Simpson Desert – Recovery Equipment


Sand recoveries will, unfortunately, be a reality when travelling across the Simpson Desert. If we’re lucky, and the sand is hard, then it could be all smooth sailing, however if luck goes the other way, we could be in for quite a few recoveries.

With that in mind, I thought I’d put up a post about what our recovery gear will consist of and what you should have as a minimum. All this information can also be found on the Equipment Checklist page here:

At a minimum all vehicles will be required to carry a rated ‘Snatch Strap’ and 2 x rated shackles and a long handled shovel. These are essential so that, if you do get stuck, you can first dig some sand out and reverse back the way you came, or if you’re really stuck, you can ask someone to pull you forward, or backwards so you can have another run at the dune.
We need to be aware of the weight of our vehicles and ensure that we are travelling with other vehicles that have the capacity to snatch us out. We also need to be aware of what size Snatch Strap our vehicles require.

For example, our Jeep weighs under 2 tonnes. Attempting to snatch the Jeep with a 12,000 kg snatch strap will put a lot of strain on the Jeep as the strap won’t stretch as much as an 8,000 kg snatch strap will. I personally carry a 8,000 kg snatch strap and would always use my strap if I end up getting stuck.

If you’re in a larger vehicle, that weighs more, a 12,000 kg strap might be best for you, provided there is a similarly heavy vehicle around to snatch you out. The Jeep, being much lighter, would have more trouble getting a large vehicle out of deep sand as the strap won’t stretch as much.

I think if we have a mixture of 8 and 12 tonne straps amongst the group we should fair pretty well.

Traction aids/boards, such as MaxTrax or TRED’s are also very handy and we’ve just purchased a set of MaxTrax for the trip. These are perfect for self recovery where there isn’t another vehicle that can easily assist you. It would be great if everyone had their own set of boards, as it will mean less time lining up for snatching.

We also have a 9,000lb (4.5 tonne) winch on the Jeep with 40 meters of rope, which is all well and good, provided there is something to winch off. This would normally be a tree, however trees are hard to come by in the desert. If winching is required, a second vehicle would also be needed, either that or bury your spare tire, but that is a last resort.

If you don’t have a snatch strap already, have a look at this recent article on 8,000kg straps:
If you check out the stats at the bottom, you will note that some straps can break well short of their rated capacity, which could have disastrous consequences. When buying recovery gear, look for quality every time.



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