Unbogging a vehicle

To: bird <>
Subject: Unbogging a vehicle
From: Syd Curtis <>
Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2006 09:59:12 +1000
Longish posting.  Delete now if not interested.

Even a 4WD can get stuck, and consequences can range from annoying to
life-threatening, depending on circumstances.  Carrying at least a minimum
of "de-ditching" gear is advisable.

Being lazy, I copy below, a note I posted to another mailing list a couple
of years ago.


I was fascinated by Marty Michener's sand stakes (see below).  Just what my
absolute minimum vehicle recovery kit needed to make it more versatile.

If for a planned trip I see a possible need, I take an axe, shovel and rope.
And I hasten to add that this assumes that the only time I'll get stuck, is
in the Australian "bush" where, (a) there are trees; and (b) in an emergency
it will be reasonable to use the axe on them.

When I first saw this technique in action (c. 1943) the driver called it a
Spanish Windlass.  I don't know if that is a widely recognised term.  This
is how it works:

You tie the rope from your vehicle to a suitable tree - or to your sand
stakes.  With the axe you cut two appropriate lengths of suitable timber.
One stands upright in a hole you've dug in the ground at a suitable spot
beside the rope; the other winds the rope around it, rotating the vertical
one in the hole.

With two people operating, one keeps the vertical pole upright, while the
other walks round to do the winding.  The longer you make the winding pole,
the more leverage you can exert.  But I have used the technique successfully
on a couple of occasions when alone.

Another technique perhaps worth mentioning, also depends on there being
trees around.  This one for when you strike a patch of very soft soil, your
wheels break through the surface crust and the vehicle sits on it
differentials with all four wheels turning uselessly.

You have to lift the vehicle and pack solid material under the wheels.  The
vehicle can then move to the extent of the packed material.  You may have to
repeat this a number of times.  (If you know you are likely to encounter
such situations you can carry two sets of planks or whatever and use them in
turn until on solid ground.)

But lifting the vehicle a number of times with a conventional jack would be
tedious, if possible at all.  An alternative - in a forested area - is to
cut a long lever, and get a suitable fulcrum that can be moved into position
and lever the vehicle up one wheel at a time.  Again it is a job for two (or
more), but I once unbogged a vehicle that way by myself.  It was just a
matter of gathering material that I could use to weigh down the end of the
lever while I packed under the wheel.

I hope you never have occasion to use these techniques, but if really stuck
and isolated from all assistance, they can be useful.

Syd Curtis in Australia.


> From: Marty Michener <>
> Reply-To: 
> Date: Thu, 01 Apr 2004 11:11:36 -0500
> To: 
> Subject: [Nature Recordists] Good Vehicle (was: Walt on Budgies)
> 5. I also have a set of sand stakes, a small shovel and baby sledge.
> Sand stakes are fascinating if you've never seen them.  It is a series of
> three stakes, each about a meter long, with stout nylon cords.
> It employs the lever principle to provide a "tree" to winch from when none
> are close enough.  The first, strongest stake gets driven into the sand
> about halfway, angled away from the stuck car about 20 degrees to
> vertical.  The second then DIRECTLY behind it about 2-4 meters away, in a
> similar attitude.  The TOP of the first stake is tied tightly to the second
> stake where it meets the ground.  The third stake is driven a similar
> distance away from the second and tied similarly.  You then anchor the
> winch to the bottom of the first stake.  As tension increases, the lever
> multipliers ideally keep the first stake from moving.  In practice, getting
> the pull slightly to one side or other is often fatal to the rig.  Once you
> have disturbed the sand, it gets tougher, too.
Birding-Aus is on the Web at
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send the message:
'unsubscribe birding-aus' (no quotes, no Subject line)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • Unbogging a vehicle, Syd Curtis <=

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU