Getting stuck on mud, snow or sand is one unavoidable predicament you can’t shy away from. If you’re an enthusiast off-roader, getting stuck doesn’t mean you’re driving the wrong car or you’re not cautious behind the wheel. Instead of mashing the gas pedal, only for the tires to dig a deep hole, what you’re supposed to do is to find the right way of recovering your vehicle. Apart from the usual recovery gear that includes a shovel, extra traction, a high-lift jack, and winch, one more recovery gear that can make a huge difference is a DIY kinetic recovery rope.
But, why should you take the DIY route anyway? You see, in the past, traditional snatch straps were the only recommended recovery option for 4X4 drivers. However, following the advancement in technology, a new kid that promised to offer better recovery options with more precision, safety, and effectiveness was born which is now referred to as the kinetic recovery rope. But, despite their longevity and effectiveness, kinetic recovery ropes are very expensive something that has forced most off-roaders to think of a DIY alternative that will be both effective and safe.
DIY Kinetic Recovery Rope: Step by Step Guide
Therefore, if you have some nylon, polyester, and polyurethane braids at your disposal, then this short guide will offer you a simple step-by-step procedure on how to make your own DIY kinetic recovery strap.
But First, What is a Kinetic Recovery Rope?
Kinetic recovery ropes come by many names. Some of the common names you’re likely to hear are snatch straps, recovery straps, yanker ropes, and kinetic straps. Kinetic recovery ropes are made of two layers of fabric. There’s the inner core that’s made of stretchy nylon fabric and there’s an outer layer that’s made of a nylon 66 polyamide.
The reason why the inner core is purely made of nylon is to give the recovery rope that stretchy characteristic that’s needed for recovering a vehicle. The outer layer, on the other hand, is double braided with polyamine then coated to give it tremendous strength to resist abrasion caused by the elements.
Besides being abrasion-resistant, this double-braided outer layer is also a bit stretchy meaning it doesn’t interfere with the stretchy characteristic of the rope. This outer sheath is basically one factor that sets kinetic recovery ropes apart from tow straps and traditional snatch straps.
Lastly, kinetic recovery ropes have loops that are very different from traditional snatch straps. You see, with traditional snatch straps, the loops are stitched. This creates potential failure points, which if not checked regularly, can break down and cause potential danger.
Kinetic recovery ropes, on the other hand, have loop ends that are spliced together rather than stitched. This makes the loops very solid eliminating failure points that can cause breakage.
Why Do You Need a Kinetic Recovery Rope?
Now, there are many reasons you’ll need a kinetic recovery rope over other available options. One of those reasons is the double-braided layer construction that gives this rope a lot of reinforcement when recovering heavy vehicles.
The design of the loops is another major reason why most off-roaders are considering kinetic recovery ropes as they don’t break easily. In fact, after the loops are spliced together, most manufacturers reinforce the ends with a polyurethane coating to reduce the rate of wear.
The last reason why you’ll need a kinetic recovery rope is to take advantage of their high rate of efficiency when recovering a vehicle. Their working mechanism involves stretching then jerking forward suddenly. During stretching, kinetic energy is accumulated on the rope which is then relieved suddenly making it easier for the stuck vehicle to break free.
Homemade Braided Kinetic Recovery Rope
Now that we’ve mentioned everything you need to know about kinetic recovery ropes, my next step is to discuss a detailed step-by-step procedure that you can consider when making a DIY kinetic recovery rope. Now, when making your own homemade recovery strap, you can use a nylon fabric that’s similar to those used in making commercial-grade snatch straps or you can use a standard paracord that’s normally used in making parachute suspension lines.
- Step One:
The first step of making a kinetic recovery rope is to figure out which material you’ll be using. In my case, I will be using a parachute suspension line. Unfortunately, paracords are usually slender. For that reason, you’ll have to braid together several lines to increase your strength.
- Step Two:
Once you’ve figured out which material you’ll be using, the next step is to determine the maximum tow weight for which the recovery rope will be pulling. Since a little mix-up here can cause a disaster, you need to check a recovery strap chart for reference in case you’re in doubt.
- Step Three:
With the chart at your disposal, it’s now time to determine the strength of a single paracord. As a rule of thumb, high-quality paracords are rated at 550 pounds. This means that 550 pounds is the breaking weight of each strand. Next, determine the length of the paracord line you’ll be using. The length can be determined by checking the weight of your vehicle then referring to a recovery strap chart to determine the length of the rope.
- Step Four:
The last step in your preparation is to determine the number of paracord strands you’ll be braiding together to match the recommended strength that will safely recover your specific vehicle. Assuming you’re towing 10,000 pounds of load, you’ll need (10,000 ÷ 550 = 18.18). Rounding off this figure means that you’ll need 19 strands of paracords rated at 550 pounds.
- Step Five:
Now that everything is ready, begin by knotting all the 19 strands on one end. Next, separate the strands into three groups two with 6 strands and one with 7. With the braids set, begin the braiding process by laying the left-hand group between the middle group and the right-hand group.
Next, pick the right-hand group and lay it between the new left-hand group and the middle group. Continue with the process until you’re through braiding the entire rope.
- Step Six:
Now that the rope is entirely braided, the next step is to form a loop on both sides of the rope. This DIY technique is usually complex so you have to be very keen here. To begin, measure the size of the loop you’ll need. When you’re done, unravel the three main braids up to the point where you’ll have the eye. To avoid getting confused, tie each group with masking tape of a different color. So, you’ll have something like a red, blue, and black group depending on the colors you’ve chosen.
- Step Seven:
Now that you’ve already measured the loop, curve the three braids to form a small circle or a loop. Hold the first braid and place it over the rope. Hold the second and place it over the rope but below the first braid. Hold the last braid and place it under the rope.
- Step Eight:
Using some force, create an opening in between the rope and tuck stand 2 through that opening. Pull strand 2 to make it tight. Next, turn the rope over to find the link where strand 2 poked through. Remember, this is from underneath. Pock the hole and tuck strand 1 through the opening behind strand 2. Just as you did with strand 2, pull strand 1 away from the opening to make it tight.
Turn the rope over once more and try to locate the opening where strand 1 poked through. Poke an opening behind strand 1 and forcibly tuck strand 3. Pull it away from the opening to make it tight.
- Step Nine:
Since this is just the first round, you’ll have to repeat step 8 until all the three strands are perfectly tucked in the rope. If you can remember, I had mentioned that one key advantage of kinetic recovery ropes over regular snatch straps is that the loops are spliced together rather than being stitched. This technique helps to reduce potential failure points thus improving efficiency.
So, there you have it. In case you’ve been struggling to make your own DIY kinetic recovery rope, then this guide has offered you some inspiration that will help you accomplish the project with enthusiasm. From what we’ve learned, kinetic recovery ropes are much better than ordinary snatch straps. They’re durable, functional, and very efficient making them pricier as compared to other recovery options.
Now that we’ve come to the end of our guide, the only thing that’s left out is to get stuck on purpose to test how your homemade kinetic recovery strap will perform.