the drum. There are also some misconceptions as to the multiplying factor of the pulley. Some people incorrectly believe that every pulley used in your system doubles the winching force. This is not correct, as the manner of rigging determines the force multiplication. The best way to determine the multiplication factor of a pulley is to count the number of line sections (free line between anchor points, pulleys, or vehicles) that get SHORTER during the winching process. If only one section of winch line is actually getting shorter during the process, your force multiplication factor is 1. This means your maximum recovery force is equal to 1 x the winch rating. If you have two sections of line that get shorter as you pull, you have a multiplication factor of 2. This means that your system CAN attain twice the rating of the winch, but also pull about twice as slow.

Dynamic Vehicle Recovery

Dynamic Recovery:

A dynamic recovery derives its forces from the kinetic energy of a moving mass. Because of the method, it is important to ensure you are using an appropriate dynamic (stretchy) strap. Dynamic Recovery Straps: A dynamic recovery can be a simple method, provided that you have a second vehicle present. Dynamic recoveries derive the recovering force from the vehicle’s kinetic energy. The kinetic energy is the energy that a vehicle stores when it gains speed. That speed is transferred into the strap, which acts like a spring and stretches. When the strap stretches it provides a force that is exerted on both ends of the strap equally. Because of the high levels of momentum involved, it is important to visualize where the vehicle will move once unstuck. You don’t want the stuck vehicle to slam it’s rear axle into a rock during the pull. If that is a possibility, it may be best to perform a static pull that can be more controlled.

Dynamic Recovery

As you guessed it, the key component to a dynamic recovery is the strap. This is one instance where it is not helpful to oversize a component too far. If the dynamic strap does not have an appropriate amount of stretch to it, it will act more and more like a static component (see the example below for details as to why more stretch is good). In general, a 2” wide strap is properly sized for most vehicles under 6k lbs. For a larger vehicle, such as a large pickup or camper, a 3” strap may be better suited. It’s a good idea to size the strap to the pulling vehicle, as they are the ones generating the energy that will transfer through the system. All vehicles are meant for forward progress. The suspension and gearing is designed to handle forward stresses. If a recovery is performed in reverse, stresses are transferred differently and can potentially cause axle wrap, stress suspension components, or pull out a driveline. If necessary, turn your vehicle around so you are facing away from the stuck vehicle. This allows you to see where you are going, makes it easier to control the vehicle, and allows proper forward gear to be selected. Because there is an energy storing component in the system, it is extra important to create a ‘closed system’ if possible. A closed system means that the system could vibrate or shake and not allow the strap to fall off, or misplace itself. Closed system components include D-rings, shackles, strap eyes, or hooks with spring retainers. An open hook is not desired in most situations, and a trailer ball hitch should never be used. Due to these high stresses, it is important to ensure your components are strong enough for the recovery. Again, compare the dynamic strap to a spring. If you stretch a spring and let it go, it will fly back towards itself. The dynamic strap will do the same. When making your strap connections to the vehicles, ensure they are frame mounted, and sturdy. Good straps will come with protective coverings on their loop-ends, and sometimes along their length. Make sure these are located where the strap rubs against anything. This can prevent serious damage to your strap. To begin a dynamic recovery, start with a few feet of slack in the rope between the vehicles. The recovering vehicle will gain speed until reaching the end of the strap. At that point the recovering vehicle should let up on the gas a bit, and allow the momentum of the vehicle to produce most of the recovering forces. If the pull does not recover the vehicle, do NOT spin your wheels at the end of the strap, this defeats the purpose of a dynamic recovery and adds stresses to the driveline. Back up to get slack in the strap, and try again with more speed. Because the dynamic strap produces unknown forces and stresses that vary depending on vehicle speed, strap stretch, and amount of “stuckage” it makes sense to begin a dynamic recovery process with a slow, light pull.  If the first pull doesn’t recover the stuck vehicle, try again with a slightly faster pull.  Slightly increase the speed each time until the vehicle releases, or until you feel the pull is becoming too harsh.  If you do not feel safe with the speed, do NOT try a “superman pull”.  Instead, try combining a passive recovery method with a dynamic recovery. It can be helpful for the stuck vehicle to slowly spin their tires during the recovering process. It is important not to spin the tires excessively fast, as this will shock load the drive-train once the tires regain traction. It can also be helpful to aid the process by digging out the soil in front of the stuck vehicle’s tires. Below is a mathematical example to show why it is important to use a stretchy strap in-between the vehicles when performing a dynamic recovery.
The effects of using a non-dynamic connector:

