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Vehicle recovery gear and tips

Yes, I have run with the Piedmont chains, several times now. Apparently we would not want to use tire chains without Wheel Spacers, and I installed 1.5 inch spacers as one of my first mods. Also, the Piedmont 2228CT chains fit very well, nice and tight, easy to install and no Elastic Spider required.

In November last year 4 wheel high was enough in foot-deep snow for Five miles from pavement to a hunting camp. But after that, the Chains gave me a lot of confidence to go further into the forest to a disabled F250 and tow him back to the camp.
(BTW, the guy whose truck was stuck had just taken one of the largest Elks I've ever seen.)
 
I curious what are you all using for communication for those time you are out of cell range? it seems like CB's have died off over the years.
CB is still around, but not nearly as popular as it is to be. I recently drove from San Diego to Pensacola and had my CB on the whole way over the 6 days it took. Only heard chatter in Tuscon, AZ and east Texas. Actually conversed with the 2 truckers in Texas. The kids thought that was really cool.

GMRS is gaining a lot of momentum, mostly because of increased range. The best setup I'm aware of in perfect conditions can reach an advertised 75 miles. You do need a license from the FCC, but no test is required. Fee is $35, good from 10 years, and covers the whole family. Handhelds won't reach as far because of reduced power, but they are more than adequate range.

There's then HAM radio. You need a license, which requires passing a test. Radios are more expensive, too. With that expense you get increased range of up to 300+ miles in good conditions.

I have all 3 in my truck. The GMRS and CB radios are "all in one" sets where the base is mounted in a discrete location (under front passenger seat) but the mics have all the controls. I'm able to hear the audio through the handset, but have chosen to utilize an auxiliary speaker (or, should I say speakers?). The radios are plugged into the audio jack in the center console bin. I keep the mics in the bin until I need to use them. The CB is a Uniden Bearcat with a Presidents antenna. The GMRS is a Midland MXT575 with a 6db gain antenna. The HAM radio is a Yaesu FTM-500DR with the MARS mod. Base is mounted under the driver seat. Mic and head unit are on a seat bolt bracket mount on the passenger side. HAM radio antenna is a Comet.

There are benefits and drawbacks with all of this. The MARS mod is a redundancy for GMRS, but not as good as dedicated GMRS radio. I also cannot have both the GMRS and HAM radios on at the same time or else they will interfere with each other. CB and GMRS, CB and HAM is okay. GMRS lower frequency channels are also FRS channels, which don't require a license. Going with GMRS allows you access to both. If you use an FRS radio without a license to communicate with GMRS users you could be in trouble with the FCC.

Offroaders appear to be switching over to GMRS, which is why i got into it. Most are using 25 watt all in one systems like the Midland MXT275 because the base units are very compact. The MXT575 is 50 watts and a much larger base unit. They also seem to like the 3db gain Midland Ghost antenna for low clearances. In prefect conditions it'll get you 25-50 miles. However, GMRS can utilize repeaters just like HAM to increase that range.

This is just the tip of the iceberg on the topic of comms without cell phones. As much as I enjoy NotARubicon's YouTube videos, he isn't for everybody. Very dry sense of humor. You've been warned. Long before I found out about NotARubicon I was warned by people in the industry about Baofeng. Many people recommend avoiding them.

With all this said, it should be noted I installed all 3 radios in my truck for 3 very different purposes. The CB is for long treks on the highest, such as the California to Florida trek I just made. GMRS is intended for offroading and off-grid adventures. HAM is for emergency prep. I've been through a hurricane where cell service was knocked out. I was in Salt Lake City in Aug 1999 when an EF2 tornado roared through and knocked out communications to the emergency response center, and mobile HAM radio operators came to the rescue. I just left an area with high risk for wild fires and traded it for an area prone to hurricanes. I thought it would be best to be prepared.
 
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Preparing for highway traveling later this month, including passengers and lots of luggage. This recovery gear loadout provides a nearly empty bed
but still includes minimum equipment to use either a Kinetic Rope, or a Winch. Just for any possible recoveries along the way ...

