" Sometimes you can't help but get stuck, but here's how you can try "

Lessons learned in off-road recovery

In the last six months, I’ve learned a lot about driving off road. I’ve made my fair share of mistakes, and getting stuck has often been the consequence.

Getting stuck off road can’t always be avoided. Tricky terrain can leave you stranded if you don’t have the right equipment and skills.

So, before you head off the beaten path, it’s a good idea to learn how to get yourself unstuck. It probably could have saved my bacon back in August, when my Jeep nearly ended up at the bottom of a ravine.

Admittedly, I’ve been pretty lucky and haven’t found myself stuck too often, but that is no excuse for not knowing proper recovery technique.

How to recover a 4×4

While browsing one of my favorite Youtube channels 4xOverland, run by off-road driving and overlanding expert, Andrew White.

He recently published a copy of his 2006 feature on 4×4 vehicle recovery. The hour long video covers various vehicle recovery techniques using wide variety of common recovery equipment.


So what recovery equipment do you really need? This isn’t as simple a question as it might seem. Before you go out and spend thousands on recovery equipment you might never use, consider what kind of off roading you’ll be doing?

Enjoy tackling difficult trails by yourself? A winch might not be a bad investment.

If you tend to find yourself on tamer trails, but still want the insurance offered by a winch, a come along or HiLift jack might be cost effective alternatives.

It really all depends on the conditions you will be driving in and who you’ll have for support. If you’re traveling in a convoy, a couple of snatch straps and a HiLift jack might be all you need.

I’ve often heard people say to buy a winch or travel in a group until you can.

So, what “insurance” would you recommend? I’ve got a 10,000 pound winch on my wishlist.

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  • George and Shelly

    Good blog. We are very experienced 4WDers and do alot of remote outback travel by ourselves here in Australia. We own 2 4WD’s and have never had a winch on either of them. Not saying we will never get one, but they aren’t the cheapest mod and to be honest we’ve been lucky enough to never need one yet! They certainly are a good mod though and come in handy, but in our opinion there are other things to ensure you have first. Like you said, all of this depends on the type of travel you do, where you go and whether you tend to go alone or with other people.

    We never leave home without our full recovery set, we’ve got a few snatch straps, shackles, HiLift jack, exhaust jack and MaxTrax (plus CB, sat phone for remote travel etc). But the one most important thing for offroading is tyre pressures, have the right tyre pressures and drive for the conditions and you can greatly reduce the chance of being stuck in the first place!

    November 23, 2016 - 2:49 pm Reply
    • tobiasmann

      All of that is so true. Tires, tire pressures, recovery gear are all important. I recently found myself sliding off a trail into a ravine. Lockers might have gotten us out, but we didn’t have those just the LSD in the back. A winch would have saved us. My next mod is going to be a winch, HiLift and traction mats for this reason. I am glad you have never needed to winch, traction mats are amazing and way easier than pulling line.

      November 23, 2016 - 3:10 pm Reply

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