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Vehicle recovery gear and tips

PHXPHOTOG

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There are a couple of good threads going regarding winch builds. So I thought I would see if anyone is willing to contribute tips, tricks and tools for stuck vehicle recovery here. Having a winch on your vehicle is far from a get out of jail free card. I currently do not have one on my Trail Boss, I had one on an old CJ5 Jeep long ago. They are awesome but not always necessary. Many recoveries start with a shovel, I don’t leave home without one. I plan on adding a winch but have not done it yet.

I push this truck pretty hard off road and I am often alone when I do it. So I carry a lot of other recovery gear. This list is what I carry every time I leave the hardtop:

Hi-Lift Jack with winch kit. Hope like hell I never need the winch kit. It will only work in select situations and would be an ugly recovery. Poor substitute for the real thing.

Traction boards

Shovel

RhinoUSA 3” x 30’ static recovery strap

RhinoUSA 1” x 30’ Kinetic recovery rope

RhinoUSA receiver hitch shackle

RhinoUSA soft shackles and multiple hard shackles

3/8” by 25’ chain

(2) Harbor Freight 25’ tow straps, so cheap and dangerous that’s why I upgraded to RhinoUSA good stuff

Smitty Built high volume air compressor

Tire repair kit

Tool box

Out of all that stuff if I am doing a self-recovery the shovel and the traction boards are the most important. If there is another vehicle to assist the kinetic energy rope is the priority.

I have over 1,000 miles off road in the Trail Boss so far. I have not been stuck yet, this is my insurance package. This is my 5th 4wd vehicle. I have been stuck in other vehicles. Most often I find other people stuck and lend a hand.

Oh, what’s in the backpack? Fifty pounds of survival gear and a trauma kit. For those times when a self-recovery doesn’t work and I’m stuck in the wilderness.

Please share your own tips and gear. I would love to see what everyone is using.

Steve

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vezePilot

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No single tool will work a miracle, just as a firearm will not work miracles. A shovel, high-lift jack, med kit, traction boards and everything else you list can be necessary pieces of gear. You probably will not know beforehand which single item is the one most needed.

I have been "shopping" for a Jump Box, looking at offerings from Amazon, Home Depot, Lowe's, Summit, CarID, etc. And I didn't like any of the brands and specs I saw, even some rather expensive that were still unattractive. We went shopping at Costco today and they have a CAT brand. Seems to have every feature that all others have and then some. Inexpensive, 500 amps to start, reverse-polarity-safe, sealed lead acid battery, air compressor, USB, built-in Inverter, LED work light and not made in China. So this is what I have now.


Besides regular charging from a wall socket, I have a little 200W inverter that I have kept in my trucks for years. This will be sufficient to keep the CAT Jump Starter charged while carried in the truck ... if one is patient.
 
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PHXPHOTOG

PHXPHOTOG

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No single tool will work a miracle, just as a firearm will not work miracles. A shovel, high-lift jack, med kit, traction boards and everything else you list can be necessary pieces of gear. You probably will not know beforehand which single item is the one most needed.

I have been "shopping" for a Jump Box, looking at offerings from Amazon, Home Depot, Lowe's, Summit, CarID, etc. And I didn't like any of the brands and specs I saw, even some rather expensive that were still unattractive. We went shopping at Costco today and they have a CAT brand. Seems to have every feature that all others have and then some. Inexpensive, 500 amps to start, reverse-polarity-safe, sealed lead acid battery, air compressor, USB, built-in Inverter, LED work light and not made in China. So this is what I have now.


Besides regular charging from 120 V AC, I have a little 200W inverter that I have kept in my trucks for years. This will be sufficient to keep the CAT Jump Starter charged while carried in the truck ... if one is patient.
Its so funny you mention that CAT box. I didn't list it but I own it. It's part of my kit. Mine is probably the previous model because the specs are the same except the AMPS. Mine is rated at 1000 instead of 1200. I like everything about it except the jump box part. I doubt it would ever crank my 5.3 at all. I tried starting my wifes Hundai and got nothing out of it. Not even a turn of the engine at all. And it dumped its full charge almost all at once. It is super handy for my RV and everything else.
 

