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Old 09-28-2012, 05:18 PM   #1
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Tow/Recovery Straps

I'm new to Jeeps and, although I don't plan on doing any hard core off-roading, I thought it might be a good idea to begin getting some really basic items that may be of value living in snowy New England. One item that came to mind is a tow strap and, after looking at some on-line, I have a few questions I'm certain you guys are able to help me with.

1. Is there any substantial difference between tow straps and recovery straps? If so, is one better that the other?

2. Is there a length and width you can recommend for, say, helping someone stuck in a rut or snow bank?

3. What material holds up best against the elements?

4. What type of strap end would be most useful, looped or one with hooks?

5. What weight rating would you recommend?

6. Any brands better than others or should be stayed away from?

Appreciate your help!

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Old 09-28-2012, 06:06 PM   #2
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Couple of quick points when looking at recovery straps.

- Get loops not hooks. The hooks can break and become dangerous.

- Look for a 2 inch wide strap 20-30 feet long. It'll fit inside the tow hitch and you can secure it with the hitch pin. The manufacturers will happily sell you a receiver adapter with a clevis. These are useful for winch recoveries, but not really needed for just the strap.

- Remember, it's a pull strap, not a snatch strap. Most will be in 10k to 20k pound weight limit range, and you can easily break bumpers or attachment points by giving a hard jerk.

- Buy a separate carry bag for it to help keep it clean and avoid damage from the other crap you carry.

- ALWAYS pull from the rear of the vehicle in 4wd Lo, 1st gear. The front hooks are for others to recover you with. The gears in the differentials are cut in such a way that they are designed to take high stresses going forward, but not going backwards. You can damage your gears or your diff housing by pulling in reverse. This is true of all 4wd vehicles.

I've used these things for over 25 years and they work fine under the right circumstances. If the stuck vehicle doesn't budge after the first attempt or two, rethink your approach.

Mike

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Old 09-28-2012, 06:12 PM   #3
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If you are looking for something to pull someone (or yourself) out of a snow bank, a snatch strap might be the ticket.

I have the 17,500 lb version of this ARB snatch strap:

ARB ARB705US - ARB Snatch Strap - Quadratec

What makes it worth the price:
  • Quality materials and stitching
  • Reinforced loops/eyes...not hooks
  • 2 3/8" wide (narrower at eyes)
  • 30' long
It is not used for towing. It is for recoveries. It stretches, so it is less jarring on both vehicles. That said, you have to be careful with them.
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Old 09-28-2012, 06:13 PM   #4
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I'll start it off with this quote
Go big, or don't get home? Help with snatch straps please...

Quote:
Originally Posted by dustdriver View Post
Recovery straps (ie, "snatch straps"... not to be confused with anchor straps, tow straps, or "tree saver" straps) are one area you want to avoid the overkill principle.

Straps are a very commonly misunderstood item. Vehicle recovery situations can generate immense amounts of energy, which can lead to disaster when something breaks. It's important to understand the basic differences and use the strap for what it was intended.

Nylon stretches, polyester doesn't (well, very very little). That's why recovery straps are almost always nylon, while good anchor (tree saver) straps are usually polyester. If you are yanking a rig out of a mudhole, you want a stretchy nylon strap, but if you are setting up a winch rigging, you want to minimize stretch in your system (because if something breaks, that kinetic energy can be lethal).

Recovery straps are designed to act like a big rubberband, absorbing the shock of the pull and converting that into pulling power through the stretch and rebound. If it's rated too heavy, it won't be able to do that, and will instead act like a static strap and transfer all that energy and shock directly into your tow points and other components, which has a jarring effect that can cause things to break ("all that energy has to go somewhere"). (I've seen guys snap off all kinds of parts using chains to pull people out and they gun it and WHAM! SNAP!)

