If you’re someone who enjoys the outdoors hunting, camping, or off-roading getting stuck in the mud is part of the territory. However, the real question is, how to get a truck out of the mud when you do get stuck? To help simplify and create the best solutions to this question we have put together helpful tips and tools to get the job done.
How To Get A Truck Out Of The Mud By Yourself –
If you’re out backcountry camping or hunting you may find yourself stuck in the mud. Now, this can be a frustrating and nerve-racking situation when you’re alone. Especially, if you’re too far from help or a towing service. However, to better answer the question of how to get a truck out of the mud we’re going to break down a few options you have to get out and get back to driving. Before we get into the options we first need to highlight some key tips.
First & Foremost –
So it seems you’ve gotten your truck stuck in the mud. Before you panic or worse get frustrated and give your truck more gas, pause and access the situation. The last thing you want to do is panic and sping your wheels more causing yourself to dig a deeper rut or hole making your situation worse. Speaking from experience I myself made the mistake my first time getting stuck in the mud, by over spinning my wheels causing to bury myself more. As a result, my tires had spun so much they dug where my axles were resting on the mud. Long story short, I had made my situation way worse than when I started.
Instead, once you feel your wheels turning and spinning. Stop and see if it’s safe to exit your truck. Next, see what tires have gotten stuck and where are safe exit strategies. Once, you’ve assessed the situation and understand it you can formulate a plan. Some common ways to get your truck out of mud are as follows.
Drive Out –
If you’re lucky enough to have a four-wheel drive truck. There is the option that you can possibly drive yourself out of the mud. However, there are a few things to first do and consider before trying. First, if the truck’s wheels and tires are the only part stuck in the mud. You should be safe to give it a try. However, if you can see the frame, axles, or body of the truck stuck as well in the mud. It’s going to be a lot more difficult to get out with just the power of the truck.
That said, let’s assume you’ve assessed the truck and only the tires and wheels are stuck and spinning. First, switch your trucks four-wheel drive control from high to low. Some vehicles require a few control sequences to perform this as it’s designed for low miles per hour driving. If you’re unsure of your make and model’s sequence check your owners manual. The next step is if you’re planning on moving forward out of your stuck location move to the lowest gear possible. This will be indicated with an L, 1, or 2 depending on your make. If you’re safest exit strategy is reverse, then the only option you have of course is R. Some trucks have other controls and options to make it easier for getting out of the mud. Some of these are traction control or locking differentials to help increase your trucks potential to get out.
Now that you have your truck in the right settings it’s time to get unstuck. The key is to go slow and let the truck do the work, try and not let the tires get loose and spin. Begin by slowly advancing and letting your tires grip the mud or dirt where there is actual traction to get yourself out. It’s possible you may have to reverse to gain momentum. If so be sure to be careful once you get unstuck that your momentum doesn’t cause you to be stuck again elsewhere or hit a tree or rock.
Towing Service –
A towing service is only possible if you find yourself stuck where you have cell reception and close enough to town. However, this isn’t always the cheapest option. If you’re curious to check how much a tow service would cost you here. Tow truck services are going to be the most skilled in getting your truck unstuck. That said, this isn’t always an option if you’re in the backcountry far from town. Which is why it’s always best to prepare for the worse.
Winch & Pull –
If you find yourself in the backcountry or off road quite often, it might be time to consider a winch. This is especially true if you are going off road by yourself. As a winch is like having a built-in tow service on your truck. Winches can be found in 4 ton, 5 ton, 6 Ton or even higher, to match any type of truck. If you find yourself stuck in the mud and you’re wondering how to get a truck out of the mud? There is no easier solution than an electric winch and some vehicle recovery equipment, such as shackles, tree saver straps, and a snatch block.
Similar to trying to drive out as an option to get out of the mud. When using a winch you need to access the situation and understand how stuck you are and locations for your vehicle recovery equipment. Assuming your winch is located to the front bumper of your truck you need to find a solid anchor in front. Typically a solid tree is going to be your best anchor point.
Next, wrap your tree saver tow strap around the base of the tree and attach a shackle with your snatch block. It’s best to use vehicle recovery equipment suited for the job instead of just wrapping your winch line around a tree. If you do this you may end up damaging your cable or worse it could break under load. Which is why it’s important to use the proper equipment for vehicle recovery. That said, with your snatch block secured to an anchor attach your winch cable to the snatch block and back to your vehicle. By using shackles as anchor points on your truck you ensure you have a secure enough point of contact.
