Yet a winch is of little use if you have nothing to anchor it to. What do you do when you're out by yourself and get stuck with no trees or other anchor points around? You use a dead man anchor.
What Is A Dead Man Anchor?
A dead man anchor is a winch anchor made from a buried object you can pull against or a stake driven into or buried in the ground. When properly set, a well-anchored object should be strong enough to winch from when used with the winch on your truck bumper to get unstuck.
The strength of a dead man anchor depends on the width of the item buried in the ground or the length of the stake used. The dead man anchor is a last-resort option you can use to pull your own truck out from wherever it is stuck when there is nothing else available as an anchor.
How to Safely Set Up a Dead Man Anchor
Setting up a solid dead man anchor that you can attach the winch on truck bumpers to involves a lot of digging, so be prepared. It also involves knowing the right way to set up the anchor so you don't end up yanking it out of the ground with the first pull.
^^^Choose Your Anchor - To get the best results from a dead man anchor, you need to choose an object to bury that is heavy and broad or a long, heavy stake to pound into the ground. The wider the object, the harder it will be to pull out of the ground when positioned correctly and buried. The best things to use are a large, heavy rock if you can find one you can maneuver or a long log or thick tree branch. You can also use your spare tire if you can't find anything else large or heavy enough. If you use a stake, choose something at least three feet in length, strong, and wide enough to withstand the pulling. An axle, a thick tree branch, or multiple metal bars can all work.
^^^Position and Dig The Hole - Once you've found an anchor, it's time to start digging. Position the hole directly in front of your truck and far enough away from it that you can spool out winch cable to make efficient use of your winch pulling power. Plan the hole position in advance so you don't have to dig twice. Make the hole wide enough so the anchor can be buried perpendicular to your truck. The deeper you can dig the hole and set anchors, the more leverage you will get.
^^^Bury the Anchor - When you are ready to bury the anchor, wrap a tree strap or chain around it and put it in the hole. Backfill the area as tightly as possible. When using stakes, put them in at a 15-degree angle pointing away from your truck and pound it in at least three feet, leaving enough at the top for strapping. In order to work, the ground must be dense enough to resist pulling on the stake in order for the stake to work . Keep this in mind as you pound them in. The denser the ground, the more difficult it will be to pound the stake in.
^^^Carefully Winch Yourself Out - When you finally have the anchor or stake firmly buried, attach the winch cable to the anchor strap or chain and roll in the slack. Then slowly and carefully begin winching your truck. Be extremely cautious when you start winching as a buried anchor could pull out and cause an injury if it hits you.
While a dead man anchor is definitely not the ideal setup for winching your off-roader, it's still a good technique to know. If you get stuck somewhere on your own and far away from help, you can at least attempt to winch yourself out using your truck bumpers and this method. Just keep a strong shovel with you whenever you face the possibility of needing to use this technique!