Feature Friday: Off-Road Recovery Gear Setups For 5th Gen 4Runner

Off-Road Recovery Gear Setups For 5th Gen 4Runner - Water Crossing

We Asked Nine 4Runner Owners What Their Must-Have Off-Road Recovery Gear Is For A Successful Adventure – Here’s What They Said!

This Week’s Topic: Off-Road Recovery Gear

Hey guys, welcome back to another Feature Friday! If you missed last week’s FF, we looked at amber lighting setups for the 5th Gen 4Runner.

This week, we’re going over why you should consider adding off-road recovery gear to your 4Runner, whether it’s in the form of recovery boards, ropes, a winch, and more.

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Why Add Recovery Gear To Your Rig?

Winching at Hells Gate in Moab UT - Recovery Points on 4Runner

You should always be prepared for an off-road recovery while out on the trail. The last thing you want is to get stuck without recovery gear and without no cell service. This is why it’s important to carry common off-road recovery gear for any trail ride, even if it’s tame forest roads. You never know if a trail has been washed out, or what lies ahead.

With so many different kinds of recovery gear on the market, deciding which gear to invest in can be overwhelming. That’s why we asked 4Runner off-road enthusiasts what their must-have recovery items are.

Obviously, your recovery gear will depend on whether you solo wheel a lot, or if you always hit the trails with friends. With that said, be kind to your budget and only start with items that you would legitimately need.

At the end of the day, it’s always better to have gear and not need it rather than need it and not have it.

1. Nathen Brant (@nathen.zb) – 2019 TRD Pro

Lifted 5th Gen TRD Pro 4Runner with Amber Ditch Lights

What Recovery Gear Do You Recommend?

  • Tow Strap
  • Soft Shackles / D-Rings
  • Quality Come Along (manual cable winch)

Why Are These Items A Must-Have For You?

Since the come-along is controversial and slightly dangerous, most people would just recommend a winch. However, a bumper and winch aren’t cheap.

Thankfully, most of us aren’t doing much heavy crawling. Rather, we encounter occasional deep snow, mud, or that hidden rock that can get you into a tricky situation that traction boards can’t get you out of. While you build your savings for a proper winch setup, a quality come-along, while not perfect, will pull the truck just that extra foot forward or backward to get out of a situation and back home.

2. Slava Latyshov (@red_t4r) – 2018 TRD ORP

Lifted Barcelona Red 5th Gen 4Runner with iKamper RTT

What Recovery Gear Do You Recommend?

  • Winch
  • Traction Boards
  • Shovel
  • Soft Shackle, D-Ring, Strap
  • Snatch Block

Why Are These Items A Must-Have For You?

A winch will get you up and over an obstacle or away from an object that could potentially lead to damaging your vehicle. Having traction boards can help you where traction is an issue whether it’s snow, mud, or sand.

When you’re high centered on snow, sand, or dirt with no trees or recovery points to attach to, a shovel is your friend. Finally, snatch blocks are essential as they will give you the ability to reposition to a different winch point.

3. Keegan Jasper (@keeganjasper) – 2018 SR5

Lifted Red 5th Gen 4Runner with GFC RTT V2

What Recovery Gear Do You Recommend?

  • 12,000lb Winch
  • Kinetic Recovery Rope
  • Shackles

Why Are These Items A Must-Have For You?

Off-road driving can be challenging and unpredictable. Getting stuck in mud, sand or snow is a common scenario. In these situations, a winch can be a lifesaver. A winch is a powerful tool that allows you to pull your vehicle out of a difficult spot. It can be attached to a front or rear bumper and be operated remotely, providing flexibility and safety.

Having a winch on your off-road vehicle means that you can recover yourself or others in sticky situations, avoiding costly and time-consuming rescues or towing fees. It can also be used for other tasks such as moving obstacles, repositioning a vehicle, or even hoisting a load. Therefore, a winch is an essential tool for any serious off-roader who wants to tackle challenging terrains with confidence.

Another essential tool for off-road driving is a kinetic recovery rope. Unlike a winch, which relies on its own motor or a vehicle’s engine to generate pulling power, a kinetic recovery rope uses momentum and kinetic energy. A kinetic recovery rope is made of durable and stretchy materials such as nylon, which can absorb and release energy as needed.

In use, the rope stretches as the recovery vehicle accelerates, creating a slingshot effect that helps to pull the stuck vehicle out. The stretchy nature of the rope also reduces the risk of sudden jerks or snaps that can cause damage to the vehicles or injury to the riders. A kinetic recovery rope is a simple yet effective solution for off-roaders who want to self-recover or help others in need.

4. Cheng Saechao (@mallcrawlt4rr) – 2018 TRD ORP

5th Gen 4Runner with Warn 12,000lb Winch w/ Synthetic Rope & TRD Pro Front Skid

What Recovery Gear Do You Recommend?

  • Warn 12,000lb Winch w/ Synthetic Rope
  • Soft Shackles
  • Shovel
  • D-Rings
  • Tow Straps

Why Are These Items A Must-Have For You?

All of the recovery gear I have is very useful. If I get high centered on snow, the shovel comes in handy. If I come across another rig needing help, the gear I mentioned above will help get them out. When I go off-roading by myself, I tend to stay around trees in case I get stuck so I can recover myself with a winch and snatch block.

5. Carissa Ramirez (@delta_runner22) – 2022 Trail Edition

Army Green5th Gen 4Runner Trail Edition with BFG K02 A/T tires

What Recovery Gear Do You Recommend?

  • Shovel
  • Tow Strap / Synthetic Rope
  • Traction Boards
  • D-Ring Shackles
  • Trail Partner Who Can Pull You Out!

Why Are These Items A Must-Have For You?

