The Maxtrax Shackle Shield offers a much-needed layer of protection when connecting soft shackles to most vehicle recovery points.

Soft shackles have replaced heavy steel bow shackles in the recovery kits of many four-wheel drives nationwide. As a positive result, recovery kits are now lighter, and removing these heavy steel links in the recovery chain means there is less mass in the recoil if equipment fails, which is safer.

Maxtrax Shackle Shield

Dedicated recovery points like the Maxtrax Hitch 50 and others with a large curve radius distribute the load across a large surface and cause little to no weakening of soft shackles.

On the contrary, most aftermarket recovery points are load-rated, which is essential, but they feature square edges inside. This square edge technically still has a curve radius, but it is minimal, and if you were to use a soft shackle in this anchor, you would point-load the shackle, which would significantly weaken it and could result in failure.

Suppose you were to use a soft shackle directly in these recovery points for high-force kinetic recoveries or winching, especially with heavier loads or on steep climbs. In that case, there is an exceptionally high potential for failure, and this connection has been one of the remaining weaknesses in the chain of modern recovery gear.

Until recently, I've carried a single steel bow shackle for use with my front recovery point or somebody else's. However, the Maxtrax Shackle Shield now does this job, so I can probably leave that one behind.

Maxtrax Shackle Shield

The Shackle Shield is a cleverly moulded plastic sleeve for soft shackles. It's available in black or orange and is compatible with the Maxtrax Core Shackle, Fuse Shackle, and most brands you may already have. 

Maxtrax Shackle Shield

They're easy to fit – essentially, you just poke the narrow end of your shackle in one side and push it through. You could take these on and off as needed, but I'll just leave a few in my kit with Shackle Shields fitted ready. If you have a protective sleeve fitted, you must slide this off first.

With the shackle shield fitted, your soft shackle now has some rugged plastic protection and, more importantly, a large curve radius that won't weaken the rating under load.

Connecting your soft shackle to your anchor is intuitive, and in most recovery points, the Shackle Shield is just the right size to fit in quickly and still grip a little on the end to stay in place.

Whether you are making a dynamic recovery with your kinetic rope or snatch strap or anchoring back on your vehicle in a double line pull winch recovery, it's now safer to leave your steel bow shackles behind and use a soft shackle and Maxtrax Shackle Shield instead. 

The Shackle Shield is available from Maxtrax.

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