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Those figures like "1,000 peak amps," "1,200 peak amps," "1,800 peak amps" are meaningless. I'll bet that early model actually applied only 325 cranking amps, just like quite a few models. The cold cranking amps capacity is what matters. If this latest model from CAT didn't say 500 cold cranking amps I would not have bought it.

But, given your experience I'm thinking I want to try starting something with this new one. My neighbor is constantly having problems with keeping his car and minivan batteries charged. Should be an opportunity sooner or later ...

As far as Med Kits go, do you have good sources for serious medical supplies? Most med kits sold for people to keep in their cars are worthless. I put together a couple of homemade "Dark Angel" IFAKs several years ago, but I'm not sure now where I got the components.
 
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PHXPHOTOG

PHXPHOTOG

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Those figures like "1,000 peak amps," "1,200 peak amps," "1,800 peak amps" are meaningless. I'll bet that early model actually applied only 325 cranking amps, just like quite a few models. The cold cranking amps capacity is what matters. If this latest model from CAT didn't say 500 cold cranking amps I would not have bought it.

But, given your experience I'm thinking I want to try starting something with this new one. My neighbor is constantly having problems with keeping his car and minivan batteries charged. Should be an opportunity sooner or later ...

As far as Med Kits go, do you have good sources for serious medical supplies? Most med kits sold for people to keep in their cars are worthless. I put together a couple of homemade "Dark Angel" IFAKs several years ago, but I'm not sure now where I got the components.
I'm glad you didn't think I was busting on your new jump box. Just relaying how mine works. If yours turns over a motor please let me know.

Med kit: I am a former FF/EMT so I don't buy them off the shelf, I build them my way. I have some unconventional stuff in mine like lidocaine and suture kits. Again, insurance stuff I hope I never need again. I don't have a good source to recommend. Right now every so called internet "expert" is pimping a $35.00 tourniquet you buy on his website like it is the first and only thing you need. That is such a bunch of BS it's not even funny. It is outright dangerous.

Steve
 

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It is wise to take a Jump Box in your TB. YouTube channel Project Farm found the CAT to be third best out of Ten tested, which were all priced at less than $200. Only the most expensive (and heaviest) started a vehicle with a truly dead battery, which showed only about 3 volts. Most started a car with a battery still showing about 8 volts. At 10 volts, a battery has less than 25% of its current capacity. Current is what matters. If a battery still has 200 - 250 Amps of CCA power, it will not crank any engine and will seem dead. Adding the 500 Cold Cranking Amps of the CAT box, for a total of maybe 700 CCA, will start most cars and trucks.

But for only $100, perhaps think of a low-cost Jump Starter as a single-use tool. Keep it fully charged always, and this can be done even in the truck with a small $25 inverter. You will probably need it in order to assist someone else, in any case. If used to even TRY to start an engine, buy a new replacement.
 
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PHXPHOTOG

PHXPHOTOG

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It is wise to take a Jump Box in your TB. YouTube channel Project Farm found the CAT to be third best out of Ten tested, which were all priced at less than $200. Only the most expensive (and heaviest) started a vehicle with a truly dead battery, which showed only about 3 volts. Most started a car with a battery still showing about 8 volts. At 10 volts, a battery has less than 25% of its current capacity. Current is what matters. If a battery still has 200 - 250 Amps of CCA power, it will not crank any engine and will seem dead. Adding the 500 Cold Cranking Amps of the CAT box, for a total of maybe 700 CCA, will start most cars and trucks.

But for only $100, perhaps think of a low-cost Jump Starter as a single-use tool. Keep it fully charged always, and this can be done even in the truck with a small $25 inverter. You will probably need it in order to assist someone else, in any case. If used to even TRY to start an engine, buy a new replacement.
That's good advice. If I need it to help crank my truck hopefully I can hook it up before the truck battery dies completely. And all the other functions I use all the time. I can walk around my RV and top off all the tires before every trip without a hose or power cord. We use the USB ports for tons of stuff. I charge my drone batteries with the 120 AC. It is a versatile tool to have any place away from home.
 

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I like the way you are carrying recovery gear like straps and shackles, even though you don't have a winch. I have done that. One time I was stuck against a large boulder on a steep hillside in my 2WD 2011, and a guy in a 4x4 showed up but didn't have any recovery gear. The combination of his vehicle and my straps & shackles got my truck out of that jam.
 

