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Recovery Straps - Proper Usage

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Old 12-18-2008, 01:58 PM   #1
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Recovery Straps - Proper Usage

I am finding a lot of great articles today that should be part of our forums here... And here is yet another on the difference between tow straps and recovery straps... and how to use them effectively.

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Recovery Straps - Proper Usage

How recovery straps work and how to use them properly
By Robert B. of Gator4x4 Club


The right recovery straps and how to use them can make the difference if you can pull your vehicle out safely or if you have to wait on a tow truck. A high quality strap without hooks attached to it is the strap you want to use for getting a vehicle unstuck.


This is NOT a recovery strap:



The above is called a "tow" strap. The main reason not to use this for recovery is simple. If the recovery strap or your recovery hardware breaks, it's not safe to have a metal hook flying off at speeds in excess of 100 mph.

Many people have been killed and seriously injured by using these straps incorrectly. These straps will not stretch because they are made for towing, not recovery.


Let me first clarify what we are talking about.


Here is a recovery strap:







How a Recovery Strap Works
The strap works like this. Say for example you are pulling out your friend, so you attach your recovery strap to the back of your vehicle and then to the front of his. As you drive away from him the recovery strap stretches just like a rubber band. The strap wants to go back to its normal size, so it has no other choice than to transfer the energy to the stuck vehicle, pulling it out.

Recovery straps are flat with sewn loops and no hooks. They are nylon, not polypropylene or Dacron or chain. Because the straps are made of Nylon, they stretch. They are safer than chains, easier to use, and not nearly as heavy.

Specifications
I've seen recovery straps come in lengths of 20 to 40 feet and widths from 2 to 6 inches. A general rule of thumb, each inch of width will allow you to pull out about 10,000 lbs. So if I have a 3 inch wide strap, it would be rated to tug up to 30,000 lbs. Many will then ask, why not go all the way up to a 6" wide recovery strap? The problem is that the strap becomes less elastic the wider it gets, which means it will not work properly. Typically a 2" or 3" wide recovery strap will suit all of your needs.



Tips for Recovery Strap Use
  • Before ever using the strap, make sure it is in good condition ( no cuts, frays, or broken stitching.)
  • Make sure the hardware being used is free of defects and rust. This includes your tow hooks or front hitch and the hardware on the other vehicle. If possible, the recovering vehicle should place the recovery strap to its rear end, which would be the safest place if the strap happens to break.
  • You may be able to wrap the strap around a hitch, but I would not put it IN the hitch. I have seen a few people who have bent the pin, which then had to be cut out. Getting a tow hook or D-Ring adaptor to go into the hitch is a better idea. Here is an example of a D-Ring adaptor and how a recovery strap should be hooked up to one:





  • Some older cars actually have tow hooks, but if not you must use your own judgment. Never attach a recovery strap to a vehicles bumpers, axles, suspension, steering rods, or a trailer hitch ball. The attach points must be to a secure place on the vehicles frame. Do not place the recovery strap on another vehicle in a way that it may be cut.
  • Never, ever, attach a recovery strap to another vehicle with a knot. You should pass one end of the strap through the loop at the other end of the strap to secure it on.
  • Incase the strap may break, lay a tarp or some jackets on top of the recovery strap. When the strap breaks (lets hope for the best, but prepare for the worst), the jackets or tarp will slow the recovery strap down before it hits someone.
  • To help protect the strap from tears, make sure all logs and large rocks are removed from the recovery path. Everyone should stand clear of the recovery strap when it is in use.
  • When pulling the vehicle out, drive very slowly. Sudden tugs may lead to damage to either of the vehicles or the strap.
  • Once the vehicle is safely removed, inspect your recovery strap and hardware and hit the road!



To protect your strap, store it out of sunlight and away from heat and keep it clean. Dirt, mud and debris embedded in a tow strap actually damages the fibers over time and can decrease its strength. After a muddy day of wheeling and recovery, always clean your straps by hosing them off and spray horizontally across the strap as not to push the debris into the strap fibers. Happy Recovering!
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Old 12-18-2008, 02:12 PM   #3
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I'm suprised that he went in to so much detail yet neglected to say that recovery straps should not be used for towing.
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Old 12-18-2008, 02:33 PM   #4
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Good info there! Also don't use a chain for recovery.
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Old 12-19-2008, 03:38 AM   #5
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Good information! Also always weigh down the winch line, when recovering yourself and others.

