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Winching Techniques for Beginner Off-Roaders

 photo by sergeyryzhov via iStock

The winch may well be one of the most important accessories to a 4WD that is being used for extreme adventures. It can get you or your mates out of situations where any other form of recovery method might have been useless. 

There is a slight risk and learning curve involved with winches though; therefore, the necessary skills are required to perform recoveries successfully and safely. 

In this 4WDTalk article, we’ll go over winching techniques and winching gear you need to ensure every winch recovery you do is a success. 

Winching Gear

Winching Gear

Before we get to winching techniques, let’s go over some crucial gear you’ll need.

First, you will need winch blankets for your winch line. The job of these is to keep the winch line down low in case it snaps. These are crucial as they can prevent injuries.

A tree strap that goes around tree trunks to protect the tree from the winch line.

An extension strap for when the line isn’t long enough to perform the recovery from a sturdy anchor point.

A bow shackle to connect things; although, it’s only used when there is no other option.

A snatch block or winch block which is great for double line pulls or directional line pulls.

And some other general items you will need like gloves, a radio for communications, and of course, the winch remote. 

A kit with everything you need can be found here.

Winching Techniques: Setting Up Your Winch Recovery

Off road vehicle winch

 photo by marrio31 via iStock

When picking which tree to use for the recovery, don’t go for dead ones even if they are big. Dead trees are mostly hollow and therefore won’t be able to take much pressure. 

To hook up the winch, wrap the tree trunk protector around the tree and use the hook of the winch line to get on the two ends of the protector. There is no need to use a bow shackle to connect the two – it just adds another object that may fail. 

Use two blankets on the line, one in the middle and one at the end near the tree where all the connections are as this is the point where a failure is most likely. Using just one in the middle won’t do much to stop the end of the line from flying towards you.

Winching Techniques: Double line pull 

SUV stuck in the mud

 photo by Pavel_Korr via iStock

The reason one would perform a double line pull is to increase the strength of the winch

To do it, you will need the winch block that you have to pass the cable through, then you need to connect the snatch block to the tree trunk protector by using a bow shackle to connect the two.

Lastly, take the winch hook and hook it back onto a recovery point on your vehicle. This method can nearly double the pulling power of your winch.

Directional Line Pull

4x4 stuck in deep muddy water

 photo by shaunl via iStock

One of the most common winching techniques is the directional line pull.

With a directional line pull you will need to hook the snatch block onto the tree trunk protector again, but instead of bringing the line back to the car, you will hook it up to another vehicle or another tree in the direction you need your line to be pulling. To hook it up to another tree, you will need a second tree trunk protector. 

Winch on the front of a 4x4

 photo by sergeyryzhov via iStock

These are the most important winching techniques one should know when overlanding or off-roading. Watching these being performed on YouTube will help embed them into your memory so you know exactly what to do in every situation. 

We hope that this article has helped you grasp the basic understanding of winching which will help you practice and become better along the way.

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