When we first saw a BOG OUT vehicle recovery kit we thought: “What a nifty idea … but what about a real winch?” But then we thought again. After all, how many overlanders actually fit their rigs with a winch?
Scanning a few back copies of Caravan World, it looked to us like not many of our CW readership do so. Sure, heaps of us fit bullbars and nudge-bars — but winches? Not so much.
Determined to apply a bit of scientific rigour to the issue, we headed out, bought a cup of coffee and sat by some traffic lights for an hour to watch the passing vehicles. Sure enough, only one-in-10 4X4 or AWD were fitted with a winch.
So what’s going on? Perhaps we’ve told ourselves that we don’t need a winch because we tow caravans and so we ‘keep out of trouble’. After all, a good winch setup doesn’t come cheaply. Ranging from $400-$4000 — with additional installation fees — a winch can be a significant outlay. Add the cost of necessary accessories such as a snatch block, ‘D’ shackles, a short length of appropriately sized chain, a tree trunk protector and a shovel, and you’ll be reaching for another few hundred dollars on top of this.
Perhaps it’s simply the case that ‘the juice is not worth the squeeze’.
But, think again. Who of us doesn’t leave their caravan behind occasionally to head out for a day of exploring? Whether that’s to a fishing spot, to see a waterfall or simply to satisfy human curiosity. Besides, in a country renowned for its rapid changes in climatic conditions, it doesn’t take much to find ourselves up a track and up to our axles. So the risk of getting bogged is real — regardless of how much we may think ‘it won’t happen to us’.
And when we do get bogged, there’ll be no ‘one-size fits-all’ approach to vehicle recovery. It’s true that, without a winch bolted to the bullbar, and a good idea about how to use it, it may feel like the prospect of a vehicle recovery has evaded us.
But sensible alternatives may include a hand-operated Tirfor Jack, a set of Traction boards and/or a shovel. Or you may find that a set of BOG OUT vehicle recovery straps has the answers you’re looking for.
We recently field trialled this Aussie-made invention. And, I have to say, we came away pretty impressed.
The BOG OUT Vehicle Recovery Kit has been designed and tested in North Queensland for more than 10 years. BOG OUT straps look like nylon rope ladders and when they are fitted it looks like a tyre chain, but it’s not.
A chain works by increasing the traction of the tyre by gripping the ground. What’s happening here is the ladder is gripping the tyre like a snare.
This increases the traction to the spinning wheel which then increases the torque to the opposite axle and you drive out. If you have a diff locker and both wheels are spinning, you fit a BOG OUT to both wheels and this is where it works like a winch.
The stress is placed where stress is designed to be placed: at the tyre. And of course a slow, controlled recovery is less stressful on the car than backing up and hitting things at speed — or being jerked out of a bog hole.
So what do we reckon are the pros and cons of this ingenious Australian invention?
The BOG OUT system works on both front and rear wheels. To do this with a winch you need to buy a second one and mount it on the tow hitch or carry a Tirfor-jack.
Small and lightweight: In fact you can stuff it under your seat.
Unlike a ‘bush winch’ system that extends the hubs, BOG OUT straps place no unnatural stressors on your rig.
At less than $300 for a pair, BOG OUT is a low-cost recovery option.
The straps are 4.5m long with 4t in strength. To achieve 9m recovery length (or longer), you can tie two BOG OUT straps together — or connect one to a tow rope, chain or tree protector.
You can use BOG OUT straps as tow ropes.
The straps are a rope ladder that could be used as such in an emergency.
There are lots of online tutorials and help available to new users.
Does not require a recovery point which is a huge advantage for AWD/SUVs.
Small recovery should be conducted in a straight line and should not exceed 15 degrees in order to reduce stress or accidental damage to brakes or slip-off on large mud tyres.
If it’s a mud bog, there’s no escape from getting dirty.
Like the majority of other recovery equipment, you will need some other gear such as an extension rope, tree guard and anchor point.
Should not be used on tyres in excess of 345mm wide or tyres 165mm or smaller as the knot needs to be placed on the side wall.