Skip to main content

How to Get Your Truck Unstuck

How to Get Your Truck Unstuck

Whether you are spring turkey hunting, baiting bears, or heading out to the farm to put in food plots, it is often all too easy to get stuck in the soaked soil of spring — it doesn't take much mire, either. All it takes is a small downpour, a muddy road, or a late season snow flurry and you are calling a buddy for help getting unstuck. Of course, you could add a winch to your vehicle (and it is something we do highly recommend), but it can be a costly investment for the very limited times you'll use it. But there are some pretty simple techniques and tools for getting unstuck that anyone can perform, and they don't break the bank, either. These tools will make the job much easier, and some may help you get out without having to go through the endless ribbing for years to come that a cell phone call to the hunting buddy will bring.

If you hunt, sooner or later you are going to get stuck. It is a fact of life almost as guaranteed as death and taxes. While sometimes unavoidable, having the equipment and know-how to get yourself free can make the difference between a good day and a very bad one.

Bubba Rope

Yes, we know this 'technique ' requires calling a friend, but sometimes you have to suck up the ego and ask for help. Bubba Rope comes in several varieties from a lil' Bubba (½"x 20', breaking strength 7,400 pounds) ideal for light applications like ATV and UTV recovery to the monster Extreme Bubba (2"x30', breaking strength of 131,500 pounds) in case you need to free a tractor, semitruck, or move your mobile home. We tested the standard Bubba (…ž"x20') with a breaking strength of 28,600 pounds and found it ideal for Jeeps, pickups, and SUVs. OK, I can hear you thinking now. 'It's a rope. What makes it so special? ' Well, several things, actually. It is durable, double-braided nylon rope coated with urethane polymer to resist water, mud, snow, UV light, as well as abrasions. It also stretches, acting almost like a bungee cord, which reduces the shock imparted on stuck vehicles as well as using the stored kinetic energy to help recover vehicles. All the end loops are commercial splices and come in a wide variety of colors. Bubba Rope comes in a heavy-duty nylon bag to keep the inside of your vehicle clean and organized when not in use.

Hand Tools

Growing up in the rain-soaked Pacific Northwest, two things my father always carried in his hunting truck was a shovel and an axe. Neither was particularly high-tech, just extras from the garden shed, but both worked great when stuck. For years I have carried a folding trenching shovel as a backup in a vehicle, but if you have ever used one, you know they aren't very effective — or as my buddy likes to say: 'At least it looks like you are trying to do something until someone can come pull you out with their truck. ' Luckily, today there are better concepts on this old technique. Hi-Lift (yes, the fantastic jack company) just released possibly one of the best renditions of this standby: the Handle-All. Essentially, the Handle-All combines the breakdown storage functionality of a trenching shovel with either a short or full-sized handle and removable full-sized shovel head, axe head, pick head, and sledgehammer head, and the best part is that it all goes into a tiny bag the size of a bag of potato chips. This is a must-keep tool in the vehicle at all times!

MaxTrax

Tons of times when we get stuck afield, it is not that horrific. It is just a small amount of mud, sand, or snow causing the problem. Often, it is just enough where tires can't get purchase, but as they say, 'stuck is stuck, ' and spinning tires will leave you as helpless as a vehicle buried up to the axles in mud. While pine bows, a bag of sand, or a broken-up bale of hay can all help out in these situations, sometimes you just can't find any good natural material. Enter MaxTrax — think of them as traction in a box. Molded from UV-stabilized, flexible, engineering-grade reinforced nylon, these super lightweight, extremely aggressive, lugged plates nestle together until they are needed. When stuck, take them apart, insert them under the offending tires, and watch how easy it is to get back underway. For seriously stuck situations, multiple MaxTrax can be linked together.

Power Tools

Occasionally, we have found the need for a chainsaw in our truck's arsenal for light cutting work. This work ranges from cutting limbs to use for material wedged under the tires to cutting up full-sized trees blown down across an old road. While gas saws are good, you have to remember to keep a supply of mixed gas in the vehicle, which for everyday travel can become problematic. It may leak, it definitely smells, and it will go bad if you leave it long enough. We discovered Oregon's new tool, the 40V MAX chainsaw, to be ideal. No pulling a cord, no smells, and little noise — the chainsaw is ready to cut the moment you pick it up. With a lithium-ion battery, it lasts and doesn't suffer from power fade. With a 14-inch bar and self-sharpening chain, it is more than adequate for most jobs occasionally encountered.

