Whether you've done it a few times or just new to the game, the Winch can be one of your most valuable recovery tools. But they are also incredibly tricky and dangerous to use if not done right.
Here’s the correct way to use your winch with the following must have winch products: A tree trunk protector, rated bow shackle, an air damper, and of course a winch.
Here's the ultimate guide to winching by Mad Matt so you can do it like a pro.
Step 1 - Preperation
Before you even hit the trails, make sure your winch is operating and in good condition.
Getting terribly stuck then finding out the winch doesn’t work is no fun at all!
Step 2 – Secure The Vehicle
You’ve come to a stop in a precarious position. Switch off the engine, leave the vehicle in gear and release the clutch.
If you’re driving an automatic, put the gearbox in “park”. Apply the handbrake and keep your foot on the brake.
If you have an assistant, get them to chock the wheels. Otherwise, slowly release your foot from the brake – and chock the wheels yourself.
Step 3 – Anchor Point
Decide what to use as an anchor point. You can use a large rock, bury a spare tyre, winch off another vehicle, or as in this case; use a sturdy tree.
NOTE: Keep in mind the direction of the anchor to winch to get the best angle possible to get you out of trouble.
Step 4 – Wrapping The Tree
Wrap the tree trunk protector as close to the base of the tree as possible, this is where it is most sturdy.
The tree trunk protector will prevent ringbarking. Attach the two loops of your tree trunk protector to the bowed part of your rated bow shackle.
Step 5 – Free Spool
Flick the clutch handle on your winch to free spool so that you can easily run it out by hand.
Attach the winch hook to the pin on your bow shackle and ensure that the clip on the hook engages properly.
Step 6 - Air Damper
On the way back to the vehicle, sling the air damper over the middle third of your cable run.
This will help arrest flying objects should anything snap.
Don’t forget to engage the clutch on your winch before hopping in the vehicle.
Step 7 - Safety
**Ensure all bystanders are well clear of the recovery.
Take the total length of the rope and straps being used and get everybody at least twice this distance away from the recovery.
Step 8 - Winch
Start the vehicle with your foot on the brake, and winch in until you feel it take the weight of the vehicle.
Let the handbrake off, put the vehicle in neutral and proceed to winch up the hill. If you are winching in a slippery or muddy situation; you may choose to apply power to the wheels.
In this case where there is plenty of traction however, the sudden grabbing of traction could put too much load on the winch.
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