In recent years, complete off-road recovery kits have become extremely popular featuring everything you need to get unstuck during your next off-road adventure. Typically they’ll come equipped with some combination of snatch straps, tree huggers, shackles, and more.
In this article, we give you the top 5 4×4 recovery kits to take with you. So wherever you go, you know what to do if the mud, sand or snow comes biting at your wheels.
- 1 Overview
Top 5 4×4 Recovery Kits
- 2.1 Motormic 4×4 Recovery Kit
- 2.2 ALL-TOP 4×4 Recovery Kit
- 2.3 GearAmerica 4×4 Recovery Kit
- 2.4 WARN 4×4 Recovery Kit
- 2.5 Offroading Gear 4×4 Recovery Kit
- 2.6 What are the Most Common Items in a 4×4 Recovery Kit?
- 2.7 Winch Extension Strap
- 2.8 Tire Deflator
- 2.9 Other Items to Bring Off-roading
- 2.10 Gloves
- 2.11 Distress Sheets
- 2.12 Utility Knife or Cutter
- 2.13 Basic Off-road 4×4 Recovery Tip
- 2.14 Tow strap and snatch strap are two different things.
- 2.15 Use a shovel and an off-road jack when needed.
- 2.16 Back up when stuck in sand.
- 2.17 Decrease the tire pressure.
- 2.18 Conclusion
Top 5 4×4 Recovery Kits
Motormic 4×4 Recovery Kit
The Motormic recovery kit is the most affordable kit on the list here. It’s a pretty barebones kit with not many bells and whistles, but it has all of the essentials: a snatch strap, two D-Shackles, and a hitch receiver. It also comes with a hitch receiver lock which is a bit unnecessary in a kit like this.
ALL-TOP 4×4 Recovery Kit
If you’re looking for a strap that’s more elastic than the ordinary, the ALL-TOP Heavy-duty Tow Strap Recovery Kit has one.
This off road recovery gear’s strap is made from pure nylon material, with a stretching capacity that’s 22% greater than one which’s made from polyester. This way, you no longer need an extension in pulling your vehicle from a farther distance. See Polyester vs Nylon for an in-depth comparison.
It also has a very high breaking strength of 42,500 lbs that lets you pull large vehicles, without the fear of accidentally snapping it in half.
GearAmerica 4×4 Recovery Kit
This kit has nearly everything you need: a snatch strap, extension strap, two shackles, a snatch block, some gloves, and even a carrying bag that doubles as a winch dampener.
The items in this kit are all quite high quality but if there’s one downside, it’s that Gear America’s branding is front and center on basically every item. A bit of branding I can live with, but this is a bit over the top.
WARN 4×4 Recovery Kit
The WARN recovery kit is arguably the most high quality recovery kit on the market (and you’re going to pay for it). WARN is one of the most reputable names in the off-road community and this kit stays true to this reputation. It includes almost everything you need with a snatch block, snatch strap, d-shackles, gloves, and a tree trunk protector. Missing from the kit though are a winch dampener and winch extension.
The storage bag that comes with this kit is top of the line. It double as a backpack and has a number of pockets for storing other items.
Offroading Gear 4×4 Recovery Kit
The Offroading Gear recovery kit has the most items of all of the kits listed here and includes a snatch strap, winch extension, tree saver, snatch block, tire deflators, two d-shackles, a winch dampener and a heavy duty storage bag.
If you have absolutely nothing for your 4×4 right now this is a great kit for you. If you already have some of the items though, then you’re going to be potentially paying for items you don’t need.
What are the Most Common Items in a 4×4 Recovery Kit?
Will your winch be enough to get your vehicle unstuck or will you still need an extension to get it to an even ground? Here are the common items you’ll find in a 4×4 recovery kit that’ll help you stay safe in various situations, whether you’re alone or with someone else.
A snatch strap or snatch rope is the core piece of equipment in nearly every recovery kit. It’s made from a material, usually nylon, that allows it to elongate up to about 20%. This elongation means that the moment it’s stretched, it gradually builds stored energy that it uses to pull out stuck 4x4s.
Most jeeps and SUVs should have a snatch strap of about 7/8″ in diameter and at least 20′ in length.
A winch dampener is essentially a weighted blanket that goes overtop of your snatch strap or snatch rope. The purpose is so that if (and when) your strap or rope gets accidentally pulled away from one of the vehicles, it doesn’t go flying with a heavy piece of steel attached to it and instead just falls to the ground.
By using a winch dampener, you’re sparing yourself from potential serious injury or death.
A winch hook’s function is basically what its name suggests – it’s where you attach your winch through a chain, to pull out your stuck vehicle. .
Winch hooks are your ideal option if you’re using chains to pull your vehicle because they don’t damage them and reduce sliding issues. If chains accidentally slide through them, they simply fall on the ground, unlike ropes or cables that come with a snapping and whipping effect. That’s why, a handful of off-roaders still use winch hooks and chains together.
You’re going to need something to attach your recovery straps to your vehicle, and that’s what your shackles in. Most people use typical steel shackles due to their durability and inexpensiveness. However, synthetic shackles have become increasingly popular in recent years because they’re stronger (yes, stronger) and also quite a bit safer. Check out our article comparing the top synthetic rope shackles.
Tree Trunk Protector
In some 4×4 recovery scenarios, you need a recovery point where you can attach your rope or cable, and winch altogether, to make sure that your vehicle’s up and running again. One basic example of such a recovery point is a tree trunk.
