Jeep Wrangler JK JKU Rubicon 2007-2018 JL or Gladiator

Recovery Gear Kit for a Solo Expedition


List of essentials for the solitary off-road traveler who won’t be recovering the Jeep for fun but for survival. A lightweight checklist.


An off-road recovery kit must be lightweight, compact, well organized, effective for various terrains/weather conditions, and easy to handle by an unaccompanied off-roader. My kit weighs only 58.99 lbs, and most of it fits in a medium-size sport bag (dimensions: 11x19x12 inches). If you add the Hi-Lift Jack and Bulldog Winch, the total weight of this recovery gear kit is only 142.9 lbs. It’s not much payload weight to carry in a Jeep.

Recovery Gear Kit Jeep Expedition


Prepare your first expedition with your Jeep in the extreme remote wilderness. Indispensable recovery gear for off-roading necessities.


Hi-Lift + Winch = Indispensable

Going winchless and jackless when off-roading alone is not an option.


Winch and Hi-Lift Jack

Deciding to go without a winch and/or a jack is a reckless and ill-prepared. The risk of getting stuck for good in some minor mud puddle or in the middle of a shallow creek is way too great. If you get stranded in a remote area, these two devices might get you out of trouble in minutes while waiting for external help to arrive may take days, weeks, or forever. Is this the kind of adventure you’re looking for?

Jeep Great Slave Lake Northwest Territories


Recovery Gear List for the Soloist

I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here. There are already thousands of articles online on the theme of what an off-roader should carry. However, I have noticed that most off-road experts don’t give a damn about weight. A grade 80 binder chain, an 8-ton snatch block, a shackle hitch receiver, and a quality RedRock ground anchor are good recovery items on the trail. No one would argue with that. But those four items all together weigh 100 lbs! Some detailed and recommended recovery kits probably weigh over 400 lbs. Carrying that kind of load in a Jeep is certainly not a good idea.




Movement Traction

Bulldog Winch Synthetic 53.9lbs.

VIAIR Compressor 15.04 lbs.

Hi-Lift 27 lbs.

Tire Repair Kit 1.8 lbs.
Hi-Lift Mate 3 lbs. Traction Aids 11.6 lbs.

D-Rings Razer Auto 4 lbs.

Ice Melter 2.1 lbs.
Warn Snatch Block 2.5 lbs. Snow Shovel 1.7 lbs
ARB Recovery Strap 5.85 lbs. Entrenching Shovel 1.53 lbs.
Winch Rope Extension 0.88 lbs. Foldable Saw 1.2 lbs.
Tree Trunk Saver 2.87 lbs. Fence Wire Cutter 0.5 lbs.
Battery Jumper 5.51 lbs. Mechanix Gloves 0.31 lbs.
Jumper Cables 1.0 lbs. Rain Boot Covers 0.6 lbs
Total Weight : 142.89 lbs.


Benefits of carrying lighter recovery items

- Reduces injury risk

- Preserves muscle energy

- Decreases fuel consumption

- Maintains payload capacity



The List

18 Lightweight Picks



Bulldog Winch Jeep Wrangler




1. Bulldog Winch 9500 lbs. #10045


- 100 ft. synthetic rope + lightweight aluminum hawse fairlead –waterproof.

- Capable of pulling over 9,500 lbs.

- The market is currently dominated by Warn, Smittybilt, and Superwinch. Bulldog is less known, but I’m seeing more and more Bulldog winches on the trail (and satisfied owners).

- Save 10 lbs to 30 lbs compared to other winches of its class.

-Weight: 53.9 lbs (for the whole kit)

*I personally have the Smittybilt 98495 XRC (11 lbs. heavier) and 50% more expensive. But still recommend the Bulldog 9500.


Synthetic Rope SmittyBilt XRC Comp Series 98495


Where to buy my winch : (USA) (Canada) (UK)




Hi-Lift 42'' Jack


2. Hi-Lift 42’’ Jack HL424

- Many Jeepers forget that Hi-Lift doesn’t make only 48’’ and 60’’ but also 42’’ jacks.

- This Hi-Lift jack is only 42inches long.

- A 42-inch jack will perform just fine even if you have a 4.5’’ lift kit and 37’’ tires.

