Recovery Gear 101: 25 Off-Road Recovery Gear Essentials For Overlanding & Wheeling

Off-Road Recovery Gear 101 - The Complete Guide to Off-Road Gear

Off-Road Recovery Gear, Tools, and Essentials for Off-Roading Overlanding and Car Camping – The Complete Guide

No matter how often you find yourself taking the road less traveled, you’re bound to get stuck at some point. Whether you’re just spinning tires in a little bit of snow, or frame deep in mud, preparation is key when it comes to off-roading.

If you’re out by yourself, or with friends, you should always be prepared to do a recovery. The last thing you want to happen is to get stuck by yourself in the middle of nowhere with no cell service. This is why it’s important to carry the most common off-road recovery gear for every trip you plan on taking. The more recovery gear you have the easier your recovery will be and the more peace of mind you’ll have. With so many different kinds of recovery gear out there, deciding which gear to invest in first can be a bit of a hassle.

Being prepared is truly the number one thing when it comes to off-roading. Many of us find ourselves venturing outside the range of any cell tower. When something goes wrong and no one has cell service, a call to AAA is nearly impossible. This is why no matter the circumstance, you need to be prepared.

Types of Off-Roading Determine Types of Gear

Off Road Recovery Gear

If you find yourself doing one type of off-roading more than another, then you may want to prioritize what kind of gear you buy. Not only does the type of wheeling you do play a role in which recover items you should buy first, but terrain should play a big part also.

#1. Snow Wheeling

A winch is never a bad idea for whatever type of wheeling you do. However, depending on how stuck you or the person you’re trying to recover is, you may end up pulling the recovery vehicle closer due to the slick road conditions. This is why a high-quality snatch strap is a great piece of recovery equipment to have with you on snow wheeling adventures. The kinetic energy in a snatch strap allows the recovery vehicle to gain momentum and yank the stuck driver out. This method works great in the snow since one of the drivers has momentum, they likely won’t be spinning tires in the snow.

#2. Mudding

Mud can be a lot of fun… until you get stuck in it. A winch is your best friend when it comes to mud since it is usually a lot more sticky than snow. However, if you’re by yourself, you may not always have a tree to winch too. If that’s the case, then you might want to look at getting some type of land anchor. Another option would be to invest in winch extension straps to increase the reach of your winch. A snatch strap is also not a bad idea in this situation because the kinetic energy would be more effective than using a tow strap.

#3. Rock Crawling

Off Road Recovery Rock Crawl

When it comes to rock crawling, you may experience a different kind of stuck. One scenario is you just may not be able to make it up and over an obstacle. This is why a winch or a tow strap would come in handy for this type of wheeling. A snatch strap would be a little too chaotic on the rocks and may lead to a few broken parts. Another scenario would be getting high centered on a rock. In this situation, you only need a little help to get off that rock, and just like the first scenario, you should be doing a slow, controlled recovery. Another common and definitely unfortunate scenario is broken parts. You’re not always going to be able to fix broken parts on the trail, which is why it’s important to be prepared for unexpected carnage. Again, a tow strap or a winch would be a controlled and effective way of getting you off the trail.

#4. Overlanding

C4 Rear Bumper with GFC RTT

Chances are if you’re overlanding, you aren’t doing super technical trails. With that being said, you should invest in recovery gear that would work in any terrain since you’re going to be traveling all over the place. This includes different kinds of straps, shackles, shovels, jacks, and of course a winch.

1. Recovery Points

Off Road Recovery Agency 6 Shackle Block

Before you go out and get yourself stuck, you need to make sure you can identify your recovery points.

What is a recovery point?

A recovery point is always attached to the frame of the vehicle and has a Working Load Limit (WLL). The WLL is the maximum load a recovery point can take unit it reaches a breaking point. It’s important to note that tie-down points are not recovery points. Tie-down points should not be used as a recovery point unless there is no other alternative, and even then you may want to hold off and wait for help. The danger in using a tie-down point as a recovery connection is that these points are not as strong as a true recovery point, and there is no WLL so you have no idea of knowing how much of a load a tie-down point can take before it’ll break.

