4WD Recovery Kit: What 4x4 Recovery Gear do you Really Need
Importance of a 4x4 Recovery Kit
A 4x4 Recovery Kit, that's something you should never leave home without, especially when you're hitting' the great outdoors. I've come across too many folks stuck in a boggy beach with no recovery gear, and it ain't pretty.
Before your 4x4 even leaves the pavement, make sure you've got a basic recovery kit and the know-how to use it safely.
If you get stuck, it is generally considered rude to use other people’s recovery equipment. That’s not to say that people will leave you stuck there, but it is polite to have your own gear!
A good kit and a bit of common sense will have you back on track in no time. First, assess the situation and work out why you got stuck, Has 4x4 been engaged, are your diff locks engaged, what are your tyre pressures, and if you're hung up on a log or rock. Just a few simple checks can make a huge difference.
Components of a Basic 4x4 Recovery Kit
I’ve made a list of the components of a basic 4x4 Recovery Kit that everyone should carry. This may change/vary depending on what you do, but it is worth having everything below (the ‘Optional 4x4 Recovery Gear’ is not always needed unless your situation requires it).
A shovel is one of the most important pieces of gear to carry around, especially if you do a lot of sand driving. A few minutes using a shovel will make the recovery much easier (and in many cases you will just be able to drive out).
The Mean Mother 5 Piece Shovel is the perfect all-rounder having the ability to be a small compact shovel and a long handled shovel all in one kit.
People who go off-road without a quality tyre gauge are asking for trouble. Having the right pressures in your tyres when off-road is the best way to prevent getting stuck in the first place. You need to know what your tyre pressures are so you can adjust them accordingly, and pairing with a set of Mean Mother Tyre Deflators will ensure you can quickly and easily deflate your tyres.
When you have finished your adventure you need to pump your tyres back up for driving on the bitumen. Even 5 minutes driving on the road with low pressures can damage your tyres. the Mean Mother MMACA4 Compressor is very reliable and will inflate your tyres in no time and is completely portable for ease of use.
Exitrax by Mean Mother are essential especially when travelling alone. These are literally the simplest way to get a 4x4 unstuck (not to mention the safest). You just dig a bit of the material out of the way of your tyres, lay them down and slowly drive onto them and out. They work brilliantly in sand and mud, and for snow the 1150 Ultimate Recovery Board is perfect.
Even if you are only travelling with one vehicle, it’s worth having a Snatch Strap. They are not that expensive, and they are a very handy piece of recovery equipment. Make sure these are kept dry and clean, or they will become unusable quite quickly. A snatch strap is one of the fastest but not always the safest ways to get a vehicle unstuck. In many situations most people will go for a snatch strap over a winch, purely because of how much faster they are to use, (you just need to ensure safety).
It’s important to carry these accessories, a few shackles (soft or bow), equaliser straps, dampener (or blanket) and gloves, with you when performing a snatch Recovery. Most people will build up their kits over time, by buying the items individually. However, you will save a fair bit of money if you purchase a kit which includes snatch straps, shackles, dampeners, tree trunk protectors, snatch blocks and bags.
Rated Recovery Points
These are very important. A snatch strap or winch isn’t going to be much use if you have nowhere to hook it onto. Make sure they are rated recovery points , and not tie down points. You will see the difference very easily – the tie down points are much thinner and are not stamped.
If you recover off one of these you are likely to break something. Many 4x4s require aftermarket recovery points fitted, and you should have at least one on the back and one on the front of your 4x4, ideally two recovery points should be fitted to the front and rear of a 4x4.
Keeping in constant communication with everyone involved in the recovery is important. A handheld 2-way radio is ok but if you can have a one installed to your vehicle. Ensure all radios are on the same channel and test they all work prior to beginning the recovery.
Optional 4x4 Recovery Gear
Depending how often you head off-road I would also recommend some other Items. If you are heading off solo it is vital that you can get yourself unstuck , without having to wait for another car.
In some parts of Australia you could be waiting days or weeks if you can’t get yourself out!
For any solo adventurer a winch is a good idea. A 4x4 winch is a very controlled recovery, it is slower than most options (but can be safer than a snatch when done correctly) and when used with snatch blocks, dampeners, tree trunk protectors and gloves .
A high lift jack can also be a handy piece of equipment. These are used to lift a part of a four wheel drive up, to put logs or rocks under the wheel. High lift jacks are known for falling over. They are not very stable. It is recommended to carry a jack stand to improve stability. By combining the EXITRAX 1150 Ultimate Recovery Board with the ETLINK, and stacking them while turning them upside down, you can create an ideal foundation for your High-Lift Jack.
Stay calm and think the recovery through
Not all 4x4 recoveries are the same. The more you do it, the more you learn different ways to do it. But if you rush, you might not do it in the safest way possible, and that's the most important thing to consider.
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