Winch, Winch Bumper & Bull Bars

ARB Winch Bumper incorporating ‘bull bars’


A de rigueur item fitted to all safari vehicles! However, in the UK it is now illegal to fit metal ‘bull bars’ as they are not pedestrian friendly. Mine was fitted prior to this change. Whilst this is a valid point for UK roads, ignoring the fact that the front of a 3 tonne standard Defender isn’t pedestrian friendly either, it is a life saving piece of equipment in Africa. The danger of hitting domestic and wild animals is very real; donkeys, cows, goats and sheep wander freely on the roads, often unsupervised, and the risk is that the larger ones could be launched upwards and through the windscreen. This is less likely to happen with a rigid front with a high centre of gravity. The bumper also reduces the likelihood of damaging the radiator and engine components. Likewise, the likelihood of damage caused when pushing through trees, bushes and the like is much reduced. Such a bumper is essential if a winch is to be fitted (the bumpers are still available but without the ‘bull bars’).  


Warn Powerplant Dual Force Winch + compressor


A very expensive item that will be rarely used, but some form of winch for self-recovery is essential if solo travelling in remote areas. A winch needs to be treated with the utmost respect due to the immense forces involved when winching. I would strongly recommend some form of training. Our winch combined a compressor for easy tyre re-inflation; that was a common occurrence when driving on sand. Despite the huge cost of our winch I was not impressed with it, having embarrassingly let me down twice in the UK: once with a defective cut-out mechanism; secondly with a defective solenoid. The first was repaired under warranty but Warn refused to honour the second repair as the item was over, not by much, the 12 month warranty and their explanation for the failure was that the winch must have got wet: not much use when the winch is on the front of the vehicle where getting wet is an obvious occurrence. Not impressed! I had the solenoid removed and a different one fitted under the front wing out of the wet, but this really should have been unnecessary considering the winch was well over a £1400 fitted. I replaced the wire hawser with a synthetic rope which is just as strong but lighter; safer when it snaps and floats. With a compressor you’ll need the air lines etc., to blow up the tyres; a tyre deflator is also a useful accessory to drop the tyre pressures rapidly.



Winches are fine if you have a tree or similar nearby; we also took a ground anchor for use when there was nothing else to attach the winch to: as it turned out, we never used the winch to rescue ourselves, only others.


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