Hitch receivers make great recovery points since they are directly bolted or welded to the frame. However, you should avoid using a tow hitch to do your recovery. The reason is that the ball on the hitch is not designed to take a ton of horizontal load, if the ball shears off of the hitch, it becomes a projectile. The best way to utilize your hitch receiver as a recovery point is to get a 2″ receiver hitch mounted recovery point with a screw pin anchor shackle, like the Factor55 Hitchlink. These are also referred to as “shackle blocks” by Agency6 designed to plug into the receiver just like a tow hitch would, but instead of a ball on the end, they have a shackle.

Without a true recovery point, your recovery not only becomes more dangerous, but ineffective as well.

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2. Winch

Off Road Recovery Gear Smittybilt Winch

Without a doubt, one of the most useful tools you can have in your recovery arsenal is a winch. This is a must-have for serious off-roaders because you never know when it’ll come in handy. They may be a little pricey but are well worth the money especially if you do a lot of solo wheeling.

How do they work?

A winch is controlled by a motor that rotates a horizontal drum that in turn reels the line in and out. They come in handy when you’re by yourself, or if you need to get someone else out of a tight situation. The winch has its own gearbox which allows the line to spool up under heavy stress. Read more on the assembly of a winch here

One of the non-negotiables to owning a winch is it must be mounted to the frame. The most popular way to do this is to mount the winch in your aftermarket bumper, which is of course is mounted to the frame. If you don’t have an aftermarket bumper, there are some company’s that offer mounting solutions for behind the stock bumper.

Although there are not many, one of the cons to owning a winch is you must have some sort of anchor if you’re winching yourself out of something. A majority of the time you can just hook up to your buddy or a tree (with a tree saver strap). But there may be a time or two where you won’t be able to hook up to anything, rendering your winch useless.

As helpful as they are, winches can be extremely dangerous if used improperly. It’s important to read the owner’s manual of the winch before operating it so you can see what the max load is as well as other standard winching etiquettes.

The most controversial topic when it comes to winches is which line to put on your winch. Your two options are steel cable or synthetic rope. Steel cable is without a doubt strong and has been used on winches for years. It is also the cheaper of the two options when it comes to choosing which type of line to use. Synthetic rope is as strong if not stronger than steel cable. It is also much safer if the line was to break during a recovery. However, synthetic rope takes a little bit more maintenance than cable does. Heat and direct sunlight are synthetic cables’ biggest enemies. When the synthetic rope breaks, most of the time it’s due to lack of maintenance.

Although it is one of the more expensive pieces of recovery gear you would buy, a winch is a great tool to have. You never know when you’re going to use it, but when the time comes, you’ll be glad you have it.

Top Picks:

#1. WARN VR EVO 10-S Standard Duty Winch: Check Price

  • Weight: 10,000 lbs.
  • Gear ratio: 218:1
  • 2 in 1 wireless remote
  • Line length: 90 ft.
  • Synthetic line
  • Lifetime warranty on mechanical parts, 7-year warranty on the electrical parts

#2. Smittybilt X2O COMP 10k Winch: Check Price

  • Weight: 10,000 lbs.
  • Gear ratio: 218:1
  • 2 in 1 wireless remote
  • Line length: 98.5 ft.
  • Synthetic line
  • Lifetime warranty on mechanical parts, 3-year warranty on electrical parts.

#3. Badlands ZXR 9k Winch: Check Price

  • Weight: 9,000 lbs.
  • 2 in 1 wireless remote
  • Cable length: 65 ft.
  • Steel cable
  • 90-day warranty

3. Winch Shackle, Thimble or Hook

Off Road Recovery Agency6 Winch Shackle

In order for your winch to be operational, you must have something on the end of it.

Nowadays what you put on the end of your winch can come in a few different shapes and sizes. They are all intended to provide the same purpose and a lot of times it comes down to personal preference.