- Save 4 lbs to 20 lbs compared to other popular jacks on the off-road scene.

- Adding a Hi-Lift handle-keeper (holds the handle to the steel bar to prevent vibrations) is only 5.6 ounces.

-Weight: 27 lbs.



Hi-Lift Jack Mate


3. Jack Mate Hi-Lift LM-100

- There are several mates available on the market (from manufacturers like X-Bull). But the mate from Hi-Lift remains the lightest.

- Lifts 5,000 lbs.

- Use this mate to lift the Jeep directly from the wheel.

- Save 1 lb to 3 lbs compared to other branded or unbranded jack mates.

-Weight: 3 lbs.



D-Ring Razer Shackles


4. D-Ring Shackles Razer Auto

- Big, strong, and light.

- 3/4”, black billet aluminum.

- Pull capacity = 10,000 lbs.

- Awesome appearance!

- Save 0.5 lbs. to 2 lbs. per D-Ring compared to other brands.

Weight: 4 lbs. (a pair)



Warn Snatch Block 92097


5. WARN Snatch Block 10,000 lbs.

- Model # 92097 Premium Snatch Block

- Rated for 10,000 lbs.

- Doubles pulling power when used correctly.

- Extends the life of your expensive winch synthetic rope.

- Save 1 lb to 5 lbs compared to other popular snatch blocks (Rugged Ridge, Runva, Smittybilt, ARB, Daystar, Extreme Max, etc.).

-Weight: 2.5 lbs.


Warn Snatch Block Recovery Operation Wrangler JK



ARB Recovery Strap 30 Feet



6. ARB Recovery Strap 30ft

- Model #ARB705LB, 2 3/8’’ x 30 feet.

- No compromise on weight here. We need an indestructible and tear-resistant strap that will last forever. But surprisingly, this “heavy” recovery strap is the lightest of its class.

- Comparisons: Rhino (6 lbs) I Motormic (7.95 lbs) I Rocket Straps (6.45 lbs) I Hi-Lift (7.70 lbs) I TGL (6.15 lbs) I Tow & Cargo (7.5 lbs).

- Save 0.15 lbs to 2.10 lbs compared to popular tow snatch straps.

Weight: 5.85 lbs.

Looks like this guy needs my help today...



Winch Synthetic Extension Rope


7. Acefox Winch Rope Extension 50ft

- A rope extension is an absolute necessity for a solo Jeeper because tree trunks or boulders are rarely conveniently placed on the trail. An extension allows you to reach better anchor points.

- Make sure your synthetic rope has two thimbles (at both ends). Otherwise, you won’t be able to use this product safely as a recovery strap extension.

- Save up to 4 lbs compared to other winch rope extensions or up to 15 lbs compared to 50-feet recovery straps.

-Weight: 0.88 lbs.





Gear America Tree Saver


8. GearAmerica Tree Saver 3'' x 8ft

- Model # GAWS3W8L30KCOR

- Protects tree trunks but also balances shockloads during the recovery process.

- Massive 30,000 pounds capacity and military-grade durability.

- Incredibly affordable (less than $40).

- Comparisons: Warn Epic (7.0 lbs) I Dobinsons (3.3 lbs) I ARB (3.95 lbs).

- Save 1 lb to 3 lbs compared to other brands.

-Weight: 2.87 lbs.



Jump Start Noco GB70
(United Kingdom)



9. Battery Jumper GB70 2000 Amps

- Compact, powerful, and light jump starter.

- Can start your Jeep without a battery (will work if your battery is 100% drained or damaged/dead).

- Comparisons: CAT CJ3000 (23.5 lbs) I JNC 770B (23 lbs) I Stanley J7CS (10.6 lbs).

- Save up to 18 lbs compared to similar 2000ampjump starters.

- Weight: 5.51 lbs.

Noco GB70 Compact Jump Start



Xtremepower US Jumper Cables


10. Xtremepower US Jumper Cables 20ft

- Ultralightweight jumper cables with 4-gauge wire.

- Affordable (less than $20).

- I wouldn’t recommend to hit the trail with shorter booster cables because it’s not always easy to get close to another vehicle in the bush (many obstacles, narrow trails, etc.).

