Off-roading can be full of surprises, so it’s always best to plan ahead for unplanned events. A common surprise you will eventually have to deal with is a stuck vehicle, whether it is yours or someone else's in your party.
Fortunately, most trucks and Jeeps can be safely recovered with a good snatch strap so the fun can continue. Truck winch bumpers are also helpful; however, if you know how to safely use a snatch strap, you’re ahead of the game whether or not you have a winch.
Get the Right Strap
Success with snatch straps involves choosing the right one. You need a strap with a rating that is 2 to 3 times your GVW so it’s strong enough to correctly expand and contract during a recovery done thanks to winches attached to truck bumpers.
A strap that’s rated too low can extend too much and snap during a recovery. One that is rated too high will not stretch enough, preventing the strap from working the way it should.
A strap that is properly chosen should stretch and compress just enough to make recovery safe and easy. Keep this in mind when using your straps to recover other vehicles with the winch on your truck.
Use Rated Towing and Recovery Points
The first rule of snatch strap safety is knowing how and where they should be attached to the vehicle. Never secure to tow balls, truck bumpers, axles, or any other part of the vehicle that is not an actual towing or recovery point.
Know where your recovery points are located ahead of time and always secure any recovery lines to them using a recovery rated D-shackle. If the recovery vehicle has a trailer hitch, you can also remove the hitch receiver and secure a snatch strap inside it with the hitch pin.
Position Correctly When Starting Out
For best results with your snatch strap, position the recovery vehicle straight in front of the stuck one, close enough that the strap can be connected while still leaving some slack laying on the ground.
Connect the strap to the stuck vehicle first, then the recovery vehicle. Make sure the front wheels of the stuck vehicle are pointed straight ahead. At this point, the recovery vehicle can be advanced to pick up the slack in the strap and begin pulling. The strap will do the rest.
Use A Strap Dampener
Recovering vehicles with a snatch strap can be dangerous, as there is always a possibility that your strap could break. Reduce the chance of recoil by weighing down the middle of the strap by securing a heavy blanket or some other dead weight to it. If the strap fails, the weight on the strap will reduce the recoil force and bring it to the ground faster.
Have A Means of Communication
When doing a snatch recovery with your truck that has a winch-mounted bumper, the drivers of both vehicles need to be in contact with each other to time their efforts. Use a pair of UHV radios if possible. If not, communicate using the two vehicles' horns or a third person as long as that person can stand far enough out of the way to stay safe.
Keep Everyone Safely Away
Before starting any recovery, make sure all bystanders are away from the vehicles by at least two times the length of the recovery strap. The only people who should be anywhere near the vehicles are the two drivers inside each vehicle.
Pull the Right Way
Snatch recoveries require a lot of torque from both vehicles. For best results, put the stuck vehicle in 1st Low and the recovery vehicle in 2nd Low. When everyone is ready, drive the recovery vehicle forward quickly to snatch the stuck one. The strap will stretch and compress like a rubber band, protecting both vehicles and yanking the stuck one out. Just keep the recovery vehicle moving forward until the stuck vehicle is totally clear and able to move forward on its own.
Snatch straps are essential off-road recovery gear that you should always carry in your truck. Even if you have truck bumpers with a winch, there are times when a snatch recovery is a better option. Using the right strap and the right techniques, you should have few problems making a safe and effortless snatch recovery!