We’ll use an average 5,000 lb vehicle as our example recovering vehicle. The two vehicles are attached with the strap, loose at first. The recovering vehicle proceeds forward with a bit of gas, reaching only 5 mph when reaching the end of the strap. At this point the vehicle has gathered kinetic energy equal to 1/2*mass*velocity^2.

KE = 0.5 * 5000 lb * (5 mi/hr)^2 = 5.7 kJ We will assume for this instance that the stuck vehicle will remain stuck and will not budge (worst case)… so all of the recovering vehicle’s energy transfers into the strap and is turned into elastic potential energy. This stored energy will be equal to the kinetic energy that the truck had. This stored energy relates to the force exerted on each end by the following: energy = average force * distance. The distance is how far the strap stretches. The average force is assuming the rope exerts constant force, which ours does not. Because it’s force exerted most closely resembles a linear relationship to the stretch, the average force should be multiplied by 2 to get the maximum exerted force (which is all we are interested in here)… assuming the system reaches equilibrium without failure. In instance 1, we will use a dynamic strap, which can stretch about 6 feet.

5.7 kJ / (6 ft) * 2 = 2,089 lbf (well within the safe range of most straps)

For instance 2, we used a static strap, which we will assume stretches only 4 inches before reaching equilibrium.

5.7 kJ / (4 in) * 2 = 25,072 lbf (enough to snap a strap or possibly rack your frame)

For the last instance, what if we used a chain, which has extremely minimal stretch. So we will say 0.5″…

5.7 kJ / (0.5 in) * 2 = 200,576 lbf (you will certainly break something!!) So, I hope this gives you a real world, numerical understanding of why dynamic straps should ALWAYS be used in dynamic vehicle-to-vehicle recoveries.

* I did not show unit conversions for the sake of simplicity (there were a lot)

Good communication between the drivers is important. The recovering vehicle needs to be sure that the stuck vehicle is ready. If possible, a 3rd person, called a marshaller, can keep an eye on the tow rope and both vehicles at the same time. This can be a valuable resource. If you are performing a dynamic recovery on your own, it can be helpful to lay the slacked strap so that it is visible in your driver’s side rear view mirror. This way you can see when the jerk will take place.

Passive Vehicle Recovery

Passive Recoveries:

