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Assessing Multi-Functional Towing Straps

By: Dawnerz


Time to read 7 min

A widely discussed topic that continues to attract the interest of drivers, enthusiasts, and professionals alike. The question at hand is whether there are towing straps or recovery straps with dual or even multipurpose functionality. As the requirements of various scenarios and challenges become more diverse, the search for a towing or recovery strap that can adapt to different tasks becomes increasingly important. From traditional towing to dynamic recoveries, the need for a versatile solution remains.

It is a common misconception that any strap can be utilized for different functions, but in reality, this is not the case. As you will discover, there are questions that necessitate clear and precise clarification.

What are The Most Common Varieties of Towing & Recovery Straps?

There are a few different types of towing and recovery straps / ropes widely available, but many of us get confused and misunderstand that there are distinctive differences between these variations. 

Choosing the wrong type of strap or rope can have consequences on the success of your towing or recovery operation, and potentially cause damage or injury to the vehicles involved or personnel carrying out the recovery. 

So lets explore the 4 main variety of straps and get an understanding of which one should be used in specific situations and environments.

Towing Straps

Recovery / Snatch Straps

Kinetic Recovery Rope

Tree Saver Straps

What Are Towing Straps?

Tow straps are designed for towing freely moving vehicles behind another vehicle. They are primarily constructed from either polyester or polypropylene materials and feature looped ends for secure attachment points. Unlike recovery straps, which can exhibit elasticity of up to 30%, tow straps typically display a more limited elasticity range of approximately 3-6%.

The lower elasticity of tow straps, as compared to recovery straps, enables a more controlled towing experience, thereby reducing the likelihood of damage to the vehicles involved. This feature makes tow straps particularly well-suited for towing applications on even terrain, where the risk of encountering challenging conditions that could potentially immobilize a vehicle is minimal.

Dawnerz 75000 lbs heavy duty towing strap

When selecting a tow strap, consider the following factors:

Vehicle Condition: Tow straps are not designed for recovering immobilized vehicles or those stuck in challenging conditions. If you need to tow such a vehicle, opt for a recovery strap made of nylon, which has more give.

Vehicle Weight: The weight of the vehicle you plan to tow will determine the required rating of the tow strap. It is recommended to choose a strap rated between 2 and 3 three times the weight of the vehicle being towed. For example, if your vehicle weighs 35,000 pounds, depending on the environmental conditions, you should choose a towing strap with a minimum breaking strength of between 70,000 and 100,000 lbs.


What Are Recovery / Snatch Straps?

Traditional snatch straps are crafted from flat nylon webbing and come in various lengths, widths, and capacities, catering to diverse needs in vehicle recovery operations. 

Popular choices among four-wheel drivers include snatch straps with lengths of nine meters, minimum breaking strengths ranging from 8000 to 11,000kg, and widths between 60 and 100mm.

It is recommended that the minimum breaking strength of a snatch strap should be two to three times the Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of the lighter vehicle involved in the recovery process.

Grey and black snatch recovery strap

Reinforced eyes are a common feature at each end of snatch straps, allowing for the attachment of rated shackles to secure the strap to vehicles. These reinforced eyes are created by looping the nylon webbing back onto itself and stitching it together. 

Despite the reinforced design and the use of seam-protector sleeves to cover stitched areas, it is crucial to note that the eye sections of a snatch strap are the weakest points and are more susceptible to failure, even on an otherwise undamaged strap.

What Is A Kinetic Recovery Rope?

The Kinetic Recovery Rope possesses elasticity that allows it to stretch, harnessing kinetic energy to deliver an additional force to free a deeply stuck vehicle. 

This elasticity is particularly beneficial when a vehicle is mired in sand or thick mud, where traditional recovery methods may fall short. The unique property of the Kinetic Recovery Rope enables it to provide a significant "yank," aiding in the extraction of vehicles that are firmly lodged, such as when a rig is stuck to the axles in challenging terrain.

In scenarios where a lighter vehicle needs to extract a heavier one, the Kinetic Recovery Rope's ability to stretch and generate additional force becomes invaluable. This feature defies conventional wisdom in physics, where a lighter object might struggle to dislodge a heavier one, especially when the latter is deeply entrenched. 

