Picking the right winch for your off-road rig can be a tremendous task with so many different brands and options to choose from. What can be even more daunting of a task is picking the right winch accessories to go with your new winch, and we’re here to help.
What can be considered the most important tool on your vehicle for self-recovery situations, you need to many different factors into account before making your purchase. Not only do you need to know the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of your rig, but you also need to take into account the weight of all the accessories that you’ve added to it. When you think about it, after you add those heavy duty bumpers, spare tire carriers, gas cans, roof racks, and other accessories, you can easily add another 1,500-2,000-pounds. If you get a winch that isn’t rated to pull the weight equal to or greater than the total weight of your rig, you still might find yourself stuck but now with a busted winch.
While picking the right winch is the most critical piece of the puzzle, we’ve done some great footwork for you with our buyers guide of Best Winches, but there are many more items that can make getting out of a sticky situation much easier and safer for both yourself and the environment around you. We’ve compiled a great list of winch accessories that can help to make your life easy the next time you decide to take the path less traveled. Even better is that we’ve partnered with 4 Wheel Parts to offer you an exclusive 10% discount code when you enter OFFROAD104WP at checkout when shopping at 4WheelParts.com.
As we previously stated, there are many factors to take into consideration when picking the right winch. The most common way to determine the right winch is to choose one that has a pulling capacity that is double the weight of your vehicle. For most mid-size trucks a winch in the 9,000 lb. will suffice, while full size trucks need a minimum of a 12,000 lb. winch. If you’re not quite sure what your rig weighs with all of your goodies and a full tank of fuel, it’s better to error on the side of caution by going with a higher capacity unit. If you read our Best Winch Buyers Guide, you know that there are a ton of great choices from many different brands like WARN, Smittybilt, Superwinch and more.
Most are offered in a variety of pulling capacities and are available with both wire cable and synthetic rope. If you wonder which is better, there are pros and cons to each. The wire cable is less expensive but has a higher possibility of kinking and/or rusting, which is not fun dealing with when you’re handling the winch. On the other side of the spectrum, winches with synthetic rope have more of an initial cost but require maintenance for protection from sun damage and is easier to be damaged from abrasion. Which is the best for you? That’s really up to you.
The top choice of our editorial staff was the WARN Zeon line of winches. Available with pulling capacities that range from 8,000 to 12,000 lbs., with both synthetic and wire cable options, and the Zeon Platnimums are probably some of the best winches that money can buy. The Platinum series has features like an advanced wireless remote control that displays winch motor temp, vehicle battery voltage and also has the ability to control two additional 12v accessories. If you want to know more about this pulling powerhouse, read our in depth review of the WARN Zeon Platinum 12K-S.
Not to be outdone, Smittybilt also has some excellent offerings with their popular X20 line of winches. These are also available with both wire and synthetic rope options and in pulling capacities that range from 10,000 to 17,500 lbs.
If you’ve been waiting for a great deal to purchase a winch for your favorite off-road vehicle, right now is the perfect time to shop and take advantage of our exclusive coupon at 4 Wheel Parts. Simply enter OFFROAD104WP when you checkout at 4WheelParts.com and your discount will automatically be applied.
While having a winch can be one of the most useful tools in off-road recovery, there are plenty of winch accessories that can make the job easier or at times are even a necessity to get you or someone you’re helping unstuck. The good thing is that plenty of companies make winch accessory kits that include some of the most basic items you’d need for safe winching practices, and even offer special kits that have items for advanced recovery processes. Not having the right tools can cause damage to both your equipment and the environment if you’re not careful, and honestly it’s tough enough to keep our off-roading areas open without providing ammunition to groups that want to close them down. A tree saver strap is a common item found in accessory kits that allow you to use the trunk of a solid tree as an anchor point instead of wrapping your line around it and causing damage.
