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ProMark Offroad Blog

Winching a Dead Log Off the Trail


Moving a log with your winch gives you more control and direction.

If you ride much in the woods, sooner or later you’re going to end up with a fallen log blocking the trail. At that point, it’s either turn around and go back the way you came, or drag the log off to the side. That’s where a winch comes in handy.

An ATV or recovery winch is good for more than just getting you out when you’re stuck. You can also put it to work moving logs, firewood, and other heavy objects. The key is to rig it up properly so that your winch cable doesn’t get damaged in the process.

In order to rig up for the pull, you’ll need a few winch accessories, including a tree strap or chain and a shackle. Never wrap the winch cable around the log and hook it back on itself. That’s a sure way to ruin the cable. Instead, wrap a tree strap or chain (only use chain for deadwood—never for live trees!) around the log and connect the strap to the winch hook on the cable by using a shackle. You may need to dig underneath the log a bit to get the strap around the trunk.

You can change the angle of the pull by rigging up a pulley block and tree strap to a good, solid tree nearby that gives you the angle you need. Instead of dragging the log straight towards your vehicle, you can drag it at an angle off to the side of the trail.

If the fallen log is a long timber wedged between two trees, it may be impossible to move the log without cutting it. In addition, you’ll want to take into consideration the environmental impact (i.e. you don’t want to kill 20 saplings just to move a dead log) and the federal, state, or local rules that may apply to the trail you are riding. Take time to assess the situation before rigging up your winch. Safety is always your first priority.

Outfitting Your ATV: Ride with Pride

These ATV accessories give you the freedom to ride and work in rugged conditions.

1. Front Brush Guard and Rear Bumper

Sportsman ATV Front Brush GuardYou might say it’s to keep branches and brush from gouging your paint job. You might say it’s a safeguard for the headlights and grill. And it is. But let’s be honest. The real appeal of that front brush guard is all about the looks. Double that up with a rear bumper, and you’ve got a slick ride in the making.

Bolt-on applications make this a quick mod. The Polaris Ranger and Sportsman brush guard and bumper use existing factory holes for quick installation in less than 30 minutes.
2. ATV Rack and Cargo Bag

If you’ve got a lot of stuff to haul around, an ATV rack and cargo bag give you a place to strap down your gear. You can load up with hunting, fishing, or camping gear, extra fuel for long trips, firewood, coolers, and just about anything else you can imagine. Strapping your cargo down keeps it secure and out of your way while you’re riding. Just make sure not to overload the front or rear of your quad.
3. ATV Winch

No ATV would be complete without a winch. Not only does it make you look good, but it can get you (or your friends) out of trouble when you get in over your head. Getting stuck without a winch can turn a day of exploring into a major headache. With the power of a winch, you can be back on the trail in no time.

Hands down, a winch is one of the most versatile ATV accessories you can come by. Not only does your winch come in handy for trail rides, but you can also use it for yard work, lifting your plow blade, dragging brush or fallen trees, and plenty of other demanding jobs.

Cut Yard Work in Half with an ATV Winch

Keep your yard and garden looking sharp with an ATV winch.

If you own a good chunk of land, your ATV winch can come in handy for more than just pulling you out when you’re on the trail. A winch can turn manual labor around your property into fun. Instead of dreading yard work, you might even find yourself looking forward to it.

The possibilities of using your ATV for yard work are endless. With a winch and plow attachment on your quad, you can move rocks, dirt, sand, gravel, and other materials with little effort. You can shape or level your driveway, work in your garden, and clear out brush in no time with your plow and winch.

Synthetic ATV WinchUsing your winch to lift the plow blade cuts out the effort required to raise and lower a manual lift. If you already own or plan on purchasing an ATV winch for off-road riding, you can double the use of your winch with yard work. You can use your winch to drag fallen logs, large brush, and heavy objects. A winch lets you clean up the shoreline or wooded areas with less manpower and time.

If you use your winch to clear out an area, make sure you take extra precautions to protect your cable rope. Abrasion can weaken or fray the rope and compromise its strength. Use a winch saver or a heavy coat or blanket to protect the rope from rubbing on rocks and other sharp objects. Hook your winch up to the load with a tree strap instead of wrapping the winch cable around the load and hooking the cable back on itself. Also, don’t let the winch rope drag on the ground as you pull.

A plow and winch are highly practical ATV accessories that save you time and manual labor. Since both of these accessories are multi-purpose, you can put them to work any time of the year for a variety of uses. With the power of your ATV and a few simple accessories, you can do heavy landscape and forestry work yourself instead of paying someone else to do it for you. Doing it yourself saves you money and gives you the satisfaction of a job well done.