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This little project has taken a while, with considering how it might be done, the parts required, fabricating the mounting plates, getting the fasteners and then finally installing everything. Out in my driveway, in 25 degrees F but sunny weather. The Tie-down straps are Quick Fist and Kolpin brands. The mounting plates are an advanced composite molded into flat plates and perhaps known as PPW. Or, pine plywood.

Also appearing in the pics are the Piedmont tire chains. These are not much more expensive than Traction boards, and Chains are a preventative as opposed to a remedial solution. Using the Hi-Lift jack on a Trail Boss might be problematic, I haven't tested that yet. Shovels are easy ...

JackSecured.jpeg


ShovelsSecured.jpeg

.
 
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PHXPHOTOG

PHXPHOTOG

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This little project has taken a while, with considering how it might be done, the parts required, fabricating the mounting plates, getting the fasteners and then finally installing everything. Out in my driveway, in 25 degrees F but sunny weather. The Tie-down straps are Quick Fist and Kolpin brands. The mounting plates are an advanced composite molded into flat plates and perhaps known as PPW. Or, pine plywood.

Also appearing in the pics are the Piedmont tire chains. These are not much more expensive than Traction boards, and Chains are a preventative as opposed to a remedial solution. Using the Hi-Lift jack on a Trail Boss might be problematic, I haven't tested that yet. Shovels are easy ...

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I love that you did those mounts yourself. All of the aftermarket bed organizers I have looked at are super expensive. I need to do something like yours for all the stuff I carry.

A couple tips on the HiLift. I took out the sidewall on my right front Duratrack. I have a post on here someplace with pictures. I put the HighLift under the red recovery hook. It worked but it bent the hook so much I replaced it. The front end of a TB is so heavy I had to put the factory lug wrench in the HighLift handle for a cheater bar. I am 170 lbs and was hanging my feet off the ground before I got the tire up. Also, the HiLift has a very small footprint. HiLift or aftermarket Amazon sell plastic base plates to make it bigger. I have one. Might be a good idea with all of your mud and snow.

Yes, I carry a lot of recovery gear even though I don't have a winch on this rig. Since I spend a lot of time off road I find myself helping out other stuck vehicles more than self recoveries. That does not mean I have never been stuck. Several months ago I came across a family stuck in a remote part of the desert. A couple with 5 kids under 12! He tried to drive a 2wd ford expedition across a big dry river bed of sand and rocks pulling his new travel trailer! Needless to say he was up shits creek. We unhooked the trailer and left it there for him to recover after he got his family out of there. Dragging the Expedition out of the river bed cost me enamel on all four wheels I was digging so hard. But I would do it again, I'm not leaving anyone out in the desert.

Kind Regards,

Steve
 

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A true Sheep Dog.
(Firefighters, Police Officers, Veterans ... protecting the Sheep from the Wolves and the elements.)
 

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I picked up a pair of cheap $48 shipped traction boards off Ebay that are 47.6" x 13" x 1.8" that have a built in jack base. I picked up a bungee from Harbor Freight that have carabiners on each end and wove it through the handles on each end of the boards and clipped them to the top tie down on each side of the passenger side bed. They stay up on the wheel well and out of the way. I have all my other gear under the rear seat in the GM lockable storage bin. It's stuffed full, so if I add anything else, I'm going to have to get a tote or totes for the bed.
 

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vezePilot

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I like the Red & Black Husky tubs, cuz they go with my exterior paint. That is a good way to store those boards.

If I had those today, instead of tire chains ... I would still be up there in the mountains.
 
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PHXPHOTOG

PHXPHOTOG

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I like the Red & Black Husky tubs, cuz they go with my exterior paint. That is a good way to store those boards.

If I had those today, instead of tire chains ... I would still be up there in the mountains.
Where you go chains can be a necessity. But in many ways they can also be a PIA. Traction boards work in a wide variety of situations, not just snow. When you need them, you will be glad you have them.
 
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PHXPHOTOG

PHXPHOTOG

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If I didn't have these with me I would have been using my survival gear instead of my recovery gear. And note that in much of the desert I 4wheel in there are no trees for a winch anchor even if I had one. A simple shovel and these boards got me out of a remote location. Travel prepared.

Steve

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