As for the "Don't use a Chain", not sure about that. Never seen a chain snap, even when being puller by a half submerged yota, against a 04' Cummins. Most chains i use are logging chains and are meant to be tugged, and strained. people using the chain should have enough common sense to know what a proper/ideal chain for recovery would be. Although I know some people cant wrap their heads around that, and end up using a thin "dog-chain" and hurting themselves..I just think that most people, may use a chain for recovery, instead of "straps".
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Old 12-19-2008, 07:54 AM   #6
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Good post... I was lookin at recovery straps in Lowes the other day.. glad you posted this so I have a little more knowledge before spending my monies +rep
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Old 12-19-2008, 08:14 AM   #7
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These are good points here. I have used numerous style and grades of chain in the logging industry (worked as a millright) and no chain is guaranteed not to fail. I have broke all grades of chain. Most people dont know when a chain is bad or has a defective link. Or how much a chain has stretched to where it is no longer safe. Also chain if it doesnt brake will most likely brake something else Or someone else. Chain was designed for Binding and Lifting ONLY.
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Old 12-19-2008, 08:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KoruptTaco View Post
Good post... I was lookin at recovery straps in Lowes the other day.. glad you posted this so I have a little more knowledge before spending my monies +rep
Besides lowes you can have recovery straps made up of your choice at a Rigging company that makes up chain and straps. These people are very Knowledgeable of what you will need and what type of strap and chain you will need. If looking in the phone book it would be under rigging supplies or heavy equipment hauling. Like what semis use to tie there loads down with. All of this equipment is certfied and will let u know what you can tow or lift weight wise. They also usually have Snatch blocks, D rings, And shackles.
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Old 12-19-2008, 09:00 AM   #9
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Indeed chains have no give, no stretch, wire rope is alright for recovery, thats what we use on our rigs. 1" steel cable and I've seen them snap. Not only are chains dangerous they weigh too much to be packing around in your truck all the time.
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Old 12-20-2008, 01:10 AM   #10
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But isn't weighing down your "recovery line" necessary all the time? Maybe you wouldn't have a "Flying chain incident" if you used common sense in the first place. Even the weight of a "Jacket" would force that thing to the ground. That is why people do it. This is why people should know these things beforehand, but everyone knows everything, so it is unfortunate it happens.

I have a Strap as well, from Masterpull.com, 3.4" x 30' 35k. Called the SuperYanker, supposedly one of the best. I also have a winch line anchor, use it on both the strap, chain, winchline, etc.. never had a chain fly through my window. I Also always put the hood up, so the chain will hit the underside.
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Old 12-20-2008, 01:26 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silverback07 View Post
Yeah, go look on Youtube for straps and chains breaking... its not really pretty.
OT but dude your sig picture tripped me out I didn't know what was happening for a second till i sat and watched it.
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Old 12-20-2008, 01:28 AM   #12
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I always carry 2 straps now, I learned that the hard way.
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Old 12-20-2008, 12:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by borderbrat View Post
OT but dude your sig picture tripped me out I didn't know what was happening for a second till i sat and watched it.
He has active camo on his truck.


Whenever using a recovery strap, where do the ends go? Does one end go on the recovery vehicle and the other on the vehicle being recovered, or do you make a full loop, both ends going to the recovery vehicle and then the vehicle being recovered has the recovery strap looped around something?
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Old 12-20-2008, 01:09 PM   #14
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The problem with a chain is that it is designed not to stretch, if you get enough force to break that chain your jacket laying on it won't help you at all. Like I said earlier I've seen 1" steel cable snap, not fun at all.

pittim, I guess you could loop it if you needed a short pull. It would be better to pull from the full length of the strap tho.
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Old 12-20-2008, 01:42 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonjay View Post
The problem with a chain is that it is designed not to stretch, if you get enough force to break that chain your jacket laying on it won't help you at all. Like I said earlier I've seen 1" steel cable snap, not fun at all.

pittim, I guess you could loop it if you needed a short pull. It would be better to pull from the full length of the strap tho.
Yeah, I just thought that like a 30' strap was overkill, so I assumed you loop it around. The more I think about it though, pulling the full length would be better since the loops are reinforced.
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Old 12-20-2008, 03:33 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonjay View Post
The problem with a chain is that it is designed not to stretch, if you get enough force to break that chain your jacket laying on it won't help you at all. Like I said earlier I've seen 1" steel cable snap, not fun at all.

No, I totally agree, chains, cables, are not meant for "Tugging", but you will be okay if it is weighed down. its like 101 for wincing, etc... Always weigh down your recovery line.

FYI All this is from USPATENT So, a jacket won't do what now...?? Told you so. Basic winching, recovery 101.

http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/70...scription.html

"It is also known to throw an item such as a jacket, a blanket or [COLOR=#F26522 ! important][COLOR=#F26522 ! important]floor [COLOR=#F26522 ! important]mats[/color][/color][/color] over the line in use so that in the event the line releases and whips, the item aids to reduce line whipping through a parachute action. For example, Warn Industriesrecommends using a heavy quilted mover's blanket located midway between the winch and the anchor point to absorb the energy. should the line break ("The Basic Guide to Winching Techniques," 2001, www.warn.com)."
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Old 01-12-2009, 09:31 AM   #17
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anyone know what the guys in top gear were using in the "polar express" episode?? they had some crazy bungee tow rope
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Old 01-12-2009, 09:39 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcmedic View Post
anyone know what the guys in top gear were using in the "polar express" episode?? they had some crazy bungee tow rope
found this online...seems to be the same kind of thing from the description

http://www.sierraexpeditions.com/ind...t_detail&p=147
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:18 AM   #19
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That bungee rope thing worked really good. Crazy Icelanders, always coming up with something new. Makes sense, you would never get enough traction to straight pull someone out of that situation. RedTaco, I totally agree putting a jacket or some other weight on a winch line is good, if you want use a chain and put something on it. I don't think that is a good idea, a chain is a totally different beast from a wire rope/cable.
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