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Unread 11-27-2011, 08:56 AM   #1
Karma
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My View of Winch Choices

I feel a need to apologize for a number of my posts that have criticized folks who have bought inexpensive winches. I won’t go so far to say I was wrong. But, it has become clear to me that different folks have different winching needs. It’s this I want to talk about in this short essay.

I view winches as survival tools. Much of my view is based on how I do my wheeling. I go out alone most of the time. I go to lonely places where the availability of help is minimal. If I get stuck, I must get myself out or death could be a real possibility. I have equipped my Jeep with many recovery tools including a Warn 8274 winch, a Pull Pal, a winch line extender, lots of winch accessories, a Hi Lift, a personal locator beacon and a Cobra CB (not much help). I also carry a cell phone. Most of these things I have not needed (so far!) because my winch gets me out of most trouble. So, I consider my winch to be my most important survival tool. Note that I use the term “survival”.

My sense of the situation with most other people is they wheel quite differently. It seems typically they wheel in a group, have others they can count on for help, and use their winch as necessary but if it fails help is available. With these conditions a winch is not a survival tool (which cannot fail) but a recovery tool (which can fail). I can understand this.

The reason for my criticism of people that buy inexpensive winches was I did not understand different needs. While your inexpensive winches may prove perfectly adequate for a group trip, it would not be good enough for ultimate survival, not one you MUST count on.

I am not putting down your choices. You will buy what you need. My attitude is totally based upon my own experience and also the known reputation of the Warn 8274 which has been used in the most demanding situations and competitions for years, and has the total respect of the pro’s. I simply see this as fact, not opinion.

So, to soften my comments, I say buy your winch and enjoy it. It is a wonderful addition to your kit. Buy the best one you can afford. But, by all means, have a winch of some kind.

Sparky

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Unread 11-27-2011, 09:43 AM   #2
jeepster93
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The trick to self recovery is...self.


The owner will put the importance of recovery in order. If it is not important- no winch. Only a bit- crap winch. Very- good equipment.

A lot of winches now-a-days are not much more than a fashion statement. Not gonna recover the vehicle it is mounted on from a good stuck.
I think there is a lot of that.
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Unread 11-27-2011, 09:46 AM   #3
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Amen!
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Unread 11-27-2011, 10:06 AM   #4
pakratt
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This is a good post. I do go out on my own as well and eventhough I am a survivial instructor I have not put much thought into my winch at all and was willing to put on an inexpensive as well....contrary to what I teach about equuipment. Thanks for posting the essay
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Unread 11-27-2011, 10:11 AM   #5
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These kind of posts are why I love this place so much!!!

That being said.... I agree with your statement of a winch being a SURVIVAL tool. I went with a warn 9.5 for my Cherokee. That winch is extremely over rated for my Cherokee. It could pull that jeep out of anything and it has without one small hiccup. My brother bought a cheaper winch, that I won't name, and he has had nothing but problems with it. There has been many a time I get a call in the wee hours of the morning in the dead of winter to go pull him and his RUBICON wrangler out of deep snow. Every time that happens he says he wishes he bought a better winch.

I also understand that everyone is on a budget and a crap winch is better than no winch, but if you can save for the good one and do it right the first time. That's always been my feelings on my jeep.
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Unread 11-27-2011, 10:23 AM   #6
jonzjeepyj
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I understand your winch choice is warn but there are also a lot of other tried
and tested brands out there. I did research and compared specs of many
different winches ranging from mid grade to extreme. I found one that was gear
driven, had the pull rating I needed and one that was affordable on my budget.
I chose an atlas winch. Not saying it's the best but it is a great winch. I had
an electro-magnetic cheepo winch and yes it did fail after only 2 years of use.

Great post !
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Unread 11-27-2011, 10:56 AM   #7
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Not trying to be a dick and not pimping any particular winch brand either. But If you are counting on any winch to assure your survival, you need to reassess your planning and preparation.
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Unread 11-27-2011, 11:08 AM   #8
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This was a nice informative and humble (also humbling) thread starter. Well done sparky! And as MLJeeper said, survival goes above and beyond rescuing the vehicle. Not to get off subject but I recently reevaluated my survival gear in the jeep and added half a dozen MRE entrees and added a surgical kit to my first aid kit. That and stepped up from a 5 shot .38 to a six shot .357 in the seat holster.

