Off-Road Recovery Straps Explained

 In Accessories, Gear, Off-Road, Reviews

Off-Road Recovery Straps & Tow Straps (Overview)

Off-Road Recovery Straps 4Runner

ARB Recovery Snatch Strap Vs. Generic Grip Straps Vs. Rhino Off-Road Recovery Straps. Tow Straps Vs. Recovery Straps and off-road recovery strap explained

Recovery straps are an essential item in your off-road gear bag. Straps and shackles might be one of the most important items you can carry around with you at all times in your 4Runner. For the core accessories, you should carry around straps, recovery hitch receivers, shackles, jumper cables, flashlights, general tools, first-aid kits, along with a few others.

You are going to use your recovery straps quite often if you find yourself frequently off-road with your crew. I have used my recovery straps for a wide variety of applications including on-road and off-road use.

There are plenty of options to choose from when looking at off-road recovery straps to carry in your accessory bag. You have options ranging from the popular and a bit overpriced ARB all the way to your average affordable Amazon brand (Grip). I will admit, we did buy an Amazon brand about 4 years ago but it has worked every time we have needed it.

There has been absolutely nothing wrong with this strap. We have used this strap a handful of times in every situation we have ever encountered and have nothing to complain about. And, in the middle, you have the Rhino USA recovery strap.

We bought all three of these straps, the ARB, Grip, and Rhino USA straps as each have their uses. This might be overkill but we also wanted to test each of them out. We will eventually do a review on each of these straps, but for now lets cover them all.

Today, we are going to talk about Tow Straps, Recovery Straps and these three brands of straps.

A few Recovery Strap Options

Tow Straps Vs. Recovery Straps

Off-Road Recovery - 4Runner Straps

Tow Straps and Recovery Straps are incredibly similar but they have distinct differences

Before we get into to much detail on the different brands of straps, let’s look at the difference in Tow Straps and Recovery Straps. There is a difference and it is important to understand why both of these have their strengths and weaknesses.

Most recovery straps are made of high-quality nylon webbing and are strong enough to pull anything from a 4Runner to a Tundra to a Ford Super Duty. It would be interesting pulling out an F350 Super Duty with the 4Runner, but I am up for the challenge. Average towing and recovery capacities range from 5,000lbs to 20,000lbs.

Tow Straps

These are designed for towing a truck/SUV to safety (battery died or other common problems)

  • Tow Straps have metal shackles/clips/hooks on the end-points
  • Tow Straps are not meant for recovery (pulling a truck out)
  • Tow Strap hooks can fly off if forced hard enough, causing injury
  • Tow Straps are typically made of Dacron or polypropylene not designed to stretch
  • Tow Straps are designed to work with tow hooks – do not use hooks when recovery someone!

Recovery Straps

These are designed for yanking, pulling a truck/SUV out of a stuck position

  • Recovery Straps do not have metal hooks “attached” to the ends
  • Recovery Straps have thick, industrial grade webbing and stitching on the end-points
  • Recovery Straps feature wear pads or thicker sections on the ends to protect wear points from tow hooks and shackles
  • Recovery Straps can be used as tow straps
  • Recovery Straps are typically made of nylon and designed to expand and contract (stretch)
  • Recovery Straps are designed to use screw pin shackles (D-Rings, Anchor Shackles, D Shackles)

Synthetic Round Slings

These are designed for lifting, towing, pulling & recovery

  • Round Slings do not have metal attached
  • Round Slings are designed to wrap around vehicles or object you are recovering and or lifting
  • Round Slings are incredibly versatile
  • Round Slings are rarely needed but may come in handy given a tight situation (Truck/ SUV on its side)

Best Material For Tow Straps and Recovery Straps?

  • Nylon stretches about 10% of its own length
  • Polyester stretches about 2% of its own length

Benefits of Polyester Recovery Straps

Polyester Recovery Straps stretch about 2% so they are pretty stiff. With Polyester recovery straps you have more of a stable, controlled yank when pulling someone’s truck out. With polyester recovery straps, you have a solid pull from the start but you don’t want to have a very large gap and delay in the pull. With polyester straps, you want short jerks or short pulls, not long driving starts. Polyester recovery straps are great for a quick pull if you are on stable ground and someone else is stuck and the distance is relatively close.

Great Scenario: Someone is stuck and you have the ability to back up to them within about 10-20′ and you are on stable ground with traction. With this short distance and traction, you can hook up the poly strap with D-Rings and yank them out from a short distance. But, poly straps also work in a wide variety of other circumstances as well.

The downside to polyester recovery straps is the jerk. The force that polyester recovery straps create is strong. If you have a large driving start with polyester recovery straps, do it at your own risk as you can damage recovery points, frames or bumpers.

Benefits of Nylon Recovery Straps

Nylon Recovery Straps are great for situations where you may need to get a running start and traction all around is not so great. If you are in a situation where both you and the stuck driver are in sand, mud, snow or ice, you will need a running start to gain momentum.

Once you have enough momentum and that point hits where the nylon recovery strap stretches out, the momentum should be enough to pop another vehicle out, all without a big JOLT of pull on both vehicles. The downside of nylon recovery straps is if used incorrectly and the nylon snaps, that stretch has to go somewhere.

If a nylon strap stretches to hard and too fast, it will backlash at a vehicle or even worse a person’s face. Just make sure to keep vehicles and people clear of the recovery area when pulling someone out.

ARB Snatch Straps Vs. Grip Straps Vs. Rhino Straps

Grip Recovery/Tow Straps (Polyester)

Grip Off-Road Recovery/Tow Straps (Polyester)

The Grip 30′ x 4″ heavy duty recovery strap is a good all-around recovery strap to get your accessory bag started. This is where I started my bag about 4 years ago when we started the website. When I bought my first 4Runner in 2005, I purchased a similar strap. It was not a big name-brand strap and it always worked well for my needs.

Over the last four years, I would say it has been used about 40-50 times. It is still in great condition, but I also take really good care of my straps. After each use, or when I return home from a trail, I wash my straps off and then let them dry out.

The Grip recovery strap is made of polyester, which is typically material that would be used in a tow strap. But, it is not uncommon to see recovery straps made of polyester as well or a combination of Polyester and other materials. Grips recovery strap is weather resistant like most recovery straps out there and is designed to stand the test of any weather condition you can throw at it.

Grips heavy duty recovery strap is designed with semi-thick looped ends for increased strength and durability but nothing compared to the ARB and Rhino Strap looped ends. This recovery/tow strap is rated for 6,666lbs with a breaking capacity of 20,000lbs.

ARB Recovery Snatch Straps (100% Nylon)

ARB Off-Road Recovery Snatch Straps (100% Nylon)

These might be the best off-road recovery straps you can buy. ARB makes some of the best products on the 4×4 market, including the well-known ARB Deflator and Inflator along with a handful of other products.  If you are looking for the best product out there, hands down this is going to be your best option. Because the ARB is made of 100% nylon means it has the most elasticity of these other brands.

With the Grip recovery strap mentioned above, it is a pretty stiff pull/ yank. With nylon, you are supposed to have a much softer yank. When you go from 0-20 and pull someone out, it tends to bounce everything around quite a bit. Then repeat this about 10 times in a day. Yeah, we have been there. The softer and easier you can get those pulls, the easier it is on everything, your back, your 4Runner, and the driver of the other truck.

With that being said though, it all depends on how you plan to use your 4Runner off-road and the types of terrain you see. Because the ARB Off-Road Recovery Snatch Straps have the most stretch, doesn’t mean they are the “best” it just means that they are truly designed for off-road recovery in pulling someone out. Again, like we said above in the material section, there are different recovery straps that perform better in certain situations.

Rhino USA Off-Road Recovery Straps (Poly/Silk Webbing)

Rhino USA Made Off-Road Recovery Straps (Poly/Silk Webbing)

  • Rhino USA Off-Road Recovery Straps (Poly/Silk Webbing): Check Price

Wow, from the moment you open the box on these off-road recovery straps, you can tell that you bought a quality product. The Rhino off-road recovery straps are made of incredibly high-quality Poly/Silk Webbing.

This brings up a question, though:

“What is Poly/Silk Webbing? Is this close to a polyester (as the name would suggest) or closer to a traditional snatch strap Nylon?”

The answer straight from Rhino USA:

Our poly silk webbing is an 80% polyester and 20% silk blend so it is closer to a polyester strap, but has more softness and flexibility, however, it does not stretch to the same degree as a nylon snatch strap. I hope this answers your question, contact me directly if you need anything! Thank you! – Cameron Repic, Rhino USA, Inc.

What does this mean? Yeah, it serves as both a tow strap and a recovery strap but not nearly to the degree of a traditional recovery snatch strap.

How does this strap perform off-road? 

The Rhino USA off-road recovery straps, made of 80% polyester and 20% silk are designed to be used as tow straps and recovery straps. Because the Poly/Silk Webbing is designed to stretch, this strap works well as both a recovery snatch straps and a general use tow strap.

This strap is just thick, beefy and all around pretty high-quality. If you are looking for a good middle of the road option, the Rhino straps might be a good option to look at. This is a universal strap that can be applied to many situations on and off-road. The price point on these straps is incredibly appealing as well.

Overview of Recovery Straps and Tow Straps for our 4Runner

We are going to do follow up posts on all three of these straps. We are going to go get stuck on purpose and then feel what each of these straps can do and cannot do. For the most part, I have a feeling most of these straps will be the same in terms of towing but the Rhino Strap and ARB Recovery Strap might be a little more forgiving when yanking another vehicle from being stuck. Follow along and check back to see how these straps compare against each other for off-road recovery and general towing.

Comment below and let us know your thoughts. What strap are you running and why? What has your experience been with your strap?

Love the 4Runner Lifestyle?


Join the 5th Gen 4Runner community and get access to new gear, specials, free stickers, free decals, step by step installs and much more. Get access to manufacturer discounts, sales, coupon codes and so much more.



Recent Posts
Showing 6 comments
  • Margaux Ford

    Thanks for the tips on the benefits of polyester recovery straps. They’re stiff since they stretch about 2% and provide more of a stable, controlled yank when pulling someone’s truck out. This is a good tip to share with my husband since we just bought an SUV. Thanks for mentioning that polyester recovery straps are the way to go for a quick pull if you are on stable ground. Thanks for the advice!

  • RunnerMike

    How do these recovery straps compare to kinetic recovery straps (7/8″ or 1-1/4″) that are are the market now? What about soft shackles vs traditional metal D-ring?

  • Guadalupe Diaz

    Your statement of Rhino USA made is incorrect. Their offices and distribution points are in the USA, but they are manufactured overseas. I recently inquired on their web page as well as social media.

  • Kevin

    Hey man! Love reading your stuff. Just a quick question, you say that you can use the Rhino tow strap as both a tow strap and a recovery strap, is this true? I recovered my friend’s FJ out of some water/mud with one of these and backed up to allow some slack in the strap and gunned it. It got him out after the 3rd or 4th try, but each try I felt like I was driving into a brick wall. Is this expected? Just want to make sure I’m not using the wrong equipment for the job

    • Kevin

      Ah I just missed the paragraph about the polyester recovery straps and you mention the “jerk” I described.

      Given that, it is still safe to use as a recovery strap?

Leave a Comment

Start typing and press Enter to search

Factor 55 Hitchlink (Hitch Receiver) - How it worksEkstrom Design Strut Shims for 5th Gen 4Runner