If you drive off-road chances are you will get stuck! If you get properly stuck you may need to use a kinetic strap to extricate yourself. This following an assessment as to why you are stuck, clearing sand or mud away from the underside of your vehicle as well as having decided that a simple pull strap will not suffice (remember we always refer to the pull strap as the first line of defense).
Simply put your kinetic or snatch strap absorbs and then releases energy in a controlled fashion and gets you back on the road. There are however inherent dangers to snatching; the force can pull attachments or components loose so one should always have recovery points and replacement bumpers checked on a regular basis.
Match the strap to the recovery it should be rated at least three times the Gross Vehicle Mass. As with all recoveries bystanders should be well clear of the danger zones (front or behind vehicles depending on the recovery method) and as a rule I generally recommend a distance three to four time the length of the strap being used. In fact if not directly participating in a recovery I generally “take cover” behind a tree, bush or vehicle in case of flying objects. With most recoveries a minimum 3,5 Ton (WLL) shackle should be used and if two recovery points are present I advocate a bridle to split the load, if a further recovery point is available.
I also suggest using a safety lanyard. The use of safety blankets is a must and I would suggest that a minimum of two be used placed closest to the possible point of failure. Set up the recovery generally starting with the stuck vehicle then line the recovering vehicle up, lay the strap out in a nice s shape and ensure that the strap is not twisted. Good communication is essential and the pull should be so as to stretch the strap to its maximum with the recovering vehicle stopping to allow the strap to do its work, a good snatch recovery is actually a very gentle exercise- the snatching vehicle should always be in a lower gear than the stuck vehicle to reduce drag.
Clean your equipment when you get home by gently washing the strap, do not simply roll up a wet strap and pack it away. Regular inspection of your strap is critical to ensure that it is not damaged and has retained its kinetic capability. If your first attempt fails use a new strap and pull off a bit faster, do not increase the length of your run.
Lastly (and we see this so often on the internet) a tow ball with its galvanised bolts is not suitable for any recovery exercise- it’s a potentially lethal missile that could kill!