More than 6 Soft Shackles
Two receiver tow points w/Hard D-ring Shackles
30 ft x 1 in Kinetic Rope
Tree Saver to use as a V-Bridle

Winch 9500 lb on receiver mount, 80 ft synthetic rope
50 ft x 3/8 in Winch Extension rope
20 ft power cable for battery to rear bumper
Closed winch hook, (2) winch rings
Winch rope dampener bag
Fire extinguisher, two shovels

If necessary, I can carry the winch outside, mounted on either the front or the rear hitch receiver.
There is still a lot of gear under the back seat.

IMG_1888.jpeg

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My #1 choice is a come-a-long it has saved my ass lots of times. I prefer to not carry a heavy handyman or winch, next I also carry a water filter in my survival kit I rarely go far from water. Chains is a must where I live for the snow. I don’t even waste time with a CB radio due to the range gmrs offers, I had a 40 watt gmrs midland in my old truck and could communicate with handhelds for a long ways. I am definitely not a serious off roader and prefer to beat up my rzr but this is what works for me.
 
Radio talk
I'm not super into radio stuff, but for work I require a two way VHF radio. Most of the truckers and industry use them up here in northern Alberta.

My antenna is a little long, but with a cheap Chinese two way radio off Amazon my transmit and receive range seems to be about 50 kilometers.

I have it tucked away under the dash. I can control it all with the handset.
 

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Preparing for highway traveling later this month, including passengers and lots of luggage. This recovery gear loadout provides a nearly empty bed
but still includes minimum equipment to use either a Kinetic Rope, or a Winch. Just for any possible recoveries along the way ...

More than 6 Soft Shackles
Two receiver tow points w/Hard D-ring Shackles
30 ft x 1 in Kinetic Rope
Tree Saver to use as a V-Bridle

Winch 9500 lb on receiver mount, 80 ft synthetic rope
50 ft x 3/8 in Winch Extension rope
20 ft power cable for battery to rear bumper
Closed winch hook, (2) winch rings
Winch rope dampener bag
Fire extinguisher, two shovels

If necessary, I can carry the winch outside, mounted on either the front or the rear hitch receiver.
There is still a lot of gear under the back seat.

View attachment 6751
.
That reads like a list for 2 people/vehicles combined. Props to you for being overly prepared. As they say, "2 is 1. 1 is none."
 
how is everyone mounting their Farm Jacks in their truck bed? Pics please.
MOLLE panels like these

And mounting options like this
Or this
 
how is everyone mounting their Farm Jacks in their truck bed? Pics please.
I used the Quick Fist straps that Transient suggested, bolted to plywood panels. This is working well over some quite rough trails.

HiLiftMount.jpeg


Keep in mind that the Hi-Lift Jack is not the most useful tool. Often I do not even take it along. If you have not actually used such a thing, I have to report that it can be VERY DANGEROUS. Also, many late model vehicles do not have bumpers or lift points for these jacks. This includes Trail Boss trucks. I have an accessory which allows lifting by the Wheel Spokes. This is also dangerous. I'm thinking that an Inflatable Bladder jack might be more practical. But they are expensive.

edit: Further, if you ever need to use your Hi-Lift jack, be sure to have a can of spray lubricant. You have to spray basically the whole thing or it will be ruined.
 
I used the Quick Fist straps that Transient suggested, bolted to plywood panels. This is working well over some quite rough trails.

View attachment 6873

Keep in mind that the Hi-Lift Jack is not the most useful tool. Often I do not even take it along. If you have not actually used such a thing, I have to report that it can be VERY DANGEROUS. Also, many late model vehicles do not have bumpers or lift points for these jacks. This includes Trail Boss trucks. I have an accessory which allows lifting by the Wheel Spokes. This is also dangerous. I'm thinking that an Inflatable Bladder jack might be more practical. But they are expensive.

edit: Further, if you ever need to use your Hi-Lift jack, be sure to have a can of spray lubricant. You have to spray basically the whole thing or it will be ruined.
I completely agree with vezePilot. Dangerous, and our vehicles aren't built for it. I saw a post awhile back, possibly on another forum, where somebody tried lifting their truck with a Hi-Lift and using the front tow hook. The tow hook bent. I haven't found a perfect solution. Just like many trail repairs, you improvise, adapt, and overcome.
 
