Unstuck, from Bo Keely

January 12, 2022 |

Your vehicle sooner-or-later will get stuck in the sand. It happens to everyone who drives far enough off-pavement. There are many solutions. This best technique is from three decades of driving off-road in sedans and having unstuck them or others at least a hundred times.

I call it the LONG COME-ALONG. The only equipment you always carry is a $35 lightweight come-along and 70’ of strong rope. The beauty of this method is that washes of sand that you cross are lined with anchors of trees or creosotes no more than 70’ apart.

It goes like this. Your vehicle is stuck in the sand up to its hubs. You attach the rope to an anchor which is a tree or around the base of a creosote. You hook the come-along to the rope free end and its cable to the car. Now you rachet the car out without a sweat. I repeat, without the sweat of all other methods. Note that the come-along cable around its spindle is about 8’, so for every 8’ the car moves you must shorten the anchor rope and rewind the cable to inch the car out.

All other systems require a high jack, shovel, traction pads, water to wet the sand, air compressor, winch, or a helper vehicle.

A nifty option can inch you across the Sahara like an Egyptian. Carry your own pipe anchor and come-along. You will also need a heavy hammer to drive the 4’-pipe into the ground, plus a high-jack to jack it out and relocate it.

If you travel a regular route that has a sandy stretch, pound in a permanent deadman anchor at either side of the sand. 6’ fence posts 4’ into the ground work fine. This is how I used to go to and from town for many years on the other side of the Chocolate Mountains.

All the other methods I’ve heard of or tried are toilsome and may give you a heart attack in the summer. Of course, instead, you may pay a standard $750 for an off-road tow.

With the LONG COME-ALONG you may quickly extract others who will tip to cover your original cost of equipment. As usual, the less technical the environment the less technical the solutions to getting around.


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