A winch hook comes standard on a lot of winches and has proven its utility over the years. This option is the more budget-friendly out of the three. The hook attaches to the end of the winch line and then loops directly to the strap, soft shackle, or bow shackle of the stuck vehicle or anchor. The only downside of using a hook is that you run the risk of the strap slipping off the hook since hooks are not a closed system like a thimble or shackle. This is why it’s important to loop your strap correctly and make sure there is no chance of the strap slipping off the end of the hook.

Hooks are still used for off-road recoveries every day, however, thimbles and shackles or becoming more and more popular.

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Thimbles are a budget-friendly closed loop option for the end of your winch. Thimbles were initially designed by Factor55 in 2004 as a closed-loop system to prevent the hook from sliding through the fairlead and into the drum. As winching is naturally a very dangerous activity, something needed to be done about run-on winch drums and this was a great answer.

The pin on a bow shackle is designed to go through the thimble, then a strap would slip into the shackle. Or, you can use a soft shackle as opposed to a D-ring. Closed-loop systems tend to be safer because many of the products have a stronger breaking strength and WLL (working load limit).

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A winch shackle, like the Factor55 Flatlink E, is similar to a thimble but has a couple more features. You can use either the pin from a D-ring or the bow part of the shackle as well. I have also noticed I have an easier time getting bigger-sized soft shackles through a winch shackle than a thimble. Not only do many of them come with a working load limit in the 19,000lb range, but they also look great on an aftermarket front bumper.

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4. Winch Fairlead

Factor 55 Offset Fairlead

Another non-negotiable for owning a winch is you must have some sort of fairlead. A fairlead attaches to the front of your winch, and generally on the front of the bumper. The purpose is to relieve lateral strain on the winch line. In other words, if you are using your winch for an angled pull, a fairlead helps preserve your line. There are two different types of fairleads and each should be used according to which type of line you have.

Roller Fairlead

Roller fairleads are fairly common and come standard with many winches. This style fairlead uses two vertical mounted rollers and two horizontal mounted rollers. These fairleads are designed to roll the line to minimize the wear and tear of your line. They are intended for steel cable but can also be used with synthetic rope.

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Hawse Fairlead

The second type of fairlead is called a hawse fairlead. Most hawse fairleads are made out of aluminum which is why you should avoid using steel cable on these. The reason is that unlike roller fairleads, hawse fairleads are designed to have the rope glide across them rather than roll. If you were to use steel cable with an aluminum fairlead, the cable would eventually cut into the aluminum which would cause premature wear and tear on the cable. However, there are companies out there that make their hawse fairleads out of steel or cast iron which would accommodate steel cable.

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5. Winch Extension Strap

Off Road Recovery Gear ARB Winch Extension Strap

A winch extension strap is similar to a tow strap but should not be used as one. The first reason is the winch extension straps tend to be a lot longer than a tow strap, which would make towing another vehicle a bit of a challenge. The second reason is a winch extension strap has lower breaking strength than a tow strap. This is a great piece of equipment to have in your collection because sometimes you just need that extra bit of reach out of your winch.

Do not get a winch extension strap confused with a snatch strap. Extension straps don’t stretch as much as snatch straps so if you attempt a snatch pull with an extension strap, it can be more strenuous on your truck parts and driver. Finally, extension straps are usually polyester while snatch straps are nylon. This means that snatch straps stretch more (kinetic energy) than extension straps.

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6. Winch Line Repair Kit (Steel & Synthetic)

Off Road Recovery Gear Factor55 Winch Repair Kit

You’ve done your homework when it came to picking out your winch and you bought one that’s twice the rated weight of your vehicle. In most cases, you’re not going to have any problems when it comes to recoveries and your winch is going to get you out of sticky situations. But at some point, you might forget to calculate for the very sticky mud you’re in, or the extremely steep hill you’re attempting to winch up and your winch line breaks. Now what?

A winch line repair kit is a must-have for winch owners. These kits are designed to get your winch back into working order so you aren’t left stranded. It’s important to order the correct repair kit for your winch (synthetic rope or steel cable).

