Recovery gear ratings?

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Bward76

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Hello All,

I know it’s a bit of a loaded question with many opinions but I’d like a little advise on sizing recovery equipment.
I have a 2016 GMC Sierra lifted on 35’s. The truck isn’t for rock crawling but more for fire roads and snow. I just picked up a Smittybilt XRC 12.5k winch and a hidden mount. Hopefully I’ll get it in after I wrap up the dual battery setup I’m currently working on. I’ll be removing the bull bar as it was on the truck when I bought it and it really serves no purpose other than a light holder.

Anyway I’ve seen a few write ups suggesting doubling the rating of your winch when sizing your recovery gear? It’s my understanding that you could potentially double the stress on equipment when pulling through a snatch block?

I don’t mind spending a bit extra on the correct equipment but I just want to be sure I’m sizing it correctly.
Thank you in advance for the input. 5C08A187-E56F-41CB-B679-49FB8BFB4172.jpeg57C8F60F-3057-452F-BDB0-6A81FD590EA5.jpeg
 

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Sweet rig! I bought my bull bar to only attach my LED light bar lol. A winch would be nice but on my 02 I don't think I have options I'd be happy with. Good luck on your research.
 

Trail_pilot

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General rule of thumb is 1.5 times loaded vehicle weight. not you can go as far as to make that your GVWR if you think you will reach that point. that basically gives you enough line pull strength to pull you out of mud/dirt that will create a section effect. You can use that rule throughout all of your recovery gear but may actually want to increase on some like shackles/soft shackles or tree savers/straps because the load on them may increase if depending on angle of pull, how they are set up or even abrasion.
most gear if you look as the ratings will reflect this in the 4x4 market ( most d-ring shackles are rated 12000-15000 lbs and winches start at 8000lbs for 4x4 use) but keep an eye on soft materials as they can sometimes be misleading. without getting into a whole other world of safety vs load strength that should be all you need to know lol.
 

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Resistance factors can add up quick when Murphy's Law starts working against you. It's a combination of mire resistance (a vehicle mired well above the wheels can add 1.5 times its weight for that factor alone), gradient resistance (a 30 degree incline can add another half), and damage resistance (if the wheels won't turn freely add another .66). Be prepared to set up a tackle system.
 
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General rule of thumb is 1.5 times loaded vehicle weight. not you can go as far as to make that your GVWR if you think you will reach that point. that basically gives you enough line pull strength to pull you out of mud/dirt that will create a section effect. You can use that rule throughout all of your recovery gear but may actually want to increase on some like shackles/soft shackles or tree savers/straps because the load on them may increase if depending on angle of pull, how they are set up or even abrasion.
most gear if you look as the ratings will reflect this in the 4x4 market ( most d-ring shackles are rated 12000-15000 lbs and winches start at 8000lbs for 4x4 use) but keep an eye on soft materials as they can sometimes be misleading. without getting into a whole other world of safety vs load strength that should be all you need to know lol.
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Yes on this.
Having a 2500 HD x-cab short-bed, it is nice to have some lee-way when doing recovery work. I prefer a more generous 2.0 safety factor if possible. Winch wise, I'm doing a 17.5K rating. I wanted the capacity without a snatch block. I do have snatch blocks in reserve. The only time I foresee a stressful pull is when the truck is buried to the frame in wet sticky mud (suction), but being out west, that really is not going to be likely.

On snatch straps, you have to calculate the weight vs that necessity/capacity. If you u.se a high rated strap on on a light vehicle, it will be like using a 'static' line.........none or little give in it. Besides, you only get a couple of snatches before the webbing needs time to recover. This is where the new snatch ropes shine. Multiple recovery pulls, softer recoveries, and a higher safety factor with less downside if it breaks. There also is a wider margin in strength vs size, and where having too much (size/rating) is not so detrimental in the recovery.

Between the winch, the full size winch bumper, upgraded size tires, and any gear I might have, I am sure I am at or above 9000 k. I definitely need to take the time, and run over the scale, just to answer......that question.

