How to decide What Recovery Gear to Use and When — MEAN MOTHER 4X4
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How to decide What Recovery Gear to Use and When

How to decide What Recovery Gear to Use and When

Grumpy Nev answers the correct order for recovering a bogged 4x4

Getting stuck off-road is never a fun experience, but it doesn't have to be a disaster. The key is to stay calm and follow some simple steps to get moving again safely. Safety is paramount in any recovery situation, so take the time to assess your situation and make sure you have a plan that is safe, easy and simple.


Firstly, work out why you got stuck. Did you forget to lock your hubs, let your tyres down or are your differentials sitting on a big hump? Knowing what caused the issue will help you create a plan of action, and consider what recovery gear you have on hand. 

recovery kit

You should always have as a minimum a basic recovery kit with you when off-roading.

In my mind, this is the correct order of 4WD recoveries

  1. tyre pressures
  2. shovel
  3. traction aids
  4. winches
  5. snatch straps

4x4 tyre deflators

Check your tyre pressures; they are crucial when going off-road. Adjust them accordingly with a set of tyre deflators, as they can mean the difference between being stuck for hours or driving comfortably along. If the tyre pressures are correct and your 4x4 is in 4x4. 


  • Shovels are not commonly used in 4x4 recoveries anymore, which is a shame.
  • By taking just a few minutes to dig around the tyres and chassis, you can often drive out of a bog with zero assistance.
  • Shovels are a simple and effective tool that should not be overlooked in 4x4 recoveries.
  • They can be especially useful if you don't have access to other recovery gear, such as traction aids or winches.
  • So, don't forget to pack a shovel on your next 4x4 adventure!

Recovery boards

Traction aids, Recovery Boards like EXITRAX are the best way to recover a bogged 4WD quickly and easily.

  • To use them, simply dig around the tyres, wedge the recovery boards in, and slowly drive onto them.
  • The recovery boards get pulled under the wheels, and your 4x4 pops up and out of trouble.
  • If you often travel solo, having a set of four recovery boards is an invaluable addition to your 4x4 gear.

best 4x4 winch


  • Adding a winch to your 4WD is a popular upgrade that can be super useful for extracting bogged 4WD's.
  • Winches involve a substantial amount of force, so they should be one of the last methods you try for 4WD recoveries.
  • To use a winch safely, you should use winch dampeners, ensure your recovery points are rated, use rated gear in good condition, and perform double line pulls, among other precautions.
  • Winches are particularly useful for badly bogged 4WDs, especially in mud, because the slow application of force gives the mud time to release its suction.
  • Bystanders should be kept well away from winching operations, and winch dampeners should always be used.
  • Winches should be used with caution, and it's important to take serious care when using them.

snatch recovery

Snatch Straps

  • Snatch straps are not my preferred method of recovering a 4WD and should be used with caution and as a last resort.
  • They are often used more frequently than necessary, which can be dangerous.
  • Snatch straps work by attaching one vehicle to another and using the elasticity of the strap to apply force to both vehicles.
  • While they can be effective when used correctly, they are not without risks and should be used sparingly and with proper safety precautions in place.

Lastty, make sure you communicate well with those around you. Have one person direct the recovery to avoid chaos. Remember, there's no need to rush in a 4x4 recovery. Take the time to make a clear plan, execute it safely, and get moving again.

 4x4 stuck in sand

Previous article 4x4 Equaliser Straps: Usage and Benefits for Safe Vehicle Recovery
Next article Step By Step Guide On How To Use A 4x4 Recovery Winch

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