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So, a question I get a lot is “What’s your favorite recovery gear?”

First, and most importantly, doing vehicle recovery takes a knowledge of what you’re doing, and always being aware of your surroundings. So, learn first, then do only if you have to, and never be ashamed to ask for professional help for a difficult or dangerous recovery – asking for help may save a life.

When you’re trying to recover a vehicle, you should always use the method which has the least risk of injury, loss of life or damage to the vehicle. The order I choose in my head starts at the least risky method for the situation:

  • Shovel
  • Recovery Boards
  • Tow
  • Winch
  • Snatch
With lighter cars and my Ascent, I may jump past winch to snatch (recoil/kinetic rope) in various situations, but, I also inspect my ropes for any signs of damage, before each trip, and clean & dry them after each trip.

Shovel
Your first attempt at recovery should always be your safest. I like starting with a shovel as it’s usually the safest way to try to get un-stuck. You can use a shovel to fill in a hole, or to dig yourself out, depending on the situation.

Good shovels can be cheap, like this one. I used this shovel for many years, then gave it to my brother for his adventures.

My current shovel is a pretty amazing thing, but that comes with a cost. It’s a legitimate 16 in 1 multifunction tool, that comes with a great carrying pouch that will belt mount. It’s got a built in heavy duty knife (serrated and smooth blade), an ice pick, screwdriver, and fire starter, and it converts/locks into a backhoe mode, ass well as can be used as a hammer. It comes with numerous extensions to change length to suit the recovery needs (and more can be bought separately).

Either way, you can’t go wrong with either shovel

Recovery Boards
If the shovel doesn’t cut it, you’d be surprised at how useful a pair of recovery boards can be. The pair I use has a leash on it for sand recoveries, for the event it gets buried (you can usually see the leash sticking out and pull it out of the sand). Most also double as a makeshift shovel. They come in a variety of colors. I got orange to keep with my rooftop theme of blue & black cases, orange tent and recovery boards.

Tow Strap (NON-Kinetic)
I am very fond of the Motormic tow strap, shackes and hitch receiver mount. Also, it came with the absolute best locking shackle pin I’ve bought to date (I literally own 8 of them). This is a great strap for a flat tow. Unlike a kinetic rope, there’s no danger in getting a really high rated one like this one.

Winch
As far as winches go, I bought a 9,500 pound winch, because, well, the Ascent is HEAVY. Get something properly sized for your Subie. I strongly suggest against using this on anything smaller than the Ascent. And, I have very low gauge wire, along with a ridiculously powerful (for a Subie) Northstar Commercial battery in my Ascent to power it. But, this is what I use to mount my winch, along with a 300amp waterproof circuit breaker switch, Anderson quick connects on both ends of the line, and a hitch mounted platform.

I cheated and used a set of 1 gauge Engergizer jumper cables for the run from battery to hitch mount.

Kinetic Rope
DON’T over-rate these. No less than 2.5x max vehicle weight, no more than 3 times max vehicle weight. Mine came in a much nicer bag.
Toss if they become frayed, cut, nicked, etc.

For the Ascent, I use the 7/8″ Yankum Python series.


7/8" Kinetic Recovery Rope "Python" [ Static 5,700-9,500 lbs] [MTS 28,600 lbs]

Shackes – Hard Shackle
Always be careful when you use a hard shackle. These are rated at 41,850 pound breaking strength. So, if you want a hard shackle, they’re a good choice.

Shackles – Soft Shackle
It’s always a good idea to make the car connection with a soft shackle. Good ones have a crazy high breaking strength (for instance, mine is rated at 52,300 pounds), and they wrap around difficult pulling points.

Anyway, that’s the recovery gear I carry with me on my adventures. Of course, there’s a lot more I carry, like water, emergency blankets, electronic LED “flares”, safety vests, first aid kits, trauma kit and more.

Oh, and here’s me using my Motormic tow rope for a simple extraction where we couldn’t dig far enough under the stuck VW. Not all AWD systems are created equal, and all seasons are not the right choice for this type of off-roading in the soft sugar-sand, so, it got stuck. The Ascent literally barely noticed it was there.




#SubaruAmbassador #RecoveryGear



 

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2022 Ascent Touring, 7 Passenger - AWD
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So, a question I get a lot is “What’s your favorite recovery gear?”

First, and most importantly, doing vehicle recovery takes a knowledge of what you’re doing, and always being aware of your surroundings. So, learn first, then do only if you have to, and never be ashamed to ask for professional help for a difficult or dangerous recovery – asking for help may save a life.

When you’re trying to recover a vehicle, you should always use the method which has the least risk of injury, loss of life or damage to the vehicle. The order I choose in my head starts at the least risky method for the situation:

  • Shovel
  • Recovery Boards
  • Tow
  • Winch
  • Snatch
With lighter cars and my Ascent, I may jump past winch to snatch (recoil/kinetic rope) in various situations, but, I also inspect my ropes for any signs of damage, before each trip, and clean & dry them after each trip.

