Now that I have had a chance to get out in the snow, I have a new respect for having the right tools at the right time. For anyone that is building their first Jeep, let me be the first to tell you that you should always be well prepared (...and then some) for the worst on the trail. This is going to mean that recovery should be an important part of your game plan.
I learned this the hard way as I got caught trying to help someone in deep snow with flip flops, no gloves and a steel winch cable. This is not the way you want to find out how fun it is working with a 3/8" steel cable in freezing conditions and no gloves. It taught me to be prepared from now on.
First, make sure you have good quality recovery tools (winch, gloves, shackles, snatch block, good recovery points, etc...). It only took me 1 recovery to appreciate the value of good components.
I made sure that I have a good assortment of tree straps, tow straps, shackles and decided I was going to replace my steel cable with a modern synthetic line.
The steel cable is difficult to work with, requires gloves, heavy, extremely dangerous because they stretch (which stores a lot of energy that is capable of severe damage) and a total nightmare to spool. I highly recommend that you think about upgrading if you are using steel. At first, it seemed like a lot of $$ but one encounter with kinked cable, damaged strands or a crossover snap will make you apprectate the value of a good quality synthetic line.
Ok, on to the upgrade. Sorry for all the dirt, I just got back from the desert and dont have time to clean it up. I de-spooled the cable to get ready to install the new AmSteelBlue line. I went with 125 ft. of 3/8" line rated at 19,600 lbs from Winchline.
You will want to install the new line as shown below (with the cross loop taped across the drum).
I loaded the new line with moderate tension (dragged a volkswagen bug with the e-brake on lightly) so I have a nice tight roll. This will ensure that the next time I need it, it will not be such a bear to work with. This stuff is light weight, extremely strong and even floats if you are working around water.
...and here ya go, all done! Now, I have 25% more length, 2x the strength and just dropped over 30 lbs off the front end. I already have a fiberglass bumper so my front end is as light as I can get it.
Here is a pic all cleaned up...