Watch How You Can Tow Your Car Out of a Jam With Only Two Poles and a Rope

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I’m an avid off-roader, and yet somehow I didn’t know about this brilliant method of winching out a stuck vehicle with nothing more than rope and some logs. Here’s how it works.

It’s called the two-pole flip winch or flip-flop winch, and it’s essentially just a way to convert the moment created by a human pulling on the end of a long pole into tension in a rope. Here’s a look at how it works:

All that’s required, here, is an anchor point (like a tree), some rope, and two big poles. After strategically looping the rope around the two poles, hooking one end of the rope to the stuck vehicle and the other to the anchor, winching the car out is just a matter of flipping the poles over one another.


One of the poles is called the pulley pole or the winch pole; it’s the one around which the rope wraps as the vehicle gets yanked out. The video below is a bit more thorough than the one above, but the main idea is that you flip the pulley/winch pole back and forth so you can use the lever pole to force the rope around it, creating tension in the rope.

It’s really not complicated, and it’s a great thing to know about so that the next time my brother and I find ourselves stuck in some woods in the middle of nowhere with no cell service, we don’t have to wait four hours for someone to find us and give us a hand:

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About the author

David Tracy

Writer, Jalopnik. 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle, 1985 Jeep J10, 1948 Willys CJ-2A, 1995 Jeep Cherokee, 1992 Jeep Cherokee auto, 1991 Jeep Cherokee 5spd, 1976 Jeep DJ-5D, totaled 2003 Kia Rio