Before Hitting the Trails

If there’s one question I get asked all the time from new Jeepers it’s, “what’s the first mod I should do to my Jeep?? And, my answer to them is always the same, “recovery gear?. Fact of the matter is, whether you’re new to the world of off-roading with a right off the show room floor stock Jeep, or a long time veteran with a highly modified built up trail rig, everyone gets into a jam sooner or later. This article will outline the gear I like to carry with me and explain what they’re used for.

RECOVERY GEAR: A Must Have Before Hitting the Trails


  1. Very nice write-up Eddie.

    I think this is the kit we’ll be ordering for our Jeep. I’ve been searching around for individual items and trying to figure out what I’ll need when we travel. We’ll just carry this kit and know we’ve got the basics covered.

  2. Thanks Beel_MT. In all honesty, I ended up using every single piece of equipment listed in this article recovering a couple that rolled their rig down a 50′ gulch about 2 weeks after writing it and boy was I ever glad that I had all the right gear.


  3. Thank you for the info I am a first year 4 wheeler. This helped out a lot. I found most of the gear at a real bargain at a farm supply store. The strap alone was a super bargain at around $18 bucks. Farmers need this stuff, as they 4 wheel all the time in the tractor. So keep that in mind. I think the kit is a great idea and the bag super useful.

    Thanks for the help.

  4. I have a 2008 JK 4-dr Sahara. I am currently looking for a winch, and realizing a replacement bumper will cost me more than the winch, especially if I want to maintain the factory fog lights. I don’t expect that I will be doing much real rock terrain to justify a steel bumper.

    Is there a way to mount a 9500~12000 lb winch to the front factory bumper?

  5. What is this, a paid advertisement for ARB? You mention “ARB Recovery Essentials” seven times in your article and you don’t mention any other products at all. No one else makes snatch straps? You think everyone has the dough to pay a premium $199 so they can get a fancy bag with a logo on it?

    If you’re going to write an article called “Recovery Gear Essentials”, then list the essentials. Say this is good and that is good and you should have this, and here are some manufacturers. Instead I get an inventory of the ARB kit.

  6. Oh please, the ARB kit is just something I happend to like and if you took the time to look, you would see that they are NOT even a sponsor here. So, I guess I am guilty of commiting the crime of giving a company free advertisement. Look, if you don’t like ARB gear, fine, knock yourself out and buy something else. :rolleyes:

  7. Not sure there is a good category for this question yet, but does anyone make buttons to replace the factory button ‘blanks’ next to the ‘hazard’ and ‘esp off’ buttons on the dash in front of the shifter? My Sahara has 3 ‘blanks’ that I would like to replace with a winch power cutoff, auxilliary lights, etc. My local dealer was clueless.

  8. Just to add one more thing. I agree on everything you said, but just thought it was a little silly you mention a snatch block which requires a winch set up that costs a bundle and leave out the jack. I personally would love a winch on my Jeep, but just can’t afford the grand it will take to put one on. It didn’t really bother me until I read some entries replying to your write up and realized a lot of them where new to wheeling. A winch and a snatch block are AWSOME pieces of equipment and can get your rig to most places on the planet, but an “essential?…

    Also they take quit a lot of experience to use together correctly and can be down right dangerous…but then again so can a high lift jack (:

  9. And thus, why I did not include a Hi-Lift Jack in the equation – while I do think they have a useful place an purpose, I personally feel they can be more of a hazard than a help especially since many people seem to think they are good for doing tasks such as changing tires. I am however a real believer in the use of winches and a snatch block is what I would consider to be an essential piece of equipment to compliment one. As far as experience goes, how would you suggest one should acquire it? As for cost, a grand is less that a new set of wheels and tires.


  10. Hey, WayOfLife that Warn winch plate will work on the non Sahara or Rubicon model JKs? If so I have other areas I would like to spend my money besides $300-500 on a bumper right now. Thanks

  11. Thanks, this is my first Jeep & i’m still putting around the right set up. I have been shopping around & I think I have decided on a good offroad setup of 35″ Toyo M/T’s, 4″ Rancho suspension w\ RS9000x shocks ($999.99) OUCH, Olympic Rescue Bumper $299.99 & Smittybilt XRC8 Winch $299.99 for Florida terrain. But after seeing some of the videos w\ your Jeep (which is bad by the way) I feel like I am going to big. Do U think there is a better way to go money wise & still get good articulation W\ 35’s. Remember I unfortunatly do not have that awesome terrain u have on the West coast.

