how good are snatch straps ??????

Submitted: Thursday, Feb 13, 2003 at 01:01
ThreadID: 3352 Views:2483 Replies:11 FollowUps:13
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just an embarassing topic i had a ford courier extra cab mate pull my navara out of a nasty 4 wheel bog from sand today at a local lake which is really low 11.6 % because of drought and just thought i might add how crappy nissan standard scissor jacks are and how the pin is a little too short to properly turn the handle.
time for a full on recovery kit i guess.
lucky a toyota didn't pull me out????lol
i asked but he had no strap

i forgot the camera to brag about my bog damn
good experience though

any body can explain winching from behind when there is no connection point in front and using a bullbar winch .
i could only go back ward if u know what i mean?

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Reply By: ROX - Thursday, Feb 13, 2003 at 01:14

Thursday, Feb 13, 2003 at 01:14
"a nasty 4 wheel bog from sand" ! did you try letting your tyers down heaps? even 6 psi? My philoshy is why should I pay for a snatch strap to let some one ese out. $ 100 and they last about 10 good pulls < if your going off road YOU should carry your own or safety gear. Ps I will always help don't get me wrong. But I have now got a very worn strap buy pulling a KIA out and he drove over the strap heaps and fraied it. Whats others thoughts on this?
AnswerID: 13004

Follow Up By: Bruce.H - Thursday, Feb 13, 2003 at 11:46

Thursday, Feb 13, 2003 at 11:46
Gday all
Rox if your strap has been run over for god sake bin it it does not take much damage to make them deadly, ihave seen the results of these things giving way & it,s not worth it.dont get me wrong snatch straps are good value in a recovery but in sand i would have thought that no matter how bogged lowwering your tyre preasure even as low as not registering on the gage & a bit of work with the shovel should get you out, sorry for the lecture but cant help my self when it comes to safety Regards Bruce
FollowupID: 7626

Reply By: Truckster - Thursday, Feb 13, 2003 at 08:05

Thursday, Feb 13, 2003 at 08:05
Im with ROX....

Not going to destroy my $50 snatch strap on someone else.. If they are not willing to pay $50 for their own, they arent going to hand over $50 if they stuff mine.

explain bit, say it again in english will ya!
AnswerID: 13010

Reply By: Smithy - Thursday, Feb 13, 2003 at 08:16

Thursday, Feb 13, 2003 at 08:16
Snatch straps are a necessity when 4x4ing. I wont go anywhere off road without it. If I'm stuck, someone can snatch me out using my strap, as peole how don't carry thier own can stay there, it's no drama, but imagine coming across someone stuck looking at a 4hr walk to get help, out of mobile range then having to explain to his misses where and why he left his $30000 truck in the bush then ask hre to come and pick him up for the sake of $50, I'd rather spend $50 and know I've got at least some chance.
AnswerID: 13011

Reply By: Savvas - Thursday, Feb 13, 2003 at 08:35

Thursday, Feb 13, 2003 at 08:35
Buy the strap....$50-$'s the cheapest insurance you can have. Just make sure you get a good brand that is made in Australia. All the major brands such as ARB, Opposite Lock, Black Rat, Ultimate 4WD, Spanset are good. Avoid the cheapy imports.

AnswerID: 13014

Reply By: Coops - Thursday, Feb 13, 2003 at 09:43

Thursday, Feb 13, 2003 at 09:43
Have used mine half a dozen times at least (never to pull my own vehicle out though) and find it money well spent. Don't mind being a good samaritan, even without the thanks sometimes. Beats leaving women & children sitting in the hot sun.
I couldn't stand it if someone had to pull me out of the bog using THEIR snatch strap !!!
AnswerID: 13018

Reply By: Kev. - Thursday, Feb 13, 2003 at 11:08

Thursday, Feb 13, 2003 at 11:08
Also you should look at takeing a hilift jack with you.
(i don't go bush without one ).

Basic gear for any trip :
Basic hand tools
Straps / chain's ect

Forget the sissor jack as that would be a waste of time.
Hilift can be used as a hand winch if desperate !

