The following is an excerpt from an article in the 5.11 Loadout insert in the latest issue of RECOIL magazine.
When you lean back in the seat, the whole truck tilts back. When you lean forward, the truck pitches forward. It’s not a good feeling. Your truck is a teeter-totter.
As you followed your line up the incline, a few rocks shifted under your rig and a big one spun out of place, leaving you in a precarious spot. With the driver-side rear wheel hanging in the air and no visibility out the passenger side, you get the sense your morning just got complicated.
If you drive a mall-crawler, you may never be in this predicament, but if your adventures take you off-road you could find yourself in the aforementioned situation or one similar to it. After all, why else did you buy the aftermarket bumper and 8,000-pound winch with that slick synthetic line? Might as well learn how to use it. Hell, if this takes long enough you may even get to put those LED bunny burner lights to use. Pace yourself there, fella.
Vehicle recovery can be a routine part of any serious off-roading depending on your local trails and conditions. This article will cover the basics of a two-vehicle winch recovery. If you may find yourself in a similar situation, we encourage you to find a local 4×4 club or adventure-travel company that can provide thorough instruction and demonstration of vehicle recovery. Off-roading is inherently risky, and vehicle recovery exposes you to injury even more. A rollover, even a “flop” can be deadly. Buckle up.
1 Once you’ve identified that you’re indeed stuck or unable to move, raise your other wheeling companions by whatever comms available. A HAM license and appropriate radios are an outstanding improvement over traditional CB. Alternatively, today’s FRS radios are quite capable for general trail comms. Side note: We’re assuming that you wouldn’t do something like this without at least one other vehicle on the trail — don’t wheel alone.
2 Put it in park, set the e-brake, and get out to take a look. (Wait for the heckling to die down.) Can you stack rocks? How loose is the ground, can you dig? What are your options? Do you have time to work it out without a winch line or are you on a timetable? What’s the safest course of action? Take all that into consideration and then create a plan.