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How many of you have winches? Essential for that one time you need it? Or used all the time?


Mar 14, 2016
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So I’ve got a front bumper with a winch tray.

But on all the trips I’ve done so far have only seen a winch used a twice, and both times it saved the day.

So I see the point, but I feel like since I’m not into anything dangerous, it makes sense to have a winch for that one day when you need it, but not to “over invest” in something that would be needed to pull a three ton truck out of a bog (I’d drive around if i knew it was there!). And maybe get a Goldilocks winch (just right) for the one time it is needed.

What are your thoughts?
What do ppl recommend / suggest for overlanding?
And yes, it would also mean doing some kind of training/course too.
Depends on where you plan on going, iVe got one, never used it in Libya & Egypt ( desert), but put it to good use in russia many times
If you have a winch bumper, as I am aware, you are required to install a winch as this is proof of why you would need one. You need to show that the intention is not to protect the external surface of the vehicle in the event of a collision. You should ask your insurance company
A steel bumper is illegal but a utility bumper is not , hence it must have a purpose that can be demonstrated . Not necessarily a winch if it could be explained as a necessity to hooking up a snow plow , or even i suppose just to fit a front tow hitch . Anything that can reasonably be explained as a necessity makes it a legal utility bumper .
I too was thinking on the same. Not that I would do it now but most of my time goes around thinking about LandCruiser (Seriously when did something take somuch of our brain space- First teenage crush?) It feels useful and a peace of mind thing but the Landcruiser payload is around 650kgs so this with bumper will take up 100kgs?
Also, I was thinking if the capacity is 650kgs should we consider adding only 500kgs to get the optimum performance or can we go to max 650?
When I fitted out the front end of my 100 I included a winch in the build. Synthetic rope, clockable clutch, remote and cable control and 12.5klbs for sub £500. Used once on a pnp site and once whilst touring Ireland.

It adds weight and affects fuel economy but its price of mind for my future trip plans.

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The best 'just in case' winch imo is a hand winch. Pulls in any direction. Takes more effort to deploy and use, so you avoid it if at all possible! Things have improved a bit in recent years but the problem I've seen many times with an electric winch is corroded internals, failed solenoids etc, and not working when you really need them. Not saying I wouldn't have an electric winch (I have one!) but my hand winches have saved the day more times than electrics.
I've got a winch, done nearly 75,000 km's of expedition travel in Africa and North America and never used it. I would always have one thought - just in case...

I agree with Jon about electric winches. Test them often. I also take off my winch when not on an expedition and store it somewhere dry so its not sat in salty wet conditions for years slowly corroding away.
my superwinch has been used on the building site of my house a few times.
it worked hard on our latest desert trip in Tunisia. Several times a day. Golden rule in the sand : air down, if that doesn't help: air down some more!
Chris is sadly no longer with us to clarify but i think he nailed this question by putting a winch on a receiver hitch plate so it could be used to pull you forwards or backwards or neither because its boxed warm and dry in the boot .
Trips on our agenda over the next few years are more southern Europe, until our two boys are old enough to do Iceland, and then that.
After that, hopefully more further east in Europe, or an African trip.
The front winch on my old KZJ70 was used a lot….to recover other people. I also had a rear winch for self recovery, never had to use it and went some pretty extreme places . I have a factory winch on the 78 and will fit a rear one even though I will do nothing close to as extreme as my 70 saw.

I also carry two big ratchet straps… an emergency way to recover from nearly anything, in any direction
I have winches fitted to all my 4x4's
I have only ever used them to recover other people and have never needed them for self recovery.
The worst recovery I ever had to perform was in the Okavango Delta recovering a Prado that had ingested water and got hydraulic lock in over 1,2 mtr deep water, we had to dive under the car to attach the winch rope in croc infested water. The vehicle owner was travelling alone and ended sleeping the night on top of his roof rack in the croc and mosquito infested water before we came along on the following day.
BTW All three vehicles in our contingent crossed the same water successfully without getting stuck.
Oh Yes I found out later that the insurance company had to write off the Prado as the water damage was too extensive.

In one recovery I did of another vehicle [Land Cruiser 105] on "The Hunters Road" in Botswana in the wet season, that is notorious for its deep black cotton clay mud traps.
As I was winching the vehicle out a 1mtr high wall of cotton clay mud built up at the rear of the cruiser, resulting in the 12000lb winch also pulling over a cubic mtr of Africa with it. Then the inevitable happened - the winch drum snapped in two, shorting the winch cables against the chassis that almost resulted in my vehicle burning out - almost a good Samaritan complete fail.
We then dug away the mud and recovered the remainder of the way with a snatch strap

Yes I have used the winches on numerous occasions, but like I said, to only recover other people that didnt have winches.

12000lb Warn winch with Plasma rope, fitted to ARB bar on my 78 Series Troopy
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Used my winch a few times to get unstuck in snow in Scotland, and getting unstuck in bog holes fields getting firewood. Couple times on greenlanes. Once in morocco. But mostly to assist with felling big trees.
and to recover stuck cars & 4x4 in snow where a tow would have probably sufficed but nice to use the winch:)
my Tirfor style black rat Handwinch Has been used a lot too, for same tasks. Think in future I would stick to handwinch only.
My 1998 100 series (in Zimbabwe) has a factory winch fitted and as far as I know it's only been used 3 times, all three to recover other people. Once by the previous owner years ago and my 2 on the same day..


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I have a winch fitted to a TJM winch bumper with head lamp protection, originally for just in case as better to have and not need than need and not have, I have lost count of how many times I have used it for general tasks like getting root bundle out of the ground, moving trees, static caravans or shed removal on one occasion, I have used it more often to move other people who are stuck, on one occasion I helped the police clear a road by winching a car out of the way that had a failed ball joint on the front suspension which caused to cv to fail, in the 13+ years it has been fitted I have only used it twice to get myself unstuck and I was really pleased I had it.
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