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Pull free from 4x4 drama

2011-11-14 10:09

DON'T BE DAUNTED: Apply the basics of recovery, some caution and a touch of common sense, and you'll get the job done.

Despite the debates surrounding the use of kinetic straps and ropes, the pull strap is your first line of defence (along with a spade) when you need to throw together a recovery kit.

Made of high tenacity polyester with limited stretch, it is used to pull or tow stuck vehicles through or over obstacles. After securely attaching the strap to both vehicles, the recovering vehicle then moves off at a gentle pace with as few jerks as possible.

Pull straps can also be used to extend a winch cable and as a tree trunk protector in an absolute emergency.


Your last line of defence will be your kinetic strap or rope. Made of high elongation, high tenacity polyamide, most kinetic straps stretch by 20—25% of their length, converting potential energy into kinetic energy. This short elastic rebound is used to recover an extremely bogged down vehicle from sand or mud and, after sufficient practice a driver will (hopefully) know to stop before the strap stops him. This will allow full use of the kinetic capability without straining the strap or vehicle recovery points.

The kinetic energy recovery rope is similarly used to recover severely stuck vehicles from sand or mud, possibly after a kinetic strap. The rope is an ultra-high elongation, high tenacity, plaited polyamide rope and can stretch between 30-40% of its length.

Once used it should be loosely piled to recover its kinetic capability and not immediately packed away. Generally, the rope's kinetic capability will be depleted after one rigorous snatch and would require eight hours for every 10% of stretch to "creep back" to its original length and kinetic capability - or about 24 hours for a 30% stretch.


Factors influencing the rope's kinetic capability include the mass of the vehicles, how badly stuck the vehicle is, traction available to the recovering vehicle, the distance between the vehicles and the speed at which the recovery vehicle moves.

The following items should also be included in your recovery kit: a recovery link for joining straps, a recovery bridle and a recovery safety blanket.

Remember to assess the situation; careful planning and safe use of the basic equipment will more than likely be all that is required.

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