  12. Hi David, all you really need to clear 35’s is about 2.5″-3″ of lift and you might want to consider just installing a 2.5″ budget boost or basic 3″ lift. You’d save a lot of money and I think you’ll find that it’ll do the job for you just fine.


  13. That 3″ setup looks good & shows good clearance below & on the wheel wells & that winch plate does work. Good call saves about $800.00.

  14. Juat wanted to say that what you do on here is above and beyond. The info you put out seems to be honest, straight foreward and worth listing to. I have been spending a lot of time reading your write-ups and have found no other forum that compares. Some of the topics may seem simple or basic but without a good foundaion to build on, too many costly mistakes are sure to be made. For me this is key. Unknowingly, you have helped me make better choises across the board. A lot could be learned here if ego is checked at the door. If you see fit to give a plug, I’m sure it holds plenty of merrit. I see no twisting of arms here, just tons of great opinons with experience to back it up. For those of you reading this, just check out some of the videos. The man knows a little something about wheelin. Keep up the great work.

  15. Thank you for a very well written article.

    Although I have one point of disagreement – your strap.

    You mentioned it by using the word “tow” strap when I think you should really be saying a “recovery”s strap. And yes, there is a difference between a tow strap and a recovery strap!

    In my almost 40 years of off-roading, I have seen many tow straps either break or cause either the recovery vehicle or stuck vehicle to break as well.

    Why, because of the sudden jerking forces required when using a tow strap. Remember, a tow strap is just that – used for towing while a recovery strap is designed for recovery.

    Let me explain how a recovery strap works.

    You connect the two vehicles together and the recovery vehicle begins to slowly drive away. The recovery strap will stretch and eventually extract the stuck vehicle. No sudden jerking forces required! I have seen a case where a very well welded rear bumper was removed like it was attached with glue because of the forces needed to extract the stuck vehicle.

    Don’t believe me about the forces, check this out (I found this on the web; sorry don’t remember where but will be incorporating a link to this information on my website when I find this source!):

    *** Begin Internet Article Extract ***

    Here is a table supplied by Guy Hammer that tells you how much force can be exerted by various weights of vehicles at various speeds:

    Vehicle/Snatch-strap load impact (in ft./lbs. energy)

    Speed Vehicle Weight (lbs)
    (mph) 3,000 4,000 5,000 6,000 7,000
    5 2,506 3,341 4,177 5,012 5,847
    10 10,024 13,365 16,707 20,048 23,389
    15 22,554 30,072 37,590 45,108 52,626
    20 40,096 53,462 66,827 80,192 93,558
    30 90,216 120,289 150,361 180,435 210,505
    50 250,604 334,135 417,669 501,207 584,736

    Strap capacities:
    2″ – 18,000
    4″ – 36,000
    6″ – 54,000
    12″- 108,000

    Note: The tow hooks I have seen for sale are only rated for 10,000 lbs. As best have I have been able to determine, the two 1/2″ bolts that hold them to your frame could break at 14,000-15000 lbs. Having a tow hook imbeded in the back of your truck (or skull) could ruin your entire day! (And no, I don’t know anyone crazy enough to hit the end of a 12” strap at 50 MPH!)

    From this we can see that a 3,000 pound vehicle at only 10 miles per hour can apply more power than most of the electric winches on the market. A very powerful tug, indeed. High speeds make for a tremendous amount of power.

    Always always always start with small tugs at low speeds. There’s no sense in tearing the towing points right off of the vehicles. The previously mentioned tug by the 3,000 pound vehicle at 10mph will apply as much force as the stock towing points in many new vehicles are designed to take (the wire loop tow points found on many newer vehicles are an example).

    *** End Internet Article Extract ***

    Sorry this got a little long, but the information could save your life!

  16. forgive my ignorance as i’m new to this but does it really cost about a grand for labor to get a winch mounted?

  17. i suppose it depends on what your winch is getting mounted to. do you already have a bumper with a winch plate or is the grand going to include that?

  18. its going on a rugged ridge bumper. I was looking at the write up for the mile marker v10 and although ive never installed one before it looks pretty straight forward. Could you recommend the cheapest, good/reliable 8000 lb winch for light offroading.

  19. eddie , I have read and watch a lot of your utube videos, I just saw the one you made about your friend, that lost his battle with cancer, my heart sank , I wish you and cindy this best of life, I can tell you truly are good people. god bless you both. keep on jeepin.

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