Yes, Steve in AZ did that ... and I was surprised the tow hook bent. Our trucks are absolutely the lightest of factory-offroad full-size.
Low-cost Bottle Jacks can be useful, even Scissor jacks.

When a Hi-Lift starts to tilt over (see pic) you are really asking for trouble. Rory explains later, in the video of this screen grab, that he just touched that jack and it popped out from under that SUV. It was a good thing that the SUV also had a bottle jack supporting it.

ScaryJack.jpg

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IMHO not a good idea to mount a farm jack where it will be out in the weather to rust... A covered bed is good. I keep mine in the rear under-seat storage (fits perfect in the rifle holder). If you are wanting to have a jack to just lift your truck, I would suggest a good bottle jack. Farm jacks have many uses beyond lifting a vehicle including, winching as a come-along, moving boulders or trees out of the way, pulling posts, clamping, moving damaged body work after a roll over or accident to drive off a trail, getting unstuck when high centered and I'm sure many more ideas. I even tried using mine in a picket anchor system for my winch with rebar driven into the ground... That being said, I will use a stock or bottle jack to change a flat tire because, as stated, farm jacks can be dangerous if used incorrectly.;)

When I use a farm jack to lift my truck I use 36" zip ties to attach a traction board to the base that has a built in farm jack "notch" and I attach the lift end with a hard shackle and/or chain to the front bumper (not stock). In the rear I do the same with the tow hitch. This way nothing will slip. Anytime I'm going under I use flat rocks, logs, spare wheels or any combination there of, to make sure that if something goes wrong the truck falls on that stuff and not me. Lubrication is good! axle grease has worked for me, but collects grit/dirt so I clean it with brake cleaner after an unlucky fall in the dirt (which seems to happen every time) and store it with a coat of WD40 until I use again. I got this most recent 48" Badlands jack at harbor freight for $100. Seems to work just as well as the more expensive one I had previously and sold with a CJ5.
 

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I agree with everything said above. But I do not leave mine at home. When you realy need one, it can be an indispensable tool. Just as Mrcolieman points out.

Steve
 
I used the Quick Fist straps that Transient suggested, bolted to plywood panels. This is working well over some quite rough trails.

View attachment 6873

Keep in mind that the Hi-Lift Jack is not the most useful tool. Often I do not even take it along. If you have not actually used such a thing, I have to report that it can be VERY DANGEROUS. Also, many late model vehicles do not have bumpers or lift points for these jacks. This includes Trail Boss trucks. I have an accessory which allows lifting by the Wheel Spokes. This is also dangerous. I'm thinking that an Inflatable Bladder jack might be more practical. But they are expensive.

edit: Further, if you ever need to use your Hi-Lift jack, be sure to have a can of spray lubricant. You have to spray basically the whole thing or it will be ruined.
Nice set up with that farm jack … I’ve wanted to purchase one just don’t know where would be a safe damage free area on our trucks as a lift point … maybe the rear hitch but up front ?
 
This thread got me thinking... So of course I consulted the University of YouTube and got a few ideas.

Today I made a 12" extension, that slides over the nose of my farm jack, out of a scrap piece of 2"x3" square tube 3/16" thick that attaches with a hitch pin. I added a cleat at the end allowing the jack to be used on the pinch seam of the body, on the edge of a bumper, bumper tube or rock slider etc... It seems to work well on flat ground but I found that the jack definitely pulls into the body from the added leverage. I will put a traction board between the body and jack if I ever use it on the pinch rail and may add a removable pad at the end so i can use as a wheel lift set up with a ratchet strap. More to follow! 🤙
 

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