Unfortunately, when it comes to repairing your steel cable on the trail, your options are limited. The easiest way to fix a broken steel cable is to simply loop the broken end. The more time and effort you put into it, the more reliable it will be. Here’s a good video on how to do so: watch it here.

An important piece of information when it comes to handling steel cable. Always wear gloves! The last thing you want to happen on the trail is to cut your hand open on your cable.

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7. Winch/Recovery Storage Bag or Box

Off Road Recovery Step22 Stingray Flatbox

Gear organization is key, especially on the trail. This is why we recommend some kind of storage bag or box so you can compartmentalize your gear. Storage bags or boxes can contain any number of things. I found it helpful to put all of my winch gear into one bag, tools in another, and another bag or box for random recovery equipment.

Why are they important? Bags like the Step22 Stingray Flatbox and boxes like the Zarges Aluminum case are nice because you can keep them in your vehicle at all times. Meaning, you will never be without your recovery gear at any given moment. The nice part is since all the tools and gear are in a bag or box, you don’t have a rattling mess in your back seat. Some companies even include all your winch accessories in the bag, which is extremely helpful.

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8. Winch Line Damper

Off Road Recovery Gear ARB Line Damper

Winching accidents are no joke. A steel cable from a winch has enough force to cause some serious injury which is why it’s important to carry a winch line damper. A line damper goes over your winch line while your winch is in use. You should get in the habit of using at least one if not two dampers every time you find yourself winching. If the cable were to break, the dampener’s job is to stop the cable from flying through the air and hitting somebody.

A common misconception is that you don’t need to use a damper if you are using a synthetic line. Even though a synthetic line is a lot safer to use than steel, it is still going to hurt if it breaks. Not only is it a good idea to use a damper anytime you use your winch, but really with any straps or ropes you might be using that will be under stress.

Many companies have pockets in their dampeners so they double as storage bags. The best part is whatever you keep stored in the dampener, you use as weight over your winch line. Even if you don’t store anything in the damper, you could always use rocks to weigh it down when you need to use it.

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9. Snatch Blocks/Pulleys

Off Road Recovery Factor55 Pulley

Snatch blocks are an extremely useful piece of recovery equipment. These devices allow you to double the pulling strength of your winch along with adding an anchor point on a vehicle, tree, or another object. When you’re frame-deep in super sticky mud, a snatch block will definitely increase your chances of getting out. Not only do they take some of the stress off your winch, but they also allow you to winch at an angle. In my opinion, these are a must-have especially if you do a lot of wheeling by yourself. The best part is that they are relatively cost-friendly and easy to use.

Snatch Block Vs. Pulley

Although they are similar, snatch blocks and pulleys have a few distinct differences. Solo pulleys like the Factor55 Rope Retention Pully require a soft shackle looped through the center hole of the pulley in order to connect the strap that would be attached to the anchor. This style of snatch pulley is extremely lightweight making it more convenient and easy to use.

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10. Recovery Boards

Off Road Recovery Traction Boards MaxTrax

Another vital piece of recovery equipment is a recovery board. The best part about these boards is that you can get creative with their uses. I’ve seen people use them when they’re high centered, to level their RTT out, and then obviously when they’re stuck. This is one of those tools that work in pretty much every condition; sand, snow, or mud, it doesn’t matter these boards will help get you traction.

Recovery boards come in all shapes, sizes, and colors and many companies offer mounting solutions so you’re able to save space. If you look them up on Amazon, you’ll find a ton of different brands and they all look the same. So how do you know which ones are going to work, and which ones won’t?

Where other companies just produce a plastic board with little plastic spikes on it, companies like MaxTrax produce quality products that they stand behind. Their fiber reinforced nylon board will not crack or break under stress. This is why they offer a limited lifetime warranty on all of their boards.

When it comes to traction boards, stick with companies you know and trust. ARB, Smittybilt, and ActionTrax all make quality recovery boards.

