Expeditionware Winch Line (EW27) $375
We designed our Expeditionware Winch Line to be the finest synthetic winch line currently available. The EW Winch Line is composed of a 100' long section of silver-colored AmSteel-Blue. (We chose the silver color because it is the most traditional in appearance, but the line is genuine AmSteel-Blue and not the weaker AmSteel.) A yellow safety hook is large enough to fit almost all recovery points and features a spring-loaded safety clasp that prevents inadvertent unlatching. A powdercoated steel tube thimble and red cordura chafe guard minimize wear and abrasion to the Winch Line during heavy use. A marine-grade ring terminal makes the EW Winch Line suitable for use with winches of all makes.
Expeditionware Winch Line Extension (EW28) $185
The Expeditionware Winch Line Extension is composed of 50' of 3/8" diameter silver-colored AmSteel-Blue that is expertly spliced with stainless steel thimbles at each end. The thimbles are large enough to fit over most recovery points, standard 3/4" Bow Shackles, and the yellow safety hook fitted to our Expeditionware Winch Line.
ARB Winch Cable Damper (ARB220) $35
Whenever winching, it is essential to observe safety precautions to prevent injury in the event of an equipment failure. The ARB Winch Cable Damper, when fitted to a rigged winch line, greatly diminishes winch line fling in the event of a winch line or anchor failure. The ARB Winch Cable Damper is manufactured from heavy-duty vinyl and Velcro, and features internal storage pockets to facilitate carry of pulley blocks, shackles, tree straps, and other recovery gear from your vehicle to the anchor point.
PMI Supermantle Chafe Guard (RC48019) $28
Protect your synthetic line from abrasion on the very sharp rocks with the Supermantle Chafe Guard from Pigeon Mountain Industries. Ballistic nylon outer layer, plus two inner layers of heavy canvas, wrap completely around your synthetic line to provide protection against sharp edges and abrasion. The Supermantle Chafe Guard is 36" long and easily opens up with Velcro so that you can secure it on a line that is already rigged. Not for use with steel wire cable.
The Superwinch X9, EP9.0, and Husky 10 are fine winches, but they all come from the factory with steel wire cable.
Wire cable provides excellent service but kinks and frays, and can be difficult to work with. We don't like steel cable. Steel cable has a tremendous "bite" and does not spool evenly. The steel braids bite into other layers during spooling and the steel cable does not spool well.
The uneven spooling of steel cable is exacerbated by the fact that steel cable has "memory". Once kinked into a certain position under pressure, the steel cable will tend to stay in that same position. For example, the line above is permanently kinked. No matter how careful one is during recoveries, he will eventually kink his steel cable. It is inevitable.
Steel cable also requires special handling, as there are many "fish hooks" on a steel cable.
We much prefer to use synthetic winch lines on our own vehicles and have used synthetic lines since they first became available. In fact, John's Husky 10 has never been used with a steel wire cable and has been used with synthetics since day one. Synthetic winch lines do not kink or curl like steel wire cable. Nor do synthetic winch lines form fish hooks and splinters on their surfaces as steel wire cable does. Synthetic winch lines are stronger, lighter, and easier to use in every way. Synthetic winch lines are also generally safer than steel wire cable, as synthetic lines suffer less stretch under load and are safer if they should break.
We designed our Expeditionware Winch Line to be the finest synthetic winch line currently available.
Let's start with the hook. The hook is powdercoated bright yellow for maximum durability, corrosion resistance, and visibility in dim light. The hook is the safety type and features a spring-loaded clasp and solid eyelet.
Most winches come standard with an open slip hook, without a safety clasp. We don't like this. Without a safety clasp covering the slip hook's opening, the hook can slip off its anchor. This is especially true because the hook's opening should face upward so that the hook will fling toward the ground should the hook slip or the line sever. Sure, if the line is under load the hook is not likely to slip off, or so the argument goes. The point is not well taken. During any recovery, the load on the winch line varies from very hard to almost none at all. Oftentimes a vehicle's engine power is required to help the winch along under heavy loads and if the engine power is inexpertly applied the line will go slack and the hook may slip. A proper hook fitted with a safety clasp does not slip.
The Expeditionware Winch Line's hook features a safety clasp, so that the hook can face properly upward during recoveries without falling off the anchor point.
The safety clasp is spring-loaded and keeps the hook properly anchored during use.
Some winch manufacturers attempt to prevent hook slippage by fitting hooks with very small mouths. We don't like this either. The very small mouth makes the hook difficult to rig.
Other winch manufacturers fit a safety clasp. This is certainly a step in the right direction. However, these safety clasps are usually made from thin sheet metal and deform easily. These safety clasps are better than nothing but are not really suitable for heavy field use.
