Recovery straps are a vital part of any 4wd equipment list. It is important to know what you're getting when you buy your next recovery strap. In this article we explain the differences between Recovery Straps, Snatch Straps, Winch Extensions, Tree Trunk Protectors and Equalizer Straps.
A snatch strap is a nylon-webbed strap that is around 9m long and can vary from 50-70mm in width. With eyelets sewn into each end it can be attached easily to a vehicle requiring recovery. Look for a strap that has a breaking strain of 9,000kg or more.
A snatch strap is essentially a large rubber band that is attached between two vehicles. The vehicle performing the snatch recovery attempts to gently drive forward which in turn stretches the rubber band. The additional pulling action of the rubber band will free the stuck vehicle.
Snatch straps rely on the elastic properties of the strap to work properly. The strap will typically stretch by around 1m in length. It is important to look after your snatch strap as any damage could reduce the breaking strain of the strap.
Before using a Snatch Strap, there are a number of things that you need to know. There have been deaths and serious injuries from incorrect use of Snatch Straps. These are very useful, but also extremely dangerous if not used correctly.
For more information see: Snatch Strap Recovery
A 4wd recovery situation that is going to put unequal stress on the chassis of a vehicle warrants the use of an equalizer strap. An equalizer strap is attached to two recovery points on the front of a 4wd vehicle. It is preferable that no shackles are used in the securing of a strap in a recovery situation. Use rated recovery hooks on the front of the vehicle to secure the equalizer strap.
The equalizer strap is then fed through the sewn loop on the end of a snatch strap thus triangulating the stress across the two mount points of the vehicle.
Winches can also be attached to an equalizer strap in order to minimize stress on a single recovery point of a vehicle.
Equalizer straps are a non-stretch strap designed to allow the direct pull from 2 recovery points on a vehicle.
A winch extension strap is required with the reach of your regular winch cable is not long enough. These straps are available in a number of different lengths from 10m to 30m depending on your requirements. Winch extension straps are not designed for a snatch strap recovery purpose and do not stretch.
Tree trunk protectors are specially designed straps to prevent trees from becoming ring barked when winching. Often tree trunk protectors have a sewn padded section designed to wrap around the contact area with the tree.
Tree trunk protectors are a non stretch webbing strap with sewn loops for use with winch hooks or a D-Shackle.