Somebody gets stuck; you take out the snatch strap, connect it to the stuck vehicle with a pair of rated steel bow shackles and complete the recovery. It’s the way it’s been done since the first Datsun 1300 was still proudly displayed on showroom floors.
The problem comes in when a recovery point fails or the shackle was incorrectly attached, and now you’ve got a heavy piece of metal flying through the air at speed similar to a bullet. People have tragically lost their lives or sustained horrific injuries this way. It’s why we keep beating on the ‘safety first’ drum here at Wild dog 4×4.
Soft shackles are designed to be a safe, lightweight and easy-to-use alternative to conventional steel bow shackles. By using a soft shackle you effectively remove a very heavy and potentially lethal standard metal shackle from your recovery kit.
As they are manufactured from synthetic rope, the soft shackle floats. That means no more shackles lost in mud or watery environments during recoveries. It is also flexible, so suitable for a huge variety of applications.
In addition, you get a variety of soft shackles with load ratings ranging from 4ton to 80ton, and custom lengths are also available.
A few advantages of the soft shackle…
• Maximum strength-toweight ratio, and strength comparable to steel
• Low elongation, minimal stretch
• Can be wrapped around almost anything without causing damage to your vehicle or scratching paint
• One-piece construction
• Light weight for gross weight reduction (of your vehicle, recovery kit, etc)
• Time saver, as it takes less time to set up than a conventional shackle
• Floats in water and muddy environments
• Water- and UV-resistant
• Abrasion-resistant sleeves offer maximum durability
A few disadvantages of the soft shackle…
• Possible damage from sharp edges
• Life expectancy lower than steel shackles
• Price – slightly more for the equivalent load rating.
3.25t steel shackle R100 – R150
4.75t steel shackle R150 – R200
2.00t soft shackle R250 – R300
3.00t soft shackle R350 – R400
4.00t soft shackle R500 – R550
This series of articles is written by vehicle recovery specialist Jacques Coetzee, co-owner of Wild Dog 4×4, and a manufacturer of a variety of recovery equipment.
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