Extreme Outback Products Black Rat Recovery Kit
www.4x4wire.com/reviews/eoprecov/ Short Cuts

By: Randy L. Wheeler - March 2001

Recovery Gear Made Easy

Last month we had the opportunity to test and review Extreme Outback Product's Black Rat 4WD Recovery Winch and were impressed with the lightweight, compact unit. While a winch (be it an electric or "people-powered") is a great recovery tool, without the proper ancillary equipment, the use of a winch has the potential to cause damage to trees, property and even humans.  Using the proper equipment not only protects trees, property and humans, it results in a more efficient use of the winch, and puts less stress on other equipment such as bumpers, receiver hitches and tow hooks.

The Black Rat 4WD Recovery Kit.

The Black Rat 4WD Recovery Kit.

So what are the proper pieces of recovery gear to carry? Well, depending on who you talk to, what type of terrain you'll be encountering and the type of recovery situations you'll most likely face, there are some minimal items you should carry.  These would include a tree trunk protector, shackles (or D-rings as they are sometimes called), a snatch strap, and a pulley block.  There are other items that should also be added to your recovery kit, such as a chain (for securing around a rock), sturdy gloves to protect your hands, a shovel, and a bag to store all these items in.  You could go to your local 4WD store and buy all these components individually, and pay a premium for these separate components, or you could contact Extreme Outback Products and order yourself one of their Black Rat 4WD Recovery Kits.

The kit contains two heavy duty shackles, a 30-foot snatch strap and a 10-foot tree trunk protector. The snatch strap and tree trunk protector feature leather wrapped eyes for abrasion resistance from tow hooks and shackles. Also included in the kit is a 17,500 lb scissor-style pulley block.  The pulley block is anodized for long life and features a greasable zerk fitting for a smooth and trouble free operation. For difficult attachment points, such as around rocks or boulders, 10 feet of chain is also included in the recovery kit.  The chain includes a grab hook on one end and a lug link on the other. 

30-foot snatch strap 10-foot tree trunk protector Heavy Duty D-Rings
The 30-foot snatch strap is made from tough nylon and features leather wrapped eyes for durability. This strap is rated at 20,000 lbs. The 10-foot tree trunk protector is 3-inches wide and also features leather wrapped eyes for durability. This strap is rated at 25,000 lbs. Two heavy duty D-rings are included in the recovery kit.  These D-rings have a working load limit of 4.7 tons.

To assist in reseating tire beads or securing equipment, a 15 foot ratchet strap with wear protection sleeves is included.  A pair of fully insulated and closed cuff leather gloves protect your hands and keep them warm. 

Heavy duty chain with grab hook and lug link 17,500 lb. pulley block. Ratchet Straps
10 feet of 5/16-inch chain comes complete with a grab hook on one end and a lug link on the other. This chain has a working load limit of 4,700 lbs. The pulley block is anodized yellow for corrosion resistance, features a greasable zerk fitting and is rated at 17,500 pounds. This nifty little ratchet strap is great for cinching down loads, coolers and any number of things.

The Black Rat Recovery Kit is stored in a heavy duty bag which lays flat when unbuckled allowing quick access to all the recovery gear. Each component is stored in its own mesh compartment for easy identification and access.  The chain and tree trunk protector are secured in a roomy pouch in the middle of the bag. An open mesh drying bag allows dirty recovery equipment to be washed easily and air dried for trouble free future use. With all the components in the bag, the entire kit weighs a little over 30 pounds. 

The Recovery Kit features separate compartments for each component. This compact kit can be used as a reflective marker in emergency situations.
All the components fit neatly into individual pockets for quick access and storage. This compact unit stores all your essential recovery gear.

When the bag is folded closed and secured with the two heavy duty straps and buckles, the kit easily stores behind your seat.  The front of the bag features a reflective yellow triangle with the Black Rat logo that can be used as a roadside reflector in emergency situations.  

While the Extreme Outback shovel is not included with the recovery kit, this folding shovel makes a great addition to any recovery kit.  It is imported from Germany and features a positive push button mechanism to latch the blade or pick into position.  This folding shovel is constructed of solid steel and weighs about 2 pounds.  It features a 5 1/4 x 4 inch spade on one side and a 4.5-inch pick on the other.  The spade portion of the shovel comes with a removable leather case that uses two heavy duty buckles to keep it in place.  The handle is 15-inches long and is made out of durable hardwood.  The spade and pick can be locked into two positions, 90o and 180o.  With the spade in the 90o position, it makes a great tool for digging out loose dirt, rocks and snow.  When fully locked in the 180o position, it can be used to clean out a fire pit or dig a trench around a tent.  This is a great addition to any recovery kit and is small enough to fit under your seat.

Outback Shovel Outback Shovel
The Extreme Outback folding shovel is small yet extremely strong. The push button operation is smooth easy. It features a folding spade on one side and a strong pick on the other.


This recovery kit includes just about everything you'd need to easily and safely attach your recovery points to a tree, another vehicle or your own vehicle for self-recovery situations.   If you're looking for a recovery kit with all the components already included, look no further than the Black Rat 4WD Recovery Kit and Extreme Outback folding shovel from Extreme Outback Products.


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