Recovery Gear

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Besides the winch and associated strops, straps, ropes, kinetic straps, shackles, snatch blocks, tree strops, long tow rope, ground anchor, etc. etc. the following were also taken:



Waffle Boards (2) & Sand Mats (4)

Waffle boards are excellent for recovery out of mud etc., being placed under a wheel and can act as a bridging ladder as they are immensely strong. Sand mats are a light-weight option to sand ladders to give additional traction in sand. I had mixed success with the mats the few times I used them; they either worked well or the tyres gripped too well and shot the mat out. I stored them in a waffle board holder attached to the bonnet, not ideal but did save space.


Vehicle Jack

Most expedition vehicles carry a Hi-lift farm jack for jacking up the vehicle. They are very versatile but need to be treated with respect as they can be unstable if jacked high (as I found out back in the UK!). For a Defender an extension is required to fit into the bumper jacking points,


When stuck, the wheels can be lifted to allow waffle boards, sand mats, brushwood or other similar to be placed underneath. A very useful item purchased in Cape Town was a wheel strap that attaches to the jack and the wheel which lifts just the wheel rather than the body first, then the suspension travel and then the wheel. This makes the operation quicker and safer.


We stored our jack, locked, on a fitting kit on the side of the roof rack, which worked quite well but picked up the dust, as I found to my cost when I went to use it in earnest stuck in black cotton mud and it wouldn’t lower (a hammer did the trick!). Thereafter I kept the mechanism wrapped in cling film, later replaced by a bespoke cover, both of which suffered from the acacia thorns but did keep out the dust.


Also a good idea to carry a service/repair kit and regularly check the mechanism with each vehicle check – as I found out, it needs to work when you really need it, especially with lions nearby! A base plate is required to prevent the jack sinking in soft ground. Plenty of practice is recommended for using this very important but potentially dangerous piece of equipment. I also took a small bottle jack.



Another vital item required for a host of functions from digging the vehicle out of the sand to digging the bush toilet. A long handled shovel is useful if a lot of sand digging is expected. Ours was fitted on its mounting bracket on the rear to the off-side, between the gutter and the rear lights (but depends upon wheel carrier design). Also handy to have a small collapsible spade, military type, for general use; also can be used at right angles, handy for shifting a lot of sand or digging trenches etc.


Additionally the following were also taken but rarely used:

Axe; Sledgehammer; Bow Saw; Machette; Long Lump Hammer (this was used regularly for all manner of tasks) to mention a few.