If the winch does fail, or the mount rips itself from from the frame, there needs to be some sort of backup plan. Most use other jeeps as they always ride in groups. It's a great plan and if it works, awesome. I carry my hi lift and about 150' of straps and chains just in case I need to employ it as a winch. Relying on batteries isn't good enough for me because I know with a push start, I can limp along without an alternator.
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Unread 11-27-2011, 11:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karma View Post
I feel a need to apologize for a number of my posts that have criticized folks who have bought inexpensive winches. I won’t go so far to say I was wrong. But, it has become clear to me that different folks have different winching needs. It’s this I want to talk about in this short essay.

So, to soften my comments, I say buy your winch and enjoy it. It is a wonderful addition to your kit. Buy the best one you can afford. But, by all means, have a winch of some kind.

Sparky
Actually, you have brought up a very good point. Everyones needs and situation is different.

I wheel alone also, and usually at night. Since a winch isn't gonna be in the budget for a very long time, I have my come-along with about 50 feet of surplus chain from the steel plants where I used to work. Yes I was responsible for inspecting the rigging and teaching OSHA safety.

More importantly tho, I avoid situations where getting stuck is even a thought. I also don't wheel in unfamiliar territory - I only go in places that I know as well as the back of my hand. I might have to hike out every now and then, but usually never more than 10 miles to civilization.

In my area the main hazards are freezing. So maybe in another thread it would be good to open some discussion about what is a good emergency kit for your type of wheeling terrain and weather. For the next 6 months I pack along food and cooking fuel, and some flares. Also a "space blanket" or 2, compass, knife or multi-tool, para-cord, maybe a tarp.
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Unread 11-27-2011, 11:50 AM   #10
superj
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I will never need a winch as a recovery tool because there is no off roaring available where I live. It's importance to me is for pulling others out of ditches (which happens often) and for pulling fence posts and trees put. If I had the optiOn to go out 4x4ing, I would go with another person and not put myself into a situation where survival depended on me getting out because not only do I have to worry about myself, I have two boys and a wife to feed at home and that is always the number one priority in my life.

Good thoughts on the thread so far though. The plan for a thread on what a person might need in in different conditions and areas is good also.
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Unread 11-27-2011, 01:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MLJeeper View Post
Not trying to be a dick and not pimping any particular winch brand either. But If you are counting on any winch to assure your survival, you need to reassess your planning and preparation.
I have to agree. I go 4x4ing and have a winch but usually I 4x4 in a place where there's nothing close enough to winch to. Unless I'm gonna carry 300 yards of cable, chances are there's nothing for me to winch to. That's why I mostly go 4x4ing with someone else. Plus it's much more fun to go with someone else.
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Unread 11-27-2011, 03:57 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 444 View Post
I have to agree. I go 4x4ing and have a winch but usually I 4x4 in a place where there's nothing close enough to winch to. Unless I'm gonna carry 300 yards of cable, chances are there's nothing for me to winch to. That's why I mostly go 4x4ing with someone else. Plus it's much more fun to go with someone else.
HI 444,
Well, I do carry a very long winch extender strap. And I also carry a Pull Pal which creates winch points where there are none.

As for going in a group being more fun, don't you think that is a matter of personal choice? I do enjoy groups and I do belong to a Jeep club. But being by myself is my preference. That gives me control over where and when I go. To do that safely, self-reliance is essential. That's why I have a great winch.

Sparky
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Unread 11-27-2011, 08:56 PM   #13
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I'm sorry but calling a winch a survival tool is not right nor is going out alone. Just 9 k outside of town not miles cell service is spotty so you can leave the cell phone and cb at home. Even 2m coverage is weak in the areas we wheel...an hour outside of town.
Now survival tools would more be a chainsaw and fuel, food and water for a couple of days and sleeping bag or blankets. We may only be just over an hour away from town but I know a guy that went in alone, broke and had to walk out or spend the night in the bush. Took him 14 hours to walk back to the mine in -15 temps (closest civilization to town) and another 3 waiting on someone to come and get them. With the weather and waiting on friends to get back to his rig it was just about a week before he got back to his rig to fix it and get it out, Needless to say he don't go out alone anymore.
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Unread 11-27-2011, 09:21 PM   #14
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If survival is the key, then why on earth would you venture out alone to places you may not survive without a winch?

BTW, not tech.
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Unread 11-27-2011, 09:28 PM   #15
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BTW, not tech.
Agreed.
That and the predictably ensuing P'ing match is why I never bothered replying myself until now.
If they can't see that everybody wheels in different circumstances, at different temperatures, in different parts of the country, and with different people, then I don't know what to say. I can however guarantee 110% that the winch could never be classed as "survival" equipment for where I go wheeling (private parks in the midwest).
Nice to have? sure.
Life or death for me? Nope, not once.
And there are PLENTY of other reputable choices in winches besides the W brand.

Martin
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