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11. Shovels

Off Road Recovery Shovel Agency 6 With Mount

A shovel may be an overlooked piece of recovery equipment, but one everyone should have. Why might you need a shovel? With most recovery gear you never know when you’re going to use it. When you’re stuck frame deep, a shovel can be a lifesaver. With a little bit of elbow grease, you can start to dig around the stuck vehicle making the recovery 10x easier and effective. Really any shovel will do, but there a lot of companies out there that produce rugged shovels designed for off-road recovery.

In the snow, a shovel is your best friend, especially the DMOS shovel. Depending now how deep the snow is, in some instances, you can dig out a hole and grab traction on the ground. Shovels play a big role in mud and sand as well, especially if you don’t have a winch.

You’ll find that a lot of recovery equipment goes hand in hand with each other. This goes for recovery boards and shovels. If you’re stuck in whatever kind of terrain and you can’t get out because your tires don’t have traction, dig a hole and place a traction board in there. Repeat this on whichever tires don’t have traction, and with a little bit of help from a friend, you and your vehicle are free.

What makes a shovel an off-road recovery shovel? At the end of the day, a shovel’s a shovel. But off-road shovels are designed for easy storage, compact size, and harsh conditions. Many shovels are smaller than your average landscaping shovel, some have different designed heads, and some even fold down to a much more compact size. Check out our guide to buying an off-road shovel if you are looking for more information on choosing one.

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12. Jack

Off Road Recovery Gear Hilift Jack

Hopefully, you’ll never have to use a jack on the trail. However, the time may come when you break something, blow a bead, bust a CV axle boot, bend a tie-rod, etc. This is why it’s always a good idea to carry an off-road jack while on the trail.

While hi-lift jacks are extremely useful for jacking your truck up on the trail, they also have other uses. One of the features of the hi-lift is that you are able to lift the wheel of your truck off the ground. This technique could come in handy if you need to fix a broken part, or maybe you just need to get un-high centered. It’s important to note that to safely lift the wheel off the ground, you must have a strap that was designed to do so. It is also never a good idea to get under the vehicle while it is being suspended by a hi-lift.

Hi-lifts can also be used as a manual winch. This method comes in handy when you need to winch from a couple of different angles maybe even at once. All you do is attach straps to either side of a hi-lift and crank the handle.

With most tools, maintenance is key. When hi-lifts fail, a majority of the time it’s due to lack of maintenance. It’s important to keep it cleaned and lubed up to prevent rust and corrosion. When using one, the foot of the jack must be placed firmly on the ground to prevent the jack from moving while in use. Many companies offer accessories for your jack, such as a bigger footing, handle keepers, etc.

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13. Gloves

Off Road Recovery Gear Mechanix Gloves

It’s never a bad idea to carry a pair of gloves with you while you’re off-roading. Gloves become a necessity when you own a winch and even more so if you have steel cable. When running a winch line, the last thing you want to have to worry about is cutting your hand on your cable or getting a giant metal splinter in the midst of a recovery. Steel cable can definitely do some serious damage, even synthetic line can leave you with a nasty rope burn.

A nice pair of gloves obviously have more than one use on the trail. They are also helpful if you find yourself clearing brush, or doing a trail repair. Gloves are extremely nice in cold weather also, making those snowy recoveries a little more comfortable.

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14. Recovery Rope

Off Road Recovery Gear Bubba Rope Kinetic Rope

A recovery rope is an absolute must-have especially if you don’t have a winch. Also known as a kinetic rope, recovery ropes are extremely useful when it comes to pulling out stuck vehicles. This style of rope uses kinetic energy to remove the stuck vehicle.

Since recovery ropes have elastic qualities, it’s not recommended you use one with a winch. However, it is one of the most effective ways of recovering someone without a winch. While using a kinetic rope, the rope must be connected to rated tow points on each of the vehicles involved. Since recovery ropes require a running start, failure to connect to a tow point may cause damage to one, if not both, of the vehicles.

Recovery ropes come in all shapes and sizes. With that being said, you must verify the break strength of the rope before you buy it to ensure that it will work with whichever application you plan on using. Any rope worth a damn will be properly labeled, branded, and feature its WLL (working load limit).

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15. Snatch Strap

Off Road Recovery Gear ARB Snatch Strap

Snatch straps are the middle ground between tow straps and recovery ropes. They resemble a tow strap but have rubber band like qualities, similar to a recovery rope. This type of strap is generally a little bit cheaper than a recovery rope and can be used as a tow strap if needed.

Since these straps have less rebound than a recovery rope, it is not recommended to get as much running start as you would with a recovery rope, but unlike tow straps, you are still able to get a little bit of a running start. It is also not recommended to use a snatch strap with a winch because it does have a bit of stretch.

Unlike a winch extension strap which is typically polyester, a snatch strap is typically nylon which will stretch a bit more than your typical extension strap or so strap.

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16. Tow Strap

Off Road Recovery Rhino Usa Tow Strap

One of the most useful pieces of recovery equipment you can own is a tow strap. One of the biggest misconceptions is that a tow strap can be used as a recovery rope. It’s important to realize the difference between the two. Tow straps have very little, if any, stretch. This makes running starts with a tow strap not only dangerous but ineffective as well.

However, the lack of stretch makes a tow strap incredibly useful. Since tow straps are not elasticized, they make a great winch extension. And of course, they’re great for towing vehicles off the trail. Even though you shouldn’t get a running start with a tow strap during recovery, they are still very durable pieces of recovery gear.

A couple of safety points for tow straps. Again, tow straps are not designed for yanking since they lack elasticity. Avoid buying straps with hooks on the end of them, if the strap was to break, the hook becomes a projectile. And as always hook the strap up to a rated tow point on both vehicles… no exceptions!

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17. Tree Saver Strap

Off Road Recovery Gear Tree Saver Strap

If you have a winch, a tree saver strap is a must. Tree savers are designed to wrap around a tree and connect to your winch. They are very straight forwards to use and serve a couple of different purposes. A tree saver strap not only saves the tree from your winch line, but it saves your winch line from the tree.

Tree savers are generally thicker and shorter than your average tow strap. The thickness of the strap is what actually saves the tree since it covers a larger surface area on the tree; whereas a winch line would cover a very little surface area, digging into the tree. And since you aren’t wrapping your winch line around the tree, you’re actually prolonging the life of your line by protecting it from friction.

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18. Hitch Pins

Off Road Recovery Factor 55 Locking Hitch Pin

Popular to contrary belief, hitch pins can be used in a recovery situation. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest in proper shackles and other equipment. But it does mean if you are in a pinch, you can hook a tow strap to the hitch pin. Simply take the pin out, put the strap in the hitch receiver, plug the pin back in, and voila.

The nice thing about a hitch pin is you are automatically using a rated tow point since it plugs into your hitch receiver. The downside to using a hitch pin is a lot of them don’t have a break strength listed. This is why we only recommend using your hitch pin as a recovery tool if you don’t have any other option. This is a last resort recovery option on the trail. If you are stuck on the trail with no winch, shackles, or hitch receiver block, this simple little hitch pin may save your life.

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19. D-Rings (Screw Pin Anchor Shackles)

Off Road Recovery Bow Shackle

No matter how much recovery gear you have, most of it is useless without some sort of shackle. The most popular type of shackles is a screw pin anchor shackle, or a D-ring as it’s more commonly referred to as. These small but extremely durable shackles resemble the shape of a D which makes them perfect for looping a strap or hook into.

When it comes to composing your recovery gear, you really can never have too many D-rings. Shackles are a safe way to connect tow straps, tree savers, winch lines, winch shackles, etc. They come in every size imaginable so it’s important to pay attention to the size and break strength of a D-ring before you purchase.

Although they are pretty straight forward, there are some things you should and shouldn’t do with a D-ring. One of the common mistakes I see out there is sideloading a D-ring. When you sideload a D-ring you’re relying on the weakest part of the shackle which is why it’s extremely dangerous. Sometimes you can’t avoid sideloading your shackle a little bit, this is why it’s nice to have recovery gear like the Agency 6 shackle hitch which allows for vertical mounting.

