Saturday, May 1, 2021

Almost convinced

Matt of Winder Towing

I’ve been watching even more videos from Matt’s Off Road Recovery. In one of them he explains how even though many experts say you shouldn’t use the ball of a tow hitch to yank out a stuck vehicle, sometimes it’s the best way. 

That’s especially true for things like cars, minivans and crossovers. Matt says anything on those rigs you can hook onto is weaker than a tow ball would be, and presents a greater chance of damage to the suspension and body panels.

Dry lake beds aren’t always dry, traction mats are sometimes useless

Now, the Rolling Steel Tent has a nice beefy truck chassis to hook onto. But if I’m ever foolish enough to bury the van floor-deep in sand or mud, it could be helpful to have an easily accessible tow point.

My bumper brackets aren’t very strong, so adding Jeep-like hooks or rings would require a lot of reinforcement. It would be simpler and cheaper to attach a receiver hitch to the chassis. I’m not a towing kind of guy, so I don’t need a ball (or trailer wiring). But an insert with just a tow ring could be the perfect thing for emergencies. Mine or someone else’s. 

So, do I spend the money for something I hope I never need? Would having the ability to help someone end up with me getting stuck too? Should I be extra cautious and, besides avoiding snow and ice, just never drive off pavement again? Maybe the first step is to stop watching off road recovery videos.


  1. From my experience with my full size vans in the past, do not leave the hitch bar in the receiver full time. They have a habit of trying to eat shins when you start to open the rear doors.

    1. I have always left my hitch bar in the receiver, and a friend once walked around my van and tripped over the hitch bar, and broke her arm!

  2. I really enjoy their videos and you can sure pick up some good tips while being entertained.

  3. I have a tow-ring insert, along with some other stuff such as snatch-strap, traction-pads, and come-along that I have never used (other than practice) but believe that's because I do have them. Preparation is the most important step in prevention!

  4. A hitch insert that can hold the back of the van off the ground was $19.98 with hitch ball already attached at Walmart this afternoon.