Have you ever pondered the difference between snatch strap and tow ropes? Taking your Jeep anywhere sometimes means getting stuck in the middle of nowhere. Hopefully you know how to use a recovery strap in situations like these. And hopefully there are other Jeeps around to help out. But before you attach a vehicle recovery strap or tow rope, we're here to explain the different attributes of each. This way, you can use the proper tool for the situation.

The Tow Rope/Strap

A traditional tow strap (or rope - it can be either) is a piece of recovery gear that’s made to help pull another vehicle, usually when the other vehicle is stuck in some manner, and needs to be moved or released from it’s resting place. The stuck Jeep could be in a mud bog, water, loose sand, or snow and ice. In which case, you just want to attach a strap to both vehicles, your Jeep and the stuck Jeep, and pull it loose. The thing about a traditional tow strap is you have to be careful, because there is very little, if any, “give” to the strap itself. Meaning, you want to take the slack out of the strap slow and carefully. Move your Jeep slow, in low gear, with the 4WD engaged, and carefully pull the tow strap taught - with no slack - and then make your pull. The last thing you want to do is mash down on the throttle chance ripping off a bumper or attachment point, or worse, bending a Jeep frame. It can also be dangerous. The jolt to your body isn’t that much fun either. Tow straps have very little in the way of forgiveness. If the other Jeep is barely stuck, and just needs a ‘roll out’ to get unstuck, then a common Tow Strap can do it with no problem. Popular Tow Straps and Ropes are:

Recovery Rope (AKA “Snatch Straps/or Ropes”)

Recovery Ropes (sometimes referred to as “Kinetic” ropes) are a whole different matter. They have more “elasticity” to them. Meaning, they can stretch, which is an important factor, and then snap back to their original length. If you need to yank a Jeep out of some malicious mud that just won’t let it go, then a “Snatch Strap” is what you want to use. With a Snatch Rope, you can get rowdy and do some serious yanking, and the strap will stretch, absorbing the “shock” from the pull (analogy? Like a rubber band). It’s easier on your Jeep’s attachment points (bumper, tow hook, frame, etc.), not to mention your back and neck. It’s also safer. Popular Snatch Ropes and Strap Brands  are:

Remember the Basics

  • If you’re doing a slow pull or tow on the stuck vehicle, with little effort, a tow strap is fine.
  • If you need to “yank” the stuck vehicle free with a lot of brute force, sometimes doing several attempts to break it free, you need to use a Snatch Rope / Strap.
  • Tow Ropes and Snatch Ropes are rated by Break Strength. So make sure you have an idea of what you might be towing or snatching as far as the weight of the vehicles. For instance, pulling a light weight Jeep CJ is one thing, pulling a 7,000 lb Chevy lifted truck is a whole different scenario. Also, recovering a vehicle from a deep mud pit can take much more force than simply pulling a Jeep Wrangler off a small boulder.
  • Nearly all winch manufacturers recommend NOT using a snatch top/strap in conjunction with a winch.
The short video below is a perfect example of how dangerous pulling another vehicle out of a spot can be. Take extra care when using recovery gear, as well as where you are standing in relation to the vehicles.
Nobody wants to get stuck. And no one ever wants to get hit in the head with a bumper. Even if you rarely get stuck yourself, chances are, your friends might get stuck often. So be ready with a Tow Strap or a Snatch Strap and save the day.
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