One of the things you should do with a D-ring every time you use one, is to make sure the pin is locked into place. During recovery, there is a lot of stress on these components and lots of moving parts. The last thing you want to happen is that pin to come loose and potentially put lives at risk with a recovery failure. To lock the pin into place, take a screwdriver and slide it through the small hole on the pin, and tighten.

Since d-rings are so inexpensive, yet effective, it really doesn’t hurt to throw a couple (at least) in your recovery bag. For the highest quality screw pin anchor shackle, go with the USA-made option or at the bare minimum; a pin that is marked with a WLL.

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20. Soft Shackle

Off Road Recovery Gear Soft Shackle

Another style of shackle out there is a soft shackle. Made from strands upon strands of synthetic rope, soft shackles are a great addition to your recovery gear. They have a growing popularity in the off-road world since they are lighter, faster to use, and sometimes stronger than D-rings.

Soft shackles are extremely nice if you’re in a position where you don’t have a lot of room to hook a D-ring up. I found they’re very handy if you’re stuck in some type of water crossing, or somewhere there’s a lot of water. Not only do they float, so you won’t lose them, but they are much faster to put on so you won’t have to be in the water for too long.

This style of shackle also allows you to connect two or more recovery ropes to each other, something you should never do with a D-ring style shackle. While in use, soft shackles store much less energy than steel D-rings, making them safer to use if they ever were to break.

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21. Tire Repair Kit

Off Road Recovery ARB Tire Repair Kit

At some point in your off-road expeditions, you’re going to have to plug a tire. Whether you ran over a stray nail on the trail, or maybe you aired down too much and popped a bead. This is why everyone should carry some sort of tire repair kit in their recovery bags. Although most of us carry spares, sometimes it is just easier to fix the tire that needs fixing.

There are a couple of companies out there that offer a great tire repair kit. A majority of these kits include everything you need to fix a punctured tire. It’s important to keep safety in mind especially if you are going to take the tire off the vehicle on the trail.

Top Picks: 

  • ARB Speedy Seal Tire Repair Kit
  • Smittybilt Tire Repair Kit
  • Safety Seal Pro Tire Repair Kit
  • Extreme Outback Ultimate Puncture Repair Kit

22. Land Anchors

Off Road Recovery Land Anchor

One of the downsides to winching is you have to have some sort of anchor. If you’re wheeling with friends, another vehicle makes a perfect anchor, as long as it doesn’t pull towards you. Trees are some of the best anchors, double-check that you aren’t using a dead tree to anchor too, and as always don’t forget your tree saver strap.

What happens if you are by yourself and there are no trees? You could use a rock as long as you can loop a strap around it. But the most convenient and dependable method is to buy a land anchor. These handy little tools are designed to dig into the ground against whatever is pulling it. They work very well in the sand, loose soil, and mud. The snow on the other hand is a different story. If the snow is packed and tight, it might work but they rarely work in powder or lose snow.

Since land anchors bury themselves into the ground, it may be a good idea to keep a mallet or hammer close by to get it loose.

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23. Off-Road Bridles

Off Road Kinetic Bridle

An off-road bridle is one of those pieces of equipment that is budget-friendly yet extremely useful. The main purpose of a bridle is to help distribute the load during a recovery. The front of your vehicle should have at least two recovery points, generally one on each side. A bridle connects those two recovery points making them one. This is extremely helpful when it comes to using snatch ropes or recovery ropes.

Bridles come in all sorts of shapes and sizes; however, each recovery scenario may call for different bridle material. Have a tree strap but don’t have a bridle? That’s fine, tree straps make great bridles but keep in mind they are not designed to be yanked. The same goes for chains. If you are using a choke chain as a bridle, it’s important to not overload the chain. There are also bridles out there made of kinetic rope which is designed to be yanked with. Just remember to use a soft shackle to connect the bridle to your snatch rope.

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24. Axe or Chainsaw

Off Road Recovery Gear Smittybilt Trail Axe

Axe, chainsaws, or even a machete all deserve a spot in your off-road recovery gear. Whether you just need to gather some kindling for a fire, or you need to move a downed tree from across the trail. When it comes to recovery preparedness is key which is why some sort of cutting tool is a necessity.