Red and black kinetic recovery rope

However, with the Kinetic Recovery Rope, the elasticity and added force it offers facilitate the process of freeing stuck vehicles, making it possible for smaller vehicles like a Jeep to successfully extract larger, heavier vehicles like a diesel truck. This innovative rope not only provides the necessary power to overcome challenging recovery situations but also minimizes strain on both vehicles involved in the extraction process.

What Are Tree Saver Straps?

Tree Saver Straps, also known as a tree trunk guard, are crucial but often undervalued component of any emergency recovery equipment setup. This versatile tool is frequently disregarded when assembling gear, yet its numerous applications make it an indispensable addition to your collection.

A tree saver strap is essentially a lifesaver for trees. As off-roaders and adventurers, we frequently rely on trees as anchor points when using winches. The protective tree strap is designed to encircle the anchor tree, safeguarding its bark from harm. 

Directly wrapping a bare cable or winch line around a tree can cause severe damage to the bark, potentially leading to the tree's demise. When trees are injured, trails may be closed, which is something we all aim to avoid as nature enthusiasts.

orange and white tree saver strap

A tree saver strap is a highly versatile piece of equipment, offering more uses beyond protecting trees during winching. Its primary function is to prevent damage to trees while winching, but it can also serve as a short tow strap, winch extension, or v-bridle. Due to its special tube webbing construction, it is lighter, stronger, and more flexible than other straps, with minimal stretch, making it ideal for various applications.

In addition to its protective role in winching, a tree saver strap can be used for the following purposes:

Short tow strap: Due to its minimal stretch and high strength, a tree saver strap can be employed as a short tow strap for pulling vehicles out of tight spots or for towing purposes.

Winch extension: When the winch line is not long enough to reach the desired anchor point, a tree saver strap can be used as an extension to increase the reach of the winch line.

V-bridle: A tree saver strap can be configured as a v-bridle, which is useful for creating a secure anchor point when there are no suitable trees or other anchor points available.

Given its versatility and the numerous reasons to have at least one, a tree saver strap is an essential piece of equipment for any off-road enthusiast or anyone requiring secure and damage-free winching or towing.

How to Use A Strap for Dual Purposes

Dual-purpose or multifunctional straps offer versatility in vehicle recovery and towing operations, providing the flexibility to serve as both recovery and tow straps. However its important to note that the misuse of any kind of strap can increase the potential of the strap failing, its recommended to follow the manufacturers guidelines at all times.

Nylon recovery straps, known for their elasticity, can be utilized as tow straps in specific scenarios where the towing distance is short. However, caution is advised as the stretch of nylon can pose challenges during turns and corners, affecting maneuverability and control. 

When using a nylon recovery strap as a tow strap, it is crucial to consider the limitations imposed by its elasticity and adjust the towing technique accordingly to ensure safe and effective operation.

Tow straps can be repurposed for vehicle recovery under suitable conditions. By maintaining a slow and steady pull without sudden jerks or yanking, a tow strap can adapt for use in recovery situations. It is essential to ensure that the tow strap has sufficient minimum breaking strength to handle the recovery task at hand. In instances where a vehicle is heavily bogged down, with wheels and axles stuck, using a tow strap for recovery may increase the risk of breakage due to the intense strain placed on the strap.

Kinetic recovery straps, designed specifically for recoveries, should not be used as typical tow straps due to the potential hazards associated with the kinetic force generated during towing operations. Adhering to proper techniques and safety guidelines is paramount when repurposing straps for dual functions to ensure the safety of both vehicles and individuals involved in the recovery or towing process.

Personalized Selection of Towing Straps

When selecting towing straps, it is advisable to adopt a pragmatic approach that involves aligning your choice with the specific demands of your towing requirements. While it is undeniable that polyester towing straps offer exceptional durability and adaptability in a wide range of scenarios, it is important to consider the nature of your towing requirements before making your purchase.


For example, if you spend most of your time driving in challenging terrains, negotiating boggy and demanding off-road conditions, it would be more optimal to choose kinetic recovery ropes. 


It is imperative to operate within the boundaries of safety and responsible usage. While a certain towing strap may possess versatility, adhering to manufacturer guidelines and maintaining a vigilant awareness of safety protocols remain non-negotiable. Deviating from the intended use of a strap, even if adaptable, can compromise safety and overall effectiveness. 

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