Why do you need a tree trunk protector? For your safety and the tree’s safety! This is because a tree trunk protector ensures the tree itself doesn’t bend, crack, or snap, which can cause injuries, as you pull your vehicle to safety. It is also a way to prevent accidentally killing the tree.
Winch Extension Strap
When the distance between your anchor point and winch rope is out of reach, that’s when a winch extension strap comes in. It extends the length of your winch rope and makes it enough to attach to your anchor point, so you can properly perform a 4×4 recovery.
A serious warning though, never use a winch extension strap as a substitute to a snatch strap. This is because a winch extension strap doesn’t have to capacity to further stretch and too much tension on it can damage or break it. If it isn’t long enough for the job, you may use a winch rope extension instead, which is also present in some 4×4 recovery kits.
A snatch block is popular for enhancing the pulling capacity of winch ropes and if you’ll be pulling your vehicle from an angular position, it easily guides the winch rope to the intended path, in a way that offsets the anchor point that makes movement of your vehicle possible, even from a short distance.
A snatch block can be used with a hook or shackle but its other variant, the swing block, is extremely useful for off-road enthusiasts.
A tire deflator can also be found in a 4×4 recovery kit. It’s very important because it lets you air down your tire pressure to the recommended PSI level to boost your tires’ traction on uneven surfaces. Usual types of tire deflator are the simple bolts as shown above and gauge-included.
Other Items to Bring Off-roading
There are things that you need to bring wherever you go but there are also those just sitting in your vehicle, until time calls for you to use them. As the saying goes, “Always be prepared” by having these items with you, if something bad turns into something worse on the trail.
During 4×4 recovery, winching can literally be a handful. Wire cable can sting your hands in the long-run while synthetic rope can be bitingly cold in winter season.
Since winch lines can be unforgiving on the hands, your best bet to protect them is by wearing gloves.
Off-road Fire Extinguisher
An off-road fire extinguisher may be one of the least likely items you’d want to bring on your trip but fire can happen even when you’re in the middle of an adventure.
When exhaust pipes are blocked, your engine won’t be able to breathe resulting in an overheat that can instantly fry it. Electrical malfunctions can also occur due to tangled or misplaced wiring which can ignite a fire and an accessible off-road fire extinguisher is your only ticket to salvaging your vehicle.
Desperate times call for desperate measures as the famous saying goes. When you ran out of food in the middle of nowhere or when you’re stuck somewhere dangerous with hardly any potential for help, bringing out distress sheets is a good way to attract passers-by attention.
Distress sheets are typically created with striking colors. They’re usually in bright orange, yellow and green to make it easily noticeable, especially for search-and-rescue air crafts.
Utility Knife or Cutter
During 4x4ing, your vehicle door and seat belt can get jammed and there’s no better tool to use than a utility knife. Before, a utility knife is only used in workplaces like in construction and food industries.
Nowadays, a growing number of people are seeing its importance in emergency cases or in the brink of life-threatening circumstances. In fact, others even use it for self-defense as a slashing weapon.
Basic Off-road 4×4 Recovery Tip
Knowledge on 4×4 recovery doesn’t just start and end with purchasing a 4×4 recovery kit.
So, here are the things you must keep in mind, to ensure that you know what your doing by the time you are faced with the tough decision of pulling your vehicle out of the mud, sand and snow.
A tow strap’s commonly used for vehicles that aren’t heavily stuck. This means the vehicles only need a little amount of pulling, to get them out of a tight spot. Why so? A snatch strap isn’t elastic that if you apply too much force in it, there’s a chance it’ll break and come flying back at you with a deadly punch.
On the contrary, a snatch strap’s meant for forceful pulling. This is because a snatch strap is elastic and has the capacity to absorb much of the tension. As a result, snapping force is reduced and it won’t also damage your vehicle’s attachment points.
Don’t use a tow ball in a real recovery situation.
Even though this is a recurring reminder across the 4×4 recovery nation, there are still those who are stubborn enough to do the unthinkable. Never attach your shackle or strap to a tow-ball – it’ll snap right off.
This is because tow balls aren’t made to withstand heavy pulling like the tow straps. The scary truth about tow balls is once their head breaks, it can directly smash your vehicle’s windscreen and kill you.
Use a shovel and an off-road jack when needed.
Sometimes, if you’re deeply stuck in mud, sand or snow, efforts of getting yourself out of it is futile. There are also instances when force winching can damage your vehicle.
As such, you should first use a shovel to dig through your vehicle because it evens out the surface a bit. Then, you can use a hi-lift jack to eventually raise your vehicle high enough for winching purposes.
You may also stack rocks on your wheels to improve ground clearance and get out of an obstacle.
Back up when stuck in sand.
Sand has a very soft surface that lets your vehicle sink deeper into it the more you move, especially in a forward motion.
So whenever you find yourself stuck in it, expert off-roaders advise that you drive backwards. Driving backwards helps because you’re moving in your own compressed tracks. If it doesn’t work, stop and find out where you need to go next.
Decrease the tire pressure.
Letting out a reasonable amount of air in your tires increases your tires’ footprint and gives way to a better grip.
Be careful not to decrease the pressure too much because you’re more likely to drive on the road when you’re done with the trails. A 12-15 PSI reduction is usually enough.
These are the top 5 4×4 recovery kits that can save your neck when stuck in the trails. By familiarizing yourself with their various components and learning how to properly use them, with the help of some pointers, you enhance your safety and knowledge on 4×4 recovery. Share us your thoughts by commenting below.