Top Picks:

25. Air Down/Air Up Tool

Off Road Recovery Air Down Tool

One of the easiest ways you can avoid getting stuck is by airing down your tires. When you air your tires down you create more traction by creating more surface area from your tire. If you find yourself barely stuck, or maybe your tires are just spinning, the first thing I would do is air down. You’d be surprised at how much traction you can instantly gain from dropping a little bit of PSI.

There are a couple of things to consider before airing down. You need to know what PSI you start at, and what you go down to because you need to be careful not to blow a bead. You also need to think about how you’re going to air back up.

When it comes to airing down your tires, there are a few ways to go about it. One way is to use a tire pressure gauge. This method may be slow, but at least you’re able to check your pressure at any given time. Another way is by removing the valve stem with a valve stem tool. This tool airs the tire down very fast, but you run the risk of losing the valve stem. Plus you need to re-insert the valve stem to check the pressure. My favorite method is with the ARB air down tool along with using a 4-way inflation/deflation system like the MORRFlate. These tools remove the valve stem securely and have a built-in gauge to check the pressure.

The same goes for airing your tires back up. The cheapest method is to have some sort of auxiliary air compressor. These small compressors do take a while to air your tires up but are cost-friendly and effective nonetheless. You can also use the on-board air compressor that powers your lockers as well. Another way to air your tires up is by using some kind of air tank. This is the fastest way to air your tires up, but you’re responsible for keeping the tank filled.

Top Picks: 

Air Down:

Air Up:

Air Up/Down Kits (MORRFlate):

The MORRFlate tire inflation and deflation kit does exactly what the name says. This system allows you to deflate, and inflate all four of your tires equally at the same time. With this kit, you have the option to run the same PSI on all four tires or run different PSI on the fronts and the backs.

Final Thoughts

Agency 6 Hitch Recovery Shackle Block 2" Hitch Receiver

It doesn’t matter what kind of off-roading you like to do, at some point you’re going to find yourself stuck or come across someone who is.

This is why it’s important to be prepared for any situation while out on the trail. It’s such a good feeling to be able to go outside the walls of cell service and not stress about anything bad happening to you or someone in your group.

Take it from me, you don’t want to realize you probably should’ve bought that piece of recovery equipment while you’re frame deep in mud.

This is why we recommend making of list of the recovery gear you have, and the gear that you still need in order of importance. Equipment like storage bags and boxes are incredibly useful because they allow you to keep your gear with you wherever you go. After all, sometimes the best adventures are the spontaneous ones.

The more experience you have with off-road recovery, the better you’ll be at it.

You will soon come to realize what gear and methods work/don’t work for you. This will allow you to perform recoveries not only in a safe manner but very effective as well.

Whether you’re out by yourself, or with a large group, being prepared should be your number one priority while on the trail.

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Jeffrey Brawley
Jeffrey Brawley
2 years ago

First time I have heard of a Bridle, that’s cool. Thanks guys. Probably the most comprehensive list of recovery tools out there. I have browsed a few lists and most sites seem to mention the same products over and over again. Nice to see some options, variety and what appears to be every recovery product someone would need. Question? Would you recommend any of the winch rings outside of Factor55 or is that only one that matters because of the rubber feet. Seems to many options out there for recovery rings but only Factor55 has the rubber stoppers. Any info why or if it matters all that much more than the others? Also, what does the author run? Snatch block or a pully and why?

George Z
George Z
3 years ago

Great article! I’ve learned quite a bit from this site so far!

Being new to the platform, I would like some input on what order to procure recovery gear in stages. As in, I’m guessing it would be best to start off with recovery attachment points and straps? Moving into traction boards, shovel(s), axe/chainsaw? With the winch being the climax?

I’m just getting started and would like to be preped this summer for some basic adventures and beginner to intermediate day trails.

Thank you.

3 years ago
Reply to  George Z

George I would start with recovery boards, shovel, tow/snatch strap, and hitch recovery point.

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