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It's amazing where you can take a 4x4. With some care and skill you can get across almost any ground; even if it looks completely impassable there's usually a way. Sand, mud, rocks, even rivers; with the proper technique they don't have to be an obstacle. Sometimes it doesn't go just the way you planned, though, and next time you're up to your axles in loose sand or spinning the wheels in mud. That's when things really get challenging, because getting yourself in there was the easy bit. Now you have to get out.

The first thing most people try when they get bogged in is shoving something under the wheels to give a bit of extra grip. That's a really good idea and most of the time it works - if you shove the right something under there. Shovels can be pretty good, but most people only carry one of those. That's not so good if you have four wheels stuck; you need at least two to have a good chance of getting out. Decent sized logs are pretty grippy, if you can get them in there, but smaller branches are usually useless; your tyres will just rip them up, and can even throw out dangerous wooden shrapnel.

What you need is something that's compact and easy to carry, lightweight, simple to get under your tyres where you need it and with a robust grippy surface that'll make getting out easy. Yes, what you need is TREDs. These are the ultimate fast recovery device. Moulded from high-tech polyolefin composite, they're lightweight but tough and have textured surfaces to ensure maximum grip. A shovel tip makes wedging them under buried tyres about as easy as it's going to get - we're not saying it's something you'd do for fun, right enough - and they work great in mud, sand or snow.

TREDs are sold in pairs and are available in two sizes - TRED 800 for smaller vehicles or situations where space is tight, and TRED 1100 for heavy duty recovery of larger wagons. They also come in a range of colours, running from hot pink to military green. They're one of the most effective and versatile bits of gear out there. On their own they'll handle most minor issues, and used together with a winch, tow strap or snatch block they'll make even the toughest recovery a lot easier. At least one pair should be in every recovery kit.

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