17,500 is a good pick for most 4x4 vehicles, including a JKU, IMO

(The arbusa.com site has a good explanation of this stuff if you want more.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by RalphTomaccio View Post
1. Is there any substantial difference between tow straps and recovery straps? If so, is one better that the other?
Unless your towing you want recovery. There is also snatch straps that are for more extreem stuck situations.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RalphTomaccio View Post
2. Is there a length and width you can recommend for, say, helping someone stuck in a rut or snow bank?
2" - 20' will work 2"- 30' is better

Quote:
Originally Posted by RalphTomaccio View Post
4. What type of strap end would be most useful, looped or one with hooks?
Don't get hooks they are dangerous. They can shoot back and hurt kill someone. Your only going to find those on toe straps, or mabe crap you don't want from china.
Worth noting never use a ball on a hitch as a recovery point. The are not made for high impact stress and can and have flung back and killed people.
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Old 09-28-2012, 08:04 PM   #5
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Very useful information in this thread. Thanks
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Old 09-28-2012, 09:15 PM   #6
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I will start off saying I have never used my jeep to recover anything. I have used tractors to pull stuff out of mud. We use a tractor supply strap that is rated at 27,000 pounds. 3" x 30' with looped ends.

Erickson Recover Strap with Loops, 27,000 lb. maximum - 3040091 | Tractor Supply Company

I have beat on this and it just keeps going. When/if it breaks ill buy another.
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Old 09-28-2012, 09:38 PM   #7
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Great information from everyone. A big Thanks to all. Please keep the info flowing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by onetraveller View Post
- Look for a 2 inch wide strap 20-30 feet long. It'll fit inside the tow hitch and you can secure it with the hitch pin.
Regarding the above comment. With the JKU towing rated at 3500 pounds, is the tow hitch pin strong enough to support the strap pulling a vehicle that probably weighs more than that PLUS overcome the resistance of a stuck vehicle?
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Old 09-28-2012, 10:21 PM   #8
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The hitch pin is the same pin that is used for the 10k pound class IV hitches that are on 1/2 & 3/4 ton trucks. Your hitch receiver is attached to a major cross member on the rear of the jeep and held in place by 4 grade 8 bolts. This is a very solid set-up.

The 3,500 lb tow rating of the JKU is based more on the chasis dynamics under load then by the strength of the steel around the hitch area. The flexibility of the Jeep suspension is great for off-roading, not so much for towing a heavy trailer.

You should keep in mind that this is the same location used by those with a moveable winch mount. Also, early JKs mounted their rear tow hook in the same location as the hitch receiver. The tow hook had to be removed to mount the hitch. Later JKs moved the tow hook to the left side of the Jeep, attached directly to the frame so you could have both.

Having said all that, it is still possible to damage either the Jeep or the other vehicle by jerking too hard on the strap. That's why a pull is recommended, with an occasional tug to break suction when necessary.

I like this one as a reminder to make sure you are confident in your connection points.
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Old 09-29-2012, 05:53 AM   #9
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WOW that was stupid
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Old 09-29-2012, 06:05 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scuba_steve View Post

I have the 17,500 lb version of this ARB snatch strap:

ARB ARB705US - ARB Snatch Strap - Quadratec

It is not used for towing. It is for recoveries. It stretches, so it is less jarring on both vehicles. That said, you have to be careful with them.
^^ This.

You don't need a strap that'll pull 30,000 lbs. It can actually cause problems, since it takes a lot more effort to get the strap to the "rebound" phase. 16-17,000 lbs for a snatch strap is all you need.

Don't skimp on your recovery gear. If you use shackles, make sure they're good ones, like Crosby. Avoid the Chinese-made knock-offs that come with some bumpers. They can be dangerous.
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Old 09-29-2012, 11:00 AM   #11
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Damm ....
I think I have that same strap as in the video in BOTH of
our trucks ( none in Jeep yet ) in my Sig below and have
always had one in our previous vehicles over the past
30 years ( we always both drove 4x4 trucks).
Looks like I will be replacing them ;-)
Have used them to help unfortunate people stuck in
the snow but always did it nice and slow. The only
time I really tugged quick was pulling out bushes
around the yard.
Thanks for the info ...
Rob ...
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Old 09-29-2012, 11:10 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onetraveller View Post
I like this one as a reminder to make sure you are confident in your connection points.
Sounds like if you're the type that wants to help stuck people, a signed waiver may not be a bad idea. One of the vendors should come up with and sell a pre-printed pad of waivers that state that "the party being helped holds the helper harmless of any consequential damage due to assistance being rendered" and carry these in your glove box.

