Feeling Stuck? Here are Some Off-Road Recovery Tools That Will Come In Handy
Both the Ford Bronco and the Bronco Sport have enjoyed a level of popularity that has to have exceeded even Ford’s own expectations. A good deal of both of these models’ cumulative success stems from their inspired designs and undeniably appealing aesthetics. After all, there’s no doubt that many Bronco buyers just want the cachet of a great, rugged- looking ride to impress onlookers while never intending to stray too far from the asphalt.
On the other hand, countless social media posts underscore the notion that there are plenty of Bronco buyers who either are seeking — or will be seeking — to take advantage of the considerable off-roading ability the Bronco and Bronco Sport offer. Sure, both of these vehicles are undeniably surefooted, but there’s almost nothing on four wheels that won’t be prone to getting stuck at some point in time.
Should you find yourself in that regrettable situation, here are some off-road recovery tools that will come in handy.
The poet Robert Browning once famously said that “a man’s reach should exceed his grasp”. We believe this observation exemplifies the spirit of off-roading. (We also believe, of course, that this applies to a woman’s grasp, as well). And during the course of that ever-expanding reach, you’re likely to find yourself with the need to extricate yourself from a “sticky” situation.
Being prepared, in the form of having the right tools at your disposal can make the difference between being stranded and being able to head for home as if nothing ever happened.
If enthusiastic off-roading is a part of your future plans, you’ll want to seriously consider the addition of a winch. Mounted on a sturdy front bumper, a quality, well-chosen winch can be indispensable in getting you home safely. Plus, they it flat out looks very cool while conveying to onlookers that your ride is ready for action.
When choosing a winch, not surprisingly, the weight of the vehicle it will be entrusted to pull out of harm’s way has to be factored in. Ideally, you’ll want a winch that can handle double the weight of your vehicle. Since the sixth generation Bronco has a weight of between 4300 to 4900lbs, a capacity of 10,000lbs would be a good figure to aim for. Considering the Bronco Sport’s lower weight, an 8,000lb. capacity should do the trick.
As you can imagine, with that much pulling force potentially being exerted, you will want to make sure that the winch you choose is a good match for the front bumper it will be perched upon. While the sixth generation Bronco is an undeniably sturdy vehicle, most winches will require the addition of a modular front bumper in order to properly accommodate them. The Black Diamond, Badlands and First Edition Broncos all wear this component as standard equipment, so if you’re lucky enough to have one of these parked in your garage — or have future plans to do so — you’re one step ahead of the game.
And if you plan on biding your time long enough to take delivery of a 2022 Bronco in its Everglades configuration, which should be available sometime during the summer of next year, you won’t have to worry about fitment at all — Ford has already announced that the Everglades will be equipped with both a winch and a snorkel upon its arrival.
There’s no doubt that large, appropriately treaded off-road tires can make a world of difference in your Bronco’s surefootedness, but they won’t render you immune from getting stuck in some conditions. Should that occur, it’s not really a solid plan to expect that a fellow motorist will soon happen by to help you out of a jam. You may well be navigating sparsely travelled territory or find yourself on a path that’s just too narrow for another vehicle to get itself into position to come to your aid.
Even if you’re travelling on a nice, wide road and there are plenty of fellow off-roaders within easy reach, attempting to have another vehicle extricate yours from a jam by simply tying off bumper to bumper with a tow strap isn’t really the best way to go. That fellow motorist may be skilled behind the wheel, but this is still a relatively uncontrolled method of recovery. Variations in footing can cause a lot of jerking on that tow strap, which in turn can lead to putting one — or both — vehicles in an increasingly bad situation.
By contrast, a winch under the control of an experienced off-roader yields a slow, controlled pulling motion that’s much safer for both the vehicle and the driver involved.
In the spirit of full disclosure, most aftermarket winches are likely to diminish the abilities of the Bronco’s front camera system to an extent.
Recovery Gear Kit
As we’ve noted, the more you intend to challenge and expand your off-roading skills, the more likely it will be that you eventually find yourself needing to be extricated from a sticky situation, most likely in the form of ultra-deep mud or a deceptively steep lateral incline.
It’s always good to be prepared. Our Rugged Ridge XHD Recovery Gear Kit includes a number of components that will help get you out of a jam and back on your way, including a 30,000lb capacity snatch block pulley, a heavy-duty recovery strap, a tree trunk protector to mitigate any damage to any tree trunks that might serve as anchors for your recovery efforts, a pair of zinc-coated D-rings, and even a pair of leather recovery gloves.
For such a deceptively simple apparatus, recovery boards sure offer a lot of utility. They feature no moving parts at all, are fairly lightweight and easy to carry and yet they’ll often be the first thing you reach for when you find yourself on unforgiving terrain. Set them down on rock, snow or mud and they’ll dramatically improve the traction at your disposal and even keep your Bronco from miring itself deeper into the latter two elements.
Armed with prominent aggressive cleats to ensure the best possible grip, Ford Racing Off-Road Recovery Boards are strong, yet resilient — they’re also flexible enough to conform to uneven terrain. Featuring three pairs of large handholds along their sides, you’ll find them easy to place in just the right position to help get you back on the road as quickly as possible.
Many times, the first step in a recovery effort amounts to digging ourselves out from excessive mud or snow. So, a shovel can really come in handy. Nearly all of us have one standing by in our backyard tool shed, but they’re generally pretty sizable and will take up a lot of valuable space in the back of your Bronco. They also almost always feature a smooth, non-serrated front edge that may work fine in the garden but isn’t optimal for the conditions you’ll often find yourself in while off-roading.
The Rugged Ridge Tri Fold Recovery Shovel collapses to just 9”, so it isn’t going to displace any valuable items you’d otherwise be taking along on your adventures. When called into action, it unfolds to a 23” length and features two serrated edges, so it’ll come in handy not only for digging, but for cutting away a random tree root or the like. Also, because it’s powder coated, it’s largely impervious to corrosion and will be around a long time.
Tire Repair Kit
Because your Bronco is probably riding on a set of beefy tires that are specifically configured for rough terrain, a flat tire may not reach the top of your list of concerns, but it can happen. And when it does, without having the right tools at your disposal, marshy and uneven terrain can make dealing with it particularly problematic.
The ARB Speedy Seal Series II Tire Repair Kit is an all-in-one solution for such an emergency. Inside the confines of its compact carrying case, you’ll find everything you need to remedy that afflicted tire, including repair cords, an insertion needle, spare valve stems and caps, lubricant and a pair of high-quality pliers. It’ll spare you the substantial inconvenience of having to remove the tire from your Bronco and separate it from its wheel and, with the included tire gauge, you can even check your pressure once you’ve made the fix.