PS: My straps and soft shackles are all rated between 24k-36k, They were purchased before the newer recovery ropes became so much more affordable.
 
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Bward76

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Sweet rig! I bought my bull bar to only attach my LED light bar lol. A winch would be nice but on my 02 I don't think I have options I'd be happy with. Good luck on your research.
Thank you sir. I noticed you’re from Elk Grove. I lived there for 12 years before moving to Arden Park where I’m at now. My last truck looks just like yours. I sold it to my brother before buying my 16. 3D2F7209-642F-4807-8462-31B92A926B8F.jpeg
He built and added the bumpers and grill. This was right after he Plasti-dipped it. He’s not happy with the outcome so it’s getting peeled off and repainted.
 

Bward76

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------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes on this.
Having a 2500 HD x-cab short-bed, it is nice to have some lee-way when doing recovery work. I prefer a more generous 2.0 safety factor if possible. Winch wise, I'm doing a 17.5K rating. I wanted the capacity without a snatch block. I do have snatch blocks in reserve. The only time I foresee a stressful pull is when the truck is buried to the frame in wet sticky mud (suction), but being out west, that really is not going to be likely.

On snatch straps, you have to calculate the weight vs that necessity/capacity. If you u.se a high rated strap on on a light vehicle, it will be like using a 'static' line.........none or little give in it. Besides, you only get a couple of snatches before the webbing needs time to recover. This is where the new snatch ropes shine. Multiple recovery pulls, softer recoveries, and a higher safety factor with less downside if it breaks. There also is a wider margin in strength vs size, and where having too much (size/rating) is not so detrimental in the recovery.

Between the winch, the full size winch bumper, upgraded size tires, and any gear I might have, I am sure I am at or above 9000 k. I definitely need to take the time, and run over the scale, just to answer......that question.

PS: My straps and soft shackles are all rated between 24k-36k, They were purchased before the newer recovery ropes became so much more affordable.
I was looking at the bigger winches but wanted to keep it concealed behind the bumper. The RC kit I bought only allowed up to a 12k. Thank you for the input. It looks like I have some more studying to do.
 

RoarinRow

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Thank you sir. I noticed you’re from Elk Grove. I lived there for 12 years before moving to Arden Park where I’m at now. My last truck looks just like yours. I sold it to my brother before buying my 16. View attachment 187686
He built and added the bumpers and grill. This was right after he Plasti-dipped it. He’s not happy with the outcome so it’s getting peeled off and repainted.
Thanks. Yeah still in EG rolling around in my 02. I like your used to be 1500. Looks cool with all the mods.
 

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A 12.5K # winch should do it all for your truck. The only time you might need more pull is bogged down in mud and gumbo. And then, yes if you double up with a snatch block you are doubling the load and strain on those connections between the axles and the frame. Most stock trucks have plenty of over engineering to handle that stress. Most lift kits compromise that factory engineering. Most lift kits are primarily cosmetic to fit bigger tires. Bigger tires will block more mud and increase the required pull to move the truck. Lifting a truck increases the leverage arm on the frame mounts multiplying the stress.

In any of those cases be sure to not rely on just the winch, be in gear and use some throttle to assist the winch, reduce the stress. A dead weight pull is the hardest on all the equipment.

Oil field trucks run cables from the winch truck cable hook coupling, under the frame, connecting directly to each axle. Under full winch load the pull goes to all 3 axles equally. There is no load on the frame or suspension components.

Finally an unlifted truck will settle in the mud on the frame and underbody. A lifted truck does the same but the axles are buried 6" deeper in the mud ir sand. You have made the axles incredibly effective anchors. BUT if you never drive thru bogs or loose sand which will bury you. If your travels tend to be over gravel, rock, in the mountains away from terrain which might swallow you, you'll never need to double the pull. A 12.5K # winch will do it all.
 