I'm thinking the best place to tie a strap to would be the frame, assuming the vehicle being helped is not a Jeep with tow hooks?
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Old 09-29-2012, 11:39 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RalphTomaccio View Post
Sounds like if you're the type that wants to help stuck people, a signed waiver may not be a bad idea. One of the vendors should come up with and sell a pre-printed pad of waivers that state that "the party being helped holds the helper harmless of any consequential damage due to assistance being rendered" and carry these in your glove box.

I'm thinking the best place to tie a strap to would be the frame, assuming the vehicle being helped is not a Jeep with tow hooks?
Most passenger cars are not body-on-frame...they are unibody...so there is not necessarily a bomb-proof anchor point underneath. You certainly don't want to grab an axle and watch it tear free.

Personally, I wouldn't try to pull one out, even with a snatch strap. I just wouldn't want the liability...or bad feelings...or my snatch strap flying back at me with a chunk of their car on it.

Funny thing is, there were probably enough guys there to push that thing out.
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Old 09-29-2012, 01:23 PM   #14
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Another point worth noting is that twist in the strap will weaken it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RalphTomaccio View Post
Sounds like if you're the type that wants to help stuck people, a signed waiver may not be a bad idea. One of the vendors should come up with and sell a pre-printed pad of waivers that state that "the party being helped holds the helper harmless of any consequential damage due to assistance being rendered" and carry these in your glove box.

I'm thinking the best place to tie a strap to would be the frame, assuming the vehicle being helped is not a Jeep with tow hooks?
You probably better of just asking them if they need a ride and offer to call a toe truck. I might be more inclined to help in situations like this


I would defiantly scribble up a quick waver before doing a tug. Most cars will have a toe point that you can attach a shackle too on the frame.

Some will have a it were it screws in.
SUBARU FORESTER

Becides a dedicated tow point, I wouldn't even attempt it. Axles, suspension, bumpers, are asking for major problems.

HITCH QUESTION

I see these a bunch. Is there an advantage to these over just useing the hitch pin? I currently don't have a hitch. Do you guys think these are far superior to the stock recovery hook?
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Old 09-29-2012, 01:43 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onetraveller View Post
Couple of quick points when looking at recovery straps.

- Get loops not hooks. The hooks can break and become dangerous.

- Look for a 2 inch wide strap 20-30 feet long. It'll fit inside the tow hitch and you can secure it with the hitch pin. The manufacturers will happily sell you a receiver adapter with a clevis. These are useful for winch recoveries, but not really needed for just the strap.

- Remember, it's a pull strap, not a snatch strap. Most will be in 10k to 20k pound weight limit range, and you can easily break bumpers or attachment points by giving a hard jerk.

- Buy a separate carry bag for it to help keep it clean and avoid damage from the other crap you carry.

- ALWAYS pull from the rear of the vehicle in 4wd Lo, 1st gear. The front hooks are for others to recover you with. The gears in the differentials are cut in such a way that they are designed to take high stresses going forward, but not going backwards. You can damage your gears or your diff housing by pulling in reverse. This is true of all 4wd vehicles.

I've used these things for over 25 years and they work fine under the right circumstances. If the stuck vehicle doesn't budge after the first attempt or two, rethink your approach.

Mike
Excellent information! please keep it coming "onetraveller".
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:11 PM   #16
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Rooster,
The factory Jeep tow hooks follow the KISS principle. They are dead simple, strong, and work well.

The receiver adapters with a clevis are useful for attaching things like a snatch block for a double line winch pull. But they aren't generally necessary for using a pull strap.

