Cheat codes to staying unstuck…
They say in life there are no shortcuts… But whoever came up that idea had probably never been bogged up to their axles in soft sand with an incoming tide lapping at the hubs!
There’s a time and a place for slow and steady methodical recoveries. Just as there’s absolutely a need for getting the hell out of a slippery situation as quick as humanly possible when one finds one’s self and one’s vehicle in a time sensitive predicament.
Keep the following in mind and you just might save yourself a handful of precious minutes or seconds when you need ‘em most.
Anyone who owns a set of MAXTRAX or similar recovery boards will no doubt be well aware of just how handy these things are if you find yourself hung up on a soft sand drift. Or indeed anyplace involving water and sand.
What’s a little less widely acknowledged is how useful a set of MAXTRAX is for getting out of, and avoiding entirely, sticky situations when driving muddy, rutted and rocky terrain.
Not only are they useful for finding traction amid deep mud, loose sand, gravel and the like, but they’re super useful as a makeshift bridging tool when traversing deeply rutted terrain, and can even be linked together to this end.
One of the first recovery tools many 4WDers purchase is a snatch strap, and with good reason. They’re versatile, fairly straightforward to use, and one of the absolute quickest ways of busting out of a sticky situation offroad.
A common trap that a lot of punters fall into is assuming that the biggest, toughest snatch strap on the market will be the best. Where this reasoning falls flat, is that a snatch strap is supposed to have an element of built in weakness.
When you’re tugging a stuck vehicle out of a boghole with the full weight of another equal or larger 4WD, there are some serious forces at play. Think of your snatch strap like a fuse. It should be strong enough to do its job, but also the weakest link, so that it’s the first thing to snap, rather than some expensive component on your vehicle.
A good rule of thumb is to work out the total GVM of your rig, and buy a strap rated to two or three times that.
Continuous, smooth momentum is the key to not getting stuck in the first place, a lot of the time. It’s also the key to a smooth seamless snatch strap recovery.
It’s kind of crazy the amount of folks you see out on the beaches or tracks that don’t know how to use their snatch straps effectively. They’ll slowly drive the assisting vehicle until the strap is taught, then attempt to tug the stuck vehicle free with minimal transfer of energy.
On the other hand, there’s the crew that seem to believe the most violent wrenching snatch strap recovery is the best. This approach might work some of the time, but it’ll get expensive, quick.
The best snatch strap recovery is one with a steady acceleration and smooth transfer of power from the rescue vehicle, through the strap and on to the stuck vehicle.
It’s a little odd how many tricked out 4WD vehicles there are getting about with hefty and none too cheap winches hanging off the undersides of their bullbars, that get little to no use.
These things not only cost money but add weight to your rig, so if you’re gonna fit one, you should make sure to use it.
A winch doesn’t have to be a last resort. In fact, if you’re stuck offroad and a snatch strap recovery isn’t feasible, it might even be your first resort.
Winches can even be employed preventatively when tackling steep, rutted and rocky tracks. Using your winch in these conditions can provide confidence and allow your to approach a daunting section of track with precision and control.