recovery and tools



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The biggest item of recovery equipment has to be the winch. The choices are vehicle mounted electric or hydraulic or an independent hand winch. Either version of the vehicle mounted winches gives you effortless and quick assistance, so long as the pull is in front of the car and the engine is still running.

The hand winch takes longer to set up and to do the work and you have to do all there work, not going to fun in African heat. The major advantages are it can pull in any direction, even righting a rolled vehicle, pulling trees out of the way and engine does not need to be operational (flooded in the middle of a river...). It is also cheaper and lighter. Due to the limited angle of pull of the vehicle mounted winches it is recommended that a hand winch is also carried.

We are going with just a hand winch. Having looked at other peoples previous experiences of the same trip many have gone with the same with no major problems, other than needing patience and a bit of elbow grease.

Along with the winch there will be swing away blocks, chains and shackles etc. etc.

ground anchor

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A ground anchor is used when there is no useful item to attach the winch line to when you get stuck. These can come in many forms from proper boat anchors, expensive and odd shapes but effective, even in sand, to a row of spikes linked together by thin line, this will stow well but is useless in sand.

When a ground anchor is needed in the desert, the most effective thing could well be a buried spare wheel.

sand ladders

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Some would argue the most useful piece of recovery equipment you can carry, certainly in sandy conditions. Here the options are steel or aluminium pressed steel plate (PSP), sand ladders, aluminium or fibre glass bridging ladders and flexible mats.

We were originally going to take Brown Church's sand ladders, cheap and light, but after finding out about fiberglass bridging ladders we will be taking them. Bridging ladders can be used distribute weight, like the rest, and can be used to 'bridge' small gaps like fallen tree trunks gullies etc. They should be much more useful all round.


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This one is a no brainer, the Hi-Lift farmers jack. This will be mounted on the front bumper, the number plate is going up on the roof rack. The mechanicals and base will be removed and stored inside, away from dust and mud. A Hi-Lift lift mate


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We will be taking various strops, tree straps, tow ropes and maybe a kinetic rope.


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We found a pair of ex army shovels for £10 each. They are really quite old judging by the stamps so we will have to see how long they last...

We shall also have various cutting devices, such as band saw, machete, hatchet, for fire wood and clearing the way etc.


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The tool kit shall hopefully be extensive enough to fix any problems we have but also small that it does not take over the whole of the car. It is a case of picking things up as we go along, and maybe a big shop to get all the other bits.

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