From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.

Heading out into the sand — or any off-road environment — is bound to bring a fun-filled day with the chance of scattered calamity. The old saw advises that if you didn’t get stuck during your sojourn to the desert or mud pit, you weren’t’ trying hard enough.

That’s why there are a phalanx of companies eager to sell an array of recovery tools and why the SEMA show in Vegas consumes more and more floor space every year. Today, we’ll focus simply on tow straps because they’re an item that should be flung into every cargo area of each and every off-road vehicle that hits the trail. Even if it’s not used for your own benefit, one may find themselves needing to extricate a buddy who’s eyes were bigger than his ground clearance.

And, for the love of Mickey Thompson, educate yourself before using these things. Deployed improperly, they have the capability to whisk a person off their feet faster than the sun sets at the equator. Watch what you’re doing and use your noggin.

(Editor’s note: As noted above, this post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Piston Slaps, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

This green and black brute from Rhino USA is a good thirty feet long, meaning you’ll be able to put plenty of distance between you and the jamoke you’re hauling out of the muck for the fifth time today. These straps are three inches wide and are said to be lab tested to a breaking point of 31,518 pounds. Note that the working load limit of these — and most — straps is about one-third that amount.

Triple reinforced loop straps mean you can swing off these things with wild abandon — just make sure you’re using an approved towing point as the strength of these things mean there’s a good chance to inflict damage (and gain YouTube infamy) before busting the rope. Various lengths are available, as are options which include useful shackles. A full 94 percent of over 1600 reviewers gave this product five stars, providing some useful assurance for first-time buyers.

Very similar to the unit above but dyed a natty orange, this recovery strap from GearAmerica likewise has reinforced eyes and a patriotic label (reinforced eyes sounds like something a Bond villain would have, by the way). Available in many different lengths but shown here in a twenty footer, it comes with a storage bag as well.

The branding is plastered onto a black sleeve, one that’s designed to move in an effort to protect the straps webbing where you need it. After all, one cannot always predict the location of a wayward rock or stubborn stump that’s doing its best to scupper your recovery. It’s a case of personal preference whether one thinks bright orange is easier to see than bright green.

Our first entrant into the Fixed Hook area is this product from the curiously named Mozzbi company. Unlike the other two straps profiled so far, this one uses alloy steel hooks and a safety latch to connect itself to a stricken vehicle. Presented in a lime green hue, there’s little chance you’ll lose this thing in the depths of your vehicle’s trunk.

It is only about 13 feet long (an even 4 meters in Roman Catholic), setting it at less than half the length of your author’s choice at the beginning of this post. Make your inappropriate jokes now, children. Also, some off-roaders don’t like the hook-and-latch type of recovery straps because, by their very nature, there are more fail points than one with simple rope loops at its two ends.

We’re including this option in our list simply to demonstrate that sub-$10 tow straps do exist, not that it’s ever a good idea to cheap out on safety. While it has garnered a 4+ star review based on a smallish sample size, your author is never comforted by vehicle supplies sold in blister packs as if they were a deck of playing cards.

Most customers who took the time to leave feedback reported the metal hooks are not of great quality, an assertion one can make even by looking at these flat two-dimensional pictures on your digital screen. More than one person reports that it is good for hauling out a stuck snowmobile or side-by-side. Given their lighter weight, this is not a wholly bad idea.

Not all tow straps are flatter than the Prairies and twice as wide. This rope measures about one inch on the round and is a good choice for compactly stuffing into the corner of your car’s cargo area in case of future emergency. This is the thickest of the four options from this company, ranging from half-inch to the item you see here.

Constructed from double braided nylon that has high elasticity and absorbs shock, this rope is claimed by its seller to be 2 to 3 times stronger than flat nylon straps. It naturally weighs less than steel cables or chains. Like most everything else on this list, but not your author, it is resistant to heat and abrasion.

With a name like ROCKET STRAPS you can be assured this product will come complete with appropriately aggressive colors and marketing. Right on cue, one finds a flat webbing dyed angry red and a shipping box featuring a snow-laden Land Cruiser. This strap is available in a single thirty foot size, as shown here.

