Regardless of how capable your 4X4 rig may be, the risk of getting stuck always remains. If you live in an area that experiences any snowfall, then you should be prepared with the accessories and mods that your rig needs. Besides winter tires and chains, there are plenty of other things that you can consider adding to your set up so that you can be prepared for whatever winter throws at you.
Matt from CJ Off-Road’s YouTube team walks us through his picks for the top 5 mods for snowy conditions. These are great places to start equipping your 4X4 rig for the snow. These accessories range from portable items you can throw in your trunk to mods that require installation and are permanently affixed to your vehicle.
One of the key ways to keep your vehicle safe in the snow is by giving it a tow mount. Most places on your vehicle aren’t equipped to handle its entire weight. While you might think that you can just tie a rope to any old part of your rig, that will likely make your situation even worse. That all being said, there are easy and quick ways to give your 4X4 rig an easy-to-access and reliable tow point.
This D ring shackle fits right into most receiver hitches and can give you a solid tow mount in a matter of moments. This particular D ring shackle assembly is rated for up to 9,500 lbs, which is well above the weight of most vehicles.
Once there is a satisfactory recovery point on your rig, then you need a proper way to recover. One of the go-to methods for self-recovery is a winch. You’ve likely seen these mounted on the fronts of trucks and other off-roading rigs before, and that’s because they are an indispensable part of vehicle self-recovery.
There are a variety of winches you could choose, and that mostly depends on the size of the rig you are running. It’s recommended that you get a winch weight rating that’s approximately two and a half times the vehicle’s weight rating. To properly install a winch, you’ll need a bumper that can support it.
Another great part of a self-recovery set up is a snatch block. This device is basically a pulley made to help you recover your vehicle from difficult angles and to double your winch’s pulling power. A snatch block can also be a useful asset for partnered recovery as well.
The winch itself is just a single part of the necessary winching setup. The winch’s line, gloves, a line dampener, and a flat link are other key components of properly performing a winch recovery on either your own vehicle or someone else’s.
A shovel is an important snow recovery tool and just a generally important tool all around. This particular tri-fold shovel can serve many functions in the recovery process, from digging out a stuck wheel to helping cut an impeding branch.
This is in many ways the Swiss Army knife of off-road recovery tools. There are so many ways that this shovel can be of great assistance for you when you are stuck out in the snow. The serrated edge also allows the shovel to be used as an impromptu saw as well.
Keep in mind that any old shovel won’t quite do. The foldable design makes it take up less space on your 4X4 rig than a standard shovel would. Additionally, the blade is made to be able to more easily cut into hard winter ground.
At the end of the day, these shovels don’t have to be used as recovery aids alone. They can be used for a variety of other uses like maintaining off-road trails and digging fire pits. A portable shovel is an all-around useful tool to have on your rig, regardless of the season.
Tree Straps and Rope
A winch can only do so much on its own. To properly recover your 4X4 by yourself, it’s necessary that you have a reliable way to mount your winch. This is where tree straps come into play. These durable straps can be easily attached to a tree and withstand more than enough weight to help you recover your vehicle. The SmittyBilt recovery tree strap that Matt mentions in the video can handle 40,000 lbs itself.
While you could jerry-rig a way to recover your own vehicle without a tree strap, your winch line will likely do a ton of damage to the tree you are pulling on. This isn’t good for the tree, and it could potentially be dangerous for you as well. Trees may seem tough, but the weight of your vehicle concentrated onto the thin winch line can really dig deep into them. Even when it’s snowy outside, it’s still important to leave no trace.
There are a few more things to keep in mind. For one, a taut winch line is liable to snap, so a line dampener is another critical piece of safety equipment for vehicle recovery (regardless of if you’re alone or not). Similarly, a
kinetic recovery rope is a great piece of equipment for partnered recovery.
These strong ropes can withstand plenty of weight and are able to help one
vehicle pull another out of a tricky situation.
Traction ramps are another indispensable off-road recovery tool that is especially useful in the snow. Simply put, these are plastic tracks that allow your vehicle to get traction on an otherwise tractionless surface. There are many different designs for traction ramps, and one of the benefits of this particular Smittybilt element traction ramp is their portability. They are stackable, lightweight, and durable, and can easily be added to any off-roading rig that might have to deal with snow.
Using these traction ramps is a simple process! After digging out the snow around the wheels, all you need to do to free your vehicle is insert the traction ramps at an angle and pull out with the vehicle in low gear. These ramps are useful for both snow, sand, and mud, so they are great to have on your rig all year long.
These are some of our top picks for snow mods for your 4X4 rig. There are plenty of other useful tools and mods that didn’t make this list as well. For example, a land anchor can give you something to winch against if there are no trees around. Additionally, a tire repair kit can help you patch a punctured tire up on the go.
Getting stuck in the snow can be more than just an inconvenience, it can pose serious danger. If you want to keep both you and your rig safe, then the above snow recovery tools are an necessary asset.