AnswerID: 13020

Follow Up By: Member - Moggs - Saturday, Feb 15, 2003 at 00:10

Saturday, Feb 15, 2003 at 00:10
Hilif jacks have a place in the kit, however I have seen a 4wd with a trashed bullbar from using one - you need to have suitable attachment points - and therefore they cannot be recommended for all vehicles.

IMO a much better option is to buy a decent bottle jack and carry a jacking plate - a couple of sheets of any ply is nice and light.
FollowupID: 7700

Reply By: Mike - Thursday, Feb 13, 2003 at 11:40

Thursday, Feb 13, 2003 at 11:40
I always carry 2 straps & on our recent trip, used them many times, a couple of times with them joined together. I don't mind being a good samatitan either. So if you don't get anything else ALWAYS carry at least one stap when you venture off road.
Throw away the scissor jack as they are unsafe, and get yourself a decent bottle jack as well. I don't believe that a high lift is as essential, as most 4WDs do not have safe high lift jacking points. If your truck has the points though, they are the greatest.
Happy trails, Mike.
AnswerID: 13022

Follow Up By: Member - Moggs - Saturday, Feb 15, 2003 at 00:11

Saturday, Feb 15, 2003 at 00:11
sorry Mike, should have read on one more post before replying above
FollowupID: 7701

Reply By: Member - Melissa - Thursday, Feb 13, 2003 at 12:10

Thursday, Feb 13, 2003 at 12:10
We always carry 2 straps. They are very effective in most situations but they won't last forever. Most (but not all) breakages I've seen occurred when the rescue vehicle took off too fast rather than slowing taking up the slack and allowing the strap to "stretch" and use the subsequent energy within the stretched strap to help "snap" the vehicle out of the bog. These breakages can be blamed on inexperience and/or carelessness because I've seen this happen to experienced 4wdrivers too.

Having said that, straps do still break. If using in muddy wet conditions always clean and thoroughly air dry your strap ASAP. NEVER put it away wet or muddy or it will deteriorate very quickly.

In a recovery situation, we are always prepared to lend a hand however if the bogged vehicle has a strap, we always use theirs because nothing annoys me more than breaking a strap rescuing someone who went 4WDriving ill-equipped. We have never refused to snatch someone with our own strap but to my mind, if you can afford a 4WD in the first place, surely you can afford a strap.

I'm not saying every 4WD should be equipped with winches, highlift jacks, bull bags etc, just a basic recovery kit. In sand, I see this as a shovel, decent jack and jacking plate, snatch strap, 2 x rated shackles and proper rated recovery hooks on vehicle front and back.

BTW, using snatch straps is not without risks. Make sure you get proper training in their use from a 4WD training course or join a 4WD club.

:o) Melissa
AnswerID: 13025

Follow Up By: Suzuki Viagra - Thursday, Feb 13, 2003 at 14:49

Thursday, Feb 13, 2003 at 14:49
I always carry 2 straps - one is longer but lower rated (6000kg x 10m) and one shorter higher rated (10000kg x 6m).

You'd be suprised how many times the 6m one can be too short or too long - then I can fall back on the 10m one or use the 10m one doubled over (5m). I wouldnt think it's safe using a 6m strap doubled up - 3 metres is way to close to the car when you're using a big rubber band....

6000kg is heaps when you're pulling out Sierras anyway :-P
or being pulled out by them :-(

With the smaller 4wd's you'll get a lot more than 10 pulls out of a strap. I thought Crusher's never got bogged anyway :-P

The 10m one is starting to show a little bit of wear from a bit of stupidity - people drive over them cos they dont know what they're doing or because no one is spotting for them when they can get off their bum and walk 2 cars forward or back to help.

I think everyone who is not a first time newbie should have one - and even when I was a newbie I got advised to bring one - so i up and bought one before my first trip. I had been advised it was impolite to get bogged and then dirty someone else's recovery equipment - even without the issues of wearing it out.
FollowupID: 7632

Follow Up By: Rox - Thursday, Feb 13, 2003 at 20:08

Thursday, Feb 13, 2003 at 20:08
Suzuki Viagra, My cruiser didnt get boged!! :~))))
FollowupID: 7644

Follow Up By: Jack - Friday, Feb 14, 2003 at 17:54

Friday, Feb 14, 2003 at 17:54
Hi Melissa:

Just wanting to clarify a comment in your reply .... were you saying that to snatch someone out you drive forward *slowly* ... taking up the slack ... I thought you had to give it a good "bootful" .. but then I have not yet had to snatch anyone out with *MY* strap as yet. Thanks in advance....
FollowupID: 7676

Follow Up By: Member - Melissa - Friday, Feb 14, 2003 at 18:56

Friday, Feb 14, 2003 at 18:56
Hi Jack,

There may be some differing views on this, but this is the method I was taught and have used with success:

1) Run the strap between the two vehicles and attach to appropriate recovery point (preferably rated hooks, NOT the tow ball). Don't use shackles because if the strap or other breaks they could be catapulted and potentially deadly. Also, for extra caution lay a hessian sack, blanket or something over the strap to help ground it if something does let go.

2) Recovery vehicle eases away until they have taken up all but say 1 metre of the slack, then moves off in 1st or 2nd low whilst the bogged vehicle tries to assist with their own power.

Recovery with snatchem's relies not on speed but on the inherent characteristic of the strap the "stretch". This stretching builds up kinetic energy (I think that's the right term) which will hopefully "snap" the bogged vehicle free.

What you shouldn't do is leave a lot of slack in the strap then race off. This is when something breaks and the best case scenario would be your $50 strap. Anyone who has done a few recoveries will know that sometimes the first attempt doesn't succeed. You may need to reposition the recovery vehicle, change the angle etc etc. A recovery situation as described above will enable you to make a judgement and change your tact if required. If you do a fast take off, you give yourself little opportunity to re-assess before damaging something. You might get away with a fast take off where the bogged vehicle is only lightly stuck, but sooner or later bang!

Hope all this makes some sense to you. Jack, there is more to snatching than I have described so I urge you to get some training, join a club or whatever if you are going to be 4wdriving. It'll be good fun too!

:o) Melissa
FollowupID: 7678

Follow Up By: Member - Moggs - Saturday, Feb 15, 2003 at 00:22

Saturday, Feb 15, 2003 at 00:22
Melissa, course I did taught that the vehicle being recovered should always be in neutral, and never should apply power as this increases the chances of rear - ending at successful recovery.

Also interested in how you think comunication between the two cars should take place. I was taught that snatching vehicle will move on 1 honk from bogged vehicle and will stop on 2 honks from bogged vehicle - suppose this allows both hands on the wheel without having to use a radio.

One other point I think is important, if you are being snatched for the first time you should have your head firmly against the headrest to start with. First time is quite a shock and the 'whiplash' can tend to freeze some people up (once saw an elederly man snatched and he just sat there not speaking, holding the wheel with this blank look on his face for about 30 seconds - everyone was in histerics). I geuss this would be another good reason to not engage the drive when being snatched - less chance of trying to recover the senses while drivin into the rear of the recovere. Anyway, as you said, there are many different views non this - just hope all people respect the views of the good samaritan offering a snatch - and that they will do it the way they want (unless obviously dangerous)
FollowupID: 7702

Follow Up By: Member - Melissa - Saturday, Feb 15, 2003 at 01:47

Saturday, Feb 15, 2003 at 01:47
Hi Moggs,

I find your comments about bogged vehicle being in neutral interesting. Quite the opposite to my teachings which were that the bogged vehicle should assist by applying motion to the wheels, forward or reverse as the situation calls for it.

Only exception to this rule is where the wheels might cause the vehicle to dig in more and worsen the bog. This was particularly true in the Top End where a lot of boggings were in bottomless mud holes or black soil.

As for communication, we use a couple of techniques. Usually there is always someone to "direct" the recovery. In a forward snatching recovery, this persons job is to stand level with the driver of the recovery vehicle (but not too close) and in sight of the bogged vehicles driver. The signals to both drivers. In a reverse recovery situation, the signaler would be level with the bogged driver. Importantly, there should only be these 3 people involved. Anyone else around should be standing well away and not be calling out etc else they just confuse the situation.

I have heard of the "horn" method but to be honest, I can't ever recall a recovery situation where there have only been 2 people. My husband and I always travel together so we use the method described above regardless of which one of us drives. I have always found that even when recovery someone completely new to the situation, they are able to easily understand the hand signals. This is our preferred method and one I'm comfortable with.

