Tree Trunk Protector vs. Recovery Strap vs. Choker Chain: Similar products, different applications
Written: July 31, 2012
Recently there was a discussion on one of the off-road forum sites about recovery straps, tree trunk protectors, and chocker chains. While all three are used for rigging, they all have very different applications, and at the same time, very specific applications. Here's a quick guide to which item to choose for specific situations.
Tree Trunk Protector
A tree trunk protector
, also sometimes known as a rigging strap, is made of nylon webbing, and is designed to rig your winch line to a solid object, such as, well, a tree. You'll need a D-shackle or clevis to attached the looped ends of the strap together and attach your winch hook. These are non-elastic straps that are made to handle the high capacity of winch pulling.
So why do you have to use a tree trunk protector in the first place? First, it helps protect a tree you'd be using as an anchor from damage by the winch rope. Using wire rope directly on a tree trunk will damage the tree and possibly kill it. And remember, we want to respect and preserve our trails so we can keep them open, and not killing trees is part of that.
However, tree trunk protectors aren't just about tree preservation, they're about safety. You NEVER, ever want to wrap a winch line around any anchor and hook the line back onto itself. This is a dangerous practice that can lead to rope failure, and that is obviously a very bad thing.
Warn makes a few different tree trunk protectors/rigging straps, three for truck/SUV use (in various sizes), and one for powersports vehicles
. FYI, a tree trunk protector should be used with a winch, and not strapped to a vehicle to pull another vehicle. That duty is reserved for the recovery strap.
A recovery strap
looks similar to a tree trunk protector, but it is designed to "snatch" or pull out a stuck vehicle. Unlike the tree trunk protector, these straps have elastic properties that are specifically designed for vehicle recovery. Think of it sort of like a giant rubber band. If you stretch that rubber band, it's going to want to pull the object it's attached to toward it. Recovery straps are made to stretch, then transfer that energy to the stuck vehicle and pull it out.
The no-no with recovery straps is using them with a winch. Do not ever use a recovery strap with a winch due to this before-mentioned elasticity.
The choker chain
essentially functions as a tree trunk protector/rigging strap, but is for use on sharp objects that could have the potential to cut through or fray a tree trunk protector. Additionally, a choker chain can be used to move objects in high-abrasion situations, such as skidding a downed tree across the ground. The hooked ends of a choker chain can be attached to the chain links to create a secure loop.
So just remember this:
Tree Trunk Protector
= Winch rigging to tree or other non-abrasive object
= Pulling a stuck vehicle out of a situation
= Winch rigging for abrasive situations
The WARN winching accessory kits (for trucks
or powersports vehicles
) will include items such as tree trunk protectors and/or choker chains, depending on which model you choose. The recovery straps are sold on their own. However, all three of these rigging accessories are essential tools for any off-road enthusiast.
Filed under: Universal