Editors’ Choice: Overland Recovery Gear and Accessories

Photo By: Warn

At some point, everyone gets stuck. Whether it’s snow, mud, loose rocks, getting high-centered, or even a rollover, it’s important to be able to right, extract, fix anything broken, and otherwise get moving again without having to call for help. That’s where recovery gear – and training – comes into play. Buying cheap recovery gear is ill-advised: if it breaks while you’re trying to get out of a tight spot, you’ll be really stuck, so spend the extra money to make sure you get the best gear for your rig – and then take the time to learn how to properly use it.

Some of the equipment needed for safely recovering your rig can be hazardous to operate without proper training, so be sure to attend an Overland Expo seminar to get up to speed safely.

Photos by John Allen

If you’re just starting to venture from the beaten path, you can probably get by with some hand tools, a jack, tow rope and some traction boards. Pro Tip: It’s safer to travel with a buddy; in that case, a snatch strap can be a great tool to get clear of an obstacle. As your off-road adventures head towards more technical terrain, you’ll want to expand your recovery kit and your knowledge of recovery techniques. 

Here are our suggestions for some of the best options across various recovery equipment categories, curated from many miles spent in the wild. Once again, you can learn how to use these tools in a controlled environment when you take a class from the Overland Expo Vehicle Training Team at any of our events.

READ MORE: New Training Opportunities at Overland Expo

AEV Trail Recovery Kit

AEV recovery Kit, recovery kit, tree strap, gloves, winch strap, shackles, rescue kit,

Looking for an all-in-one (bag) recovery kit solution? AEV has you covered with this ensemble that includes an AEV recovery strap, tree strap, winch extension strap, snatch block, a pair of 3/4-inch anchor shackles, tire deflator and a pair of gloves. It all comes in a tough U.S.-made bag to keep things sorted. Depending on your vehicle, you may need a larger or different kit, and AEV has multiple options.

ARB Recovery Gloves

Photo by ARB

During any vehicle recovery operation, it’s a good idea to have some gloves on to protect your hands from abrasion and increase grip since you’ll be working with ropes, harnesses, and even clearing dirt and rocks from wheels. This pair from ARB offers breathability and wear resistance in a quick-drying fabric. Keep a pair (or two or more) in your rig, and you and your crew will be ready for action. Hand injuries can quickly end your attempts to manipulate your recovery equipment – and keep you from working and playing. A tough pair of gloves protects your hands and also gives a bit of warmth in cold situations.

Bubba Rope PRO Gator-Jaw Soft Shackles

Bubba Rope Soft Shackles, recovery gear, rescue gear, shackles, rope shackles, extraction gear, overlanding recovery,
Photo by Bubba Rope

Soft shackles offer numerous advantages over typical D-ring-type metal shackles, including less wear and more options for connection. These soft shackles from Bubba Rope feature a load limit of just over 15,000 pounds and 53,000-pound breaking points. They are easier to work with and allow connecting to more spots on a vehicle, including bumper points, axles, and even B-pillars if need be. They also don’t mar pant (typically) and connect quickly. Considering how packable a soft shackle is without sacrificing the strength needed for vehicle recoveries, there’s no reason to venture out without a few pairs in your rig. 

READ MORE: Editors’ Choice: Campsite Gear & Accessories

ARB Snatch Strap

Photo by ARB

What’s a “snatch strap?” Think of it a industrial-strength rubber band build into a tow rope. When slowly pulling a vehicle out with a tow rope doesn’t work, sometimes giving the rescue vehicle a little “runway” to add momentum is enough to get the stuck rig moving enough to get the extraction process underway. Problem is, a hard pull with a tow rope can damage vehicles, snap off parts – sending them flying at high speed which can cause injury – or snap the tow rope.

That’s where the shock-absorbing feature of a snatch strap comes into play. The stretching ability of the strap allows for the harder “pull” force required for the recovery but also ramps the “pull” force while easing the stress on both vehicles. But again: Proper use of a snatch strap requires instruction to prevent injury and vehicle damage.