Quick Fist Clamps

As I mentioned, one of the most basic items for getting unstuck is keeping a good shovel in the vehicle. (In the winter it is a good idea to keep a regular shovel as well as a snow shovel.) But shovels (unless you get the Handle-All) tend to bounce around, rattle, bang into other gear, and generally make trouble, so many opt to leave them out. Solve the problem with some Quick Fist clamps. These ingenious little clamps work great for securing a shovel to the inside of your pickup bed or SUV. Available in several sizes to fit anything from tools to fire extinguishers, they are a great (and inexpensive) way to keep stuff in the right place.

Techniques

Barring using any tools, there are some basic techniques to get unstuck. To start with, if it is a case of tires just not getting traction, think creatively on how to solve this. An easy solution is to cut some tree boughs, pull some grass, or shovel some gravel from the roadside under the offending tire. Failing that, think about dropping the tire pressure. This is a standard technique for offroaders in snow or sand and by doing so increases the tire's footprint where it meets the ground. Remember, if you do this you will need a means of re-inflating the tires once unstuck.

Unless you have a portable air compressor (which we have covered in the past), deflating is a last-ditch effort. If these simple techniques don't work, it is time to break out some gear. Here are some essential items we don't leave home without:

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Fare Game: Stuffed Elk Backstrap Recipe

Fare Game: Stuffed Elk Backstrap Recipe

Take your venison loin to a whole new level with this delicious reverse-seared stuffed elk backstrap. Smoking the backstrap on a Camp Chef Woodwind pellet grill first, then finishing it on a blazing-hot skillet or flattop, creates a perfectly cooked, medium-rare steak with a crispy, seared exterior. The filling of diced mushrooms and creamy Boursin cheese adds a whole new level of amazing flavors to an otherwise classic smoked venison loin.

B&C Typical Mule Deer

B&C Typical Mule Deer

Doug Burris Jr's typical mule deer taken in 1969, could just be one record that will never be broken.

Best Whitetail Shot Placement with a Rifle

Best Whitetail Shot Placement with a Rifle

Craig Boddington breaks down where hunters should aim on a whitetail that provides the best possible margin for error.

Moon Phase Rut Tips

Moon Phase Rut Tips

John Dudley, technical writer and host of Nock On TV discusses why it's imporant to follow moon phases for the rut.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Check out the new fleet of off-road options for hunters.2020 ATV Buyer's Guide Wheels Afield

2020 ATV Buyer's Guide

Rick Sosebee - June 23, 2020

Check out the new fleet of off-road options for hunters.

Montana's vast wilderness provides the backdrop for a test of fortitude on the hunt for trophy black bears.A Long Way Up: Montana Backcountry Black Bears North America Big Game

A Long Way Up: Montana Backcountry Black Bears

Joseph von Benedikt

Montana's vast wilderness provides the backdrop for a test of fortitude on the hunt for trophy...

Practice under pressure with these high-intensity drills.4 Shooting Drills to Make You a Better Hunter How-To

4 Shooting Drills to Make You a Better Hunter

Jeff Johnston

Practice under pressure with these high-intensity drills.

Is lever action dead? Not by a long shot.The Return of Lever Action Rifles Guns

The Return of Lever Action Rifles

Craig Boddington - May 26, 2020

Is lever action dead? Not by a long shot.

See More Trending Articles

More How-To

With the right gear, a little time spent researching on the Internet, installing a smartphone mapping app and making a few phone calls, any hunter can tap into America's public lands and have an opportunity to be successful.How to Find and Access Public Land for Hunting – Backcountry Essentials Primer How-To

How to Find and Access Public Land for Hunting – Backcountry Essentials Primer

Petersen's Hunting Staff

With the right gear, a little time spent researching on the Internet, installing a smartphone...

Trail cameras can provide some valuable intel, but don't rely on them too much.Are You Relying Too Much on Trail Cameras? Whitetail

Are You Relying Too Much on Trail Cameras?

Jeff Johnston

Trail cameras can provide some valuable intel, but don't rely on them too much.

Hunting spring gobblers can be challenging enough! Here's how to not beat yourself.3 Run & Gun Mistakes Every Turkey Hunter Makes Other Game

3 Run & Gun Mistakes Every Turkey Hunter Makes

Tony J. Peterson

Hunting spring gobblers can be challenging enough! Here's how to not beat yourself.

Is it ethical, and should you even try it?Should You Shoot Running Game? How-To

Should You Shoot Running Game?

Craig Boddington

Is it ethical, and should you even try it?

See More How-To

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Hunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now