Recovery Tools (for getting your camper unstuck)

Recovery Tools… You know, I’m just going to write this one in the first person, Belle whole heatedly agrees that we should try not to get marooned somewhere, but her general preference is to avoid getting stuck by avoiding nasty roads.  I don’t really want to do any serious wheeling, especially as a single vehicle, but I do want us to be able to get to remote spots without worrying about getting stuck.  Okay yeah i do kind of want to do serious wheeling.  but not this trip!

If you want to go down a huge rabbit hole search youtube for overland rig, expedition rig, sportsmobile, flip pac truck camper, tacoma habitat, on and on and on.  So bare in mind that’s where i’m coming from here – in real life I’ve probably only gotten a few vehicles unstuck with a method any more complicated than pushing or sitting in back.  Those methods included.. Sand, Shovels, and branches shoved under tires in the mud.  But just ask Belle, I’ve watched a LOT of youtube videos giving advice on what to buy/bring and how to use it.  With that stunning intro, here we go, recovery tool options in order of how essential the aggregate population of youtubers thinks they are.  Bare in mind many of these recovery tools won’t be practical for larger vehicles.

Recovery Tools, Priority Order
    • A Shovel
      • With time and a shovel you can get out of a lot of situations.  We bought this multipurpose one which seems okay for the price, but anybody serious would just put a real garden shovel up on the roof.  Using the shovel will be a big pain if we ever have to do it, but i *think* it will hold up if we baby it a bit..


    • A 12V tire inflator
      • Being able to deflate your tires in mud or sand can be a big advantage.  Do some research on what’s recommended for your vehicle + tire or you can do massive and INVISIBLE damage to your sidewalls, risking an unexpected blowout.  You’ll want an inflator if you’re going to be deflating, but it’s probably not a bad idea to have on hand anyway right? We got this one.
    • A HAM Radio
      • Even if you don’t want to become an operator, you are legally allowed to transmit on one of these in case of emergency.  These could get you help in areas where cellphones don’t.  We’re bringing this radio and this book with the intention of taking the test later this year.
    • Recovery Boards
      • Recovery boards are great multi purpose recovery tools, especially when combined with that shovel.  There are lots of great youtube videos that give a sense of how they work.  Definitely likely to be muddy, but very capabale for the price.  We bought these with the intention of building a DIY Waffle Board Table.  It’s expensive (and heavy!!) as a camp table, but similar space usage as something lighter and it’s nice having the piece of mind.
  • Cables, straps, chains, snatch block
    • Anything beyond this point in the list requires a big jump in cost / weight / space because you need things to pull with and spots on the vehicle to attach to.  It also gets more complicated and much more dangerous.  This is where we decided to stop for now.  One word of warning – watch safety videos for working with cables AND lines AND winches AND jacks AND everything, they can be shockingly deadly.  If you don’t believe me, just search “wench accidents” and be ready to not eat for the rest of the day.  If you really want to get into off-roading you HAVE TO join a club or pay for guided trips to learn from others and to have 2+ vehicles in your party in case someone has a problem.  If we ever go this route, we might have started with a hitch-mount recovery point.  This was a good fit for us because we’ll have hitches on the front and back of the truck.
  • Come Along
    • These are supposed to be servicable as wenches, but no one actually recommends them.  They pull so little total distance that they’re at best a huge pain in most situations, or simply won’t work in others.  It’s the cheapest next step though. WATCH SAFETY VIDEOS OR RISK DEATH!
  • Hilift Jack / Farm Jack
    • Farm Jacks are essential for jacking up vehicles with a ton of after market lift.  Regardless of lift, they’re more versatile than the scissor jack that comes with your vehicle and can get your wheel lifted up enough to put a board under in tricky situations.  They’re also super dangerous, suspending your vehicle up on a single footing.  WATCH SAFETY VIDEOS OR RISK DEATH!  In addition to jacks, they can be used as a huge come along of sorts, giving you more travel and leverage than you might have on a come along.  Again, aftey videos, death and dismemberment await with snapping cables and falling cars.
      • Depending on what kind of mount points you’ve got on your vehicle you may want this
    • Wench
      • This was as far down the rabbit hole as i looked.  They’re actually pretty reasonable, but next thing you know you’ll want bull bars to protect it, upgraded electrical system to handle all the load, etc.  These seemed about as dangerous as come alongs and hi lifts, except that danger was compressed over a much shorter time period.  Be cafeful, watch those videos.




All right folks, what do you think? How’s my youtube research? I hope I’ve been super clear, this article alone is not enough information to use any of these tools safely to recover your vehicle.  Watch some videos, test your equipment before hitting the road, all that good stuff.

Be safe!