Passive recoveries are sometimes the simplest way to recover a vehicle, and often overlooked. People are quick to grab a strap and hook up to another vehicle without understanding that a few shovels of dirt could allow the vehicle to drive out safely under it’s own power. There are a few passive methods, but almost all require the vehicle to be lifted in some fashion. I personally use a hi-lift, but some people have had luck using an alternative such as the ARB X-Jack. Since I have not used these alternatives, I will not specifically touch on it here, although many of the same methods and concerns should be exercised. Always read the manual before using a product. Passive recoveries are often the most direct solution to the problem of spinning tires. A tire spins because it either doesn’t have enough traction (on sand or mud) or doesn’t have enough weight on the tire (high centering). Hi-Lift: A standard hi-lift recovery is one of the most basic, but also potentially one of the most dangerous for the user. A hi-lift recovery is perfect for a situation where the ground is relatively level and the frame is slightly hung on a rock or stump, or has sunk down to the ground. The hi-lift’s primary operation is lifting, which is exactly what is needed in these situations. The plan would be to lift the vehicle off of the obstacle. While the vehicle is in the air, we would then utilize a shovel or some rocks to fill the area under the tires. Then the vehicle’s tires are lowered onto the fresh dirt or rocks in order to keep the frame off of the obstacle, and drive forward. An alternative to adding dirt below the tires can be simply digging the dirt out from under the frame. In the end, it produces a similar result. Hi-lift being used on a rock-slider (in the driveway). When lifting with the jack, support the jack’s main H-beam with one hand until there are about two-to-three clicks of load on the lifting mechanism. At that point the user can allow the vehicle’s weight to hold the jack vertical. Try to ensure that the jack is as vertical as possible when lifting the vehicle; otherwise you will be exerting a side load on your vehicle, which could potentially lead to an unstable vehicle. It is important to remember that the hi-lift is an inherently unstable tool. The base is not wide, which easily allows the jack to lean, or kick out when under load. The only way to prevent this is to ensure the vehicle is properly restrained. If you plan to lift the entire front end off the ground, engage your e-brake, locker, and chock the tires as necessary. If you are lifting the rear end, ensure that the front tires are chocked, or possibly have someone sit in the driver’s seat with their foot firmly on the brakes. If you are lifting at a rock slider, and are lifting an entire side off the ground, engage the e-brake, locker, and chock as necessary. Use common sense. When lifting the body or frame, it should be noted that you will be lifting the body first, then the suspension. Because of this, it can sometimes be easier to lift directly from the wheels. This can be done by using the lift-mate. This accessory attaches over the lifting tongue of the jack and hooks to the wheel spokes. This is especially handy when the vehicle does not have steel bumpers or rock sliders. If you are using the hi-lift on soft soil or mud, it is handy to have the off-road base. This does not increase the stability of the jack at all. It prevents the jack’s foot-plate from sinking into the muck as deep by spreading the load over a larger area. A special use for the hi-lift actually utilizes the unstable nature of the hi-lift jack. This procedure can be especially helpful for getting a vehicle out of deep ruts. The key here is to lift the vehicle’s wheels out of the ruts with the hi-ligt, and then push the vehicle sideways. This method essentially ‘pole vaults’ the vehicle onto higher or more solid ground. Just remember to keep a foot on the bottom of the hi-lift to prevent it from kicking out. Overall, the hi-lift has become a staple of off road travel because it is a simple tool that performs a simple function, and has done it well for many years. Before needing to use the hi-lift, practice with it, and learn to respect its instability. Remember to never climb under the truck with the hi-lift holding it up. When the vehicle’s weight is on the jack, always assume that the vehicle is unstable. If possible, someone should always maintain contact with the jack to help prevent it from kicking out. Bridging Ladders / Sand Ladders: There is a subtle, but important difference between sand ladders and bridging ladders. Bridging ladders can support the weight of the vehicle and span a distance equal to the length of the ladder. Sand ladders are not made to support the weight of a vehicle. Sand ladders are made as a traction adder and load spreader only. While a sand ladder cannot be used as a bridging ladder, a bridging ladder can be used as a sand ladder. Make sure you understand which product you have, and only use it in the proper manner. Sand ladders are useful in muddy or sandy environments where flotation is key. Sand ladders can be used in conjunction with a hi-lift or they can be used independently. This often is determined by how quickly you realize you will need them. If you are already bogged down to the frame, you will likely need the lift in order to place the ladder under the tires. If you can merely not proceed forward, it can be a simple solution to back up a bit, insert the ladder, and proceed forward again and drive over the ladder. Another alternative to lifting the vehicle can be simply digging out the soil from in front of the tire, and inserting the ladder. Often the vehicle can climb right out of it’s ruts and onto the ladder. Another helpful item can be a piece of carpet, this can be used as a load spreading device similar to a sand ladder. If you don’t carry a load spreader of some kind, branches or brushwood can be used as an alternative.

Bridging ladders in use.

A bridging ladder can be used in many situations as an alternative to approach angle or in lieu of larger tires. Suppose you are confronted with a two foot rock step, and you have 32” tires. You could attempt to edge into the step with one tire, and slowly apply power until that tire pops up and over the step. However, the easier alternative is to prop the bridging ladder on the step, and drive straight up. While this can put you in a precarious position, it can often provide a much simpler and safer approach to a difficult obstacle, while putting less stresses on the vehicle. It is important to remember that these can kick out once the front wheels pass over. Keep this in mind and ensure they are properly positioned before proceeding over them with the rear wheels.

