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A winch is tool you use to pull heavy things. Mounted to an off-road vehicle, itā€™s an invaluable insurance policy against getting bogged in the backcountry. Hereā€™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 Jeepā€™s Red Rock Responder; a desert rescue-vehicle concept based on the JK Wrangler.

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

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

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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.
  • Donā€™t winch in ā€œPark;ā€ it damages your transmission.
  • Work slow, be aware of all movements and surroundings during recovery, and make sure youā€™re familiar with your equipment before you start throwing switches and pulling levers.

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


Andrew P. Collins is Jalopnikā€™s off-road and adventure guy. Shoot him an email at andrew@jalopnik.com or hit him up on Twitter @andr3wcollins to talk trucks.