The seller says this tow strap is made from high grade 100 percent polyester material, so your uncle who’s stuck in the 1970s will feel comfortable using it on the trail. It is UV and weather resistant, meaning the harsh Moab sun shouldn’t cause undue wear. Extremely flexible, it has heavy duty reinforced looped ends to take the strain off of anchor points

The only blue tow strap on this list is also the thickest, clocking in at a generous four inches wide. Proving that size isn’t everything, the construction of this strap pegs its safe working load at just over 6600lbs, about 2/3rds the capacity of most other tow straps on this list. Break strength is also about 66 percent of nominal, measuring 20,000 pounds.

Built to withstand extreme loads and temperatures, the industrial-grade webbing is said to be abrasion and weather-resistant to effectively resist rotting or tearing. This should increase the product’s lifespan. Strap features two reinforced looped ends to withstand the high tension and wear that typically occurs at connection points.

This company makes all manner of items for lashing cargo to the roof of one’s vehicle, so it will surprise no one they’ve dipped their toe into the tow strap game. The principles are similar, after all: build a lightweight but strong webbing that can keep things where you want them. Come to think of it, that’s the ethos of mist underwear companies as well.

Priced under twenty bucks, this twenty footer will help motorists and off-road gearheads tow and haul with the best of them. The straps are made of an 80/20 polyester/silk blend and at about five pounds, isn’t overly light. A fifteen ton break strength and convenient storage bag are included at no charge.

*If* you decide to tow an inoperable vehicle 2 miles home on flat ground at night using your operable vehicle (NOT RECOMMENDED), use the smallest wimpiest weakest strap you can find… BECAUSE, *if* you happen to leave too much slack in the system and *if* the strap touches the ground and *if* any wheel runs over the strap (turning corners, cough cough), things are going to break – quickly, violently and without warning. In this case, you’d like the weak link in the system to be the strap.

Legitimate use of a tow strap story: I once got a fairly good sized Ford tractor stuck in a ditch (the established method to mow the ditch was to straddle it and I had an oops at the end of the run). Before calling the tow truck to get me out, a couple of ambitious guys stopped in their Marty McFly style Toyota pickup. It spun all four wheels on dry pavement – impressive.

If the chain/strap whatever, is dragging, just stop, pull over, call tow truck, AAA, whatever. Please… You sorta gotta know what you’re doing.

At this point I’m sure there’s a “how-to…” youtube video on it, or some one should make one for the love of god. For me it usually involved an extension cord and hundreds of miles.

Request to TTAC – Can you review hydraulic floor jacks? Suitable for a Lexus IS: $50 Harbor Freight special, or $300 low-profile aluminum jack? (I promise to click through the referral links!)

I can’t resist. – Get low profile – Get a relatively high maximum lift – Get 3-ton minimum – Steel vs. aluminum – cost, safety factor (fatigue life)

P.S. I know where you can get a “3 Ton Low Profile Steel Heavy Duty Floor Jack With Rapid Pump®” for less than a hundred bucks – pre-coupon. :-)

“Fatigue Life” Does that favor steel for longevity? I have a bad back, so would prefer lightweight where possible.

You’re fine either way – an aluminum or a steel jack has a safety factor engineered in to account for poor welds/whatever.

Since I never lift my floor jack, I prioritize cost over weight – you should make the trade-off that’s right for you.

My fatigue life comment: As I understand it, in theory, you could walk out to the garage each day and jack up 2 tons with your “3-ton” steel jack and 2 tons with your “3-ton” aluminum jack – and one day far in the future, the all-aluminum jack would fail under this weight, even though it is below the stated rating. Further, this failure might be sudden and catastrophic – whereas the steel failure if it happened would likely be progressive (and I could hear it happening and get my head and body out of the way).

This is because, the way I’ve heard it, aluminum has a limited fatigue life – but stated more properly, it is that “Aluminum does not have a fatigue limit in the sense that steels do. Instead, the allowable stress continues to decrease as the number of stress cycles increases.” (thank you quora)

16 Ton Hydraulic Telescopic Bottle Jack Tucks Use

I am not a metallurgist, but I am very interested in learning more about any technology that goes into a car. (For most of the vehicles in my fleet, aluminum is just starting to become relevant.)

These are the sort of things I’ve always sourced at flea markets and garage sales, along with jumper cables, wheel chocks, tire irons, jacks, tools/equipment, etc. So it seems bizarre to buy them new, whether amazon/ebay or store (although some one had to). If I’m the rare exception, I find that even more bizarre.

Ydraulic Floor Jack, Hydraulic Garage Jack, Hydraulic Bottle Jack, Scissor Jack - Luxin,