A winch is preferred, but just a shovel, a tow strap, and properly rated and mounted D-ring shackles can get out of most situations. Traction boards are also great but in a bind, you can find something on the trail to create traction. Lastly, it’s always nice to have a friend with a rig to pull you out or for moral support!

6. Lane Garriott (@stormrnr) – 2014 Trail

Lifted Super White 5th Gen 4Runner with Mud Terrain Tires

What Recovery Gear Do You Recommend?

  • Factor 55
  • OVS Recovery Gear
  • Hard & Soft Shackles
  • Snatch Block

Why Are These Items A Must-Have For You?

I carry Factor 55 and OVS recovery gear with me at all times. I use both hard and soft shackles with a Factor 55 retention spool and also carry an OVS tree saver, 30k tow rope, and kinetic rope. Along with that, I carry MAXTRAX, a snatch block, and nice pair of gloves when working with steel cable or synthetic rope

Whether you’re traveling in a group or exploring alone, you don’t want to get yourself in a situation where you have no service or anything on the radio to get help. You also don’t want to not have the right tools. Also, we are dealing with 5,000+ lb. trucks and if you’re stuck, you don’t want to break the truck trying to recover. So, having the proper equipment is crucial.

7. Josh Peters (@silver_4runnersr5) – 2019 SR5

Water Crossing 5th Gen 4Runner

What Recovery Gear Do You Recommend?

  • ARB Snatch Strap (17,600lbs)
  • Crosby Shackles 3/4
  • Soft Shackles
  • MAXTRAX MKII Traction Boards
  • Fiskars Steel Shovel 41″-49″ (331300-1001)

Why Are These Items A Must-Have For You?

The ARB snatch strap is designed to stretch, giving you that extra pop needed to get out of a really stuck vehicle. The proper rating, for a 5th Gen 4Runner, should be 17,600lbs. If you get a higher-rated strap, it will not stretch fully to provide that extra pulling power. ARB strength tests its products and you can trust their ratings.

How are you going to attach that recovery strap? I like soft shackles whenever there are no sharp edges on the recovery points. Soft shackles (when used properly) are very strong and extremely lightweight. They are much safer than hard shackles because they are not as dangerous in the event of failure. Master Pull makes some great soft shackles with extra protection from wear.

When soft shackles can’t be used (like on my APEX recovery points), I like to use Crosby steel shackles with the screw pin anchor. Crosby shackles are rigorously tested and fatigue rated at 1.5 times the working load limit. The rating is printed right on the shackle so there is no guesswork. Remember when you hook these up and tighten the anchor pin screw, loosen it by about a quarter turn or you will have a hard time getting them undone after the recovery.

Sometimes all you need to get yourself or a friend unstuck is a pair of traction boards. There are many brands and knockoff traction boards available. I use MAXTRAX brand because I want to be able to use them more than once before product failure. You should at least have a pair of traction boards, but having four would be even better.

Last on my list is a good shovel because sometimes you just have to dig yourself out. When that happens, you don’t want a tiny folding shovel best suited for digging a quick latrine. Save yourself from back pain and get something that has a long handle. I like the Fiskars steel shovel because it has a telescoping handle that can extend to 49 inches. When collapsed (at 41 inches), it fits in my Roam Cargo Box.

8. Anna-Cathryn Colson (@the_gray_ladytrd) – 2022 TRD OR

Magnetic Gray Metallic 4Runner w/ Bronze Wheels

What Recovery Gear Do You Recommend?

  • A Friend
  • Winch
  • Shovel
  • Winch Extension Strap
  • Hoses / Compressor To Air Up/Down

Why Are These Items A Must-Have For You?

At least one of these five items saves me every time I’m stuck off-road! I always make sure to never go off-roading alone. I feel like that’s the best step you can take in order to be safe. Next, having a way to air down and air back up while out on the trail changes the game completely. Lastly, a shovel and winch with the correct straps are for those situations where you feel you can’t get out unassisted!

9. Mike Cedor (@rvaredrocket4r) – 2015 Trail Premium

Lifted Red 5th Gen 4Runner with Low Profile Front Bumper, Amber Lights, R4T LCA Skids

What Recovery Gear Do You Recommend?

  • MAXTRAX Boards
  • Hi-Lift Jack
  • ARB Strap
  • MORRFlate System

Why Are These Items A Must-Have For You?

It’s really hard to find a jack system that is portable enough to get you out of those sticky situations. The Hi-Lift jack will give your 2-3+ inch lifted 4Runner enough room to get a spare tire mounted.

You never know what the road conditions may be where you are going, so the MAXTRAX boards are an additional piece of mind for not only yourself but others who need help.

Final Thoughts

Hells Gate 4Runner Winch Recovery

What a great group of rigs and information for this week’s Feature Friday! Hopefully, those of you that don’t typically carry any off-road recovery gear with you on the trails now see their importance. Even simple gear like a shovel, straps, and a shackle can go a long way.

I also wanted to say thank you for reading my Feature Fridays for the last year and a half. I am passing the torch over to Marie, who has tons of FF content for you all!

Enjoy everyone! Have a great weekend!

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1 year ago

I like that Josh Peters @SILVER_4RUNNERSR5 specifically called out Crosby shackles. For anybody that isn’t aware – US-made rigging components such as Crosby, Chicago, etc., all meet ASTM standards for casting and forging and are subsequently “batch-break” tested to meet their stated Working Load Limit (WLL), which are cast on the shackles. Simply because of the cost savings and availability of Chinese-made rigging components, I see a lot at work. These have stated WLL’s, but these are not manufactured to ASTM standards and oftentimes these manufacturers cannot provide 3rd party testing data that can be verified. While imported components are relatively inexpensive and the likelihood of failure may be low in situations we may find ourselves, in my opinion, the risk of failure is not worth the savings.

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