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1.5 GVWR is what Warn recommends and, like MidOH said, if you need more than that you are probably better served by reassessing your recovery plan. Using brute force to recovery a vehicle is always an option and with enough force it will always work; there's something to be said for that approach in terms of "getting it done", but it dramatically increases the risk of breaking people and things, so if you need that much of a pull you are probably better off doing a bit more manual labour to get the vehicle in a better place to be pulled, or even deploying a set of maxtrax.

The financial element is here as well. Once you step up too big in winch sizes, the costs of the winches and the mounts grow quite a bit. In the OP's case, his GVWR is about 7200 lbs, so to double that you'd need a 15,000 lbs winch. Here is Warn's offering in that range, and it's over $2k USD -- this doesn't include the winch line or mount, which again because it's such a hefty winch, these are expensive too. Series 15 Hydraulic Winch - 15,000 lb - 65931

If you go 1.5 GVWR, you can instead go with this Warn winch for under $800 (VR EVO 12 Winch - 103254) and with the money saved, get yourself a 4-pack of MaxTrax, all the snatchblocks, rings, and pullies you'll ever need, throw in an exhaust jack for good measure, and you'll have enough cash left over for a grand adventure in your truck. Plus, this option would be compatible with 90% of the aftermarket winch bumpers and mounts available for your truck, which means the mounting options would be cheaper also.

(OP I know you already have the Smitty and a hidden mount -- the above is just for illustration of my point. You'd be best served, in my opinion, sticking with the Smitty and investing in some extra gear like recovery boards to give you more recovery options.)
 
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Bward76

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1.5 GVWR is what Warn recommends and, like MidOH said, if you need more than that you are probably better served by reassessing your recovery plan. Using brute force to recovery a vehicle is always an option and with enough force it will always work; there's something to be said for that approach in terms of "getting it done", but it dramatically increases the risk of breaking people and things, so if you need that much of a pull you are probably better off doing a bit more manual labour to get the vehicle in a better place to be pulled, or even deploying a set of maxtrax.

The financial element is here as well. Once you step up too big in winch sizes, the costs of the winches and the mounts grow quite a bit. In the OP's case, his GVWR is about 7200 lbs, so to double that you'd need a 15,000 lbs winch. Here is Warn's offering in that range, and it's over $2k USD -- this doesn't include the winch line or mount, which again because it's such a hefty winch, these are expensive too. Series 15 Hydraulic Winch - 15,000 lb - 65931

If you go 1.5 GVWR, you can instead go with this Warn winch for under $800 (VR EVO 12 Winch - 103254) and with the money saved, get yourself a 4-pack of MaxTrax, all the snatchblocks, rings, and pullies you'll ever need, throw in an exhaust jack for good measure, and you'll have enough cash left over for a grand adventure in your truck. Plus, this option would be compatible with 90% of the aftermarket winch bumpers and mounts available for your truck, which means the mounting options would be cheaper also.

(OP I know you already have the Smitty and a hidden mount -- the above is just for illustration of my point. You'd be best served, in my opinion, sticking with the Smitty and investing in some extra gear like recovery boards to give you more recovery options.)
Great advice and thank you for the input. I have really enjoyed reading the responses and am certainly picking up quite a bit from you all. I’m very fortunate to be in a position to be able to purchase the gear I may need as opposed to just getting what I can afford. Majority of my life has been the latter of the 2. I opted to try and keep it concealed for security reasons as i live in Sacramento and the truck doesn’t fit in my garage.
It sounds like targeting the gear in the 25k to 30k lb range is safe without being absurd. I certainly do plan on picking up recovery boards and shovels for the truck along with the rigging gear.
So where I grew up (not in Sacramento) My buddies and I were 4 wheeling every other weekend but none of us had money for a winch. So thank you for catering to my ignorance on the matter.
You guys have provided some awesome insight and resources. Thank you again.
 
