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Winching vs Snatching – Why You Might Not Need a Winch

 photo by fdevalera via iStock

Depending on the type of off-roading or overlanding you are planning on doing you might not actually need a winch. A snatch strap is many times more than enough when it comes to recoveries. 

In this article, we’ll compare the winch to the snatch strap to help you decide which one of the two you might need. 

Winching vs Snatching: Control Over Recoveries

Snatch Strap in the ground

 photo by undefined undefined via iStock

With a winch, you can control the recovery – meaning that with the push of a button you can stop or start the winch. Furthermore, recoveries happen at a much slower pace.

A snatch strap recovery requires good communication between the two drivers and cannot be stopped whenever you want. 

Get Fast Recoveries With a Snatch Strap

SUV stuck in the sand

 photo by YULIIA LAKEIENKO via iStock

Let’s imagine you are bogged on the beach and the tide is coming in – this situation will require the fastest method of recovery. A snatch strap is quick to set up and once you have communicated with the other vehicle it’s also quick to perform. 

Winching takes time to set up and the recovery itself is much slower. So, in an emergency situation in which a fast recovery is crucial a snatch strap will be the tool for the job. 

Winching vs Snatching: Solo Recoveries

SUV stuck in the mud

 photo by sleddogtwo via iStock

With a winch, you can recover yourself with no issues. If you get stuck alone and you only have access to a snatch strap you will need someone else to recover you or you may need to start digging.

Adjustability is Better With a Winch

SUV stick in high water

 photo by shaunl via iStock

A winch allows for a variety of different angles when performing a recovery. This can be the difference between getting a vehicle unstuck or failing the recovery. A snatch strap’s adjustability only goes as far as the angle the other vehicle can pull you at. 

Learn More:

Winching vs Snatching: Snatch Straps are Easier to Use

Person placing a snatch strap

 photo by nubumbim via iStock

The snatch strap is pretty straightforward to use – especially if both drivers know what they are doing. A winch is also fairly simple, but when you start performing pulls in different angles and directions it can get pretty complicated.  

Extendibility is Better With a Winch

Snatch strap in the grass

 photo by Daria Nipot via iStock

Both can be extended although the winch rope will reach further. Both the winch and strap can be extended by using an extension strap, but the winch has a longer reach to start with; therefore, it can be extended further.

Winching vs Snatching: Price

Winch on an SUV

 photo by bizoo_n via iStock

The price of a good winch and rope does not even compare to that of a snatch strap. A good winch rope may cost 3-4 times the price of the snatch strap and the price for the whole winch setup may exceed $2000. So, if you are on a budget a snatch strap is the way to go.

Keep in mind that if a friend of yours has a winch and you are on a tight budget your mate can easily perform a winch recovery for you when appropriate. 

Winches Provide a Predictable Outcome

Winch rope and hook

 photo by Valdas Jarutis via iStock

When performing a winch recovery, you can see and hear the winch working and everything happens in slow motion; therefore, you can tell if the recovery is going to be successful or not. 

With the snatch strap on the other hand everything is over within seconds; therefore, if a recovery fails you will know it after it is over. 

Snatch Straps Don’t Require Mounting on the Vehicle

Winch mounted on a 4x4

 photo by huseyintuncer via iStock

You will need a bull bar to mount a winch – that’s a given. With a snatch strap you will only need recovery points which again proves that the snatch strap is a much cheaper option. 

From the points mentioned above it is clear that a winch will get your vehicle unstuck more reliably and will also get you out of a bad situation when off-roading alone. 

Is that insane price difference worth it though? Well, if you are off-roading alone or tackling very difficult trails then yes, it is. If you are always part of a convoy and you mostly drive on easy trails, then no it isn’t. 

Assess the type of off-roading or overlanding you will be doing and from there it is fairly easy to decide whether you need a winch or not.  

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