Off-Roading: Kinetic vs Static Tow Straps
When going off-roading, you need to make sure to pack the essentials for travel based on where you are going and how long you want to be out. Different types of off-roading require different tools, but there are some that are absolute must-haves when doing anything like this. Generally, these are pretty straightforward things, like first-aid kits, extra water, and in case you end up stuck in deep mud or unable to move your vehicle as a result of something limiting its use, tow straps. Useful in both road vehicles and all-terrain vehicles, tow straps make working through tough situations more manageable.
When the new Bronco debuted, it signaled Ford was moving into the off-road market more than ever before, even when the Raptor had debuted many years prior. Built for off-road use, the Bronco is a short wheelbase, high-seated, and rugged SUV that has already proved its capabilities both on and off-pavement. Even then, ensuring you have the necessary supplies in case you begin having issues out in the woods or on a trail is always worthwhile. However, when it comes to these parts, they are not all created equal. When concerning tow straps and tow cables, using the proper style between kinetic and static can make a huge difference at that moment.
Static Tow Straps
One of the two types of tow straps that you will encounter when off-roading is the static tow strap. These are generally more designed for pulling a non-moving vehicle over rougher terrain. Static tow straps can be used when out on more difficult trails or rock crawling. For experienced drivers, a static tow strap means that a vehicle is completely dead on the path and needs to be moved through another vehicle’s power entirely. A static tow strap is one of the few things that off-roaders never want to have to use when they are out simply because it means that their vehicle is not drivable anymore and it is stuck.
In some cases, this is an ideal tool to use. Static tow straps are designed so the tow vehicle does not need a running start to be pulled from where it sits. In these situations, a vehicle can be pulled in a much tighter location since the tow vehicle does not need a run-up distance before pulling. This means that a stuck vehicle is most likely behind or stuck on an object such as large rocks or large tree roots which means they can be moved without additional resistance outside of the obstacles. Pulling a vehicle that is hooked to static tow straps requires torque over anything else since it should be done from a dead stop.
Kinetic Tow Straps/Ropes
Unlike static tow straps, kinetic tow straps trap energy inside them and make towing through terrain simpler. These are usually more flexible and stretch more than static tow straps. Usually in the form of a rope such as the Rugged Ridge 7/8 Inch x 30 Foot Kinetic Recovery Rope, these tow straps, and tow ropes are designed to retain kinetic energy in order to use the pulling of a vehicle to boost the rope’s strength. These are extremely useful when off-roading in mud, tough terrain, or on other loose surfaces such as sand or snow.
Using a kinetic strap or even kinetic rope is a smart idea when driving through thick mud, loose sand, snow, or even vines and dense brush. By retaining the kinetic energy from a vehicle beginning to pull and using it as a compression when pulling another vehicle, it can use both the towing strength and the energy in the strap to pull harder through the terrain. Kinetic straps have a lower torque requirement for use in addition to giving the recovery vehicle a running start to aid in pulling without getting stuck. The kinetic energy stored in these straps pulls a vehicle with these two forces when connected properly to the vehicle being towed to make their use even easier than ever before.
While a static strap is useful when pulling a vehicle over objects, kinetic straps are designed for use when pulling through harsh terrain that many off-roaders traverse. Both are absolutely necessary tools when in the wilderness with your truck or SUV and are intended for completely different uses. Do not overwork the straps you choose, but make sure not to get ones that outperform your needs as well. In addition to these straps, there are other important tools to carry with you when off-roading that when used in conjunction with them. Proper mounting hardware on these vehicles is incredibly important in order to use either of these types of tow straps to safely pull your vehicle. In addition to tow straps, it is a good idea to bring additional lighting systems in case it gets too dark out while moving a vehicle, as well as any hand tools that could be useful if things get hairy. When using a recovery strap of any type, an additional piece of gear to carry is some type of covering for the rope in order to dampen the impact if the strap happens to break. This will help the rope be recovered again more easily as well as will lower the chances of injuries if someone is near the rear of the rope.
Doing either of these types of rescues does require practice and you should not go into them without proper training. These tools, while useful, can very easily become dangerous when used properly and can break, sending projectiles out from themselves. If a strap is not hooked properly, it can be flung outwards from the built-up kinetic energy inside it. Along with this, these straps can fail if used in the wrong scenario. Using a kinetic rope when you should use a static strap can result in not properly being able to pull a vehicle from an object. Vice versa, using a static strap when a kinetic should be used will generally result in not being able to pull as well as otherwise and can even make the tow vehicle struggle too.
The Most Important Part Of Off-Roading
With off-road driving, there is no "better than" or "worse than" regarding which style of tow cables you should have. You should have both at the ready when taking a vehicle off-road to ensure safety. As important as the proper safety equipment is, the goal is still enjoying your vehicle as well as time off-roading either by yourself or with others. We know that you are proud of your vehicle and want to enjoy it as you have intended for it. Keep both static and kinetic straps available when going off-road as a precautionary fixture and you will not be without a way out of a sticky situation if you use them properly. This way, you can ensure that you have the proper safety gear for yourself and your vehicle, and will be able to use your vehicle the way you intend to for longer.