One of the regular issues when off roading is getting bogged down in the brown wet stuff or sand, if you’re in the sun. If traveling alone the answer is track mats, a shovel or winching, but if you have a second vehicle at your disposal a lot of work can be avoided by a snatch recovery.
Enter the KERR rope (Kinetic Energy Recovery rope) or snatch rope/strap. A fantastic bit of kit if used correctly, and is a must in
every recovery bag.
When purchasing a snatch rope/strap is it important that you know your vehicles maximum laden weight, then go for the next one up to be absolutely covered. Snatch straps do wear out and you will need to inspect it and clean after every use before stowing away for the next time. The unspoken rule for a recovery is if it’s your vehicle in trouble then you use your strap and gear, this is common courtesy that most of use without thinking.
HOW DO THEY WORK.
A snatch strap or rope is around nine to ten meters in length with reinforced eyelets at each end, the best type being manufactured from 100% nylon, polyester content ropes are best avoided as the stretch properties are not the same.
The idea of the strap is to use the kinetic energy built up in the initial stretch to snatch the vehicle out of the bogged situation with sharp force, as in a catapult effect. All straps and ropes will have a Safe Working Load (SWL) tab on it, check this before use to confirm the tolerances for your requirements.
Never use a KERR rope for general winching or pulling out fence posts etc. Only use approved and rated recovery points on both vehicles, never use a tow ball or serious damage and injury could occur. Many instances of this are well documented on line, and always use a cable damper as in winching operations as a safety precaution.
Take a walk around the stuck vehicle and look why it is trapped, is there anything that needs to be cleared for the pull and the path you will be taking, rocks, stumps and the like. Can the recovery be made easier with a little bit of shovel work to reduce suction in the mud?
One you are satisfied with the above, hook up your strap to both vehicles to rated recovery points, only use rated D shackles for your weights to be moved, the shackles will be stamped with a SWL if not, do not use them as they could break and become flying metal missiles. Use the pin on the shackle for the eyelet to sit and when you tighten the pin turn back half a turn to prevent thread lock under the action of pulling. Add your cable damper to the middle of the rope or strap and you are ready to go.
Both drivers discuss the operation in hand and procedures to be taken, CB radios are ideal to use or have a third person giving clear hand signals between both parties at a safe distance. Ensure all bystanders are well clear of the area, and both drivers are wearing seatbelts
The lead vehicle must then take up the slack and be in Low Range second gear ready to go, the stuck vehicle in Low Range first gear too high a speed is dangerous and will not allow a safe stretch and snap-rebound. The bogged vehicle driver must release the clutch when the jolt from the rope is felt pulling. The vehicle should now just snap free from the situation. If all goes well, slowly drive forward to safe ground, disconnect the rope and check for any damage to the vehicles and your equipment.
On an attempt that fails, re-evaluate the whole of the above situation, making the pulling action required less by preparing more. Simply increasing the speed will increase the load on everything involved for the recovery, at a momentary point where a failure of one components is significantly higher.
On completion finally check if the rope or strap has any nicks, fraying or stretch markings, if so, replace it, do not risk future problems. If it is covered in mud or wet, poly bag it up, then at home wash it and dry it thoroughly or your strap/rope will rot if stored wet.
Feature image; 4×4 store