4x4 winches for sale

An Argument for Winches

I read with interest the other day an article by 4WD Supacentre News stating that a winch “…is one of the best upgrades you can ever make!”

The article went further to state that a winch “gives you the confidence to go exploring!” (even if you’re not expecting to get bogged) and that they allow “us to search over the next big hill…”.

I have no issues with comments that a winch may be required for trips such as Cape York, the Victorian High Country or the rugged areas of Tasmania; but I do have some views of winches for entry level travellers.

For completeness, the article contained 24 hyperlinks to 4×4 winching products for sale on their website.

winching yourself out of trouble
Using a Winch to Recover Using a Snatch Block

Winches as Standard

Take a moment to look around at the cars next to you in carparks and at traffic lights.  There’s a hell of a lot of four-wheel drives out there.  Many  are somewhat new with overseas holiday money diverted to Intra- and inter-state (and territory) travels during Australia’s lockdown.

So, what’s the question on most people’s minds when shopping for their first (or maybe second) fourbie? Well, I’m guessing ‘does it have a bullbar and winch?’ is pretty high on the list – and maybe ‘does it have heaps of spot lights?’ for the Red ‘P’ Platers.

When do I need a winch?

But, do you need a winch from Day 1 and for those areas that you’re going to take your new pride and joy?

My thoughts are that there’s a lot more gear you can – and perhaps should – spend your money on before you commit to a $400+ winch and an extra 25kg up front.

Escalation Options to Recovery

The 4WD Supacentre article also placed a lot of emphasis on travelling solo after your mates pull out and the immediate default (my words) option to run out the winch rope as the way out of a sticky situation.

How many times have you seen videos of drivers winching and clawing their vehicles up a steep hill track (complete with washouts and mud) or perhaps you’ve seen drone shots of vehicles pushing their way along a mud flooded plain with the track blending with the horizon?

In my mind, and for the newcomers, I am reminded of the ‘First Rule of Digging Holes’ – stop digging!
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Do you need a winch if the track is bad?

If the track is bad, take a moment or two to ponder oh so many things – Can you (personally) do this? Do you have the skills and knowledge to do this? Is this the right time to learn? Can your vehicle do this? Do you have enough time in the day left? How far does this go on for? Why? Do you have to keep going forward? Can you turn around and go back – before you can’t? Is it safe? Is everyone comfortable with what’s going on? Do I need to drive this car to work or drop the kids off on Monday? etc…

Adopting the position that the winch is perhaps the ‘last arrow in your quiver’ of recovery gear, I outlined a few pieces of Passive and Active Recovery Equipment in my blog on Equipment for 4wding (refer: https://campandtravel.com.au/equipment-for-4wding/).

Passive aspects included recovery points, bash plates, lifts and even having a little bit of cash on hand.

Active recovery equipment

While Active recovery equipment included shovels; recovery tracks; jacks; base plates under jacks; tyre deflators; various odds and sods; and, finally, winches.

On top of the safety considerations of leaving the more complex aspects of snatch straps and winches until last, (I believe that) there is a real sense of achievement in getting yourself out of a tight pickle using what’s on hand. Digging your way out, using tracks to bridge a washout and moving logs etc can be hard work, but it can also be very rewarding – without winching your way into even more ‘problems’.


Snatch Recovery on Bribie Island, Queensland

For me, I have used the winch mounting points on my bull bar to mount a hitch receiver that allows me to push my trailer (camper and caravan) backwards. This has allowed me, on a couple of occasions, to unhitch my camper; turn the car around; and drive out of a difficult situation where turning the car and camper around was not an option.

Why Keep Blundering Forward?

In your car, you will most likely find the letter “R” on your gearstick or automatic shifter (PRNDL).

Select this and you’ll find that your car will be able to go backwards.

This may help take you out of the sticky situation that presents itself should you keep going forward.

Try it.

And yes, a mate’s winch can pull you backwards off a rear recovery point.

Winch supplies
Rear Recovery Point

So, Why Sell Winches?

Yes, winches are useful and, at times, essential pieces of equipment to get out of situations where you have to (through need, desire or sheer dogged determination) keep going forward.

All I am suggesting is that, for entry level participants and perhaps even longer-term drivers in the word of camping and travelling, winches may not be as essential as many would have you think.

Why set off into the ‘wild woolly world’ by yourself with a false confidence that you have a winch and all will be rosy? The ‘mud’ can still hit the fan – and in a big way.

Give the purchase of a winch some careful thought considering your individual needs and make up your own mind.

Having said all that… perhaps its time for me to go out and buy a winch. If only so I have that last ‘arrow’ if it’s needed.

See you out there.

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