Shovel
Your first attempt at recovery should always be your safest. I like starting with a shovel as it’s usually the safest way to try to get un-stuck. You can use a shovel to fill in a hole, or to dig yourself out, depending on the situation.

Good shovels can be cheap, like this one. I used this shovel for many years, then gave it to my brother for his adventures.

My current shovel is a pretty amazing thing, but that comes with a cost. It’s a legitimate 16 in 1 multifunction tool, that comes with a great carrying pouch that will belt mount. It’s got a built in heavy duty knife (serrated and smooth blade), an ice pick, screwdriver, and fire starter, and it converts/locks into a backhoe mode, ass well as can be used as a hammer. It comes with numerous extensions to change length to suit the recovery needs (and more can be bought separately).

Either way, you can’t go wrong with either shovel

Recovery Boards
If the shovel doesn’t cut it, you’d be surprised at how useful a pair of recovery boards can be. The pair I use has a leash on it for sand recoveries, for the event it gets buried (you can usually see the leash sticking out and pull it out of the sand). Most also double as a makeshift shovel. They come in a variety of colors. I got orange to keep with my rooftop theme of blue & black cases, orange tent and recovery boards.

Tow Strap (NON-Kinetic)
I am very fond of the Motormic tow strap, shackes and hitch receiver mount. Also, it came with the absolute best locking shackle pin I’ve bought to date (I literally own 8 of them). This is a great strap for a flat tow. Unlike a kinetic rope, there’s no danger in getting a really high rated one like this one.

Winch
As far as winches go, I bought a 9,500 pound winch, because, well, the Ascent is HEAVY. Get something properly sized for your Subie. I strongly suggest against using this on anything smaller than the Ascent. And, I have very low gauge wire, along with a ridiculously powerful (for a Subie) Northstar Commercial battery in my Ascent to power it. But, this is what I use to mount my winch, along with a 300amp waterproof circuit breaker switch, Anderson quick connects on both ends of the line, and a hitch mounted platform.

I cheated and used a set of 1 gauge Engergizer jumper cables for the run from battery to hitch mount.

Kinetic Rope
DON’T over-rate these. No less than 2.5x max vehicle weight, no more than 3 times max vehicle weight. Mine came in a much nicer bag.
Toss if they become frayed, cut, nicked, etc.

For the Ascent, I use the 7/8″ Yankum Python series.


7/8" Kinetic Recovery Rope "Python" [ Static 5,700-9,500 lbs] [MTS 28,600 lbs]

Shackes – Hard Shackle
Always be careful when you use a hard shackle. These are rated at 41,850 pound breaking strength. So, if you want a hard shackle, they’re a good choice.

Shackles – Soft Shackle
It’s always a good idea to make the car connection with a soft shackle. Good ones have a crazy high breaking strength (for instance, mine is rated at 52,300 pounds), and they wrap around difficult pulling points.

Anyway, that’s the recovery gear I carry with me on my adventures. Of course, there’s a lot more I carry, like water, emergency blankets, electronic LED “flares”, safety vests, first aid kits, trauma kit and more.

Oh, and here’s me using my Motormic tow rope for a simple extraction where we couldn’t dig far enough under the stuck VW. Not all AWD systems are created equal, and all seasons are not the right choice for this type of off-roading in the soft sugar-sand, so, it got stuck. The Ascent literally barely noticed it was there.




#SubaruAmbassador #RecoveryGear



Great life saving information. Thanks for sharing the gear you use and the links for any one interested in getting them. Liked the multipurpose showel.
 

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Gatorade!

oh wait…vehicle recovery…

I appreciate the post. It would’ve been helpful before I drove on the beach the first time. It’s been a while though so I’ll be referencing it before I go again.

Those folding shovels are great. So great my kids always want to take them to the beach. Sand and salt in the joints doesn’t go well for longevity; be sure to clean it out after each use!
 

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I'm going to also include trail-building, not just strictly recovery (the idea being trail-building will prevent having to recover at all.) Between both sides of that coin though, a shovel is far and away the tool I have gotten the most use out of. I've used my Tred traction boards a few times too. I only ever used my winch one time, after getting buried in the snow (and which I fully expected to happen before I even hit the send pedal -- I wouldn't have done it if I didn't have the winch to rely on.) I've never used my come-along but I always bring it, it's an excellent tool. And then there's good ol' fashion rock stacking. Many times have I used environmental tools to make the trail more traversible.

Also, a little different beast but my cordless electric chainsaw has proven very useful on the trail, particularly early in the recreation season.

One thing that would be nice is a large, heavy duty pry bar. The kind I'm thinking of, the name escapes me. We use them at my work, they're about 5ft long, the bar is oval-shaped steel tube about 1/8" (maybe 3/16") thick, and colored orange. They're extremely strong. But it would be a cumbersome thing to bring along, and it's not something that would get a whole lot of use. But there has been at least 1 situation I wished I had it.
 
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