Recovery Gear Needs

The majority of situations that will stop a 4WD from moving are tyre punctures or getting yourself bogged in mud or sand - and these can happen in the simplest of situations, and for no real fault of the driver.  Since you cannot plan to avoid a situation where you need recovery, but you can avoid relying on someone to rescue you - it is your responsibility as a 4WD driver to be equipped to get yourself out of the mess. Essential reading!
Article By: Michelle Martin
Created: June 2008
Revised: January 2007
Latest Feedback: April 2016

Basic Kit

The list of mandatory items for a four wheel drivers recovery kit might seem quite long, however when venturing into offroad terrain many unforseen circumstances can easily stop a vehicle. Generally, it is advised that 4WDrivers do not travel alone, so this list assumes a second vehicle is available for snatching. However, if no other vehicle is accompanying you, a winch must be carried so you should include the items for winching.

  • Front and rear recovery points on vehicle

  • Long handled shovel

  • Bottle jack

  • Hi-lift jack

  • Jacking plate

  • Quality snatch strap

  • 2 rated shackles ("D" or "Bow")

  • Tyre levers and mallet

  • Heavy duty air compressor

  • Tyre pressure gauge

  • Tyre valve tool

  • Wheel brace

  • Fire extinguishers (possibly 2)

  • Bush saw

  • Ropes
It is recommended to read our related topics on Spare Parts and Tools and Driving Skills.

Snatch Strap

This specially designed strap is made of nylon woven webbing to allow stretch when used to pull a vehicle stuck in a bog/creek/sand.

To use a snatch strap, each end is fixed to the vehicles using rated shackles. Allow some slack, then accelerate the towing vehicle in low range. The inertia exerted will "snatch" the stuck vehicle and propel it forward.


The snatch strap should not be fixed to tow balls, bull bars or other ancillary items.

Items for Winching

If you undertake genuine four wheel driving, then you really should carry either a hand or electric winch. Hand winches are considered a necessity for travellers, whilst electric or power take-off winches are a luxury. In many practical situations, the hand winch proves more effective due to its portability.

  • Hand winch and/ or electric or power take-off winch

  • Winch strap

  • Wire cable

  • Tree trunk protector

  • Additional rated shackles x 2. Either "D" or "Bow"

  • Snatch blocks (also known as pulley blocks)

  • Star pickets
For more details on these items see Related Article - Winches

Items for Dragging

A Drag Chain is most commonly used to drag fallen trees and logs that are blocking access on bush tracks. It is also handy for 4WD vehicle recovery. We recommend carrying 2 different lengths of chain, although the longer is more common. The chain will have thick links coupled with a lug link at one end and a grab hook at the other. Look for plated chains for rust prevention.
  • Chain 2.5m

  • Chain 6m
An alternative to chain, Winch Extension Straps are a heavy duty terylene webbing strap with looped reinforced ends. They are used where a winch rope is not long enough and/or the anchor point is too far away.

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