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Veinot

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Hi all, I have been looking into adding a winch to my recovery gear and was thinking about getting a hitch mount winch plate here then I got looking into portable winches but none of them seemed like they would be good. 2000lbs pull, 6000lbs max, with 16000lbs break. Wasn't too sure what all that meant but my rig is about 5500lbs so I didn't think they would work. Then I came across this article here where they talk about the only setup in a portable winch that would work for recovery Superwinch 1140232 even then they are still sceptical but they are talking about a 16500lbs F250 Diesel off road rig where I am talking about a 5500Lbs MDX soft/mild off road adventure rig. I don't only think a winch system would be good for our light off roading but also for our touring in general; especially for the winter. It would be nice to know I have something to help recover my vehicle if need be.
 

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Hi all, I have been looking into adding a winch to my recovery gear and was thinking about getting a hitch mount winch plate here then I got looking into portable winches but none of them seemed like they would be good. 2000lbs pull, 6000lbs max, with 16000lbs break. Wasn't too sure what all that meant but my rig is about 5500lbs so I didn't think they would work. Then I came across this article here where they talk about the only setup in a portable winch that would work for recovery Superwinch 1140232 even then they are still sceptical but they are talking about a 16500lbs F250 Diesel off road rig where I am talking about a 5500Lbs MDX soft/mild off road adventure rig. I don't only think a winch system would be good for our light off roading but also for our touring in general; especially for the winter. It would be nice to know I have something to help recover my vehicle if need be.
I used a similar system as you are describing for years and it worked great. In my case, I made up a receiver mount that bolted onto the winch plate of my bumper. That way I could move the winch to the front or rear, depending on where I needed it, and I had an extension cord I custom made using Anderson plugs on the ends so it was truly a portable solution. I could even attach it to other vehicles by simply putting my Anderson plug beavertail onto their battery.

I purchased my winch cradle at Princess Auto, and mounted a Warn VR8000 winch to it. This was more than enough for my JK for a long time. So in short, yes this system will work great. I have since moved away from it though, so let me tell you my reasons:

1) Wear and Tear on the winch. The nature of a cradle-mounted winch is that it's either inside the rig, which takes up a lot of space/volume in a form that is not easy to pack around, or it's "permanently" mounted to the receiver hitch. Plus, when you need it, it's usually rocky/muddy/slippery so there's a strong argument for having it in "attack position" instead of stored away because hauling a 100 lbs+ winch around trying to get it lined up to a receiver in the cold/wet/mud/slippery conditions is asking for an injury at a time when an injury is about the worst thing that could happen. However, unlike a traditional bumper mounting (assuming it's properly designed), a winch on a receiver cradle system provides almost no protection for the winch itself. Salt, snow, grit, moisture, etc. all attack the winch and the winch cable. My VR8000 still works -- gotta love Warn -- but man, it's looking pretty worse for wear and probably aged 10x as much on my receiver mount as it would have if it was nested inside a protected bumper.

This is important because a winch needs to work when you need it. While I have every faith in Warn's designs, I prefer a winch that's well protected from the elements because that reduces the risk of a failure at a critical time.

2) Theft. A reciever-mounted winch is very easy to steal.

3) Weight. A receiver mounted winch, the extension cord to make it work, etc. all add up in the weight department. It also tends to cantilever this weight off the front of the vehicle further than a traditional bumper-mount; winches (especially with steel lines) are not light and this may compromise handling a bit on your rig or increase wear and tear.

4) Side Pulls. Allegedly, a reciever mount will not be quite as robust on side pulls as a bumper mounted winch. Mine never let me down nor did it give me reason to doubt it, but I can see the logic here given the leverage involved.

5) I never actually needed to pull backwards instead of forwards, so being able to move the winch was irrelevant.


If your rig is 5500 lbs, you should easily be able to get a cradle mountable winch for your application. I see you are in PEI so I'm not sure if they exist in your neck of the woods but for the longest time, my local Costco out here in Alberta sold these: https://www.costco.com/champion-10,000-pound-winch-kit.product.100412085.html (I can no longer find them on the Canadian website). WIth a 10k line pull, that's more than enough for your 5500 lbs rig, and this system comes with the cradle. I believe Superwinch offer a similar product.
 