The safety clasp fitted to our hook is made from a thick casting and is substantially stronger than the stamped safety clasps one commonly finds on safety hooks. The safety clasp is spring-loaded so that it will remain closed.
Another popular safety hook features a locking safety clasp that must be unlocked by depressing a release lever. We don't like this either, as the locking mechanism often becomes fouled with sand or mud and becomes difficult to use. This hook's open width is also necessarily limited by the length of the safety clasp and the hook's geometry.
The safety clasp on our hook is very easy to use and no release lever need be depressed to open the hook. Simply open the safety clasp with finger pressure.
If you ever wondered why the Camel Trophy vehicles were equipped with yellow recovery rings, it is because the Dixon-Bate Tow Jaws fitted to these vehicles were too large for the winch hooks. Our safety hook's opening is very large, and even slips easily over the very large clevis pin on the Dixon-Bate 5.0-Ton Tow Jaw.
To lock the hook in place, simply let go of the safety clasp and it will snap shut.
When not in use, simply attach the hook to your vehicle's front recovery point like this Dixon-Bate 3.5-Ton Tow Jaw.
The Expeditionware Winch Line's thimble is the tube-type. The thimble is constructed of thick steel and is powdercoated for corrosion resistance.
Most winch cables come equipped with open thimbles, which exposes the winch line to abrasion. When this hook is dropped to the ground, the apex of the thimble points straight toward the ground and the synthetic winch line material rubs against the ground and suffers wear and tear.
This is not true of the tube thimble, where a solid tube of thick steel encircles the winch line and protects it from abrasion. While synthetic winch lines have a higher tensile strength than steel wire cable of similar thickness, synthetics have lower abrasion resistance than steel and should be fitted with special protection like this tube thimble.
Behind the tube thimble, the synthetic winch line is spliced. Our Winch Line is expertly spliced for maximum strength and a clean appearance.
The Expeditionware Winch Line features a 10' long cordura chafe guard. The cordura chafe guard is loose enough on the winch line so that the user can slide it along the winch line and place it over a ledge or other obstacle that might abrade the winch line and weaken it. Do not drag your winch line across a rocky ledge. Rather, locate the cordura chafe guard on the rocky ledge and let the synthetic line slide through the chafe guard.
Protect your synthetic line from abrasion on the very sharp rocks with the PMI Supermantle Chafe Guard. Ballistic nylon outer layer, plus two inner layers of heavy canvas, wrap completely around your synthetic line to provide protection against sharp edges and abrasion. The Supermantle Chafe Guard is 36" long and easily opens up with Velcro so that you can secure it on a line that is already rigged.
While the cordura chafe guard is loose enough to slide along the winch line, it is tight enough so that it will not interfere with proper spooling. The cordura chafe guard easily slips into a roller or hawse fairlead. The red color of the cordura chafe guard is a not a coincidence. The red color is designed to give patent notice to the user that he is close to fully spooled.
Most thoughtful winch companies like Superwinch color the last 10' or 15' of their winch lines so that the user will know that he is near the end of his winch line's length. During respooling, it is very easy to become fixated on the quality of the spooling job and then suddenly run out of winch line. This is very dangerous because one's hand can get sucked into the fairlead if he does not pay attention and exercise due care. Of course all educated and careful winch users keep an eye on how much winch line they have left when they are respooling their winches. However, the red color coding on the last bit of winch line is added insurance against an accident.
Our red cordura chafe guard provides a similar function. The chafe guard is 10' long and when the chafe guard is pulled toward the hook end of the winch line before respooling gives the user warning that he has 10' of winch line left before the hook will hit the fairlead. This is why our cordura chafe guard is red and not green or blue. The cordura chafe guard does not mean one need not pay close attention while respooling. Rather, it is merely one additional measure designed to maximize safety. Always exercise caution and due care when working with your winch.
The Expeditionware Winch Line is 3/8" in diameter and 100' feet long. Many synthetic winch line manufacturers use 5/16" thick line on the theory that 125' of line can be fitted onto the winch and no strength is lost because the tensile strength of the 5/16" synthetic lines is still greater than 3/8" thick steel. We cannot agree with this line of thinking. Synthetic lines abrade more easily than steel lines and the extra strength of 3/8" thick line may be required. Remember that the superior tensile strength of a synthetic winch line is rated on a perfectly new synthetic line that has not been abraded in any way and has not been exposed to the elements for long periods of time. We prefer to have the winch stall well before even nearing the breaking strength of our Winch Line, as a stalled winch is much preferable to a broken winch line. 3/8" thick synthetic winch lines also suffer less stretch than 5/16" winch lines made from the same material. Should the winch line break, the winch line with less stretch in it will be safer than than a winch line with greater stretch in it. We prefer to use the 3/8" thickness, even if some consider it to be overkill.
