If there's one question I get asked all the time from new Jeepers it's, “what’s the first mod I should do to my Jeep?” And, my answer to them is always the same, “recovery gear”. Fact of the matter is, whether you’re new to the world of off-roading with a right off the show room floor stock Jeep, or a long time veteran with a highly modified built up trail rig, everyone gets into a jam sooner or later.
At the top of the list of things that every Jeeper should have, it's tow hooks, D-ring mounts or some kind of recovery point (like a hitch receiver) on the front and rear of their Jeep. A good tow hook or recovery point will bolt directly to your Jeep’s frame or to an aftermarket heavy duty steel bumper that's been reinforced to act as a frame crossmember. Without this basic and very affordable modification to your Jeep, you won’t be able to help anybody get out of a jam let alone get yourself out if needed.
Factory Jeep JK Wrangler Tow Hook
Universal Hitch Receiver Shackle
Now, a tow point is pretty useless without if you don't have anything to pull or be pulled with and so, the next piece of recovery that every Jeeper should have with them at all times is a tow strap. A good tow strap should be at least 20-30 feet long, have NO metal hooks or clips on it (these are extremely dangerous and should never be used) and has a pulling capacity about twice the weight of your Jeep. In the case of something like a Jeep JK Wrangler Unlimited which weighs a little over 5,000 lbs., I would recommend a strap that has a breaking strength rating of least 10,000 lbs. or more. For me, I use a 30 ft. ARB Snatch Strap that has a 100% nylon webbing construction, reinforced eyes, a genuine stretch of 20%, and a breaking strength of 8,000 kg or 17,640 lbs., basically, more than enough for a big heavy built up Jeep JK Wrangler Unlimited. What I like about the ARB Snatch Straps is that they come with a unique safety warning indicator built into them and signals you if your strap ever gets overloaded. Of course, any strap that meets the grade is better than nothing.
In addition to a tow strap, I would highly recommend that you get and carry a tree saver as well. Similar to a tow strap, a good tree saver will be a lot shorter and, as it’s name suggests, is used to wrap around trees that you intend to use as an anchor point. Doing this will help protect the tree from the kind of severe damage that can occur from wrapping a winch cable or recovery chain directly to it. For my purposes, I carry an ARB Tree Truck Protector which has a 3″ webbing made out of 100% polyester and has a breaking strenght of 12000kg/26,000 lbs.
Because they are extremely strong and can be separated with ease, a good pair of 3/4" D-Ring shackles is a must have in any recovery bag. D-Ring shackles are great for safely linking tow straps together, securing a snatch block to an ARB Tree Trunk Protector and they will give you more options when helping to recover another vehicle or when getting the help from them.
For those of you who have a winch, I would highly recommend that you carry a good snatch block. Essentially a big pulley, a snatch block will allow you to double your winch's capacity if more pulling power is needed and, give you more winching options as well. Attached to a fixed point like a tree or vehicle, you can also use a snatch block as a vector point to triangulate your pull. This option can be especially useful in areas that are difficult to find solid ground or where obsticals and/or terrain prevent you from establishing a safe straight pull.
While it wouldn't be my first choice of things to use, I do carry a short heavy duty recovery chain as it will offer more options when helping to recover a vehicle that has no tow hooks or built in tow points. In a situation like this, a chain can be hooked or wrapped around a secure part of a vehicles frame and then be used as a tow point.
A good pair of leather gloves is something everyone should carry especially if you’re still running a steel wire rope on your winch. Gloves do a great job of helping you to have a better grip on your equipment, protect your hands from rope burns and help prevent steel splinters from lancing you when handling wire winch rope.
Sometimes, the smartest way to get yourself out of a jam is to just do a little digging and because of this, I always carry a small collapsable shovel with me. It may not be the most effective tool but, it's better than using your hands.
Last but not least, having something to carry all your recovery gear is in my opinion, a must. If you can keep everything together and in one bag or container, it'll make it easier for you to remember to pack in your Jeep and ensure you always have it with you.
Recovery gear is an investment that every Jeeper should make. Isn't just a good idea to have, it's often required equipment on most organized runs and one that I can almost guarantee will pay for itself time and time again.
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RENNY / 2015 Colorado Red BU Renegade Trailhawk
RUBICAT / 2012 Dozer Yellow JK Rubicon Unlimited
MOBY DICK / 2007 Stone White JK Rubicon Unlimited
CALAMITY JANE / 1974 Jetset Blue Metallic Jeep CJ-5 Renegade
RUSTY / 1972 White/Blue Jeep J2000 Pick-Up Truck
EMMA / 1969 Tan Kaiser Jeepster Commando C101
PAPPY / 1954 Yellow Willys CJ3B
2012 White JKRU w/Bells & Whistles
Yeah... I wheel. Nuff said.
Great article! I have a shovel so I think I'm good to go.
2012 Jeep Wrangler
This was the first purchase I made. Great advice Eddie.
Sound advice. Have all but the chain. In case people don't know ARB sells recovery bags with most of this stuff already in it, as do several of the popular vendors.
Good stuff...thanks for the advice. It really helps people like me who don't know very much and want to learn.
Thanks for the advice, makes figuring out my purchase priorities a bit easier.
Great write up! I got the HiLift recovery kit and built off that with snatch block, 30' strap and tree saver.... Few other lil trinkets too! All offroad necessities covered!
HAPPY JEEPIN! ALMOST DOORS OFF WEATHER!!!