Recovery gear ratings?

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MMc

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I gave up chains when I snapped a couple using a block and tackle moving logs for a project. They use straps on most rigging operations for a reason. I replace with static straps and not looked back, I have found they easier and better overall. Chains are old technology with the new synthetic line they are the future.
 

smlobx

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Here’s a post from Montana 4x4 Overland on Farcebook that gives a good explaination..
OFF-ROAD 201: WHY NOT USE A CHAIN?
We have often posted: "DON'T use chain for recovery." However, we seldom fully explain why a chain is a poor choice. Let's see if I can clear this up a little.
First, we must touch on the term, "Best-Practice".

A Best-Practice is a way of doing something that produces superior results to those achieved by other means. It does not mean other ways never work, but it is the way that gives the best results in most circumstances. In our case, we want to use best practices that produce the safest, surest way of getting the job done.

Not being Best-Practice, or even close to one, is why we can't recommend the use of a chain in bogged vehicle recoveries. It is not that a chain can never be used to successfully pull a bogged vehicle out of a hole. We all know that we can use a chain, now I will try to explain why we shouldn't.
Some reasons using a chain is not "Best-Practice":

1. Strength. What is the minimum breaking strength of YOUR chain? Do you have any idea? Most people don't. Not knowing if your recovery equipment is up to the task is needlessly allowing dangers that simply don't need to be part of this process. Chains, even those the same physical size, come in several grades/strengths which are often not easily identifiable visually. What grade your chain is, can make a substantial difference. For example, a 5/16" Grade 30 chain has a minimum breaking strength (MBS) of just 7600 pounds. The same size chain, but in a Grade 80 rating, has a breaking strength of 18,800 pounds. That alone could be the difference between a successful tug and a broken chain. In comparison, most snatch straps are rated at either 20,000 or 30,000 pounds MBS.
Even if you know the grade and strength of your chain, there are other reasons not to use it. Read on.

2. Weight matters. My recovery kit includes both a 30,000-pound snatch strap and a 33,000-pound kinetic rope, but I suspect it is more common to have a 20,000-pound recovery strap. To get close to, even this lower Minimum Breaking Strength, we would need to use at least a 3/8", Grade 70 chain which would have an MBS of 18,800 pounds. That chain will weigh about 1 pound per foot. So a 30-foot length will be about 30 pounds. A chain closer to the 30,000-pound MBS of my strap would require a 7/16", grade 70 chain weighing more than 40 pounds for 30 feet. In comparison, my 30K strap weighs about 8 pounds and it rolls up neatly for storage.

3. A chain is harder to secure for recovery. Standard chain hooks do not secure the chain well enough for uses where the chain may go between tension and slack several times in the course of a bogged-rig recovery. Simply, hooks make for an unsafe situation during the recovery of a bogged rig.

4. SHOCK: So, you ate your Wheaties and dug out your 40-pound, recovery chain and are confident that your chain hooks will somehow magically stay in place for the duration of the recovery. But, is there enough traction for the recovering vehicle so that it can slowly take up the slack and then recover without shock-loading that chain? If not, you should not be using a chain. This is important because the chain has ZERO elasticity and the entire impact of a running start will, , when you come to the end of that chain, be experienced, by both the vehicles and their occupants. You will be much more likely to experience damage to one or both vehicles in any situation where you need a running start and use a chain.
If you still cannot quite picture how the lack of elasticity can cause damage, think of it this way: If you were going bungee jumping off a high bridge ( jumping off a low bridge has its own hazards...lol, sorry, I digress ), what do you think would happen to you if that stretchy bungee cord was replaced with a chain? Ouch!! That impact would not do your 4x4 any good either.

So, in this case, using the "Best-Practice" means we are better off with a true recovery strap or rope that has some stretch, can be fully secured, takes up less space, weighs much less, and is considerably less likely to cause damage to the involved vehicles, with normal use. In other words, using a strap that is DESIGNED for recovery is...wait for it...Best-Practice.

Make no mistake, a chain has its place. Chain's resistance to abrasion means it can be ideal for dragging objects like rocks or logs out of the trail. These jobs could quickly destroy a strap or rope and don't (or shouldn't) normally cause shock-loads on the chain. Chain's lack of elasticity also makes it better for jobs like using a Hi-Lift Jack to winch yourself out of a jam.

