Recovery 101: What You Should Carry And How To Use It

Being prepared when you head out to the trail is just as important as the vehicle you are heading to the trail with. Having the right tools and equipment to get out of any situation is key for a safe trip in the dirt.

With the help of Mean Mother and TRED, we outfitted Project Storm Trooper and Project Redneck to be prepared for the rocks or desert. We will go over the parts included in the recovery kit, what exactly they are used for, and some recommended uses.

Keep in mind that safety is the number one priority when recovering a vehicle. Knowing how to properly use the tools will make sure that no one is injured and the day out in the dust can continue.


Snatch Strap

A snatch strap is a recovery tool that almost every off-roader has had to use before. It is usually the go-to piece to get a vehicle recovered. It is hooked between both vehicles on recovery points and with a good tug or pull, will allow the stuck vehicle to be extracted.

This puts a lot of strain on both the pulling vehicle and the vehicle being pulled out. It can cause more damage to a vehicle that may otherwise have been okay. The strap could also cause damage to the users if it snaps. A towel, shirt, or another strap should be placed on the snatch strap in case it breaks.

The thing to remember about a snatch strap is that it's similar to a rubber band. A snatch strap being stretched between two vehicles generates a pulling force as the strap returns to its original length.

Before connecting the strap, both vehicles should be positioned as straight as possible. There should be slack in the strap so that the recovering vehicle can have a running start. If the vehicle does not get removed after the first pull, try to increase the amount of slack on the ground to let the moving vehicle increase its speed.

Recommended Uses: Vehicle stuck in mud, soft sand, or caught up on a rock.



Not having a winch will make you want one the first time you use a friend’s. This is an invaluable tool that can be used with other equipment to further its uses. From Jeeps on the Rubicon to King of the Hammers vehicles, it is one of the most used recovery tools.

With the winch installed on the front bumper like we have on Project Redneck, the line, either steel or synthetic rope, can be extended to recover a stuck vehicle or to help pull the vehicle over an obstacle.

A winch is an invaluable tool. The amount of uses and pairings with other recovery tools make this a must have on most off-road vehicles.

A winch is an important tool. The amount of uses and pairings with other recovery tools make this a must-have on most off-road vehicles.

A winch has multiple uses and ways that it could help on the trial. Its dual purpose makes this a tool that everyone envies on the trail.

Recommended Uses: Recovery, or assistance up an obstacle.


Winch Extension Strap

A winch extension strap can be confused with a snatch strap, but there is one main difference in that it can be used with a snatch block. The winch extension strap does exactly as its name implies – it extends the length of the winch line.

Need to get just a little more distance out of your winch cable, the extension strap is just what you need.

Need to get just a little more distance out of your winch cable? The extension strap is just what you need.

An extension strap should not be used as a snatch strap as it does not build up the potential energy like a snatch. It also can be damaged if it goes up against rough objects like rocks or wood.

Recommended Uses: When you need more length out of your winch.


Tree Trunk Protector

There is one reason to carry this piece of equipment in your recovery kit. Off-roaders can leave lasting impressions on the environment, and one of the easiest ways that is done is by hooking to a tree without the right protection. This will leave the tree with permanent damage.

When attaching the tree trunk protector, make sure to place it at the bottom of the tree.

These are non-elastic straps that are made to handle the high capacity of winch pulling. They are more than just for protecting trees, but are for the user’s safety as well. It is never a good idea to wrap a winch line around any anchor and hook the line back onto itself as this can lead to failure of the rope.

Recommended Uses: Save the environment any time you need to hook to a tree.


Snatch Block

A snatch block has two primary functions in recovery winching: One is to change the direction of your winch cable when the anchor point is offset; the second is to increase the pulling power of your winch. It can also be used in self-recovery situations.

A snatch block slides open to allow the winch cable to be placed around it. The snatch block can be closed and connected to a multitude of things with the use of a shackle.

Snatch blocks have a sliding side which allows the winch cable to placed in it and not threaded through the block. They can be used with a tree trunk protector and shackle to be attached to a tree or other solid object. They may be one of the smaller pieces in a recovery kit, but they are just as important as the larger items.

Recommended Uses: Change winch direction, increase pulling power, or self-recovery



Having tools to recover your vehicle in the dirt by yourself is important. If you are off-roading alone, the amount of tools taken should be increased, due to the fact that it is up to you to get yourself out.

The TREDs have two different sides. One side can be used as a shovel (left) to dig out dirt or sand. The other side (right) is used as a ramp to get out of the sticky situation.

The TREDs have a unique design that makes them two tools in one. On one side, a shovel can be used to remove sand or dirt to help clear a path for a vehicle to be extracted.

The thing to remember when using the TREDs is to avoid wheelspin. Back up or go forward (depending on your situation) slowly.

The other side of the TREDs is a ramp. This allows it to be placed under a wheel to help obtain traction. The TRED provides a surface that gives the stuck tire something to grab and propel the vehicle out.

Recommended Uses: Stuck vehicle in sand or mud.



This is one of the most universal tools in off-road. A shackle can be used for mounting to a recovery point and connecting a strap to a winch. They put less stress on the fibers of a strap and contain no sharp edges to cut the strap.

Shackels are one of the most universal tools in an off-road recovery kit. They can be used to attach a strap to a vehicle, connect two strap ends together, and connect to a snatch block.

Also called a D-ring or clevis ring, they have a threaded end which ensures that they will not come apart during a recovery, but can be quickly disassembled.

Recommended Uses: Mounting locations, attaching ends of straps or to a winch.



Our hands are what allow us to do everything we love and something that we need. On the trail, there are many places where we can get hurt and it is best to wear protection. Broken parts, loose debris, or a winch line are all places where a nice outing in the woods can turn sour.


Gloves protect your hands from abrasion, heat, sharp objects and impacts. The most important reason to wear them is safety. It is something that is included in most recovery kits for that very reason.

Recommended Uses: During all recoveries.

Beyond this, make sure that everything is in working condition and ready to go when hitting the trail. If you think you may need something else, bring it, because you never know when you may use it. What do you carry in your recovery kit? Tell us in the comments below!


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About the author

Steven Olsewski

Steven Olsewski grew up with a true passion for anything with a motor. He loves his wife and kids, and during the year can be found enjoying quality time together. They are a huge part of his life and their passion for God.
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