ARB has been making snatch straps for years, and we rank a snatch strap right up there with traction boards in terms of effectiveness. With a 20% kinetic stretch rating and a minimum breaking strength of 24,000 lbs, you can be sure that these straps can stand up to the stress of snatch strap recoveries. Don’t be tempted to use a regular tow strap for a difficult recovery. This option from ARB will allow you to safely extract one vehicle from sticky situations with nothing but another vehicle and some know-how.

Rough Country Traction and Recovery Boards

Recovery boards are the quickest option for getting a rig out of a tight spot when just a little extra traction is needed in mud, sand, or snow. Plus, they’re easy to put into action. Rough Country’s Traction boards measure almost four feet long by 13 inches wide. Made from high-density material with a deep studded design for increased traction, they stay in place, and the ends of the boards are ramped for easy entry. The reasonable price means you can double up on two sets for a bit longer escape route if need be. They can be mounted on your vehicle or stored easily with the included bag.

ARB Tree Trunk Protector straps

Photo by ARB

We’re big supporters of Leave No Trace overlanding, but sometimes you have to call on Mother Nature to lend a hand (or a tree trunk) so you can winch your way out of trouble. ARB’s Tree Trunk Protector straps are designed to be a non-stretching anchor point for your winch so that you can safely self-rescue without damaging the tree. The three-inch width helps spread out the load to prevent damage to the tree. Nature thanks you for your consideration – and so does the next person who needs that tree to get out of a tight spot.

Hi-Lift Off-Road Kit For Hi-Lift Jacks

One classic piece of off-road equipment that can be found on countless overlanding rigs is the venerable Hi-Lift jack. Once you’re trained on how to use it, a Hi-Lift jack can be indispensable in some recovery situations, but add in Hi-Lift’s Off-Road Kit, and the simple jack can now also (slowly) winch you out of trouble. It’ll take time, but you’ll get there. Then, you can jack up your vehicle to safely assess if there’s any damage. https://hi-lift.com/product/hi-lift-off-road-kit/

READ MORE: ARB’s ZERO 47-QT Fridge Performs as Good as It Looks

ARB Hydraulic Long Travel Recovery Jack

Sometimes, a jack needs to be fairly flexible and work in tight quarters. ARB’s Hydraulic Long Travel Recovery Jack is similar to a smaller bottle jack but with a lot more length, so you don’t need to juggle or stack adapters to reach a jacking point. It can lift and secure your rig for repairs, digging out, or making space for traction boards. It’s 35 inches fully compacted and can rise to 48 inches at a safe maximum while lifting just over 4,000 pounds. A blowoff valve prevents sudden failure, the foot rotates 360 degrees for safe placement, and a simple pressure release lets users control the vehicle’s descent back to terra firma. Mounts easily to MOLLE boards or interior spaces and works faster than non-hydraulic jacks.

Warn Spydura Synthetic Winch Extension Rope

Photo by Warn

Of course, you have enough winch line on that spool – until you don’t. Just to be sure, we suggest a winch extension rope like this 50-foot-long option from Warn. It’s highly abrasion-resistant and offers 10,000 lb. breaking strength. Looped ends with fabric covers won’t damage painted surfaces. Maybe get two?

ComeUp DV-18 12V 18,000-Pound Winch

ComeUp DV-18 12V Winch, winch, recovery winch, overlanding winch, truck winch,
Photo by ComeUp

There’s no denying a winch and some key accessories can get your rig out of a lot of sketchy situations. And while there are some big names in the winch market, we like how ComeUp has added some innovative features to the DV-18 bumper-mounted winch, such as a rotatable clutch assembly and line release that can make it easier to haul out a vehicle even if it’s a bit off-angle, and an overheat indicator on the remote control for safe operation. The 7-horsepower motor working through a 315:1 reduction gearing has the power to get even a stubbornly stuck vehicle moving towards safety. An 82-foot run of 1/2-inch rope is included, as is a 17-foot tether for the remote. Just to reiterate, recovery equipment, especially winches, require training for safe operation, but once you’re trained, you’ll be amazed at what a winch can conquer. https://ok4wd.com/dv-18-12v/

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