I am not saying that a chain can never be used for recovery. I "AM" saying it is a poor choice for the job and far less safe than using properly rated recovery gear. In other words, using it is not even close to being a "Best-Practice" and can be quite a dangerous practice.
Now, hopefully, you know a little more of why a chain is a very poor and dangerous choice for bogged vehicle recovery.
 
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Pathfinder I

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.......
Make no mistake, a chain has its place. Chain's resistance to abrasion means it can be ideal for dragging objects like rocks or logs out of the trail. These jobs could quickly destroy a strap or rope and don't (or shouldn't) normally cause shock-loads on the chain. Chain's lack of elasticity also makes it better for jobs like using a Hi-Lift Jack to winch yourself out of a jam.

I am not saying that a chain can never be used for recovery. I "AM" saying it is a poor choice for the job and far less safe than using properly rated recovery gear. In other words, using it is not even close to being a "Best-Practice" and can be quite a dangerous practice.
Now, hopefully, you know a little more of why a chain is a very poor and dangerous choice for bogged vehicle recovery.
Thank you for sharing those articles, @smlobx. No argument from me that there are better tools than chain, but your first post suggested that it was never OK to use chains and that's not been my experience at all, but these articles have helped clarify that a bit. The criticisms of chain (especially when compared to other options like synthetic straps) are totally fair, but there's lots of times when a chain is all you have, and there's nothing wrong with using it that I can see from the articles. The above quote is far more consistent with my experience. The problems both articles identified are not unique to chain; in quick summary both articles talked about weight, making sure the chain was rated for the load, connecting chain securely, and their inelasticity -- all good factors to know about, but they apply to lots of other types of recovery gear as well. My takeaway is that there's nothing inherently wrong with using chain in a recovery if the appropriate chain, properly secured, is used by someone who knows what they are doing, which is true of all recovery gear.

One of the advantages of chain is its ubiquity. Being able to grab a length from basically any hardware store is handy and not something that is true of purpose-built recovery gear which is typically only commonly available at 4x4 shops.
 
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smlobx

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^^^
Thanks for your comments and perhaps my initial comment was a bit harsh but there are a lot of newly minted overlanders that visit this forum and deciding what to buy to extract a stuck vehicle a chain would be the last choice. I just wanted to make that clear.

I’ll have to disagree with your statement about easily being able to go into your local hardware store to pick up a chain for removing a vehicle. Most hardware stores just have Chinese junk nowadays and may not be properly labeled if at all.
When you make the decision to get something buy the right tool for the job.
 

Desert Runner

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Below is a really good review on Snatch Strap safety... and shows why I don’t snatch.

================================================================================================
Thanks for posting this video. I had seen it once before, a long time ago. It is a great reminder on the dangers and possibilities of when a recovery might go bad. Between Madd Matts and Ronnie Dahls videos, you see the respect needed (caution) when a H/D recovery is involved.

Videos like this should be shown in all recovery classes taught, along with individuals doing it on their own, before hitting the trails. This teaches prudent behavior, not to scare prospective off-roaders, but to educate. There bye evaluating how your gear gear will react if it goes 'pear shaped' should be a number one thought before you start attaching the recovery gear.

I have watched all the recovery videos I have come across, just to educate myself on techniques to properly self recover, and when helping other's. It never hurts to be humble, The adage,,,,,,,,,'a wise man knows there is always more to learn' ......is a good attitude to have.
 
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M Rose

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================================================================================================
Thanks for posting this video. I had seen it once before, a long time ago. It is a great reminder on the dangers and possibilities of when a recovery might go bad. Between Madd Matts and Ronnie Dahls videos, you see the respect needed (caution) when a H/D recovery is involved.

Videos like this should be shown in all recovery classes taught, along with individuals doing it on their own, before hitting the trails. This teaches prudent behavior, not to scare prospective off-roaders, but to educate. There bye evaluating how your gear gear will react if it goes 'pear shaped' should be a number one thought before you start attaching the recovery gear.

I have watched all the recovery videos I have come across, just to educate myself on techniques to properly self recover, and when helping other's. It never hurts to be humble, The adage,,,,,,,,,'a wise man knows there is always more to learn' is a good attitude to have.
Great wisdom here.
 

smlobx

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That video was done to intentionally fail.