Our Winch Line is 100' long. Many other synthetic winch manufacturers claim that 125' of synthetic line will fit a standard winch drum. We do not agree. While a perfectly wrapped 125' long synthetic winch line may fit onto an average winch drum, perfectly wrapped winch lines in the field are all but impossible. During a recovery, side pulls are common, which bunches the winch line on one side of the drum. Irregular spooling is also common during recoveries. This is the main reason why we prefer the 100' length, as a perfect spooling job is not required to have all of the winch line comfortably on the drum. If 100' is too short for your particular recovery, then it is very easy to rig an extension. Having to rig an extension on some recoveries is far preferable to having to deal with an overly long winch line for every single recovery. The 100' length also unspools quickly and effectively lowers the winch's gearing for the vast majority of recoveries. For these reasons, we opine that the 100' length is the correct length for a 3/8" thick synthetic winch line.
The Expeditionware Winch Line is constructed from silver-colored AmSteel-Blue. Our line features a silver color to suit our conservative tastes, but is made from AmSteel-Blue (which is now available in several different colors) and not from the weaker AmSteel. AmSteel-Blue provides great strength and resilience and has proven itself over the years as an excellent winch line material.
AmSteel-Blue is very pliable by nature and easily routes through pulley blocks like this Superwinch 7750A Heavy-Duty Pulley Block. This Pulley Block is an indispensable winching tool.
The beginning of the Winch Line is spliced into a chain link with steel set screw.
Thus, our Winch Line is suitable for use on WARN and other winches that require a loop terminal for attachment to the winch drum.
Superwinch users can simply wrap the line tightly with electrical tape and cut off the terminal end. Superwinch drums feature a hole through which the winch line is threaded and then tightened in place with a set screw. Lubricate the tip of the winch line for easier insertion.
When the end of your winch line is properly connected to your drum, respool your winch just as you would with any other winch line. When you see red on the cordura chafe guard, you have spooled in 90' of winch line and have only 10' of winch line remaining.
Rig your safety hook to your vehicle's front recovery point and winch in the final few remaining feet of winch line. Do not overtighten the line.
A perfect accompaniment for the Expeditionware Winch Line is the Expeditionware Winch Line Extension.
The Winch Line Extension is composed of 50' of 3/8" diameter silver-colored AmSteel-Blue, the same material that composes the majority of our Expeditionware Winch Line. Our Winch Line Extension features a silver color to suit our conservative tastes, but is made from AmSteel-Blue (which is now available in several different colors). AmSteel-Blue provides great strength and resilience and has proven itself over the years as an excellent winch line material.
The AmSteel-Blue is expertly spliced with stainless steel thimbles at each end.
The thimbles are large enough to fit over most recovery points and standard 3/4" Bow Shackles.
The inside diameter of the stainless steel thimble is quite large and fits over a 3/4" diameter clevis pin with room to spare.
The stainless thimble is also large enough that yellow safety hook fitted to our Expeditionware Winch Line can be inserted into the thimble without clearance problems.
There is plenty of room inside the stainless thimble's eyelet for even larger hooks, and our yellow safety hook is quite large.
One of the beauties of the synthetic winch line extension is that it can be shortened easily to suit different rigging applications.
Here, Bill Burke demonstrates during his Camel Trophy Slide Show & Recovery Seminar At EE how to shorten a synthetic winch line extension. Bill is using his own Benchmade 710S AXIS Folder for demonstration purposes, which works perfectly well. However, our favorite tool for this task is the Curt Manufacturing 5/8" Hitch Pin.
Having the proper winch and winching tools is but part of the formula for safe and effective recoveries. No matter what recovery tools you acquire, you must possess the knowledge and skill to use them safely and efficiently. There is no better teacher for inculcating such knowledge and skill than Bill Burke, a true master of his craft. If you cannot attend one of Bill's training seminars, then the Getting UNStuck DVD is available. In this DVD, Bill has taken his almost half century of fourwheeling experience and condensed it into two hours of detailed vehicle recovery techniques. Traveling from Moab to the beaches of Cape Cod and back across the Colorado Rockies, Bill takes you through desert and barren mountain peaks to illustrate the proper recovery techniques and proper use of recovery products such as Superwinch Winches & Winching Tools, synthetic winch lines and extensions, Bow Shackles, Pull-Pal Land Anchor, Hi-Lift Jack, Heavy-Duty Transport Chains, Protective Gloves, proper recovery points like the Shackle Mounting Brackets or Dixon-Bate Tow Jaws, RUD 4x4 Grip Chains. This DVD is not a replacement for personal training with Bill, but it is a very good start in the right direction.