Off roading is fun, but when things go wrong they can go wrong fast. There’s a good chance that if you’ve spent any amount of time out there, you’ve ended up with our ride in a pit at least once. When that happens, you’ll often need a good rope to get you out.
Kinetic rope is a stretchy nylon braided rope built to be able to withstand large forces without breaking. It has two components, an outer nylon sheath and an inner nylon core. This allows it to stretch more than even other kinds of nylon ropes can.
Great news! Kinetic ropes are super cool! But let’s take a closer look at exactly what makes this fantastic invention tick, and what it can do to make your off roading experience way better.
How Does Kinetic Rope Work?
Kinetic rope works mostly based off of the merits of its material, nylon. While some particular brands may have their own techniques for making their rope, they are all based off of the same principles.
Both the outer and inner parts of the rope are made of a thick woven nylon. This allow both the outside and the inside to stretch at the same time.
Because both parts of the rope are able to stretch, it’s able to take the force that comes from trying to tow a car and apply it over a longer time, decreasing the potential damage to the car being towed.
The sheath and core system also increases the strength of the rope significantly. This makes the ropes far more durable than your average nylon rope.
Can You Tow With Kinetic Rope?
Kinetic rope is built for rescues for cars that are in pits or sand-traps. This means that it should have no problem towing, but you might not want to use it for towing long distances.
While it shouldn’t have a problem with breaking unless the rope has been used a good couple times before, it is quite stretchy. This could lead the the car being towed acting pretty unpredictably over turns or uneven terrain, which could in turn lead to a crash.
Because of this, if you plan on towing a vehicle out of a tough spot, you should probably have both a kinetic recovery rope and a more traditional tow line with you.
That being said, if you don’t have anything else, the kinetic rope will probably be fine. It is designed specifically to be strong enough to tow a car, so it shouldn’t be too big of a stretch to actually have it towing a car.
What Size Of Kinetic Rope Do I Need?
Kinetic rope is still rope, meaning that it can easily break if too much force is put on it. Fortunately, kinetic ropes come in all sorts of sizes that are rated for use based on the size of the vehicle that you’re moving.
Generally, in order to account for the force exerted by the vehicle doing the recovery and other possible variables, you want to get a rope rated for a weight about three times higher than the weight of your car.
That means that if you’re towing a 4,000 pound jeep, you’ll need to have a kinetic rope rated for at least 12,000 pounds.
It also means that for a 147,709,540,000,000,000 ton *ahem* space station you would need a rope prepared for 4.4312862e+17 tons of material. That’s a big rope! If my napkin math is correct, it would be around 9713642939.81 miles wide, which is actually more than the circumference of the Earth, so that’s fun.
What Is The Best Recovery Rope?
Considering that the hypothetical rope in the last section would probably take more nylon than the Earth currently produces, I think we can safely assume that it is not the best one.
When researching good kinetic ropes, you need to be careful reading the review sites. They don’t actually make distinctions between what kind of recovery rope they’re talking about.
For instance, most top ten articles put these two high quality ropes next to each other: The GearAmerica 2PK recovery tow straps and the ASR Offroad Kinetic Recovery Rope. Both are fantastic products (each is the best in their field in my opinion) but they serve very different purposes.
The GearAmerica is an ordinary tow strap. When that is what you need, it’s pretty unbeatable. However, it isn’t really a kinetic rope.
Usually this will be no problem at all, since it’s strong enough to do its job just fine. But if your vehicle is stuck in sand and you use a tow strap without much give, you may end up causing some serious damage to it.
The ASR, on the other hand, is an actual kinetic rope, and definitely the best one I’ve seen. It may be pricey, but because it has that stretch and give to it it’s extremely unlikely to damage the vehicle it’s towing no matter how stuck it is.
What makes these two brands the best? It’s about durability. The ASR has an unusually high rating for kinetic ropes of 50,000 pounds, and It can do this while being a lot lighter than other heavy rated ropes.
The GearAmerica on the other hand simply has a lot more utility to go with its sheer strength than many other tow straps do.
While it may not be ideal to use in all rescue situations (again, it is not a kinetic rope and it can damage both the car towing and the car being towed) it can be used for all sorts of things other than towing as well, including tree removal.
How Much Do Kinetic Recovery Ropes Cost?
When it comes to rope, you probably don’t want to buy the cheapest thing. Especially kinetic ropes, which can take a lot of wear and tear in the course of normal use.
The ASR runs between a hundred and two-hundred and thirty dollars per rope. As I said earlier, they’re expensive!