- Comparisons: TOPDC 20ft (8.33 lbs) I Voilamart 20ft (8.17 lbs) I Iron Forge Tools 20ft (5.6 lbs).

- Save up to 7 lbs. compared to similar jump cables.

- Weight: 1.00 lbs.



VIAIR Air Compressor 400P
11. VIAIR Compressor 400P

- Designed for tires up to 35’’ (will work up to 37’’).

- The most powerful portable air compressor for the weight.

- Very reliable on the trail and draws only 26 amps.

- Still operates at -40 Celsius / -40 Fahrenheit.

- The compressor alone weighs 8.3 lbs.

- I personally use the inflation gun to deflate my tires (instead of an air deflator like the ARB E-Z Deflator). I know it’s not the best way to do it, but I desperately want to save on weight.

- Similar kits: Q Industries MF1089 (18.0 lbs) I Air Armor M240 (18.8 lbs).

- An on-board air compressor is great, but it’s 200% more expensive than the VIAIR 400P and weighs exactly the same (if you include the steel or aluminum mount plate).

-Weight: 15.04 lbs (including the carry bag, hose, and battery clamps).




Compact Tire Repair Kit Jeep


12. Smittybilt Tire Repair Kit

- Model # 2733

- Lightweight tire repair kit with 30 plugs and a very sturdy reamer tool.

- What matters to me is being able to repair at least four tires and always keep my spare tire as a backup in case I really destroy one of them. This compact and light kit is perfect for my needs.

- Get an extra pair of needle nose pliers (in addition to the one in your trail tool kit).

- Similar kits: ARB Speedy Seal (3.7 lbs) I Boulder Puncture Repair Kit (2.6 lbs) I Grit Performance Plug Kit (3.75 lbs)

- Weight: 1.8 lbs.



GoTreads Traction Aids

Foldable Off-Road Mat

13. GoTreads Traction Aids

- I spent months trying to find an alternative to those expensive, bulky, and heavy recovery boards like MaxTrax MKII, TREDS, X-Bull, etc. I didn’t want to carry large traction aids because of storage issues but still wanted off-road-grade traction mats for my Jeep.

- GoTreads is almost completely unknown by the off-road communities, but it’s incredibly strong (actually indestructible), compact (foldable), light (11.6 lbs), and just as effective for mud, snow, and sand. This product is one of my biggest discoveries ever. I can’t believe I’m the only one talking about it.

- Made of high-impact polypropylene copolymer that resists the harshest imaginable conditions.

- Dimensions (each): 46’’ x 9’’.

- Made in USA since 1975.

- Popular traction mats: X-Bull (14.55 lbs) I RUGCEL (16.6 lbs) I MaxTrax MKII (15.8 lbs)

- Learn more about GoTreads Traction Mats

-Weight: 11.6 lbs.

GoTreads Traction Mats



Ice Melter

Deicer Twist Open Top

14. Stalwart Ice Melter Spreader

- You can get stranded in the wilderness just because you find it too risky to cross a frozen puddle near a deep ditch or to drive down an icy slope.

- Carrying some ice melter could make a major difference during recovery in cold temperatures.

- Provides an additional option in cold weather for any solo off-roader.

- This salt spreader holds 2.3l of de-icer.

- Dimensions: 11’’ x 5’’ x 3’’.

- The twist-open top keeps salt inside safely.

Safe Paw Ice Melter

- Use non-toxic and eco-friendly salt like Safe Paw Ice Melter : I I

It’s safe for vegetation, water sources and wildlife. It’s so safe that pets can even it swallow it.

- Safe Paw Ice Melter can be spread on tires with no damage to be expected.

-Weight: 2.1 lbs (spreader + 2.3lof ice melter).



G3 Snow Shovel




15. G3 AviTech Snow Shovel

- Shovel designed to be carried by snowboarders, hikers, and other winter adventurers.

- Used by many rescue teams in British Columbia (Canada).

- Telescopic shaft that doesn’t bend.

- Strong as hell. Heat-treated aluminum blade (grade T6). You can shovel loads of sand and gravel as well.

- Hidden storage in the D-Grip handle.

- This ultralightweight shovel is an essential for any long-distance off-roader.

- Weight: 1.7 lbs.

Shoveling Snow Trail with my Stuck Wrangler JK

Stuck on the trail again... The story of my life...



