Well, an epic streak has come to an end…
Recently while I was off roading with some buddies, I got stuck. It was the first time I needed to pull out my off road recovery kit and get help out of a situation.
I’ve had adventures from beaches to mountains to deserts and everywhere in between. I’ve driven in mud, snow, and sand, and I had never gotten stuck. That streak is over, my friends!
So, I want to share my experience, explain what happened, and shed some light on the importance of off road recovery gear.
Let’s get to it!
Table of Contents
- My First Time Using Off Road Recovery Gear
- Why You Need Off Road Recovery Gear
- What’s in My Off Road Recovery Kit?
- Other Off Road Recovery Gear You Need
My First Time Using Off Road Recovery Gear
Here’s the lowdown on what happened…
I was enjoying a beautiful day out on the trail with some friends and came upon a big – but not too big – rock that I needed to get my 2020 Jeep Gladiator up and over.
So, I slowly approached with the rock on the right side of the Jeep and got the right-front wheel over the rock just fine. There wasn’t a ton of clearance between the top of the rock and the bottom of the Jeep, but there was no scraping happening.
Anyway, I maneuvered the Jeep forward, waiting for the right-rear tire to contact the rock. When it did, I gave the Jeep some gas – just as I’d done with the front tire – expecting the same result.
Unfortunately, I got a different result!
What I didn’t account for was how soft the sand and gravel were below the surface. As I upped the throttle, the rear tire started to spin and kicked away the top layer of soil, revealing a much softer layer that provided no traction whatsoever.
I know what you’re thinking – just back up, then move forward with a little more momentum, right?
The problem is that my right-rear tire dug down so much that my Jeep was wedged on top of the rock. I was stuck. My streak of not getting stuck came to an end with my right-rear tire buried.
Why You Need Off Road Recovery Gear
When I set out that day with my buddies to ride a few trails, I obviously wasn’t planning to get stuck.
In fact, before we left, we discussed how the trails we wanted to explore weren’t anything crazy, so there was no expectation that any of us even might get stuck.
But, obviously, you never know what’s going to happen out on the trail. My track record of not getting stuck indicated that I had a good chance of heading out for the day and coming back without a problem.
A different day, different situation, and different trail can change everything, though.
That’s why it’s so critical to have off road recovery gear in your rig. Whether you’re a hard-core off roader or you only occasionally hit the trail, off road recovery gear is a critical component of your ability to go off roading and do it safely.
You never know when you’ll encounter a soft spot, a washout, a rock that’s bigger than you thought, or another person on the trail that’s stuck and needs help getting out.
For your safety and the safety of others on the trail, you need an off road recovery kit!
What’s in My Off Road Recovery Kit?
Off road recovery kits are a little different from one person to the next, but there’s some basic components that are vital for performing recoveries on the trail.
Having a winch, for example, is a basic necessity if you’re an overlander or off roader. I have the Warn Zeon 10 Winch, which is overkill for my Jeep, but better to have too much oomph than not enough.
Another essential component of a recovery kit is traction boards. Maxtrax are the cream of the crop, though there are cheaper options that will aid you in a recovery situation.
Of course, the primary components of an off road recovery kit are:
- A recovery strap
- A tree-saver
- A snatch block
- Dampener bag
You can buy these components individually, but I went another route and picked up a complete recovery kit from Tackle Tuff that includes all the above items (plus some handy Kevlar-reinforced gloves).
What I like about this kit is that it has everything I needed for my first recovery in a single bag. I didn’t have to rummage through all my gear in the bag of the truck – everything I needed was right there.
I also like the construction of this gear. Everything is well-designed and made from premium materials that ensure you get the performance you need to get out of whatever situation you’re in on the trail.
For example, the shackles are made of forged carbon steel to provide incredible durability and toughness. Additionally, the straps are 100 percent nylon and have reinforced eyelets that improve the strength and load capacity of the straps.
Speaking of load capacity, my Tackle Tuff snatch blocks and shackles have a 30-ton breaking strength and the recovery strap and tree-saver have a five-ton breaking strength.
Like I said before, all this gear comes in a convenient carry bag, which also happens to double as a dampener bag that brings the recovery strap or tree-saver to the ground should failure occur. Better to do that than have the strap recoil and damage your rig (or hurt someone).
While I’ve only had to bust out this gear once, I couldn’t have been more impressed with its performance in the field. Having reliable, dependable, well-made gear gives you peace of mind that you can get out of a hairy situation, or help others out of a situation, too.
Get a complete tour of this kit in the video embedded above.
Other Off Road Recovery Gear You Need
photo by undefined undefined via iStock
While a winch, recovery boards, and a good off road recovery kit are the primary components you need for trail safety, there are some other goodies and gadgets that are worthy of having in your rig in case trouble arises:
- A good shovel
- Communication device of some sort (GMRS radio, satellite communicator, CB, etc.)
- An axe or hatchet
- A jack
- Tire repair kit
- Land anchor
- Portable air compressor
photo by Rawpixel via iStock
In addition to these and other recovery tools, it’s also necessary to have food, water, clothing, a first aid kit, and other survival items with you in case the situation is so dire that you can’t get out of it quickly.
I’m not saying you need to head out with enough survival gear for two weeks, but as the Boy Scouts say, “be prepared.”
Even if you’re headed out for a quick afternoon trail ride like I was, have the means to get yourself or others you’re with unstuck and have some survival tools just in case. It’s better to prepare for the worst and expect the best than to find yourself stuck and without the gear you need to get out.