Other reasonably tough ropes include Tactical Recovery’s Heavy Duty Snatch Ropes which run between seventy and six-hundred dollars depending on the size.
Of course, if you just need a cheap rope now, you can get one for between thirty and fifty dollars, but I can’t really vouch for their safety.
How Long Can I Use My Kinetic Rope For?
Many kinetic ropes are only rated for a certain number of pulls. If you are using the rope for private purposes, you can probably safely ignore this, however there are still a lot of things that can happen to your rope to basically destroy it.
The ropes are good at taking horizontal force, but they do not like being crushed vertically. If the rope gets run over, it’s extremely likely to be ruined not long afterwards.
Dragging the rope on the ground for long distances can also cause a lot of damage to the rope over time.
If you find that your kinetic rope is starting to look worn from use, it’s a good idea to keep your eye on it. As long as it still looks sturdy it’s probably alright, but if you aren’t sure about it it’s probably better to just get a new one.
How To Use A Kinetic Rope
Using a kinetic rope isn’t all too different from using any other kind of towing cable, the main difference being that you have to be aware of the ropes nature as a nylon based tool.
The first thing you’ll want to do is find some appropriately rated recovery shackles. These will help prevent your rope from becoming a truck-based ballista, and it will also help take some of the stress off of the rope itself.
Then you’ll attach the shackles to each of the individual cars that will be involved. When you’ve made sure that you’ve planned a path that will prevent the rope from dragging or being run over, you can start towing!
While towing, remember that you can’t expect the vehicle you’re towing to follow your movements one to one, even when the rope is pulled taught. Because the vehicle stretches so much, the vehicle will likely take a few seconds to feel the effect of your pulling.
While it can be tempting to speed up when things are going a little slower than usual, it’s important to remember that you don’t actually need to pull harder, just wait for the rope to stretch a little closer to its limit.
In fact, it’s best to stay steady at your desired force and increase only if it seems like the vehicle being towed isn’t moving even when the rope is pulled mostly tight.
Where Can I Buy Kinetic Rope
Kinetic rope can be found pretty much anywhere off roading gear can be found. That means places like Wal-mart, motor sports stores, hardware stores, and ATV stores.
But you might be like the vast majority of people who now order most of what they need online. It’s still useful to know where to find kinetic ropes on your own just in case the world gets Mad Maxed.
You’re more likely to want to order kinetic rope online, in which case a variety of sellers should be able to help including big sites like Amazon and Ebay but also some manufacturers who will sell their ropes directly. Of these, I think Yankum is the most recommendable. They have pretty solid quality as far as I am aware.
You probably shouldn’t look for kinetic rope used. Somebody might be selling it, but because it takes significant damage from use you never know how long a used kinetic rope will last. It could have ten pulls left in it, but it could also have zero and that would be a bit of a problem if you ever planned on using it.
Can I Do Recovery With An Ordinary Nylon Rope?
Nylon ropes are pretty strong, and I have seen people tow using them before. But a recovery is a bit of another subject than ordinary towing. A lot more forces are involved in getting a vehicle out of a pit than are involved in moving a little carriage down the highway.
I wouldn’t really want to test my luck. It seems unlikely that a nylon rope that isn’t specifically designed for kinetic recovery would really be able to handle the weight without just snapping, and considering how much energy would be pent up in that rope when it snapped I would hate to be anywhere near it when that happened.
How To Dispose Of Old Kinetic Ropes
The primary material in kinetic rope is Nylon, the same as a lot of clothes. However, as I mentioned earlier, you can’t really sell old kinetic ropes used because of their nature.
While most recycling programs here in the United States can’t handle nylon on their own, nylon is actually recycleable. If your rope isn’t too dirty you should check your local recycling center to see if they have a bin for lod nylon products (which they might.)
A lot of nylon bags can be sent back to their manufacturer for recycling, although I’m not actually sure that any kinetic rope companies are equipped to do so. You might want to contact them and ask just in case.
If you live in the kind of place that has them, you can also talk to local art collectives to see if they might have a use for them. You never really know with those guys. If the rope is broken they might want you to fix up the ends before taking it, but it never hurts to ask.
You may even be able to reuse the rope yourself if it isn’t broken. Nylon is pretty good for tying knots, so if you have a boy scout in the home and the rope you were using is light enough they might be able to practice with it. You may even be able to use it to pull things that aren’t very heavy and won’t cause any damage to it.
Of course, you could also just throw it in the trash. But considering that if you throw it in the trash it will likely need to be disposed of again by someone else down the line this is kind of a bad option if there’s literally anything else you can do with it.