I think the real crux of the issue is to observe the basic safety issues, be cautious and communicate (be it hand signals or honking the horn) before, during and after the recovery so all involved know clearly what is to happen.

:o) Melissa

FollowupID: 7706

Follow Up By: Suzuki Viagra - Monday, Feb 17, 2003 at 14:59

Monday, Feb 17, 2003 at 14:59
I agree with Melissa - always take up the slack before the towing vehicle actually attempts to tow out/take a run at it. You only use the "give it the bootful" method only if all else fails and you don't have or can't be bothered using a winch..... and everyone is happy with any damage being the involved parties own risk.....

MAKE SURE EVERYONE IS WELL AWAY if you use the "give it a bootful" method - even the person who should have been spotting and communicating between the cars to this point.

I don't like using CB or one/two honks method for this. CB takes at least one hand off the wheel unless you have handsfree - suprisingly really cheap ones like Digitalk can - which makes them perfect for club work. And people may get confused about the number of honks (or in some cases other people feel it's "funny" to hit their own horns if this method is used).

Unless it is likely the car that is bogged is going to make it's situation worse (eg by tipping over further/rolling or digging in deeper) - any strain that can be taken off a cable or winch by "assisting" the pull by engine power should be used, but of course - slowly and carefully - like 1st or second gear low like suggested by Melissa. Obviously the assesment of potenital risk here is the key - not just on making it worse as far as bogging but also damage to engine - if halfway over or in mud etc.....

"Charging" with Snatch Straps is why they break early (see comments about 10 pulls max - pure BS to force people to buy unnecessary new recovery equipment), why shackles break, how bullbars/towbars get torn off and how chassis rails get bent.

Melissa - I can't see how say a 3 Ton rated hook is in any way better than 3 Ton rated shackles or even a (usually 3 Ton rated on a big 4wd) tow bar on this one though - only backing you 80% lol - you usually get my full support. The only benefit may be the attatchment of the hook over the standard tack welded loop - but the towbar is normally held on by far more than 2 bolts....

As an interesting example of these misconceptions:-

I have pulled heaps of people out using standard 16mm "non rated" trailer style (not 4wd style) D Shackles and snatch straps with never an issue with this approach (no failures and never a broken recovery item) - before more and more people started using the "buy expensive gear and bulldoze" method that is tought by ARB/TJM and extreme sport type videos (cos it looks good).

An example - one of these people after stupidly spending their hard earned (well actually he's got no money and no job - so it really was a stretch for him) on 4.5T rated "ARB" shackles and 12000kg snatch strap (for a 700 kg LJ80 of all things! - Why pay for a 12 Ton rated strap?????) then refused to let me use the trusty 16mm ones that have saved not only their and my ass but much heavier shorty Landcruisers and Patrols time and again to pull my Vitara out (I had my 205/75 All Terrain (Streets) on at the time - hence the bogging)). I think he was just proving how much "better" his stuff was than mine.....

Strangely my 16mm D Shackles are still legal to hold a 3 ton trailer in the event of a towball breakage! Yet this (and other) f$^%heads was still using the standard bent steel loop (of maybe 12mm max on most Suzuki models) recovery point that is only spot welded to their chassis!!!!! This has a breaking strain of well below the 16mm shackle......

To appease such people I've since bought a set each of "proper" ARB 3.25 and 4.5 Ton shackles and am using the 16mm ones on a 3 Ton engine crane instead (just in case I need to pick up 3 whole Vitaras/4 Sierras on the one chain simultaneously!).

Strangely ARB/TJM etc are not afraid to try and con people (INCLUDING many 4wd instructors who then pass it on to us and the friends above in particular) into using techniques that guarantee eventual failure of even expensive top-end equipment - regardless it's rating.

What it comes down to with recovery gear is a bit of mechanical sympathy and a little bit of understandings of the laws of physics.

PS - If I see one more bleep who believes it's unsafe to use a 16-20mm thick piece of metal (rated or unrated) to hold a strap on or join 2 straps together but thinks it's ok to use a small piece of broken stick to join 2 straps together I'm gonna make him shield every other person present from the resultant broken stick shrapnel (read arrows) by making him hug the join!!!!

