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Duramax, Powerstroke, RAM / Dodge, Tech Talk

Five Essentials For Your Rig Before You Hit The Trail

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Offroad Rig

It’s finally Saturday morning and the dew has settled. You are packing your bags to hit the trails. You call your friends to make sure they are ready to meet at the same fuel station as usual. Of course, someone is running a few minutes late. They tell you to go ahead but you wait anyway. Eventually, everyone makes their way to the meeting spot. You are ready to leave the pavement and go offroad.

Your newly formed convoy heads to your favorite trails. Your friend that showed up late decides they will take the lead on the first pass. In their rush to leave the house they left their recovery gear behind. The heavy rain during the week left the first banked turn too soft. As the lead vehicle attempts to get through, it slides out into the ditch. You slowly roll up to assist as your friend realizes that not only are they planted in the ditch, but they have none of their recovery gear. They might have just ruined everyone’s day. Lucky for them, you came prepared with all the essentials to keep you and your friends safely moving down the trail. So, what exactly are the essentials you need when you offroad?

Ford Powerstroke
Photo courtesy of Warn Industries

A Winch

When you spend time off-road, you may occasionally find yourself in a bad spot. Maybe it’s a puddle hiding a hidden rut, a creek that is higher due to recent rain, or a sandy trail with a soft spot you didn’t see. When you push your truck to the limits, sometimes it can get stuck. You can have the best tires, the best lift, the best lockers, the best everything. Sometimes none of that is a match for mother nature. It’s moments like these that make a winch a vital accessory. Not only does a winch provide your vehicle with a great rugged look, they’re also a very versatile addition to your ride. If you find yourself stuck, a winch can help pull you out without the assistance of others.

Additionally, a winch can help you clear debris blocking your path so you can continue down the trail. Winches can be installed on various locations on your ride. If you are looking to install a winch on your front bumper, you will need a new bumper in many applications. These custom bumpers feature the space needed to install a winch and deliver a custom look. If you would like to keep your factory bumper, you can purchase a mount. The mount installs onto the top of most bumpers and is a cheaper option than replacing your bumper. Winches can also be mounted on a hitch receiver. Manufacturers such as Warn, Mile Marker, and others, make high-quality winches that can be mounted onto your vehicle. Check out a video on our YouTube channel of a Warn winch installation we did on a Jeep Gladiator here!

Snatch Block

The Snatch Block

The purpose of a winch is commonplace to many and an essential tool for offroad enthusiasts. Understanding proper use and inspection techniques can be the difference between a successful extraction and epic failure. One piece of equipment that you should always carry to use with your winch is the snatch block. Snatch blocks from manufacturers such as Warn, Anvil Off-Road, Borne, and Mile Marker, help to enhance the capability of your winch while also protecting it. A snatch block is a type of encased pulley. This helps to provide a safer and more advantageous cable angle for your winch when under load.

An additional benefit of the snatch block is reduced winch strain. The load is reduced because it is now evenly distributed between the winch and anchor point. It is important to note that each snatch block is designed for a specific load range. Make sure to carefully read and understand each manufacturer’s guidelines when it comes to selecting the right gear for you and your vehicle. Perform a visual inspection of the snatch block before each use. Additionally, inspect the cable or rope before use, as well as your chosen anchor point. Once you have ensured that you, your gear, the anchor point, and everyone nearby are ready, you can use this combo to get yourself unstuck.

Offroad Rigs
Photo courtesy of Warn Industries
Kinetic Recovery Rope

The Kinetic Recovery Rope

We previously mentioned the snatch block to pair with your winch when a fixed anchor point is available. What if you don’t have a fixed anchor point? What if you run into issues with your winch? In these scenarios, a kinetic recovery rope would be the ideal gear to get yourself out of a sticky situation. When attached to a stuck vehicle and a free one, the rope maximizes the pulling power of the free vehicle.

While tow-straps serve a similar purpose, the elastic properties of the kinetic rope yield some benefits that make it a superior choice. Because the rope stretches, it allows more force to be applied during the pull. Additionally, they lessen the initial shock from the extraction. These ropes provide additional peace of mind when carried alongside your winch and snatch block combo. They can also be an alternative option when a winch is unavailable, inoperable, or ineffective. Voodoo Offroad, Daystar, Borne Off-Road, Pacbrake, and others off dependable recovery ropes that are a must have in every truck that hits the dirt, mud, sand, or any other terrain.

Soft & Metal Shackles

Soft & Metal Shackles

We outlined the snatch block to pair with your winch, and then the Kinetic Recovery rope, but what’s the best way to attach them to an anchor point or your vehicle? You will have the option to select either a metal shackle or a soft shackle. Borne Off-Road, Daystar, Anvil Off-Road, Warn, Mile Marker, Voodoo Offroad provide off-road enthusiasts with plenty of shackles to choose from. Both having their pros and cons. The metal shackles are extremely durable and could be left mounted on your vehicle if you so choose, however this could lead to additional noise, potential theft, or the pin could loosen over time and could fall off the vehicle. If you choose to carry a few of these in your recovery kit, they can be heavy and take up space.

This brings us to the soft shackle which also presents certain highlights and pitfalls. Most importantly, the soft shackles can be just as strong as their metal counterparts and offer versatility because they are flexible and lightweight. This makes the soft shackle the easiest option to store or travel with, but this does not absolve them of being susceptible to damage by abrasion. Because these soft shackles are made of a synthetic and soft material, sharp edges and objects or repetitive contact with a rough surface can cause fraying, eventually compromising strength. The best practice would be to carry both options so that you can be prepared for whatever scenario you may find yourself in.

Recovery/Traction Boards

Recovery/Traction Boards

Not every situation you find yourself in will involve another vehicle to pull you out or an anchor point to use your winch and snatch block with. In fact, this next must-have on our list can sometimes be used even before you get stuck to hopefully prevent it from happening. Recovery or Traction Boards are a multi-use, easy to utilize tool that provides a stable and rigid platform for your vehicle in situations where the terrain does not. The cleated surface is key to the board’s ability to offer traction and the dependable construction allows for lightweight strength. An additional benefit to traction boards is that many on the market are designed to have a shovel shaped underside. This design enables you to dig out buried wheels or sections of the chassis. Borne Off-Road, Pacbrake, and Voodoo Offroad manufacture dependable traction boards that help get you out of sticky situations.

Miscellaneous Offroad Must-Haves

The Miscellaneous, But Important Items

Even under normal daily use, parts can fail at any given time. When you take your vehicle offroad, sometimes you find yourself miles away from the nearest automotive parts store. When you are out in the middle-of-nowhere, you need to be prepared for the unexpected. Some things you can carry to mitigate these issues include a jerry can of emergency fuel, coolant, and tire repair supplies like patches and plugs. It is also advantageous to have a good pair of gloves, on-board air and air gauge for airing up and down, tools, shovel, duct tape, electrical tape, a jump box, and whatever oil that your vehicle takes. Some honorable mentions that we wouldn’t say are “essential,” but you may find yourself needing to include road flares, spare clothes, extra food and water, flashlights, and battery packs to charge your phone and other devices.

When you go off the beaten path it’s best to be prepared for anything. Your rig should always be ready to encounter any type of situation. Don’t let a flat tire or a wheel stuck in deep mud dampen a fun day out on the trail. XDP has all the off-road necessities you need for a fun and hassle-free day when you go offroad!

Offroad CTA