Getting stuck in the mud, snow, or sand is usually no fun. Whether from adverse driving conditions or just part of a fun weekend adventure, when the tires are spinning but you are going nowhere, the fun times tend to drop off pretty fast. Nobody enjoys digging a car out of the mud, which is why serious off road vehicles have a winch mounted on the front and the rear. For most of us, getting stuck is not a regular occurrence and usually not part of fun activities.
Regardless of the why and the how, let’s just say you are stuck and need some help. There are tons of recovery products on the market, including straps, ropes, chains and cables. The problem with most of these is that they are all static, meaning there is little to no stretch to the material. This can cause serious issues in the event that the line breaks. When a rope or chain snaps, the energy in the material is released, sending the two section whipping through the air. A rope can cause serious injury, a chain or cable can easily kill bystanders or even the driver.
Kinetic rope, such as the DitchPig® works differently to get your vehicle unstuck. By stretching up to 30% of its original length, the rope stores up this potential kinetic energy until it reaches maximum stretch, at which point the rope transfers the stored energy into the stuck vehicle, breaking it free. Because DitchPig® is kinetic, you can put more energy into the stuck vehicle than you can with a static rope.
When working with a static rope, the pull vehicle has to pull the rope tight and only then can it try to pull the vehicle out. A running start can easily cause a static rope to snap. While any recovery rope can break, the added strain on a static rope practically guarantees that it will break or damage one or both vehicles involved in the recovery. DitchPig® recovery rope is different. Through the nylon materials and double braid construction, the rope becomes a dynamic recovery, meaning the pull vehicle can take a running start without the risks involved with a static rope. The double braid features an inner core and an outer cover, both woven in the diamond braid manner, which yields the most stretch, strength, and durability characteristics. The cover protects the inner core while also carrying some of the load of recovery actions.
While nylon is durable, you don’t want to leave it submerged in water for long periods of time, as this can reduce its strength. Just rinse the rope thoroughly after use and store it back in the mesh net bag to dry. The rope should be kept as clean and dry as possible. Additionally, certain chemicals such as acid, paints, and linseed oil attack nylon, so keep it away from those chemicals (but it is resistant to oil and gas). Nylon does not lose strength in the cold or high heat, so it is perfect for winter and summer vehicular activities.
While not its ideal use, in an emergency DitchPig® can also be used for towing, making it more versatile than static rope. The only use of static rope is towing, not recovery. DitchPig® also uses looped ends instead of hooks. This gives the user positive retention of the rope through clevis ends, as opposed to hooks (hooks can become projectiles in the event of a line breaking).
Using a recovery rope comes with some risk, as all recovery tools can break. The key to making DitchPig® the safest option is how it stretches, up to 30% of its length. A normal recovery rarely uses that much stretch length before success. Whenever performing a recovery, any bystanders should stay a minimum of 50 feet from the vehicles. It is also a good idea to place a line damper, floor mat, or even blanket on the line to absorb any energy release should a break occur.
Safety should always be the main concern for recovery, as such, the mounting point for the DitchPig® should always be in-line for both vehicles (don’t set the rope at an angle), and never use a hitch or tow ball as an attachment point. This could allow the rope to detach, and that would be bad. Clevis links are the best option for attachment.
The recovery process is different from using static rope. The best method for pulling a stuck vehicle with DitchPig® rope is to get a short running quickly build energy in the rope and maintain that energy until the vehicle comes free. If the stuck vehicle does not come free the first time, then reset the pull vehicle, wait 5 minutes for the rope to recover and try again. Yes, the rope needs to fully recover from the attempt. This is part of using a kinetic rope. If you’re really having trouble, try turning the wheels left and right as the recovery is starting to momentarily break some of the suction from the mud, sand, or snow.
Once the stuck vehicle is free, detach the rope and inspect it. Look for tears, frayed edges, or any other damage. DitchPig® ropes are very durable, but it is always a good idea to have a look before putting it away for the next use.
DitchPig® Kinetic Energy Recovery Rope Product Guide
|Part Number||Diameter||Length||Working Load in Lbs.||Common Uses|
|BK 7704180||1/2-inch||20 feet||7,300 lbs MBP (SWL 1,460 lbs High Or 608 Low)||ATVs, UTVs, and Snowmobiles|
|BK 7704181||3/4-inch||20 feet||16,000 lbs MBP (SWL 3,200 lbs High Or 1,333 Low)||Small SUVs and Jeeps|
|BK 7704182||7/8-inch||20 feet||24,700 lbs MBP (SWL 4,940 lbs High Or 2,058 Low)||Pickup Trucks|
|BK 7704183||7/8-inch||30 feet||24,700 lbs MBP (SWL 4,940 lbs High Or 4,940 Low)||Pickup Trucks|
|BK 7704184||1-1/4-inch||30 feet||44,200 lbs MBP (SWL 8,840 lbs High Or 3,683 Low)||Large Pickup Trucks|
|BK 7704185||1-1/2-inch||30 feet||64,300 lbs MBP (SWL 12,860 lbs High Or 5,358 Low)||Large Trucks|
|BK 7704186||2-inch||30 feet||111,000 lbs MBP (SWL 22,200 lbs High Or 9,250 Low)||Big Rig and Transport Trucks|
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A life-long gearhead, Jefferson Bryant spends more time in the shop than anywhere else. His career began in the car audio industry as a shop manager, eventually working his way into a position at Rockford Fosgate as a product designer. In 2003, he began writing tech articles for magazines, and has been working as an automotive journalist ever since. His work has been featured in Car Craft, Hot Rod, Rod & Custom, Truckin’, Mopar Muscle, and many more. Jefferson has also written 4 books and produced countless videos. Jefferson operates Red Dirt Rodz, his personal garage studio, where all of his magazine articles and tech videos are produced.