Recovery gear should be the first bit of kit you invest in before you venture off-road. Recoveries are part and parcel when it comes to 4×4 adventures. This is the most crucial piece of equipment you will need off road and you do not want to go cheap here. Recovery equipment can mean the difference between having an exciting day out or having a nightmare trip and even being stranded out in a remote area if there is no assistance around.
At some point, you will get stuck and that will not be a good time to learn how to use your off-road gear. Neither is it the appropriate time to realize you bought the wrong equipment and people’s lives are potentially in danger.
A word from the wise: Purchase the best recovery equipment you can afford and ensure it is always certified and rated for the recovery task. Don’t just purchase the gear and pack it in your truck, rather take the time with a mate to practice a few mock recoveries in a safe controlled environment to ensure you are familiar with the correct recovery procedures.
I hereby recommend the following items to be on top of your priority list of off-road gear
The best advice anyone can give you is, to always ensure you carry a decent shovel in your 4-wheel drive. A good shovel can be more handy than a kinetic strap or rope.
A little bit of digging or removal of snow and sand might get you going again, without the need of a strap and shackles.
Always ensure you purchase the correct Bow shackles that are rated for recoveries. Commercial D-shackles are often seen by 4×4 owners to attach straps and ropes for recoveries, instead of the Rated Bow Shackles. Cheap commercial shackles look similar to their rated Bow-shackle counterparts, but lack the strength, making them dangerous and even deadly!
NB: Beware of purchasing cheap items online at inflated prices!
I recommend the following Anti-Rust D-Ring Shackles with a 57000 LBS break point ideal for offroad recoveries and towing.
How to identify a Rated Bow Shackle
- The rated shackle steel pin is slightly thicker in diameter than the alloy body of the shackle
- The rating is embossed on the body
- The Factor of Safety is 5:1
- A bow shackle has a larger inner radius of a D-shackle
PORTABLE AIR COMPRESSOR
Once you’ve reached the trail and aired down your tires, you will need to re-inflate them before you get back on the highway.
A dual-cylinder compressor works faster without overheating. Trust me on this one, you don’t want to be stuck with a 60L single cylinder which takes 15 minutes to inflate each tire.
If you have offroad tires larger than 33″ then I recommend you go for the High Performance ARB Twin Air Compressor
HEAVY-DUTY STATIC RECOVERY STRAP
The next item on top of your priority list should be a decent Static Recovery Strap.
Kinetic straps should have a safety factor of 4:1. Kinetic straps are elongated and the kinetic energy is stored in the fibers. The best speed to do recovery is between 9MPH and 12MPH (15-22km/h). Never leave your nylon strap tied around your bull bar since it won’t allow the strap to retract properly and the nylon will degrade when exposed to sunlight.
Don’t get caught out with an overpriced tow-strap without a recovery rating!
I recommend this Heavy-Duty 32000 lbs Nylon Recovery Strap with Bow Shackles
TIRE DEFLATOR & GAUGE
A good quality tire deflator will allow you to do it faster and more accurately.
The device screws directly onto a tire’s valve stem. You can then easily remove the valve core for quick deflation. The stopper slides up to allow for quick air release.
I recommend this tire deflator off-road kit with a glow-in-the-dark pressure gauge.
Tire pressure can be monitored as you go with a decent heavy-duty gauge. The gauge is calibrated to read tire pressures accurately at lower pressures. Once the desired pressure is reached you simply screw the valve core back on and move to the next tire.
Recovery tracks are an essential part of your recovery arsenal. When stuck in sand, snow, or mud, simply unpack them and wedge them directly under the wheels with the least traction. They can also be used to create a small bridge to drive over. Beware of cheap knock-offs that are made of inferior plastic. Their colors fade quickly when exposed to the sun and become brittle and crack easily.
There are cheaper options available but I recommend you first check out these MaxTrax Extreme Recovery Boards.
A Hi-lift jack is an extremely versatile tool. It can be used as a manual hand winch, dismantled, and the cast components utilized for mechanical repairs. It’s a durable and reliable tool as a backup to your air-jack. I never leave home without it.
I recommend this Farm Jack that lifts as high as 48″ and can hold 3.5 Tons
Ideal for lifting high 4-wheel drives with raised suspensions.
Get the Base Plate as support on soft ground surfaces like snow, sand, or mud for added stability.
SHACKLE HITCH RECEIVER
This a safe and easy recovery option, if you do not have dedicated recovery points, fitted yet. It bolts directly into the tow-hitch which is bolted directly to the chassis making it an ideal recovery option.
I recommend this Shackle Hitch Receiver for recoveries and towing.
If you opt for the Air Jack, get a jack with 8800 Lbs of Lifting Capacity. That will provide you with 31 inches of lift above the ground. Perfect for lifted trucks with larger tires.
I recommend this inflatable Exhaust Air Jack ideal for offroad recoveries. Good to lift a 4 Ton 8800 lbs truck
WINCH CABLE PROTECTOR
The winch cable protector is made from tough layered PVC which is reinforced and durable. It has two pockets which you need to fill with sand or stones for additional weight. This reduces the risk of injury if the winch cable breaks
I recommend this Durable Vinyl Winch Dampener for safe winching.