SOG Fodable Shovel



16. SOG Folding Shovel F08-N

- There are dozens of folding shovels available, but this one is the lightest.

- Basic entrenching tool that is very effective on the trail when it comes to break through roots, compost, mud, and ice.

- Foldable and compact nylon case for clean storage.

- Made of high-carbon steel that doesn’t rust.

- Similar shovels : Rquite Tactical (3.3 lbs.) I Redcamp Survival Shovel (3.0 lbs) I Alice Backpacking Shovel (2.5 lbs.) I Fobachi Military Shovel (1.9 lbs.)

-Weight: 1.53 lbs.



Foldable Saw Boreal21



17. Foldable Saw Boreal21

- Model # A2B1C1 from Agawa Canyon

- Well-known trail-clearing bow saw in the hiking, hunting, and fishing communities.

- Don’t get stuck anymore because of a trail obstructed by fallen trees.

- Cuts firewood quickly.

- Blade length: 21”.

- Holds tension without any adjustment or recalibration.

- Similar folding saw : Gerber Freescape Saw (1.1 lbs.) has a better grip but the blade's length is only 12''. That's why I prefer the Boreal21 to the Freescape.

-Weight: 1.2 lbs.



Fence Wire Cutter

18. Compact 9’’ Wire Cutter

- Model # 2290 from Dare Products

- Survivalists are right : breaching a fence can be the only way to escape a situation.

- In the remote wilderness, there are people that constantly install fences illegally or without authorization. You can get stranded even ifit’s your right to cross the area. I think off-roaders should report those improvised fences to local authorities and conservation officers as soon as they can. .

- It’s really hard to remove improvised wire and barbed-wire fences with basic tools and/or your bare hands. You can spend hours, damage your gear, and hurt yourself.

- It may take only minutes when you have a quality wire cutter at hand.

- Also useful for cutting any kind of electrical wire with precision.

- Weight: 0.5 lbs.



Mechanix MPact Gloves



19. Mechanix MPact Gloves

- Provides a tremendous level of protection to your hands during recovery tasks.

- Foam and rubber paddings designed to protect hands against impact, sharped objects, and heat.

- Maximum dexterity for precise handling or assembly work. Used by thousands of mechanics around the world while they work in the garage.

- Various colors and sizes.

- Weight: 0.3 lbs. (for a pair)

Mpact Mechanix Gloves



Waterproof Rain Boot Covers



20. Rain Boot Covers

- I don’t have room in my Jeep to store bulky rain boots but still need to keep my feet dry in water (at least 12inches deep). I already wear quality waterproof hiking boots at all times (see How to Dress for a Jeep Expedition) but sometimes get stuck in deep snow or 30 centimeters of water (12 inches).

- Fits tightly with elastics.

- Anti-skid temporary boot covers for occasional use.

- Height: 15’’ (35 cm).

- Weight:0.6 lbs. (for a pair)

My Jeep Stuck in a Creek

Two-Day Recoveries

A Jeeper traveling alone needs to accept the idea that recovery will take time. With no helpmates around and only light recovery tools at hand, your current situation could go downhill in a minute if you 1) hurt yourself 2) get yourself stuck deeper and/or beyond possible recovery 3) break recovery equipment 4) damage some vital parts of your Jeep.


I’m personally used to two-day recoveries, and I think that 95% of situations don’t require to act fast. Unless I’m stuck on some active logging road or have to deal with the tide coming in and/or a trail being washed out, I really take my time. My goals are always to not get hurt in a stupid manner and to protect my vehicle. I think that most damages to the drivetrain, suspension, and brakes occur while recovering (at least over the long term) and not while wheeling.


If you feel that stress levels are elevated after you just got stuck, maybe you should prepare some coffee, sit, and enjoy being a free man on this planet. Once I got a taste for off-roading alone in the remote wilderness, I was hooked. It’s probably because it’s still one of the last situations for a man, in modern days, to feel independent from the “civilized” world. Surviving alone with my thoughts and my Jeep has transformed me beyond measure. If I have five gallons of gas; food and water for 10 days; and no vital parts damaged on my Jeep, the rest doesn’t matter at all.

Solo Recovery 4X4 Jeep Snatch Block


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