Assessing your Predicament

Assessing the situation

As with any potentially hazardous situation, you always want to stop, take a breath, and slowly plan out your actions. The brutal truth is that most stuck situations are due to driver error – misreading the ground, or obstacle, or not understanding the vehicle limits. We all make mistakes here, often for the best of reasons, like not wanting to over-stress a vehicle. Freely admitting to this at the beginning lets you go about the recovery in the right spirit. Cheerful acceptance should be the mindset… no reason to be agitated, embarrassed or humiliated. You will generally have all the time in the world to recover your vehicle, and should take all the time that is necessary. The first step is to realize that you need to proceed with something other than engine force. This could be a number of situations. You could be physically stuck on something, and not able to move forward or backward, your tires could be sunk into the ground, you may be having trouble getting over an obstacle, or you may just want the assuredness that comes from having a winch power you over something. Taking a lesson from the technical rescue classes I took as an EMT, it makes sense to begin assessment with an outer circle inspection. Walk around the vehicle at least once. Identify all possible dangers while carrying out the recovery. Is the vehicle resting against a tree? Does the trail get more difficult further down the road? Are there potential anchor points ahead or behind the vehicle? Is the vehicle on a dangerous slope? tbmisc3[1] The next step is to identify exactly what is causing you to be stuck, and to identify any potential issues to your recovery. This is the ‘inner circle’ inspection. Start at the front bumper, and work meticulously backward. Is the front bumper hung up on something? Can you get to the winch cable? Is there any danger in hitting the radiator? Could the front suspension get hung on something and get damaged? Is the frame just stuck on a rock? Is there any possible damage to the fuel tank? Is the rear axle or drive-shaft hung on something? Are the tires sunk in the dirt? Depending on the way your truck is stuck, there may be any number of items resisting the forward progress of your vehicle. All of these things combine together when performing a recovery. First, a vehicle has it’s own internal resistance due to drive-line components and tire rolling resistance. With 33” tires at 15psi and bearing, seal, and differential resistance, it all begins to add up. The terrain itself inherently offer’s its own resistance. The resistance on firm ground is much different than the resistance in deep mud or snow. In general, it requires 7% of the vehicle’s weight to move a vehicle on firm ground, and 50% or more in mud or snow. Lastly, there is a resistance of ground slope. This one is the most obvious because we know it takes more force to walk up a hill than down. In general, a 30° slope generates a resistance of 50% of the vehicle’s weight. At 45°, the resistance grows to 70%. And of course, a 0° slope adds zero resistance. The last thing that is overlooked is the obstacle that is keeping you from moving forward. If there is a large rock in front of a tire, or the belly is resting on soil, this can contribute a large resistance force to the recovery process. Depending on the rock’s height and angle, it can add resistance of 100% of the vehicle’s weight. All of these factors can compound on top of each other, and are important to keep in mind when choosing your recovery method. Once you have identified exactly why and how you are stuck, it’s time to begin planning the best way to recover.

Plan out the recovery

Once you complete your stuck assessment, it is time to plan the extraction. Depending on how you are stuck, different tactics could benefit you. These are covered in the coming pages. When planning out the recovery, it is important to consider all possible options. Sometimes the most obvious choice is not always the simplest choice. For instance, instead of pulling out a winch, and setting up a pull-pal anchor point, it may be easiest to just use a sand ladder. The difference could be a half-hour worth of work. Sometimes a combination of methods is necessary so as not over-stress any component of the vehicle or the recovery equipment. A combination of digging out in front of the wheels or stacking rocks, and winching can decrease the required winching force by a large factor. During the planning phase, you will not only plan the recovery in your mind, but also to begin assembling the proper supplies for the method you choose. Think through each part that you will need, and ensure they are present. Lay out the parts, and make the connections in a methodical manner. There’s no reason to be running around.

Envision the recovery

Once you have made all the proper connections, and before actually going through with the recovery, look at the set up and envision the forces on each part. Make extra sure that the components are rated to the expected pull force. Envision how the vehicle will move during the recovery. Will you encounter any potential hazards that were identified during the assessment? Envision where the equipment will fly if a component fails. Keep people well away from those areas. For instance, if using a snatch block for a change of direction pull, anywhere inside the V is considered a no-go area.

Perform recovery

Carry out the recovery while keeping in mind the warnings specific to that method. The individual method details are covered in depth in the coming sections.