How Tos & Tutorials

How to Use a Sand Anchor to Recover Your 4×4

How do you use a sand anchor in a 4×4 recovery?

In this article, we teach you how to use one and go for a possible alternative when you see nothing but open sand for miles to get yourself out of a tight spot.

What Are Sand Anchors?

Sand anchors are special devices that you can use as pulling reference points or as something for your vehicle to hold on to in a winching process, in the absence of trees and rock boulders.

Traditional sand anchors are made from metal and appear in the shape of a letter “T.” The upper part serves as the handle while the lower part is known as the “auger” that digs and bites into the sand surface for resistance.

Choose Your Sand Anchor Setup Location

A suitable location to secure your sand anchor is characterized by a pure grainy surface. This means there should be no small rocks that can get in the way which may compromise your sand anchor’s stability.

To put your sand anchor in place, simply hold it on your chosen surface area and stamp your right foot on it so its auger effectively bites into the ground. If you don’t have a friend with you to monitor your sand anchor, it’s best to bury it in the sand at least 12-18 inches.

Attach Your Synthetic Winch Rope to the Sand Anchor

using synthetic winch rope

Connect your synthetic winch rope to the sand anchor via its D shackle. Don’t worry because D shackles are meant to accommodate either a synthetic winch rope or wire rope, which means they’re not going to cause extreme surface damage during the pulling process.

Use Your Winch Line Dampener

winch dampener use

Don’t forget to put a winch line dampener on the middle part of your synthetic winch rope. Winch dampeners are vital in damage mitigation because once they reach their stretch limit, they either reduce winch lines’ whipping force (for synthetic ropes and steel cables) or let them fall on the ground (for snatch straps).

Begin the Winch Operation Procedure

how to use a winch

Turn “on” your winch to start the pulling process. Even though it’s normal to let your winch do the dirty work, it’s still better to give it a bit of assistance by slowly moving your 4×4 forward via drive, low-range option.

Doing so, helps you evenly distribute the load on your synthetic winch rope’s surface and avoid the possibility of accidentally damaging or breaking it.

Tire Traction Pads as a Sand Anchor

Sand anchors aren’t limited to their typical form. In fact, you can make sand anchors out of almost anything; from spare tires to Deadman mats. In case you don’t have the usual sand anchors, you may still fashion something similar to them – tire traction pads. The process is almost the same but here are some things you need to remember.

tire traction mats for sand

  • Use Two Pairs of Tire Traction Pads – It will make them “hug” the pile of sand with them to avoid unnecessary movements.
  • Bury Your Tire Traction Pads at an Angle – It will give them the needed resistance to prevent them from moving up.
  • Bury Your Tire Traction Pads Horizontally – It will give them greater resistance than usual to pull your 4×4 without being displaced.

For further details, check out Seek Adventure.


Sand anchors sometimes become a subject of heated debates on 4×4 recovery in terms of safety and credibility. Nevertheless, they can get you out of a serious emergency as long as you know what types you’ll be using and how to use them correctly. The key is to tread carefully. Share us your thoughts on this topic by commenting below.




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