How To Perform An Off-Road Winch Rescue The Right Way

Truck YeahThe trucks are good!

A winch is tool you use to pull heavy things. Mounted to an off-road vehicle, it’s an invaluable insurance policy against getting bogged in the backcountry. Here’s a primer on how to use a Jeep-mounted winch to rescue a truck suck in a hole of slickrock.

In our demonstration, international adventure expert Scott Brady is pretending his daily-driven diesel Land Cruiser is trapped in a pit with a broken axle, dead winch, and I guess really crappy tires.


Luckily, southwest-based off-road guide and tour operator Nena Barlow happened to come upon him in Jeep’s Red Rock Responder; a desert rescue-vehicle concept based on the JK Wrangler.

The Responder is one of the company’s one-offs put out by Mark Allen’s Jeep design team for the 2015 Easter Jeep Safari, and it’s finally getting to see some action before being stowed in a dark corner of Jeep’s R&D basement.


As for the Land Cruiser, it’s already off on its next overland adventure which you just might be reading about soon.


At very least, the basics of winch recovery are;

  • Set up vehicles for a straight-pull.
  • Lash lines to solid recovery points on disabled vehicles... not moving parts.
  • Use a dampener on the winch line to arrest it in case it snaps.
  • Agree on a system of communication between all parties involved.
  • Don’t winch in “Park;” it damages your transmission.
  • Work slow, be aware of all movements and surroundings during recovery, and make sure you’re familiar with your equipment before you start throwing switches and pulling levers.

Check out the video for the whole demo, and discuss technique in the comments!


Andrew P. Collins is Jalopnik’s off-road and adventure guy. Shoot him an email at or hit him up on Twitter @andr3wcollins to talk trucks.

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