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MidOH

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I'd look at manual options like a hilift winch kit instead of a hitch mounted winch.

Used my Clawz today. I drove too far forward on a driveway and put both my front tires in soft snow and mud. Rear tires were on paved ice and snow. 4x4 with rear locker, had no chance of moving. Not an inch.

The Truck Clawz popped to truck right out with no drama at all. I only used them on the front and reversed right out.
 

Veinot

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I'd look at manual options like a hilift winch kit instead of a hitch mounted winch.

Used my Clawz today. I drove too far forward on a driveway and put both my front tires in soft snow and mud. Rear tires were on paved ice and snow. 4x4 with rear locker, had no chance of moving. Not an inch.

The Truck Clawz popped to truck right out with no drama at all. I only used them on the front and reversed right out.
I think the high lift Winch Kit was what I was talking about with the Superwinch 1140232 I called it a portable winch. I was thinking about that over the hitch mount option because I could use a my front recovery posts and a synthetic strap on one end of the winch and an unmoveable object on the other to pull from the front or use my hitch to pull from the back giving me more pulling options. I just wasn't sure if the Superwinch 1140232 would be powerful enough. Truck Clawz or something similar are on the list along with traction aids.
 

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I think the high lift Winch Kit was what I was talking about with the Superwinch 1140232 I called it a portable winch. I was thinking about that over the hitch mount option because I could use a my front recovery posts and a synthetic strap on one end of the winch and an unmoveable object on the other to pull from the front or use my hitch to pull from the back giving me more pulling options. I just wasn't sure if the Superwinch 1140232 would be powerful enough. Truck Clawz or something similar are on the list along with traction aids.
The hi-Lift winch kit Mid-OH is talking about is not like the Superwinch.

Hi Lift Winching:


I would not recommend using the Superwinch you have linked as a recovery winch if that is the only tool you have with you for a 5500 lbs vehicle. The actual "stuck" weight of that vehicle is likely to be many thousands of pounds more than that, depending one what you are stuck in. The same amount of money can get you something like the Champion that I linked in a cradle, which is actually rated and designed for your vehicle. Right now, Costco Canada has very good Runva-brand winches that again are sized appropriately for your vehicle -- 9500 lbs -- and you would just need to add a winch cradle from Princess Auto or something for another $100.

Alternatively, a hi-lift and some bits of chain will only be about $200 and, in a pinch, it will get you out of a jam. If your money is limited, you'd be far better off investing in a set of MaxTrax first (or similar products) and using the Hi-Lift system when really stuck, or wheeling with a buddy who can pull you out when the MaxTrax won't work. Anecdotally, before I had traction boards, I would have to reach for the winch about 85% more frequently. Now though it's rare that I need to winch because the traction boards do the recovery job far more safely and with less messing than winching. Translating that, if you get a set of Max Trax, you may find that you need to reach for the hi-lift so rarely that the expense of an electric winch isn't worth it anymore.

A couple more thoughts on that Superwinch:

1) As mentioned earlier, most folks suggest 1.5x vehicle weight as the minimum. That means you'll want a winch that's good for at least 7500 lbs.
2) I think this was also mentioned in this thread, but winches are rated based on how much they can pull on the last wrap around the drump. The more rope you have on your drum, the less the winch will be able to pull.
3) Winch costs are not proportional -- you can spend $400 on a 4000 lbs winch, but that doesn't mean you have to spend $800 on a 8000lbs winch. Runva, Champion, Superwinch, and Smittybilt all provide very affordable winches big enough for typical 4x4s at price points that aren't that different from the Superwinch.