Tow Strap & Extra Vehicle –
If you do find your truck being stuck in the mud but have a friend nearby. Then you’re in luck, as a tow strap and a spare vehicle is a great what to figure out how to get a truck out of the mud. In order to properly recover a stuck truck is to use a winch or tow strap. A tow strap is by far the least expensive to own and works fantastic if you have a recovery vehicle.
Vehicle Position –
In order to get started, you need to position the pulling vehicle in front or behind the stuck vehicle. Either direction works, as long as you planned a safe exit strategy. Be sure to line the vehicles up in line so that you are pulling the stuck vehicle in line with its tires. Next, you’ll need a tow strap, preferably 20-30′ feet long and a set of shackles. With the vehicles closer than the length of the tow strap you can attach the strap with the shackles to a strong anchor point on each vehicle. Be sure you are attaching to tow hooks or the frame as the force can pull off a bumper.
Now with the tow strap hooked up, you can slowly drive the tow vehicle until there is tension on the tow strap. This is when you want to make sure all parties are clear in the event of a failed strap. Attaching a cable damper is a good idea for added safety. Once the strap is tight you can slowly try and pull the stuck vehicle out. That said, be sure your tow vehicle is in a low gear and four-wheel drive to help increase traction. Also be cautious so not to get the other vehicle stuck at the same time. Vehicle recovery straps are designed to snatch or flex to help increase the load, but be sure to look at your tow strap that it meets your working load capacity.
Equipment & Tools Needed –
When learning how to get a truck out of the mud there are plenty of tools and equipment that can make your job a little easier. It’s best to create a vehicle recovery kit and practice with it so that when the inevitable happens and you get stuck in the mud.
Trail Jacks –
One of the most useful and inexpensive tools for getting out unstuck is a trail jack. It’s a mechanical tool that allows you to lift a corner of your vehicle and reposition the ground underneath your stuck tire. With a tool like this, you can easily lift up a stuck tire and slide gravel, logs, or a traction pad. A trail jack is a handy tool that is made of cast steel components making it extremely durable. Plus they are extremely simple to use and probably one of the tools you’ll find out is a lifesaver someday.
There are a few things to keep a close eye on when using one. Always be sure to find a solid surface around your truck when securing the anchor. You may find yourself using a solid base plate to expand the ground surface when jacking. Overall, a trail jack is a great tool if you’re planning to go off road and you know a tow service is nowhere near you.
Traction Mats –
The second best tool for getting out of the mud and it complements a trail jack quite well is a traction mat. These are made to provide a boost of traction when you encounter mud, snow, sand, or loose ground. Now you don’t need a trail jack to use these either. Simply place the traction mat beneath your spinning tire and allow for your tire to grab the traction mat. These are very helpful tools especially when you’re alone. They can give you the added traction necessary to get unstuck. For too long people have tried using logs, sticks, other gravel, but there is nothing that grips better than a traction pad.
Off Road Shovel –
When it comes to understanding how to get a truck out of the mud, an off road shovel is a great tool. I’m sure if you’ve ever found yourself stuck in the woods you tend to find a log or branch to dig out your tires. Not long after a minute or two, you realize how inefficient that is for digging. Which is why having an off road shovel is so necessary. A shovel, in general, is going to allow you to get a buried tire out and lose. Therefore, allow you to position a traction pad in place. As a result, it’s one of the tools we suggest you keep handy if you’re going off road.
When it comes to vehicle recovery there are few better accessories then shackles. Of course, they aren’t the end-all-tool, they are one of the strongest and safest tools when attaching tow straps and winches. Always be sure to check shackles before you use them so that their integrity isn’t compromised. From a safety standpoint, shackles are much safer than hooks as they create a closed loop. Therefore, meaning that straps or other accessories can’t fall out from the shackle. Shackles are very inexpensive and come in just about every color to make it fit your truck style.
Tow Straps –
One tool that should be in everyone’s truck is a tow strap. They stand to be one of the best tools to get out of a sticky situation. Plus they cost far less than the price of a tow truck. Most tow straps are found between 20 and 30 feet long, however, their weight capacity can fluctuate quite a bit. That said, be sure to purchase a tow strap that meets the capacity of your truck. Also be sure to take good care of your tow strap. If you’re someone that will end up using a tow strap often, it’s best to buy a backup.
Due to the fact that tow straps drag on the ground over rocks and trees. They are bound to get abrasions and cuts, of course, they are designed to withstand that. However, over time these can lead to weak spots thus a failure. The last thing you want is a stuck vehicle and a broken tow strap.
If you’re looking to learn more about how to use a snatch block. They can be a great tool, but due to them being dangerous they require some practice and caution. Therefore, we have more tips and learning tutorials to help provide safe vehicle recovery.