Winch Hook Straps
Winch hook straps are a super simple winch accessory that can make your winching a little bit safer. We're an advocate of developing rules for ourselves to keep safe - there is enough stuff to kill you fourwheeling already. One of our rules is to always use a winch hook strap. Use it while playing out cable or to keep some tension on the line when you're reeling winch cable back on the drum. They're usually made out of nylon or polyester and hook onto the end of your winch cable. They have one loop on one end and are flat on the other. Why use one? You could just grab the winch cable or the hook, right?
First, it gives you a non-metallic place to grab your winch cable.
With enough use your winch hook will be beat up. It'll get nicks and
burrs on it from things you hook it to and when it gets dragged over
rocks. Steel winch cable will likewise get splinters and burrs that can
cut your hands. Just the thought of running a bare used steel winch
cable through your bare hands should give you the shivers. It can cut
you pretty quick.
A winch hook strap never gets burrs or splinters since it's just strap, so it gives you a nice place to grab without worrying what'll happen to your hands.
another safety issue: When you reel in your winch line, you need to
provide a little tension on it to get the line to roll onto the drum
nicely. If you're holding the winch hook, winch line, or the ferrule for
the loop you risk pulling your hand into your roller or hawse fairlead.
Now, this might sound like something that only an idiot would do.
However, speaking from experience, everything changes when you're in the rain, standing in a mudhole, with water above your knees as you navigate a tough trail. Your partner could be working the remote while you work the cable. You could get stuck on the line. Mistakes are made. In the best case you might pinch your fingers. In the worst case, who knows? The winch hook strap keeps your hand and fingers out of the area since the winch will jam with the hook before your fingers get near the fairlead.
Winch hook straps usually slip on to the hook of the cable after you open the gate. However, sometimes the strap can work it's way off the hook. Maybe your gate ripped off or deformed or it's just worn out. So, sometimes we prefer to detach the pin for the hook (where the winch line attaches) and attach the strap there. This keeps the strap in place and will probably make it last a little longer. You can't do this with all hooks since some don't have a pin.
It's also worth pointing out that the strap only has one loop. The other side is flat, plain webbing to keep it from being one more snag point when you're dragging your winch cable.