Everything You Need to Know About Winches and Recovery Tracks

A Guide to Recovery Equipment: Everything You Need to Know About Winches and Recovery Tracks

Having the right recovery equipment when you venture off the beaten trail is extremely important. It can give you peace of mind knowing that no matter what type of ditch you end up in, you can reliably get yourself out with as little effort as possible. 

Winches, recovery tracks, and high-lift jacks are among the most widely used forms of recovery 4×4 equipment. It’s best you have at least two out of these three pieces, as one can be better than the others in specific situations. Personally, I own a winch and recovery tracks, and they’ve proven to be more than enough so far. While both these pieces of 4×4 equipment serve the same purpose, they differ greatly in how they do it. 

The most sophisticated piece of recovery equipment is a winch. Winches are typically powered by electricity and can come with a wide range of features, such as wireless connectivity. On the other hand, recovery tracks are simple pieces of plastic, and to get yourself out of a sticky situation with them, you’ll have to do some manual labor of digging and placing them under the tires. 

Let’s get into more detail so you can get a better understanding of which winch for sale you should get, or whether recovery tracks are better suited for your needs.


The selection of winches on the market today is substantial, so understanding which one you need takes a fair bit of consideration. Since becoming stuck when off-road is more of a matter of when than if, your winch functions somewhat like insurance. It doesn’t matter if the terrain you go over is mud, snow, sand, or rocks, there’s a decent chance you’ll get stranded at one point or another. Many new off-roaders venture out without thinking about the possibility of getting stuck, which is one of the biggest mistakes they’ll ever make in regard to off-roading.

winch for sale
Winch for sale

Winches are bolted to the front of the vehicle, generally on the bull bar. They’re made up of several components, including a cable, winch drum, gear train, motor, and control box. 

  • The cable is made of either synthetic materials or steel. Some people prefer synthetic materials, while others steel. Each has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages. 
  • The winch drum allows the cable to be wrapped when not in use. The spool rotates the drum, winding the cable.
  • The gear train gears down the motor and turns the winch. The speed of the winch increases the lower the gear ratio is. 
  • The winch motor is what powers the drum, allowing it to pull and wrap the cable. Most winches are either 12V or 24V.

See also: How Do I Choose The Best Winch For Jeep?

There are several things to consider when looking for the ideal winch for sale.


This is the most obvious factor to consider when buying a winch. Depending on the characteristics of the winch, the price will vary. This is something you have no control over. While you won’t have to spend your life savings on a winch, expect to pay $300 for the cheapest winch, up to a few thousand dollars for the higher-quality ones. While more expensive doesn’t automatically mean better, remember the old adage – you get what you pay for.

Capacity Rating

The role of the winch is to get your vehicle out of whatever mess you find yourself in. For that reason, the winch needs to be strong enough for the job. Winches are rated by the weight they can pull. The winch you get should have a capacity rating that exceeds the gross weight of your vehicle. Make sure you include the equipment and accessories you have on your vehicle when calculating your vehicle’s weight.

Synthetic Rope or Steel Cable?

Steel winch cables are the go-to choice for those wanting durability. They don’t wear out as easily, no matter whether they’re used in mud, or dragged over sharp rocks. They’re also cheaper, but they’re quite heavy and prone to rust. Synthetic ropes, on the other hand, are lighter and you can fit more of them on the spool. While it’s more expensive, it can be tied and fixed in case it snaps and floats in water. The only disadvantage of rope is that they’re more susceptible to wear, and you’ll have to maintain it slightly more to make sure it lasts.


As aforementioned, you have to consider the capacity rating of the winch. Moreover, you need to consider the weight of the winch itself, and everything else you’re loading upfront because it all adds up. The bull bar weighs quite a bit, so it can push your suspension overboard. Most bull bars are around 50kg, and the winch is about 30kg. Overloading your vehicle’s front impacts its structural integrity, resulting in an unsafe, uncomfortable driving experience.

winch for sale
Winch for sale

Recovery Tracks

When looking for recovery tracks, there are several things to consider. The materials used in their construction need to be durable and high-quality so that they can withstand wear, tear, and abuse. They should also cover the type of driving you to do. You might want sand recovery tracks, or tracks meant for snow, dirt, or mud. Quality recovery tracks come with a decent warranty, have great flex strength, and impact resistance, and are capable of withstanding a lot of force.

See also: The 7 best SUVs for camping (Suitable for sleeping)

There are a few different types of recovery tracks – traction ladders, jacking plates, and traction mats. Traction ladders feature fiberglass treads. Jacking plates operate like base pads and are welded onto hydraulic jacks.

Recovery tracks are available in a variety of sizes. Some brands even provide several sizes in their range simply because there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. However, many people carry both large and small tracks so they have more options to work with.

The weight of boards varies based on the materials used to make them, but most weigh below 10kg. While it may seem insignificant, the weight of the track determines how easy you can transport and use them.

The best recovery tracks in Australia are Maxtrax. They’re made for the tough Australian environment, and they’re quite inexpensive. They’re fail-safe products, manufactured by Australians, for Australians.

A Guide to Recovery Equipment: Everything You Need to Know About Winches and Recovery Tracks

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