Snatch blocks are a very useful piece of equipment for your 4x4 recovery kit. They're simple devices — they're just pulleys that open up so you can easily run your winch cable through them. However, the creative use of snatch blocks could allow you to redirect the angle of your pull or double your winch's pulling capacity. If you're unfamiliar with them, read on to learn the three most useful ways that snatch blocks can be used for 4x4 recovery.
1. Double Your Pulling Force
The most common use of a snatch block is to increase your mechanical advantage.
In a normal 4x4 recovery, you'd attach your winch cable to an anchor point right in front of you and turn it on. This pulls your 4x4 slowly towards the anchor point, reeling in the winch cable as it goes.
With a snatch block, however, you can start by attaching it to the anchor point in front of you using a D-shackle and a strap. Then you open up the side of the snatch block and run your winch cable through it. Afterward, you go back to your 4x4 and attach the winch cable to its front bumper using another D-shackle.
Instead of pulling against the anchor point, your winch is now pulling against your own front bumper. All the anchor point is doing is providing tension for your winch cable. Using a snatch block this way, you have essentially doubled the pulling capability of your winch. This makes snatch blocks invaluable to have when you're doing a 4x4 recovery in deep mud.
2. Change Your Pulling Angle
Using a snatch block to change your pulling angle comes in handy when you're trying to rescue another 4x4 from the mud. Ideally, your winch needs to be attached to something that's directly in front of it. If you're pulling at an angle, your winch cable will start to bunch up on one side as it reels in. If it becomes too uneven, you can damage your winch.
Sometimes, however, you can't find a good pulling angle — there may be a densely wooded area between you and the stuck 4x4, for example. In this situation, you attach the snatch block to an anchor point that's directly in front of your 4x4, run your winch cable through it and then attach it to the stuck vehicle's front bumper. Since the snatch block is directly in front of your winch, that's the direction that it's pulling cable in from — you don't run the risk of it bunching up. At the same time, the stuck vehicle will be slowly pulled towards the snatch block.
3. Pull Towards an Anchor Point Behind You
If you're stuck in the mud and your only available anchor point is behind you, a snatch block can be used to pull you out. You run your winch cable underneath of your 4x4, attach it to a snatch block on the anchor point behind you and then attach the winch cable to your back bumper using a D-shackle. When you engage the winch, your 4x4 will be pulled back towards the anchor point.
With clever use of trigonometry and physics, you can string multiple snatch blocks together for even more creative pulls. However, the ones listed above are the most useful. The next time you go off-roading, make sure you pack a snatch block or two in your 4x4 recovery kit — they're inexpensive and make rescue possible in numerous situations.
For more information on snatch blocks, contact towing companies like R & R Towing.