Storing 4×4 Recovery Gear
Generally, most travellers won’t use their 4×4 recovery gear often, and it can be tempting to pack it away alongside other less frequently used equipment.
However, when you do need your 4×4 recovery gear, there’s half a chance you’ll be in thick mud, across a water crossing or on a steep slope, so you’ll want it to be easy to access.
One of the simplest ways to store it is in a bag someplace easy to access. Drawers in a wagon or ute canopy work great too.
In our 76 Series LandCruiser, I’ve opted to set up one of the side gull windows with everything organised and always ready to go.
Our Full List
1 x MAXTRAX Indeflate 1.5kg
The MAXTRAX Indeflate makes it easy to deflate and later inflate two tyres at once.
1 x ARB Twin Compressor
Our compressor sits in the gap behind the wheel arch. I’ve left the rest of the space empty and a ventilation gap forward to the main cabin to allow it to cool.
The hose stays permanently attached to the compressor and mounts above the shelf. With the MAXTRAX Indeflate clipped to the front pair of wheels, the rears or our camper trailer, the ARB hose can then easily reach the Indeflate’s inlet valve.
4 x MAXTARX Xtreme 4kg = 16kg
MAXTRAX recovery boards are our most used recovery item. We carry the Xtreme boards for two main reasons, they handle our abuse better, and it’s much harder for others to damage them if we are helping them out.
The Xtreme boards are heavier, but it’s 16kg for a set of 4 rather than 13.5kg for 4 MKIIs, so the difference isn’t massive.
6 x MAXTRAX Core Shackles 0.138kg = 0.828kg
We use soft shackles whenever possible. The key benefit is in safety with reduced metal components in failure. They also help lighten the load of our recovery kit.
3 x MAXTRAX Fuse Shackles 0.76kg = 0.228kg
The Fuse Shackles are a fuse or weak link. When rigging, we’ll position these in the safest place and attach dampeners to best manage recoil in the event of any failure.
1 x Steel Shackle 0.639kg = 0.639kg
We rarely use this shackle but carry it in case we need to help somebody out with sharp recovery points that may damage our soft shackles.
1 x MAXTRAX Static Rope 3m 1.8kg
1 x MAXTRAX Static Rope 5m 2.5kg
These can be used as a bridle or anchor for trees or boulders and joined with soft shackles as a really long anchor when needed.
1 x Static Rope Extension 10m 2kg
This long extension allows us to reach anchors with our winch that would usually be out of reach; whether it’s a great tree further up the slope or a vehicle safely positioned beyond the soft sand or mud, I’m stuck in.
On the front of our 76 Series LandCruiser, we have fitted a rated ARB recovery point.
1 x MAXTRAX Hitch 50 1.428kg
In the rear of our LandCruiser and camper trailer, we use a MAXTRAX Hitch 50, which is designed for use with soft shackles. When we’re towing, we leave it in our 4×4 recovery gear lock in case we need it while we are out exploring without the camper. We pack an extra mounting pin so we can fit it in the camper while still being hooked up.
1 x MAXTRAX Kinetic Rope 5m 2.37kg
1 x MAXTRAX Kinetic Rope 3m 1.725kg
Kinetic ropes are similar to snatch straps, but they have lots more elasticity, allowing you to recover at slow speeds. We can join the two ropes we carry together with a soft shackle for a more traditional length rope or use a short length to maneuver in tight spaces.
1 x Warn Winch Controller 0.536kg
We have a Warn 10-S winch fitted with a Factor 55 Flatlink E connection to minimise the chance of anchor roll-out and hook cross-loading. The controller mounts alongside the rest of our 4×4 recovery gear in the gull window.
1 x MAXTRAX Winch Ring 120 0.618kg
For when double line pulls are required for complicated winch recoveries, we carry the Winch Ring 120, which is designed for use with soft shackles.
2 x MAXTRAX Rope Dampeners 0.320kg = 0.640kg
The new MAXTRAX dampeners are designed to be connected in a place where you need them. Usually, one will be enough and can be positioned where we place our Fuse Shackle, but they are quite light and compact so we carry an extra in case we want to place a second dampener near another point in our rigging.
2 x Ironclad Ranchworx Gloves 0.125kg = 0.250kg
We carry good quality and well-fitting gloves, which are also handy for collecting firewood.
Total Kit Weight
The total weight of all of our 4×4 recovery gear as listed is 33kg.
Our fixed items like the Warn Winch, ARB Recovery Point and ARB Compressor aren’t included in this total, but I chose a spectra winch rope to save weight and improve safety.
The four extra MAXTRAX MKIIs we carry when towing the camper trailer are also not included in the above figure but weigh in separately at ~13.5kg. We’ve found it priceless carrying the extras when towing!
Over the last few years, we’ve slowly switched from traditional and heavy recovery gear to the latest equipment. We now carry slightly more equipment, but we are equipped for far more recovery scenarios and our overall 4×4 recovery gear weight is much lower.
But above all, the newer gear and techniques allow us to recover at slower speeds which means less energy, lower likelihood of system failure and lower consequence in an incident due to the reduction of metal components.