Do you enjoy taking the road less traveled? If yes, you’re sure to discover a situation in which vehicle recovery becomes a crucial mission. The most common method for vehicle recovery is to rig a straight pull by attaching to an anchor, such as a tree in front of the stuck vehicle. The stationary object is used to pull the vehicle free using the right combination of winches, D-rings and tree straps. A quality tree tow strap is important to get the job done right without killing the tree that helps set you free. Good tree straps also help safely and easily remove a stuck vehicle without as much risk for issues.
Safe and effective vehicle recovery requires the right set of tools, knowledge and skills, as well as good judgment. The following tips for vehicle recovery can help too.
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Vehicle Recovery with a Tree Strap
If you’ve ever used a tree as a form of vehicle recovery, you know that using the wrong straps or a winch can result in a badly damaged tree. When chunks of bark rip from a tree it is at risk of disease and ultimately death. You can reduce tree damage considerably by using the Tree Saver Tow Strap by Vault Cargo.
Aside from helping save trees, there are other reasons a tree strap comes in handy for vehicle recovery. Perhaps most importantly, it gives you a better connection point than a winch line. Try looping a winch line around a tree and you’ll see the steel cable kink up and weaken, reducing the power you need for vehicle recovery. Tree tow straps are made flexible and offer a more reliable grip on trees.
How to Use a Tree Strap for Vehicle Recovery
A ¾ inch screw pin bow shackle (also known as a D-ring) has a working load limit of 4.75 tons (9,500 pounds). This information should be printed directly on the bow for reference. The safety margin is generally specified as 5:1, meaning a D-ring will not break when applied with up to 47,000-50,000 pounds. You need several D-rings, more is better.
A D-ring is used to attach the winch line to the tree strap before tightening the screw pin. Next, back it off around (or a little less than) ½ turn. This prevents the strap from tightening too much, in which case it’ll be difficult to remove later.
Secure the winch hook to the D-ring hook that’s against the tree so that it opens with its face-up. This protects you in case the hook breaks because it ensures it recoils downwards into the ground.
Keep in mind, a recovery strap is not interchangeable as a tree strap. The standard recovery strap is made to stretch by around 10 to 15%, which isn’t sufficient. It’s not the best idea to add more recoil to the winch rigging.
Many tree tow straps on the market are not large enough to accommodate wider based trees. Longer tree straps offer more flexibility for vehicle recovery. A quality tree strap should measure at least 15 feet—Vault Cargo’s Tree Saver Tow Strap measures 20 feet!
Before freeing your vehicle, check your set up by gently pushing down on both straps to see if they are under equal pressure. If there are inequalities in strap tension the strap will adjust when placed under a lot of pressure and this can result in a spike load. For best results, no surprise jolts or ‘spike loads’ should arise because they can cause weight to exceed equipment ratings. Also, if a tire on the recovered vehicle is suddenly hit with traction only to lose it, the vehicle will fall back and transfer an unexpected spike load into the rigging.
Larger trees can complicate things and make it more difficult to get the right positioning. This includes proper rotation of the strap so that it is half the angle between your anchor and the vehicle you are recovering.
Well-made tree straps are designed to provide the flexibility necessary for the pulley to rotate so the line runs through it smoothly.
What if There’s Not a Straight Line to the Tree?
The vehicle you need to recover might not have a tree directly in front of it, in which case you need to pull off an Angle Pull. This is where your pulley comes in handy, allowing you to bend around turns or resolve tricky lines that put the winch at an unsuitable position. A pulley lets the line work directly off the winch. Attach the pulley to your tree strap using a D-ring just as you would in a straight-line pull.
The Importance of Load Rating for Safe Vehicle Recovery
All equipment used for vehicle recovery must be labeled with a load rating so you know exactly what you’re working with. Load ratings are specified for D-rings, winch lines, the winch, straps, and pulleys. Stick-on labels that specify ratings may wear away over time. Before this happens, you might want to use a permanent marker to indicate load rating directly on equipment.
Safer + Easier Vehicle Recovery with Vault Cargo’s Tree Saver Tow Strap
Vault Cargo towing and recovery gear is made for adventurers by adventurers, and our ultra-strong and durable Tree Saver Tow Strap is no different. Made with industrial grade strength, our Tree Saver Tow Strap measures an impressive 20 feet and offers 30k pounds of towing capacity. Adventure on! And never get stuck again thanks to Vault Cargo’s Tree Saver Tow Strap!