Another common item found in accessory kits are snatch blocks. These are great for allowing you to pull from different angles, in addition to cutting down the pulling force needed to move the stuck vehicle. Smittybilt has a terrific Premium Winch Accessory Kit that includes a 30′ tow strap, 18,000 lb. snatch block, 2 D-Ring shackles, tree saver strap, and work gloves. This kit has everything you need to make winching safe and easier without completely draining your bank account. Like I previously mentioned, there are other kits available that come with more products for substantially more money, but this one is perfect for basic recoveries.
If you’ve installed a winch on your off-road rig, you likely have recovery points in place to utilize D-ring shackles to use as a hooking point. While you have taken this into account, there are plenty of other off-roaders that don’t and in some instances, the people you help get unstuck might not be in an off-road specific vehicle and have no anchor points at all. This is where soft shackles can be a real life saver. If you’re the one being pulled out and need to use a tow hook as your connection point for a winch but the winch hook isn’t large enough to go over it, the soft shackle can allow you to make the necessary connection. In the event that the vehicle being pulled out doesn’t have a recovery point, you can use a soft shackle around some point of the frame and if necessary a suspension component (only for light pulling as a last resort) to get the job done.
While steel D-ring shackles have been the tool of choice by many in the off-road community, soft shackles have become a regular tool in many off-road rigs. This is because they are lightweight, waterproof, stronger than some steel shackles, and aren’t as lethal if for some reason they come off of their mounting location. Just like most off-road gear, you’ve got a ton of options to choose from like rope diameter, rope length, and which manufacture you might prefer. When shopping for your soft shackle, be mindful of the breaking strength so you get the right size for the right job.
If you’re purchasing a winch or have already purchased one, you might be wondering why you’d need a different winch hook than the one that is already provided with your winch. While the basic hooks that come with most winches aren’t the most accommodating for recovery items like straps or shackles. Many of the aftermarket hooks available are stronger and have more options for using specific items like soft shackles, D-rings, and your traditional equipment. One of the more popular winch hooks is the UltraHook from Factor 55. This is the industries first closed system shackle mount that features a hole machined into the body of the hook for use with soft shackles and D-rings, a safety latch retraction pocket that works with larger recovery rope ends, and locking latch pin to ensure that your strap won’t unexpectedly come out. Additionally, the UltraHook can be stored against your fairlead (hawse or roller style) without fear of damage since it features EPDM rubber pads for protection.
Now this isn’t the only option for aftermarket winch hooks, since it seems like every off-road company has their own. Smittybilt has two winch hook offerings with their Delta Hook series winch hooks. The Delta Hook is available with both 12,000 and 18,000lb strength ratings and feature an oversized eye for easy hand-held pulling and large strap end fitment. Don’t forget that when you’re shopping at 4 Wheel Parts, you can take advantage of 10% savings on parts in your cart when you enter our exclusive code OFFROAD104WP when you checkout at 4WheelParts.com.
One important item to have when winching is probably the most overlooked piece of equipment you can think of. Having a good set of gloves is extremely important when handling winch cables and ropes. If your winch has steel cable, it’s not uncommon for the line to fray or get debris caught in the line which can lead to some painful situations if any of that was to penetrate the skin on your hands. The same can happen with synthetic line if wood chips or anything else that gets picked up off the ground. Having a good set of gloves is a great way to provide protection for your hands not only from whatever gets caught in your line, but also for whatever weather conditions you may be wheeling in, because wheeling in cold weather can be brutal when you need to use your hands on a winch.
Mechanix Wear offers a wide variety of gloves for all seasons, but there are still plenty of other brands to choose from. Some not only offer good palm and finger protection, but impact protection in the event that you’re using power tools. Regardless what kind of gloves you are looking for, they’re definitely a must have for any winching situations.
There you go. We’ve given plenty of information to help you make the right choice when it comes to picking the right winch and winch accessories to go with it. While everything isn’t a necessity, aside from a winch, they can definitely make the winching process easier when you have the right tools. Once you’ve made your choices, don’t forget to take advantage of 10% savings when you use our exclusive code OFFROAD104WP at checkout shopping at 4WheelParts.com!
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