Based in Las Vegas, there's a new company called Tactical Recovery Equipment that is focused solely on high quality and the safe recovery of our Jeeps.
What caught my ear when I spoke with the owner, Ricky Garza, was that their products are American made... no cheap imports. I'm all about using American product whenever I can so I jumped at the chance to try some of their gear out.
This is what showed up several days later and the hawse design popped out at me, it's unique and, well, you'll see what it does in the last photo. Orange rope looks cool with my black TJ and it's highly visible during recovery operations so that's what I went with again... TRE has pretty much any color synthetic winch line you want.
Getting it ready, my old fairlead will be replaced by TRE's new hawse.
TRE's hardware is first-class, there's a big difference between it and the cheap imported stuff that is commonly provided.
For those who haven't yet installed a new rope, I'm on my 5th or 6th, that little allen-head screw and line holder I'm installing here only holds the rope enough so you can start winding it on... it doesn't actually have any load on it when you're winching.
Next, the rope tail is duct-taped down and using the motor to carefully wind the rope in, you place the first layer of line down evenly over the drum. That first layer is what holds the line and isolates the load from where the rope is attached to the side of the drum.
Make sure the new rope is wound on so it comes off the bottom of the drum.
Something interesting about winch line is how little safety margin the typical 5/16" wire rope that comes with most winches really has. The breaking strength of 5/16" galvanized wire rope is between 9,200 and 9,800 lbs.
Contrast that with 3/8" synthetic line that typically has just over a 19,000 lb. breaking strength.
So now that the new line has its first layer on the drum, about 10 wraps, it's time to wind it on under load. I usually connect to a friend's Jeep to serve as an anchor point.
It's important the new winch line be wound in under sufficient load to prevent the line from being pulled down through the layers during a hard pull which can damage it. After shifting the transmission into Neutral, I pull the parking brake handle up several clicks to give a substantial load and start winching my Jeep towards the anchor point. Somewhere close to 500 lbs. of load is good.
Guiding the rope in is not a time to be chatting with your buddies, stay focused here since this can be dangerous if you're inattentive... wear gloves and guide the rope in so the winds are next to each other.
Know where the end of the rope is, the TRE rope comes with a black chafe protector so you can tell when you're getting near the end.
Finished with the winch line and hawse installation. What surprised me is how much I like the hawse design that has a built-in holder for the Safety Thimble. I wasn't sure I liked it at first but it positions the Safety Thimble on top and out of the way when not in use. Plus having come from a roller fairlead, I needed to use a 3/4" shackle to secure the Safety Thimble to the recovery point. TRE's design eliminates that extra step and the shackle. It was hard for me to abandon my trusty roller fairlead but TRE's unique hawse design convinced me it was time to make the switch.
Something else that is new from TRE is the below "Soft Shackle".
I was scratching my head on how it would be used until I chatted with Blaine Johnson and Ricky about it. For example, imagine your Jeep has flopped on its side and you need a quick way to attach the winch line to the roll cage.
As soon as it was connected as described, its utility and usefulness immediately became apparent.
That red nylon line protruding out is pulled to enlarge the loop so it can be pulled from around that 'Monkey's Fist' knot. I dunno if that's the correct name for that knot but until I get corrected, that's my name for it.
Anyway, TRE's Soft Shackle is a cool product I didn't know I needed until I saw it and tried it out. Sometimes the simplest things have the most utility.
The bottom line is I'm impressed with what I've seen from Tactical Recovery Equipment, they're not just a retailer that sells other people's stuff. They came up with these designs and more cool stuff is on the way.
I sure like what I see... it's hard to come up with new Jeep recovery ideas but TRE is doing it.
I also want to thank Ricky and TRE for their very generous donations made to Operation Desert Fun, a recent annual charitable fundraiser event for disabled US military veterans. That's where I installed these products and the disabled US military vets in attendance were most grateful for the donations.