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July 44 minute read

To test gear that’s designed to get you unstuck, you first need to get stuck. With hard tyres, we disengaged 4WD and dug the back down into the soft sand. With the back stuck, we engaged the front wheels and dug them down too. To be sure we gave ourselves a good challenge, we clicked on the front and rear lockers and spun the Cruiser deeper still. We are now truly stuck.

Deadman Earth Anchor 1

The Deadman Earth Anchor is designed to enable winch recoveries where there are typically no anchors – like beaches, sand dunes, deserts, clay pans, salt flats. While MAXTRAX and a shovel will usually do the job, the Deadman may be for you if you’re struggling still, or if you need to traverse an extended bog.

So how does it work? To be honest, it really isn’t much trickier than simply burying it! As the comforting instructions say – “he won’t mind he’s smiling”.

The advice given by Deadman Off-Road is to bury it around 2 feet deep, deeper in soft soil like sand, and deeper still to engage what they refer to as Beastmode. Reading between the lines, we’re guessing Beastmode is meant for when you are super stuck, or if you like to tow campers or drive Unimogs.

Deadman Earth Anchor 2

The Deadman Earth Anchor needs to be positioned perpendicular to the winch line. Once he’s in the hole, lay out his arms and legs and fill it in.

Deadman Earth Anchor 3

We took turns on the shovel, and had the job done in a flash. It’s certainly easier than burying a spare wheel, and if your spare is mounted beneath the vehicle, you avoid the headache of first having to retrieve it.

Deadman Earth Anchor 4

With the Deadman Earth Anchor in position, it is now time to unspool the winch and hook it up.

Deadman Earth Anchor 5

First up we connected the far straps (hands) to the dedicated loops below the main eyelets on the close straps (feet). The idea is to pull the buried earth laterally, so this offset connection will stop the Deadman from being rolled upward under load.

Any rated shackles will do, but we like the safety benefits and extra rigging room of soft shackles.

Deadman Earth Anchor 6

Next up we connected the feet to the winch. Again for additional safety, we’re using a Factor 55 Flatlink. We’ll write more about Factor 55’s Closed System Winching soon.

Deadman Earth Anchor 7
Deadman Earth Anchor 8

As we powered up the winch, the line spooled in, the hands and feet of the Deadman Earth Anchor started inching towards the Cruiser, but the Cruiser stayed put. 

Deadman Earth Anchor 9

Just as the doubts began to peak, the Deadman dug in, and before you know it, the Cruiser began inching forward. We were up and out!

Deadman Earth Anchor 10

To retrieving the Deadman, just attach a single arm or leg to your hitch or winch, and yank him out.

Deadman Earth Anchor 11
Deadman Earth Anchor 12

The Deadman is light and packs small. We often travel solo and while we wouldn’t carry a steel anchor,  this bit of gear could definitely earn a spot in our recovery kit. 

Deadman Earth Anchor 13

The Deadman Earth Anchor serves double duty as a long tree protecting anchor. Opened up, it can wraps around rocks too, but we couldn’t find any to try.

Deadman Earth Anchor 14
Deadman Earth Anchor 15
Deadman Earth Anchor 16

We’re heading off to the Simpson Desert in August with just one vehicle. We’ll be bringing Deadman, but here’s hoping we won’t need to bury him.

Mike Collister

Mike Collister

Mike has spent his life outdoors - he has represented Australia as a slalom kayaker, guided whitewater expeditions in Nepal, and taught outdoor education and wilderness medicine. He’s paddled the Kimberley’s Fitzroy River in the wet season and across the Bass Strait, and is an avid photographer, overlander and camper.
Mike Collister

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