Anyone remember the Battle of Crecy??? "Harmless" pieces of wood are capable of piercing ARMOUR PLATE! i've seen bruises, fractures and busted toughened glass but luckily no serious injuries from this madness - yet.

FollowupID: 7805

Follow Up By: Member - Melissa - Monday, Feb 17, 2003 at 19:41

Monday, Feb 17, 2003 at 19:41
Hi Andrew,

Boy, this thread just keeps on going! Reason I said to use a tow hook above a shackle is that the tow hooks are that if enough strain is placed on the vehicles during recovery, the hooks designed to straighten out before something breaks. As you'd know, if anything does break, the strap acts like a slingshot and will hurl whatever happens to be attached to it through the air.

I admit that there are times when the use of a shackle can't be avoided and we have 4 rated shackles in our recovery kit. We always lay a blanket or sack over the strap or winch cable to help ground the strap/cable if anything lets go.

As for joining 2 straps together the idea is to loop one strap through the eye of the other and use a piece of wood or similar between the straps to prevent them pulling up together so tightly you then can't get them apart. The wood is not acting as a joiner. Having said that, the preferred thing to use is a rolled up newpaper or magazine, even a rag rolled into a thick sausage.

:o) Melissa
FollowupID: 7829

Follow Up By: Member - Bob - Tuesday, Feb 18, 2003 at 19:28

Tuesday, Feb 18, 2003 at 19:28
Andrew, the concern with joining two straps with a D shackle is not that the D shackle will break, but when any other part of the system breaks the D shackle becomes a missile. I agree with Melissa's method of joining straps.
FollowupID: 7871

Reply By: Kev. - Thursday, Feb 13, 2003 at 12:38

Thursday, Feb 13, 2003 at 12:38
I have used my own gear to help others and don't mind to much but there's no reason not to be equiped.

Mike, if you are worried about hilift safety you can buy the ARB bolt on adaptor ($50) to suit the arb bull bar ( or similar ).
I made my own and have no trouble lifting my 80 series front or back.

As Mellisa said you should have rated tow hooks fitted.
Don't use the factory one's as they are not safe!
I refuse to recover a vehical without them.

AnswerID: 13027

Follow Up By: Kev. - Thursday, Feb 13, 2003 at 12:40

Thursday, Feb 13, 2003 at 12:40
Oops , sorry about the spelling Melissa !
FollowupID: 7627

Reply By: toonfish - Thursday, Feb 13, 2003 at 23:45

Thursday, Feb 13, 2003 at 23:45
looks like i stirred up the nest here
the comment was fairly tongue in cheek
but all points are very valid .
i now have a 8000kg rated black rat strap and 2 rated 4 ton recovery shackles a shovel on board and a hi lift jack on lay by but willprobably be next to useless until my new bar is fitted 2 weeks.
i learnt 4 x 4 and light ruck recovery from the army when i was in transport a few years back which made it all the more embarrasing and yes my tyres were down to 22 psi just a sinkhole which was hidden by a lot of sand i was walking over it 10 mins prior but alas i dont way 1200kg .
I'm sure there a a few out there who have been in the same boat.
after all isnt it part of the experience.
i wasnt far from home actually.
cheeers appreciate all the advice.
i would and have aalways helped people in need of help .
AnswerID: 13080

Reply By: Member - Bob - Sunday, Feb 16, 2003 at 10:18

Sunday, Feb 16, 2003 at 10:18
Some interesting comments above. I think a strap will last a long time if it is not being used for 'full force' extractions, and is carefully maintained. I think doubling it over would damage the mid point on the strap. Using a D shackle to join two straps would be very risky - after parting the strap with the D shackle attached would catapult it to the most vulnerable object around - someone's head through an expensive piece of glass. In most situations Melissa's technique would succeed, but for major extractions the only way to impart forward motion to the bogged vehicle is by converting the kinetic energy of the tow vehicle into potential energy which is momentarily stored in the strap, before the force pulls the two vehicles together. The amount of kinetic energy in the tow vehicle is proportional to the speed squared- so doubling your speed will give 4 times as much energy. The amount of energy stored in the strap is proportional to the length it is stretched. Lots of long stretching will wear it out. Happy snatching.
AnswerID: 13236

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