Examples:

Runva at Costco: https://www.costco.ca/runva-9.5xs-4,309.1-kg-(9,500-lb.)-short-drum-electric-recovery-winch-with-steel-cable.product.100349449.html
Smitty at 4WheelParts: Smittybilt XRC 9.5K Waterproof 9500lb Winch Gen2 - 97495
 
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Veinot

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The hi-Lift winch kit Mid-OH is talking about is not like the Superwinch...
All good info, I am unable to watch that video right now but I am wondering is that a manual winch? We use the term come-a-long or coma-long here. I thought about something like that first to go with traction pads and a kinetic strap (I figured if I built up some energy into the strap with the come-a-long then I could use that to help pull me past the obstacle or low traction surface). But I could not find any info on using them for vehicle recovery maybe I need to google Hi-Lift winch recovery? Usually what gets me stuck is being high centred on snow, ok so far the only thing that got me stuck, but I can see sliding off a slick wet clay road or maybe getting into a mud hole, although I am pretty precarious of mud holes because sometimes it is hard to tell.
My only qualm about using a hitch mounted winch is that I use the hitch for other things too but it is looking like my best option so far.
 
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All good info, I am unable to watch that video right now but I am wondering is that a manual winch? We use the term come-a-long or coma-long here. I thought about something like that first to go with traction pads and a kinetic strap (I figured if I built up some energy into the strap with the come-a-long then I could use that to help pull me past the obstacle or low traction surface). But I could not find any info on using them for vehicle recovery maybe I need to google Hi-Lift winch recovery? Usually what gets me stuck is being high centred on snow, ok so far the only thing that got me stuck, but I can see sliding off a slick wet clay road or maybe getting into a mud hole, although I am pretty precarious of mud holes because sometimes it is hard to tell.
My only qualm about using a hitch mounted winch is that I use the hitch for other things too but it is looking like my best option so far.
The Hi-Lift Winch Kit is converting a hi-lift jack -- also known as a Farm Jack or a "Widowmaker Jack"l -- into a pulling tool. It's not the same as a come-along; a come-along uses internal gearing and pulley systems to move an object. A Hi-Lift Jack is primarily a lifting tool, but because of it's design, it can be used as a pulling tool as well. However, the Hi-Lift has the nickname of "Widowmaker Jack" for a reason -- they are dangerous if you're not sure how to use one or are unfamiliar with their operation. Not sure if you can see photos but here is a picture of a hi-lift jack in action as a jack:

maxresdefault-2.jpg

And as a winch:

Hi-Lift-Jack-Extreme-48-inch-review.jpg
(The other end this jack is attached to a tree via a strap, just out of frame)

Basically, the Hi-Lift uses these walking feet to walk up and down that metal piece with the holes in it, and you can use this walking motion to move your vehicle.

Your idea of using a Kinetic rope and a hi-lift actually defeats the purpose of the kinetic rope, I think. Kinetic ropes are stretchy by design so that if I'm pulling you with my vehicle, the pulling force from my vehicle is smoothly transitioned into getting your vehicle out -- no hard jerks or starts. If you use one to winch, you will stretch the rope until it has no more stretch, at which time it will become the same as a static rope, before you ever move your vehicle. Given the HI-Lift winch system can only do 30" of pull at a time or so, you'd probably never actually stretch out the rope fully before you had to reset the jack. You need a static rope to use a come along or hi-lift as a winch. I would suggest spending a bit more time on learning about recovery methods before you spend money on recovery gear -- this way you can know exactly what you need for your use case.

Recovery is the second most dangerous part of this hobby, right behind getting into a traffic accident on your way to the trail. It's well worth making sure you are as close to an expert as you can get on this before you start doing it too much -- these are not the kinds of mistakes that you often get second chances to make.


Here's some resources:

Part 1: 4X4 recovery guide | the basics

Part 2: 4X4 recovery guide | recovery kits

Part 3: 4X4 recovery guide: the snatch


The above are articles on general recovery. Here is some info from Warn on safe winching:


And a video on the importance of winch safety:


And a video on winch basics:

 
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