Fundamental Winch/Recovery Configurations

Safe-Xtract Vehicle Recovery Kit design is based on the principle that it is better for your winch to stall before your recovery equipment breaks. In order to ensure this condition, you need to have a basic understanding of your winch rating, components and most importantly the loading conditions experienced by all of these across the full range of basic winching configurations.

First, electric winches will only pull at max capacity under the following two conditions: 1) sufficient available amperage, and 2) Winch Line (WL) on the first layer on the drum only. As the WL is retrieved onto the winch drum, winch pulling capacity progressively decreases on the second wrap, third wrap, etc. Safe-Xtract Kit components all have Minimum Tensile Strength (MTS) ratings that are relative to max winch pulling power as follows:

  • Winch Line (WL) and Winch Line Extension (WLE) MTS is approximately double winch capacity.
  • Soft Shackle (SS) and Tree Saver (TS) MTS is approximately four times winch capacity.
  • Pulley Block (PB) MTS is double winch capacity, with a design factor that exceeds 2:1 meaning the PB can hold at least four times winch capacity.

These ratings are very purpose-driven. Safe-Xtract Vehicle Recovery Kit components are properly sized to enable use of a vehicle’s winch for the three fundamental winching configurations: Single Line Pull (SLP), Double Line Pull (DLP) & Redirect (RD). :

SLP is used when an in-line anchor is available, and when winch capacity is sufficient.

Single Line Pull (SLP) is the simplest and most common winching configuration. The vast majority of vehicle recoveries use the SLP. SLP is simple to execute and requires very little equipment – usually just a WL and a SS to connect the winch line to a TS wrapped around a suitable tree. Assuming no shock load, every component in the SLP chain experiences the load that is applied by the winch. The above diagram shows the loads that could be applied to the recovery equipment in an SLP by a winch on the first layer and with sufficient amperage. You will note that in an SLP, the maximum load applied by the winch to the recovery equipment is maximum winch capacity. Thus the winch will stall ling before any Safe-Xtract gear reaches it’s MTS.

DLT is used in order to double the pulling power of the winch, and when an in-line anchor is available.

From a practical standpoint, a DLP is a way to halve the load on your winch when you are operating at or near winch capacity. However, it is possible for a DLP to apply loads to the recovery equipment that are double winch capacity. As such, any kit should include components engineered to withstand double winch capacity. Safe-Xtract kits meet this requirement.

RD is used when there is no in-line anchor is available.

A Safe-Xtract “Xtreme” kit further enables the Spanish Burton (SB) [for a 4:1 advantage].

SB is used to achieve a 4:1 mechanical advantage, effectively enabling the winch to pull 4X it’s rated capacity. This configuration requires use of a Pulley Block (in the position closest to the Tree Saver) that has a significantly higher strength rating than required in SLP, DLP & RD.

Both the Standard and Extreme Kits facilitate the primary two ‘winch-less’ extraction techniques, TX and MX:

TX is a proven technique for pulling a vehicle – Safe-Xtract Vehicle Recovery Kits include components perform this towing technique. Safe-Xtract Tree Savers in this configuration should be rigged such that the Cordura sides face each other, to mitigate any chafing issues.
MX incorporates the momentum-transferring Kinetic Recovery Rope to act as a shock absorber that transfers energy from the pulling vehicle to the vehicle that is stuck. The Kinetic Energy Rope may also be attached to the stuck vehicle in the V configuration thereby further enhancing safety and load distribution. Safe-Xtract Vehicle Recovery Kits include Kinetic Energy Ropes correctly rated to vehicle GVWR (Gross Vehicular Weight Rating).

SUMMARY: One SX Kit covers all basic recovery methods, making it the only recovery equipment purchase you’ll ever have to make.  The functionality of these kits is unparalleled, and because it is compatible with the excellent SX Training protocol, you can receive advanced training specific to your SX Kit at any time after purchase.  And the SX App makes use even easier.