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Off Road Recovery Mistakes to Avoid

Photo by Terryfic3D via iStock

Off roading requires skills and preparation. It is a fun activity, but a simple mistake can lead to injuries, damaged vehicles, or both.

To ensure we have the most fun possible out on the trails, below are a few mistakes to avoid when performing an off road recovery.

Table of Contents 

Off Road Recovery Mistakes – Standing Close to the Recovery

Mud Bogging

Photo by shaunl via iStock

Whether you are winching or snatching a vehicle free, no one should be standing close to the recovery as a winch line, snatch strap, or recovery point may break. 

When this happens, the forces released can lead to serious injuries to people standing near. 

The best practice here is to set up the recovery, stand back and then let both drivers know that the recovery can begin. 

This ensures everyone stays safe.

Off Road Recovery Mistakes – Not Using Recovery Points

4x4 bogged down in the mud

Photo by MousePotatol via iStock

This is one of the most common and most dangerous off road recovery mistakes.

When you first start off roading you may think (and I don’t blame you) that the tow hitch or anchor points of your vehicle are strong enough to be used as recovery points.

Well, that’s not the case. 

In most cases, the small hooks located under our trucks are there to secure the vehicle on trailers for transportation or to tow them on the road in case of a breakdown.

They are not designed to withstand the forces of snatching a stuck vehicle; therefore, they can easily break.

The same is true for the tow ball. It is only there to tow and was never designed to withstand the jerking of a snatch or even a winch recovery. 

Keep in mind that the tow ball is the worst recovery point as it is a heavy item. If it fails, it can easily smash through the window of the opposing vehicle. 

If you are stuck and have no rated recovery points, try finding a solid piece of frame or suspension component on which you can mount the rope.

If you absolutely need to use the tow hooks on your vehicle, then do so very gently. 

Off Road Recovery Mistakes – Not Using a Winch Dampener

4x4 using a winch

Photo by CapturedByAmelia via iStock

A winch dampener is an essential off road recovery tool.

 The way it works is simple: you have a weighted bag that you place over your winch line or snatch strap. The job of this bag is to pull the recovery line to the ground in case of failure. 

This stops it from flying into a vehicle’s window or potentially injuring someone.

Many times, people are unaware of winch dampener bags or simply can’t be bothered to use one.

The consequences of failed recovery equipment can be serious; therefore, always perform recoveries in the safest possible way.

Off Road Recovery Mistakes – Snatching a Vehicle in Reverse

A red 4x4 stuck in the sand.

Photo by CapturedByAmelia via iStock

There are three reasons one should not perform a recovery in reverse. The first one is that you are facing the action; therefore, if something gives, you are more likely to get injured. 

The second reason is that you cannot see what is going on behind you. In most cases, our trucks are so tall that short objects can’t always be seen from the rear window. 

However, the most important reason one should not perform a recovery in reverse is that for most transmissions, it is the weakest gear. 

So, if your mates are properly stuck and you need to get into it to get them out, there is a higher chance of breaking your transmission. 

Off Road Recovery Mistakes – Never Using the Second Recovery Point

4x4 SUV is stuck in the mud.

Photo by Aleksandr Zyablitskiy via iStock

When building up our vehicles, we often make sure to add two recovery points at each end of the vehicle.

The reason we do this is for recoveries that will require a lot of force. For example, if you are bogged up to your frame in mud it is best to perform the recovery from both recovery points to reduce stress. 

A second recovery point can also be used to dampen the forces of a double winch line pull. This is a winching method used to double the power of the winch by using a snatch block to redirect the winch line back to the stuck vehicle. 

Therefore, the line goes up to a solid anchor point, turns around, and reconnects to the vehicle. 

A Recovery Kit that Features All You Need

tackle-tuff-premium-recovery-kit

Image Credit: Amazon

To perform a safe off road recovery, you need the correct gear. The recovery gear used needs to be weight rated according to your specific vehicle and needs to feature all the items you will need. 

One of the best off road recovery kits you can pick online is by Tackle Tuff

Tackle Tuff recovery kit

Image Credit: Amazon


The kit includes a 30-ton breaking strength capacity snatch block, two shackles, a recovery strap, a tree saver strap, Kevlar-reinforced gloves, and a tactical carry bag that doubles as a winch line dampener. 

The snatch blocks and shackles are constructed with forged carbon steel and rigorously tested to ensure ruggedness when used for off road recovery.

Tackle Tuff Recovery Kit in use

I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve only needed a recovery one time – and I’m glad I had my Tackle Tuff recovery kit on board.

I had all the tools I needed to get out of a sandy mess, and by working with my friends to be safe, my truck came out undamaged and everyone was safe – just like you want it to be!

For a recovery kit that will last a lifetime, look no further than Tackle Tuff!

Off Road Recovery Mistakes – Final Thoughts

 4x4 SUV is stuck in the mud.

Photo by Aleksandr Zyablitskiy via iStock

An off road recovery must be performed correctly. By taking the above tips into account, we can assure you that you will have fun while remaining safe out on the trails. 

If you have any further questions regarding off road recovery or for any other off road and overlanding-related topics, head to the forum section of the site! 

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