As with all recoveries, regardless of the material used there is always a chance of failure. In the video posted above the strap was attached to a massive tree to induce strap failure. The results would have been much more severe if a chain had been used....
 

Desert Runner

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That video was done to intentionally fail.

As with all recoveries, regardless of the material used there is always a chance of failure. In the video posted above the strap was attached to a massive tree to induce strap failure. The results would have been much more severe if a chain had been used....
.........................................................................................................................................................................................................................
Yes, ......Yes it was made to show exactly that. The premise was IF THE SAFETY TETHER STRAP would work if a failure occurred. Mad Matt in the intro made that concern very explicit, and why the test was being done. He also said that they were consulting with the straps manufacturer to see if the design could be improved to work on the actual premise of a redundant safety strap in case of breakage.

PS:.......Agreed Chain as a main attachment point would have been a terrible choice due to the shock loading that would occur in such a use. Chain is not designed for that type of use. As seen in the video, it was a backup on one end of the test as a extra safety feature. Not as a main attachment point.
 
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Pathfinder I

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^^^
Thanks for your comments and perhaps my initial comment was a bit harsh but there are a lot of newly minted overlanders that visit this forum and deciding what to buy to extract a stuck vehicle a chain would be the last choice. I just wanted to make that clear.

I’ll have to disagree with your statement about easily being able to go into your local hardware store to pick up a chain for removing a vehicle. Most hardware stores just have Chinese junk nowadays and may not be properly labeled if at all.
When you make the decision to get something buy the right tool for the job.
Quality of stuff is always an issue these days, no disagreement there. I'm shocked at the price-for-quality equation with some kit that I've seen. But my main point isn't about the quality you find at a hardware store -- it's the fact that every town has a place selling chain, but not every town has a place selling purpose built 4x4 recovery gear. Industrial clients still use a lot of chain -- truckers, heavy equipment operators, etc. -- especially in North American places that a lot of us over landers like to go where forestry or mining are the big industries, and because of OSHA requirements, this stuff is almost always labelled and rated. I do agree that the local Home Depot may not be the place to get the kind of product we're talking about, though.

It's all a bit moot though...honestly I think that for the price of a properly rated chain, you can get far better synthetic straps (better as in, strong enough to do the job, but lighter). If a traveller is relying on what's available in small town in the middle of nowhere for recovery gear, odds are good that there are other decisions they could have made at a different time that would have served them better -- like getting the gear they need before they go and having a bit of redundancy planning.

Anyway -- @smlobx, thanks for bringing back some good information and engaging in this discussion. I think this gives a lot of clarity for folks who are new to this so they can make the best decision for themselves. Pre-COVID, this kind of friendly debate reminds me of a typical night with the guys over a pint or a coffee -- it's not exactly the same but it's a reasonable enough facsimile for me!

Now which is better to recover, Ford or Chevy? Once we've settled that, what engine oil is best for this stuff? (Those two debates should get this thread over 100 pages in no time! :D)
 

M Rose

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That video was done to intentionally fail.

As with all recoveries, regardless of the material used there is always a chance of failure. In the video posted above the strap was attached to a massive tree to induce strap failure. The results would have been much more severe if a chain had been used....
Yes I know they were meant to intentionally fail... that being said... did you see how much power was behind the failed strap... with a few slices and weakened points, there was still enough stored energy to kill some one.. a proper chain won’t fail... hence the 5/16” chain he used as a safety tied to the tree as well. He went over that very clearly in his video as he also explains a strap/rope is only good for towing regardless weather it’s a kinetic or not... the end of the video shows the test with failed kenteic straps as well designed for recovering semi trucks... again... 30 years in the recovery business and not one chain has failed me... EVER... and I can’t tell you how many times a brand new unused strap/rope has failed me... so many that they stay on the shelf now...
 

M Rose

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As for oil... as long as it’s not snake oil, it will be fine... besides... you can’t oil recovery straps
 

Veinot

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I found this product for a Honda Pilot BX2251 Honda Pilot | Blue Ox its installed so that you can tow your vehicle behind an RV. I am wondering if this could be installed and used as a recovery point? It bolts to the frame top rails in 9 spots on each side. I know the tow bar connections are a bit small but this could provide you with something to weld some shackle mounts too, maybe?