The Garage - Winch Accessories
Equipment For Supporting Winch Operations!

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Last Updated: 12/2/2013
Winch Rope

Summit Racing Equipment
Address: P.O. Box 909
Akron, OH 44398-6177
Phone: 800-230-3030
Click here to visit their website.

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The winch by itself is a great recovery option but I also needed accessories to go along with it.
A long time ago, when I purchased my first winch, I have also purchased along with it a winch accessory kit to get started. I freely admit that I did know little to nothing about recovery gear, let alone what to buy and where. I received many tips and suggestions which I tried to follow with little or no use to me.

Sometimes asking a simple question such as "what shackles will be sufficient" in a forum site or blog turned into a political issue like "only buy US made stuff".

Others state "get a WARN kit" without having read or understood the topic at all and turning the issue into a branding war. We all have dealt with this type of fan boys before, but all of this resulted into only one thing, it made me questioning myself if I should have posted there at all. Don't believe me, try it yourself
Well, many years have been past since and I can truthfully state that nothing can replace personal experience for knowing what one will need and what not.

However, there is some basic equipment that everyone should carry, Yes, you can buy a kit but besides paying through the nose you will find within some stuff which is only useful occassionally to you, and some stuff you may never use at all because these kits are an universal design and nothing ever is in my experience really universal out here.

I carry the accessories and equipment needed to extract and/or get my Durango moving again in the Michigan UP. This is the place I live at and I designed my kit exclusively for the terrain I travel on such as snow, ice, rain, mud, loose gravel, and mushy forest roads. My choice of equipment has been to this point appropriate for the many situations I encountered and has ensured a safe and enjoyable experience for me and my passengers.

Before listing all the accessories I take along for the ride in my truck I would like to inform about some safety issues everyone should know before buying or handling a winch or/and any of the equipment.

Wear leather gloves at all times when handling cable;
Keep hands well away from the fairlead and cable drum when winching;
Double-check that the hook, shackles and clevis are fastened securely before applying power;
Keep bystanders at least 50 feet away from the winching procedures;
Always attach a heavy bag using a shackle over the cable at the midway point to act as a damper should the cable come loose under load;
Never stand beside a winch during operation or allow bystanders in the danger zone;
Ensure the anchor points on the vehicle being pulled are strong and will not be damaged during the winching procedure;
Never attach a winch cable to a tow ball or around a bumper;
Never begin winching with less than five full cable wraps around the drum;
Winch in short bursts with to keep winch motor from over heating;
Always inspect cable or winch rope prior to winching to ensure there are no frays or kinks;
Never stand in front of,or walk behind, a vehicle being winched.

Now I would like to explain some of the terminology encountered with recovery gear:

Working Load Limit: The Working Load Limit (WLL) is the maximum load which should ever be applied to the product under any condition. The Working Load Limit is based on a load being uniformly applied in a straight line pull.

Breaking Strength:
Do NOT use Breaking Strength for design or rating purposes. Use Working Load Limit instead. Breaking Strength is an average figure at which NEW samples have been found to break under laboratory conditions, in straight line pulls with constantly increasing loads. These conditions are rarely duplicated in actual use.

Shock Loads: Loads which exceed the static load caused by rapid change of movement, such as jerking, impacting, or swinging of loads. Working Load Limits will not apply. Avoid Shock Loads!

Matching Components: All attachments used with chain and wire rope must be of suitable material, type and strength to provide adequate safety protection. Attachments should have Working Load Limits at least equal to the other components with which they are used.

Inspection: No product can operate indefinitely at its rated capacity. Cable, Wire Rope, Chain, Attachments, etc. must all be inspected regularly for visible damage, or distortion, elongation, corrosion, cracks, nicks, or abrasion which may cause failure or reduce the strength or ability of the products to perform safely.

Here is the list of my personal accessory kit I put together for my winch:


I carry two sets of lether gloves. For the winter and cold weather I have the West Chester Cold Weather Thinsulate insulated work gloves which I purchased for about 12 bucks at the local 41 Lumber store. These keep my hands warm even at tbrutal freezing temperatures. My second set which are actually two pairs of the same type are cheap simple work gloves purchased at Harbor Freight Tools for a buck and a half each to use in the short season which we call summer here in the UP. To have an extra set on hand when one gets mucky or someone else forgot them is always a good idea.

Tree Trunk Protector (Tree Strap):

I am using a single ply, 3 inches wide by 8 feet long tree strap made by Macs Customs Tie Downs (Part#130108) as my Tree Trunk Protector (tree strap). I purchased this strap quite some time ago for about 25 bucks online from the manufacturer. It is made from yellow colored premium webbing and offers super-strong stitching. It has a Working Load Limit of 9,000 lbs and a breaking strength of 27,000 lbs.
It is intentionally the weakest link in my setup because it is also the furthest away from the vehicle. If I should run into any problems with this strap being to weak for a recovery operation, I still have my tow strap as a backup.


The four screw pin shackles purchased at my local ACE Hardware store for 14 bucks each, have served me for many years without any problems. The shackles are black powder coated and show to this day no signs of rust or wear. The shackles have a stamped 6.5Ton working load limit which equals about 15,000 lbs and a breaking strength of approx. 45,000 lbs. I have tried to purchase another set but it seems that they have been discontinued. A friend of mine purchased some shackles from Fehr Bros. Industries which he stated are great and thus I may just order me a set from them too and test them out.

Snatch Block:

My Snatch Block 9000 features a unique two-piece polymer pulley design, rounded safety edges to protect against pinch points, and allows for easy one-handed loading and unloading of the rope. The working load encountered during winching also has a positive effect on the snatch block by causing the 1/5" cold rolled steel side plates to press together for extra support.Suitable for use with bow shackle sizes up to 8.5 ton and cable/rope sizes of 1/3" to 1/2". The snatch block has a working load limit of 19,800 lbs. and a breaking strength of 38,500 lbs. Pulley diameter: 4 1/3", Weight: 5.3lb, and I paid 80 bucks for it.

Tow Strap:

The old adage "the right tool for the job" can certainly be applied to my 2ply 4" wide, 5mm thick, and 20' long tow strap made from polyester webbing and purchased from Napoli Wholesale. I have used it successfully as an extension to my winch rope and on a few occassions it has served as a tree strap when the 8 feet above just seemed a bit short.This tow strap has a working strength of 17,500 lb (7.9 Ton) and a breaking strength of 56,000 lb (25.4 Tons) and has sewed loops at each end (ring slings eye length approx 20"). The strap weights in at 8.42 lbs., my cost was 67 bucks. I am using a cheap (4 bucks) and simple solution to keep the tow strap together; a pair of Coleman Sleeping Bag Straps (Model No.2000000710).

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