If you want detailed instruction of recovery techniques, I recommend Bill Burke's website. It has lots of free information or you can purchase one of his videos. Hi Getting Unstuck video is only about $20 and covers everything from pull straps to advanced winch usage. Better yet, sign up for one of his classes. Bill is one of the true experts in the field of off-road travel. His background includes being a competitor in the old Camel Trophy events sponsored by Land Rover.
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Old 09-30-2012, 02:57 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onetraveller View Post
Rooster,
I recommend Bill Burke's website.

Bill Burke's 4-Wheeling America - off road 4x4 driver training.

Rob .....
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Old 09-30-2012, 04:52 PM   #18
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Talking Thanks for the post guys

Quote:
Originally Posted by onetraveller View Post
Rooster,
The factory Jeep tow hooks follow the KISS principle. They are dead simple, strong, and work well.

The receiver adapters with a clevis are useful for attaching things like a snatch block for a double line winch pull. But they aren't generally necessary for using a pull strap.

If you want detailed instruction of recovery techniques, I recommend Bill Burke's website. It has lots of free information or you can purchase one of his videos. Hi Getting Unstuck video is only about $20 and covers everything from pull straps to advanced winch usage. Better yet, sign up for one of his classes. Bill is one of the true experts in the field of off-road travel. His background includes being a competitor in the old Camel Trophy events sponsored by Land Rover.
That makes sense that you would want a shackle for a snatch block. I was actaually checking out an article on Bills website just the other day about hi-lifts. I also just found a cool, hella long, video of Camel Trophy highlights. I wish they would bring that back.
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Old 09-30-2012, 05:17 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by robskully View Post

Burke sounds like a great guy. Would love to take his courses. But, difficult to justify traveling out west for a few days. Anyone know of anything even close to something like that in the New England area?

I wouldn't even mind an hour with someone local just to run me through the basics of using 4 WD.
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Old 01-22-2014, 10:00 PM   #20
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I managed to dig up this old thread and it contained a lot of great information. Thanks to those of you who added comments.

I have a bit of a different situation with regards to pulling with straps.

My rig will be in Belize. Lots of dirt roads, beach, no crawling allowed in the whole country. When it rains, it pours. That's when it floods. A lot.

I will not have a winch. My use would be pulling myself, or possibly others, out of a swollen stream, with a reasonable amount of mud underneath.

There aren't many cars in Belize, but the drivers do get stuck. I would like to be able to help out, when possible, on mud and sand.

What equipment do I need? Recovery? Snatch?

All help appreciated.
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Old 01-22-2014, 10:28 PM   #21
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A tow strap does not stretch like a snatch/recovery strap does. If you think you'll be helping to recover vehicles, use a snatch strap. It's safer on both vehicles. When towing, you don't want a strap that stretches.

You don't want this to happen:

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Old 01-22-2014, 10:53 PM   #22
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Everything basically has been covered - get a snatch strap, not a "tow strap." Make sure you never pull in reverse, make sure you attach to a dedicated tow point, and make sure you don't attach any strap to a ball hitch or something that'll easily break.

If you want a dang nice strap, look at "Bubba Rope." It's a special kind of snatch strap that stretches wayyyy more than a typical strap. They're made in the US, are super nice, but are expensive.

I have the Renegade Bubba rope - 19,000 pull capacity, 20' long, and looks very cool too: $120

Also, invest in a couple Clevis rings. Very useful for any recovery!
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Old 01-23-2014, 07:23 AM   #23
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Hey Ralph....Just go to your nearest Tractor Supply Co. They have plenty of tow straps/recovery straps. Some are made in U.S.A. and really not that expensive. Plus you'll have it right away, and not waiting for FedEx or UPS.
Bet you could have used it yesterday....
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Old 01-23-2014, 07:31 AM   #24
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Hey Ralph....Just go to your nearest Tractor Supply Co. They have plenty of tow straps/recovery straps. Some are made in U.S.A. and really not that expensive. Plus you'll have it right away, and not waiting for FedEx or UPS.
Bet you could have used it yesterday....
This thread is more than 5 months old. I bought an Arb months ago and have had to use it just once, but not yesterday. This cold and snow sticks around much longer, I'm sure I will be using it due to the weather!

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