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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

How to Recover a Truck Stuck in Mud

Photo by shaunl via iStock

Driving a 4WD through mud is about as much fun as you can have with your pants on. For real – engines revving, mud flying everywhere, the vehicle skidding around – it is a great experience. 

However, if you manage to get stuck, it takes a different direction. Mud is one of the most difficult terrains to recover a vehicle from as it is slippery and can also have a suction effect on the truck – especially when you are bogged deep. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the most effective recovery techniques to use, both for someone with recovery gear such as a winch and for someone who might only have a shovel.

Table of Contents

Stuck in Mud – Get Out With a Snatch Recovery

Tackle Tuff Ready-Made Recovery Kit

If you are out with mates, one of the easiest and most quick ways to recover a vehicle that is stuck in mud is by performing a snatch recovery. Simply use a snatch strap like the one offered by Tackle Tuff and hook it to each vehicle. You then perform the recovery as gently as possible. 

It’s important to make sure that both vehicles in the recovery are equipped with rated recovery points that can withstand the forces of a snatch recovery. Never use stock hitches or tow balls, because they can break and cause injuries or vehicle damage.

Tackle Tuff recovery strap

As briefly mentioned above, our recovery kit of choice comes from Tackle Tuff. This is a premium recovery kit that features everything mentioned below:

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

Tackle Tuff Recovery Kit in use

With the Tackle Tuff kit, you have everything you need for a snatch or winch recovery in one single bag. It provides convenience and ease of storage – exactly what we need to get out of the mud! 

Stuck in Mud – Winching Yourself Out

Jeep Winching itself Out

Photo by avian75 via iStock

There are certain situations in which a snatch recovery may not be enough to get a vehicle out of the mud. If you are bogged up to your axles or chassis rails, the suction from the mud is extremely high. Therefore, a winch is the best option. 

To perform a winch recovery in mud, find a sturdy anchor point to mount the winch, and always remember to use a line dampener and gloves (the Tackle Tuff recovery kit discussed earlier uses the bag as a winch line dampener).

Since the forces during a mud recovery are huge, have everyone stand far away from the line and vehicle. If the winch does not have the power to get you out, you can perform a double line pull which halves the speed of the winch but doubles its power. It also spreads the forces between two mounting points on your vehicle. 

You can learn how to perform a double line pull in the video above by Fisher’s Off-Road.

Stuck in Mud – Use Maxtrax

Traction Board

Traction boards can also be an effective way to recover a vehicle that is stuck in mud. However, if the situation is bad, Maxtrax alone won’t be able to do much. They will need to be paired with a snatch or winch recovery. 

Performing a Maxtrax recovery is simple. First, you need to decide which direction you will recover the vehicle from. Then, do some digging to clear the path and place the Maxtrax in front or behind (depending on the direction of the recovery) of your wheels.

As soon as you start driving, the vehicle should grab onto the traction boards and lift itself out of the mud. You may need to perform this a few times until you are completely out of the boggy section.

Stuck in Mud – Digging

green SUV stuck in the mud

Photo by Maksim Moiseenko via iStock

This one isn’t the most fun of recoveries to perform in mud. You will get dirty, and if you are bogged deep, there is a good possibility of the recovery not being successful.

To maximize your chances, we suggest using a good shovel that offers a long handle like the one from the Forest Tool Company. Once you have your shovel, begin by clearing up the path in front of the vehicle and digging out the ledge made by the tires. 

After, you will need to get underneath the vehicle and clear any mud that comes in contact with your axles or chassis rails. The car needs to be as free of the mud as possible. If the way forwards or backwards seems boggy or is deep enough to where your axles and chassis will be scraping again – dig that out as well. You want to get this recovery done the first time around, because getting bogged again a bit further down the track will be frustrating. 

Unlike sand, recovering a vehicle from mud with a shovel is difficult; however, in some cases, it can be done. If you can combine the recovery with a few traction boards, you drastically increase your chances.

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts mud recovery

Photo by welcomia via iStock

Getting stuck in mud can become a huge ordeal. However, with the correct equipment and experience, you will be able to recover your vehicle safely and effectively.

If you are traveling alone without a winch and just a shovel and traction boards, try to avoid big mud holes as much as possible, since recovery in such instances will be difficult. 

If you have any further off-road or overland-related questions, post them in the forum section of our page. 

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