Team O’Neil Walks Through the Basics of Winching

Learn the ins and outs of a simple winch pull.

With a very simple winch recovery, Team O’Neil goes over some very important lessons.Team O’Neil

A decent winch is a literal lifeline for off-roaders of any ilk. A winch will help you get up and over a tough obstacle safely and has the potential to pull you free from a situation that would otherwise be hopeless. Their power also allows you to go for lines you might otherwise avoid. You get in trouble, you hook up the winch, job done

Angle, slack, and letting the winch work its magic are key.Team O’Neil

The catch is, winching safely takes care, skill, and practice. And using a winch improperly or carelessly can easily land you in more trouble than if you had just left the thing spooled. Fortunately, the pros at Team O’Neil Rally School teach a class on winching basics, and were kind enough to film it and stick it on YouTube.

This clip shows a very simple simulated winch recovery, but it goes over some very important basics. From rope angle to hand-signal communication to getting slack out of the winch line, every little lesson is worth writing down.

But the biggest lesson is slightly counterintuitive: It’s often safer to keep tension on the winch even when you get to a point where the vehicle should be able to drive itself out. As the video explains, if the rig slips with slack in the line, sudden tension will send literal tons of shock force through the line and the winch. That can easily result in a snapped winch line—or worse.

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