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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Beginner Tutorial: How to Recover a Truck Stuck in Snow

Photo by grebcha via iStock

Snow is a lot of fun for off-roading, as a bit of snow can transform an easy trail into a full-day ordeal. Also, it very rarely damages your drivetrain as there isn’t much grip. 

The scenery during snow wheeling trips also tends to be beautiful due to the snow-capped mountains and trees. It really is an amazing experience. 

However, there is the danger of getting stuck in snow, and because it’s slippery, you might even find yourself slowly sliding off the trail. 

This article goes over a few ways that you can recover your truck in case you get into a hairy situation while snow wheeling. 

Table of Contents

Carry the Correct Recovery Gear for Getting Stuck in Snow

Tackle Tuff recovery kit

Without proper recovery gear, no recovery is successful and safe, regardless of the terrain.

First and foremost, you need to ensure that you have a rated recovery point on your vehicle that is capable of withstanding the forces of a recovery. This should be done before you head off-road. 

Then, you can purchase a recovery kit that includes everything you will need during your adventures. Our favorite choice is a product by Tackle Tuff.
Tackle Tuff recovery strap

This kit includes: 

  • 60,000 Lbs Breaking Strength Capacity Snatch Block
  • Pair of Shackles With 60,000 Lbs Breaking Strength Capacity
  • 30’ X 3” Recovery/Tow Strap
  • 8’ X 3” Tree-Saver Strap
  • Kevlar Reinforced Gloves
  • Tactical Carry Bag That Doubles as a Line Dampener


So, as you can see, Tackle Tuff provides everything you need for an off-road recovery in one convenient kit. Heck, even the bag you carry everything in has a purpose – it can be used as a line dampener to ensure a safer recovery.

Best of all, this kit is well-made and affordable, so you can add it to your vehicle and have reliable and dependable performance for when you’re stuck in snow without breaking the bank. What’s not to like about that?!

Snatch Snow Recovery

A large SUV vehicle partially buried in snow

Photo by hayesphotography via iStock

One of the most common ways of recovering a stuck vehicle is snatching it out using a second truck. To do this, you will have to use the recovery strap from the Tack Tuff kit and connect the tow vehicle. Then, the recovery vehicle will attempt to tow the stuck vehicle out of trouble. 

Be careful here because spinning the tires of the tow vehicle for too long at one specific place will get it stuck as well. Use some momentum, and if you see that the car isn’t getting unstuck, reverse and try again. 

Make sure that no one is standing next to the snatch strap while performing a recovery when stuck in snow, either. A strap that breaks or detaches from a vehicle is extremely dangerous to life and limb.

Winch Snow Recovery

Detail photo of a winch.

Photo by MJ_Prototype via iStock

Since being stuck in snow provides little grip, a second vehicle may not be able to recover the one that is stuck; therefore, you may need to opt for a winch recovery. In this case, you simply connect your winch to a tree, a second vehicle, or any other rigid anchor point and perform the winch recovery. 

If you’re stuck badly, you can use a double-line pull with the help of the snatch block. A doubl- line pull uses the snatch block, which is mounted on the anchor point to turn the winch line back to the vehicle; therefore, you have two areas from which you are pulling. This doubles the power of the winch while also spreading the force over two recovery points. 

For safety, place the Tackle Tuff gear bag on top of the winch line. This acts as a winch line dampener. In case of a winch line failure, it will push the line down to the ground preventing it from flying and hitting a person or another vehicle. 

Use Tire Chains

Tire Chains

Using Tire Chains in the snow is a bit controversial. You see, tire chains work great on ice, but they can’t do much in the snow. In fact, they may make the situation worse as they will dig holes. 

However, if the type of snow you are on is old and icy, or if you hit a patch that is just ice, then using tire chains will most probably get you out – especially if you combine them with a snatch recovery. 

Use a Trusty Old Shovel

Collapsible Snow Shovel on an SUV

Manual labor, yes, it stinks. However, it’s sometimes necessary, as spending the night in the snowy mountains without the correct gear stinks even more. 

Thankfully, unlike mud, snow is easy to work with, and there is a much higher chance that you will get your vehicle out just by doing some digging. 

With the help of a tool such as this Collapsible Snow Shovel, you can clear a path towards the direction you came in from. This will give you some clear tire marks to follow, which will reduce your chances of getting stuck when compared to driving through fresh snow.
Collapsible Snow Shovel

To recover the vehicle, you will first need to level out any holes made by spinning your tires. Then, if the underside of your vehicle is in contact with the snow, you will need to get underneath to clear everything. There should be nothing stopping your car from moving out of the place it is stuck in. You may need to spend a good, long while doing this. 

After you’re sure that nothing is stopping your car from moving in the direction you want it to go, get inside and try to drive. Be smooth on the throttle and see if the vehicle moves. Don’t punch the throttle because you’ll dig holes again. If the car still doesn’t want to move, get out and do more digging. You can also use traction boards for additional help.

Final Thoughts

Jeep driving on a snowy road

Photo by trendobjects via iStock

Snow driving is one of the most fun terrains to drive on. By applying the correct driving skills and having recovery gear, you can avoid most unwanted situations. The key, as usual, is to be smart behind the wheel and be prepared in case something goes wrong.

If you have any further questions regarding snow driving or for anything else off-road or overland-related, head over to the forum section of our page. 

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