I have been a bit stuck recently, as you know I blame this entirely on a man called Derrick. But what I can’t blame him for is my own lack of preparation of my vehicle and equipment. A staggeringly idle oversight on my part meant I found myself completely immobilised by wet sticky mud a couple of weeks ago, simply packing the right equipment in my car would have got me and Derrick straight out and back on hard ground. I have learnt that lesson, and for most of you tackling a slow commute home after work, that is a lesson you will never have to learn yourself.
However, there are some of you who like me are stupid enough to find yourself in situations that anger wives, delight children and amuse you all weekend. In order to prevent any of you having to make the same mistake as me, I have compiled a useful Recovery Gear Essentials list. This is all stuff that after driving about off road for a little while you will eventually have to use, and if you come across anyone without it, you will be able to be smug and conceited about how well prepared you are.
Small note – the more smug you are about your equipment, the less friends you will have. In fact it’s best to never ever talk about equipment unless you find someone who is as boring as you. Just an observation.
Number One piece of kit for driving in sand. Take the air out of your tyres or get stuck. It’s as simple as that.
Mine is from ARB who make all the best off-road stuff.
Awesome stretchy strap for plucking cars out of soft sand. Terrifyingly dangerous if used incorrectly.
Mine is a 6 tonne, 8-metre TJM strap and it works fine for plucking the Pajero out, if you have a bigger car get a bigger strap.
Properly rated D Shackles are normally painted red or yellow. They are used to connect your snatch strap to a chassis preventing ripping off towing eyes/ pintle hooks/ tie-down points. Travel like bullets through cars and bodies if used incorrectly.
Cheap knock off versions also make amazing flesh-eating projectiles.
Get a decent long-handled shovel if you have space. Dig. Dig. Dig. That’s all you need to do to get most cars free. If it doesn’t work, keep digging.
My personal favourite, stick them under tyres and you pop up and get moving. You often need a shovel to find them afterwards. In most situations, they can replace everything else on this list.
Use them like this
What comes down has to go back up again. Without this, you have to crawl to a petrol station on tarmac to prevent your tyres ripping off.
Don’t buy one that goes in a cigarette lighter, get a proper one that connects to battery.
That is what I would now deem as the 4 Low 4 Adventure Recovery Gear Essentials. There are many other things you might want to have onboard for general safety. But these are the essentials to make sure you don’t have moments like this.
In Qatar we have a very small selection of shops to get all of this, it’s not very difficult to find very poor quality versions of all of the above, just avoid it like the plague. Buy cheap, buy twice. Finding good shops is not easy, Ace Hardware has done a good job of stocking some reasonably well-made items but it’s hiding amongst cheap rubbish, Al Rahal is very good and holds proper ARB level equipment but it isn’t cheap, A1 Automotive has some good quality items but it’s in the industrial are so you need to make an outing of it (buy big tyres or suspension or a roof rack from them while you are there…) or of course buy it all when you are in a magical land with proper online shopping…maybe next year?