What is a winch dampener?
A winch dampener, also known as a damper blanket, acts as a restraint on a recovery rope by subduing the energy produced by the cable during a 4×4 recovery. The dampener is designed to be folded over the cable and secured with a Velcro strap around the line.
Why do I need one?
When a bogged vehicle is being recovered by a winch or snatch strap, there is a large amount of energy that becomes stored in the lines connecting the recovery vehicle and the bogged vehicle. Most recovery accidents happen from snatch straps breaking, or from a tow ball being used as a recovery point. When a snatch strap breaks, or a tow ball becomes loose, the energy stored in the lines causes any loose objects, including the ropes, coupling hardware or the tow ball to become projectiles, flying through windscreens or towards bystanders.
Of course, when adventuring outdoors, the most important tool you can bring with you is a bit of common sense, but we all know that even the most cautious of people can still suffer from unfortunate accidents. So, to insure yourself against an accident, follow our handy tips to successfully use a winch dampener during a recovery:
1. Lay dampener in an open position on the ground in line with the winch line. Never approach a winch line under tension. The line should be slack when installing the dampener.
Pro tip: A Kinetic Recovery Rope or Winch Line should be sized such that the Minimum Tensile Strength (MTS or ‘minimum breaking strength) is roughly 2 to 3 times the Gross Vehicle Weight of the vehicle conducting the recovery.
2. Fold the dampener over the cable. Ensure the dampener is in the central third of the line length. Secure the central Velcro strap around the line.
Pro tip: Never use damaged gear. If the Velcro is ripped or torn, or the dampener has been weather damaged, it is not safe for use.
3. Fill external pockets with loose sand. Never use rocks or stones in the dampener ballast pockets.
Pro tip – The heavier the better: The Brumby Offroad Winch Dampener comes with a pocket to add extra weight (i.e with sand) which will further slow the energy down in case of a failure.
4. Ensure all people, pets, and property are well clear of the line pull and in a safe location before putting any tension on the line.
Pro tip – 4×4 recoveries are not fool proof. No matter how good your gear is or how heavy your dampener is, if you’re standing in the path of a projectile object, you’re going to get hurt. So, always ensure all bystanders remain as far away from the vehicles as possible during a recovery.
5. As the cable is pulled in, you may need to adjust the position of the dampener.
Pro tip: Always release the tension on the line before approaching and making any adjustments.
Every 4×4 enthusiast knows that some accidents just can’t be prepared for, that’s why it’s important to prepare as best you can on every trip. While you hope you never have to take out your insurance, we recommend taking your winch dampener out of the toolbox for every recovery. This will ensure that you, your mates, and your vehicles have the best chance at getting back on the road.
So don’t hesitate, take out some cheap insurance by purchasing one of our quality tested winch dampeners today.