If you’re an off-road enthusiast, there are some Jeep accessories you can’t afford to neglect when planning for an off-road excursion. One of those is a kinetic recovery rope. Although they came into the market just recently, kinetic recovery ropes have become a reputable accessory for any 4X4 vehicle. Now, one thing about these ropes is that they’re quite expensive to procure. For that reason, most people will prefer to have a DIY kinetic recovery rope to save on the cost.
You see, a recovery rope comes by many names such as a snatch rope, snatch strap, kinetic strap, and yanker strap. These ropes are made from heavy-duty double-braided nylon that’s known to elongate like a rubber band when under tension.
Unlike tow straps and steel cables, kinetic recovery ropes store kinetic energy from the moving vehicle, which is then transferred to the stuck vehicle to make the recovery process successful. This aggressive recovery technique is one factor that makes these ropes the best for recovery tasks. So, in this guide, we’re going to discuss how exactly you’re supposed to make a DIY kinetic rope.
But First, How Does a Kinetic Tow Rope Work?
Before we get to our main topic, we would like to discuss just a little bit about the working mechanism of a recovery tow strap. At least by understanding its working principle, it will be easier for you to make one as you’ll have a vivid picture of how you’ll be using it.
Now, unlike a winch, which relies on your battery or the hydraulic fluid to work, a recovery tow strap requires the aid of an extra vehicle to perform a recovery. These ropes come in different diameters that range from ½ inches to 2 ½ inches.
When choosing a recovery rope, you need to be very keen on the breaking strength. In most cases, the breaking strength of a kinetic tow rope is assumed to be 3 times the weight of the vehicle that’s being pulled. So, if a vehicle weighs 4,000 lbs, then the maximum breaking point will be 3 x 4,000 lbs = 12,000 lbs.
Since 4,000 lbs is equivalent to the weight of a 2-door Jeep or a light truck, you’ll need a recovery tow rope with a diameter of ¾ inches to recover such a vehicle.
When it comes to the working principle, a kinetic snatch strap works similarly to a traditional snatch strap. First, the rope is attached to both the recovery and the recovering vehicle using rated shackles. These shackles are then attached to-rated anchor points on your vehicle where they can’t snap during a recovery.
So, once everything is safely attached, the recovery vehicle makes a run to stretch the recovery strap. Once it’s under a load, the recovery rope stretches to gather kinetic energy which is later used to yank the stuck vehicle out of its bogged situation.
What Are Some Benefits of Kinetic Recovery Ropes?
Now, one of the major benefits of using a kinetic recovery rope over a traditional tow strap is its additional stretchability. With the ability to stretch up to 30% of their original size when under load, a recovery rope helps to minimize sudden shock that can be felt by passengers during a recovery process.
Another benefit of kinetic recovery ropes is the technique used to braid them. While the loops of most tow straps are stitched together, those of kinetic recovery straps are lopped.
This looping is what eliminated any potential failure points when performing a recovery. In fact, this guide will also discuss how to loop a DIY kinetic recovery strap to make it strong.
The last benefit of recovery ropes is the durable double-braided nylon that’s used in the construction. In most cases, the nylon fabric used has an outer and inner layer. The inner nylon layer consists of a stretchy core component.
The outer layer, on the other hand, is a double braided polyamide, which is a tough nylon 66 polyamides. While the inner layer offers the stretching advantage, the outer nylon 66 polyamide sheath offers protection to the inner layer in terms of resistance to abrasion.
How Do You Make a DIY Kinetic Recovery Rope?
Now that we’ve cleared the air for you, our final step is to discuss how to make a homemade kinetic recovery strap. Here, you can decide to use nylon, polyester, or polyurethane depending on what’s available in your local store. But, since nylon is mostly considered the best material, I would recommend you to use it over the other two.
Step One: Determine the Strength of the Nylon Rope
Now that you’ve decided to go with nylon as your primary material, the first step is to enquire about the strength of the straps you’ll be buying. Remember, nylon comes with different grades. So, knowing the specific grade of the straps you’re buying will help you to determine the strength of the kinetic rope you’ll be making.
In case the strength is lower than the weight you’ll be pulling, then you can decide to braid several straps together to improve the strength.
Step Two: Identify the Weight of Your Jeep
Once you’ve identified the strength of the nylon straps you’re buying, the next step is to determine the gross weight of your Jeep or truck. Earlier on, we mentioned that the maximum breaking strength of a kinetic recovery strap should be 3x the weight of the vehicle that’s being recovered.
We went ahead to give an example of a 4,000 lbs 2-door Jeep where we said that the maximum breaking strength should be (4,000 lbs x 3 = 12,000 lbs) 12,000 lbs. However, to avoid any confusion, it’s recommended that you refer to a recovery strap chart.
Step Three: Determine the Number of Strands You’ll be Braiding Together
Now, in this step, you’ll be determining the strength of a single strand to know the number of strands you’ll be braiding together. Let’s assume each nylon strand has a breaking strength of 500 lbs. Since your Jeep weighs 4,000 lbs, the recovery rope you’re making will need to have a maximum breaking strength of 12,000 lbs.
So, here, you’ll have to divide 12,000 lbs with the strength of each strap to have (12,000 lbs ÷ 500 lbs = 24) 24. This means that you’ll need to braid 24 nylon straps together to have a kinetic recovery rope that matches your Jeep’s weight.
Step Four: Start Braiding
With everything ready, it’s now time to weave your nylon straps together to form one strong kinetic recovery strap. So, start by forming a knot on one end of the strands. Then, divide all the 24 strands into three groups to have 8 strands on each group.
To those with a poor weaving background, here’s a simple procedure you can consider to weave the brands. Pick the braids on the right-hand side and place them between the middle group and the left-hand side group.
Next, pick the braids on the left and place them between the center braids and right-hand side braids. Pick the braids on the right and place them between the center and left-hand side braids.
Now that you’ve understood the pattern, continue weaving by following this uniform structure until the last section. When you’re done, bind the braids with a knot.
Step Five: Form Loops
Now that you’re through braiding the recovery rope, the last step is to form loops on either end of the rope where you’ll attach the shackles during recoveries. So, to start, measure the size of the loop-eye you’ll need then unravel several twists of the rope.
Once you’ve done that, tie the three groups of strands together using masking tape to avoid getting confused. Make sure the tapes have different colors for easy identification. So, here, you’ll have braids a, b and c.
Since you’ve already unraveled several twists of the recovery strap, start by passing braid “b” underneath the first two twisted braids and just above the third twisted braid. Pass braid “a” under the first twisted braid and braid “c” under the third twisted braid.
Pull the strands to tighten the loop then continue to unravel more strands while you proceed to weave. Make sure the weaving is as tight as possible. Also, continue weaving until all the groups of strands are tightly spliced together.
Now that you’re done braiding the rope and splicing the loops, you can finalize this DIY project by dipping the recovery rope in a polyurethane (PU) coating to lower the risks of wear and abrasion. You can also add sleeves on the loop eyes to minimize the rate of wear caused by friction. Lastly, make sure that you get a ventilated carry bag to store the rope when not in use.
So, in case you’ve been searching for a kinetic recovery rope without any success, then this short guide has offered you a detailed procedure on how to make one. Instead of spending a lot of money buying a recovery rope, this guide has offered you simple steps you can follow to make your own DIY recovery strap at a fraction of the cost.