I’ve been waiting for a good opportunity to put this Ridge Ryder Recovery Kit to the test, and boy did I get the chance this weekend! Our group had a trip planned to the Mundaring Power-line track and the forecast was rain, lots of rain. If you’re not familiar with Perth’s 4WDing scene, the Mundaring Powerline track is our local 4WD playground and has some of the toughest obstacles around – even on a dry day.
Before I go any further though, here’s a little bit about the recovery kit that saved our skins a few times that day. The Ridge Ryder 4WD Recovery Kit seems to contain everything needed for basic snatch and winch recoveries. There’s a nice heavy duty 11 tonne snatch strap, an 8 tonne equalizer strap, 6.5 tonne tree trunk protector, 4.5 tonne winch extension strap, 8 tonne snatch block, two 4.5 tonne bow shackles and some riggers gloves to save your hands.
I first pulled the kit out of the box when one of the guys slipped up on a greasy clay hill climb, becoming lodged in a precarious position between two ruts. This vehicle is equipped with a winch – ideal for such a situation such as this where a slow, controlled approach is needed. I pulled the recovery kit out of its box, going specifically for the tree trunk protector. Each of the straps in the kit are colour coded which is going to be a huge help when you want to grab a particular strap in a hurry. In this situation we had no need of the snatch block, a straightforward no fuss pull got the vehicle back on track, and no trees were harmed in the process!
If your nearest anchor point is a bit further than the reach of your winch cable, the winch extension strap (purple one) will give you an extra 20 metres to play with. Great for when you’ve got yourself in so much trouble that none of your mates are willing to risk their vehicle to get you out. Or if things were to get really tricky with deep sticky mud, the snatch block will work as a pulley to double the cable back to the vehicle, effectively halving the load on your winch. Super handy having a few options to play with!
Now there’s not too many times I’ve been out and not had to employ a snatch recovery at some point. There were a few on this occasion, but the most notable one on this weekend was pulling a dead Landcruiser from a deep hole filled with murky water. We had no option but to perform this recovery on a bit of an angle. To prevent excessive stress on a single recovery point we used the equalizer strap (the green strap) to spread the load between two recovery points. The snatch strap is elastic and the trick with a snatch recovery is to carry just enough momentum to pop the vehicle out of the muck. It was a textbook recovery except for the part where I lost a shackle in the mud for a few minutes. I’m glad they’re bright orange, easier to spot!
Unfortunately the outcome wasn’t so great for the Land Crusier. It fired up after a little tinkering, but running a few cylinders down and blowing a heck of a lot of white smoke. A full engine rebuild is the only way to bring that one back!
At the end of the day, the bright and colourful recovery kit had essentially become a giant bag of mud. It served us well that day, and will continue to do so if I don’t forget to wash all the mud off it and store it clean and dry. If you don’t have a winch on your vehicle, and don’t plan on having one in the near future then you probably won’t have a use for half the gear it comes with. You might find the Ridge Ryder 4WD Snatch Kit more in line with your needs. Otherwise the Ridge Ryder 4WD Recovery Kit is a perfect kit to cover all your bases in some pretty tricky situations!