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Basic Needs

Recovery Equipment    

The very basic in recovery equipment must consist of a snatch strap and at least 2 rated bow shackles.  This allows your vehicle to be snatched easily from most situations.  All recovery equipment will be subject to great strain, as it has to cope with the full weight of your vehicle and provide enough power to overcome the situation in which you find yourself. Ask yourself what are they and why do I need them?

Bow Shackles - are made from a special steel and allow your vehicle to be attached to straps and cables in reasonable safety.

Snatch Straps - are a nylon type straps that stretches like a 9 or 10 metre rubber band and literally snatches the towed vehicle out of the hole, bog sand or whatever.    

I make no bones about the fact that all recovery equipment must be rated to safety standards.   Straps and chains must be rated to a minimum Safe Working Load (SWL) of 8,000 kg and Bow Shackles to a minimum of 3.2 tonnes.  D shackles have no place in a recovery or a recovery kit.  They bend, twist and break and are not rated. Old bits of ski rope and other odds and sods dragged out of the shed for the occasion just don't cut the mustard. They can carry nowhere near the load required and, in fact, just add to the potential for disaster.

Notice the use of the word operations in the following text, the use is deliberate because if you are slack, use the wrong techniques or equipment you may find yourself stranded, injured and far from assistance.

  I am astounded by the number of people who lacked even this basic equipment and expect me to use, and possibly break, my own strap to help them recover from their own folly.  Iím not mean, but, Mum didnít raise no idiots,  people without the brains to have their own gear are subjected to the wrong end of my 10-metre drag chain.  

On the 2002 trip, I developed a new technique with the under equipped.  I would sell them one of my straps for $80, cash, and buy it back after the recovery.  That worked perfectly well and I only had to use my drag chain once and that was in my own recovery (see Fate).

If you are contemplating any sort of trip away into 4x4 only areas, do a training course.  I'm not suggesting those run by clubs.  Seek your training from a properly trained Instructor of at least Certificate IV level and learn about your vehicle and what recovery gear you need for you intended journey.  By the way, 4x4arts is not a service provider in recreational four wheel driving instruction. If you want training, Email us and we will supply the name of a suitably qualified firm.

In inhospitable country, your basic needs may be the knowledge of you own abilities and those of your vehicle.  No amount of recovery gear or accessories will replace common sense or the knowledge that you are taking the correct course of action.  I've got all the gear in the world and every now and then circumstances cause me to reconsider some of the risks I take.  Proper training prepares you for most circumstances and gives you the skills and confidence to conduct your own risk assessment, decide a proper course of action and proceed safely, leaving only your tyre tracks.

Communications are a must.  This is the outback. The digital phone stops working just north of Cooktown and the CDMA phone won't start working until Weipa.   You must be able to communicate.  At the very least a UHF CB radio will give you contact with all  bar those who have nothing in the forms of brains or radios.  Virtually everyone in the outback uses UHF CB's.  Truckies use channel 40, caravan clubs use channel 38/28 and farmers, stations ands all within that spectrum are out there listening.  This radio is commonly known as the cocky's telephone. 

An HF Radio will give you virtually nation wide communication depending on the time of day.  We have a Codan NGT hooked up to the VKS 737 Network and during the evening schedules we regularly spoke to Alice Springs and Adelaide.  This enabled us  to pass on and receive messages.  It also has a full set of Royal Flying Doctor channels and an emergency function to the RFDS.  Telephone connections are also available through the HF Network.

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