As I've posted before my wife and I are complete green horns when it comes to serious off-roading. So I started my education on the internet. The off road and 4x4 forums contain a wealth of common sense advice and hard won experience.
We've pretty much agreed on camping equipment and I put together some recovery gear that I hope will do the trick when needed.
To make sure I had some idea of what to do with all the gear, I ran a test in my drive way.
All strung out. Turns out this is the easy part.
My drive way is gravel over road base over good old Utah hard packed dirt. I kept digging a trench until the Pull-Pal started to embed itself.
The Pull-Pal dug in pretty good and I was able to work the slack out of the chain and strap. But the starter hole will have to be deep in this type of soil.
I put chocks in front of the tires for some resistance and by the time I had advanced the jack this far, the Xterra had moved a bit. The tires started rolling up the chocks but, in the gravel, everything just slid; that's quite a bit of weight to move. Anyway, the setup was working!
Unfortunately the road base gave way at this point. Rather than reset the Pull-Pal I decided to move into the shade and take a beer brake.
It's obvious that some soil conditions are a challenge for the Pull-Pal. However, if I have to reset the anchor or dig a deeper hole, I can still get myself out of trouble. But I wouldn't want to winch more than a few feet this way.
Of course the test raised a few questions.
The strap stretches, although it doesn't seem like much. Would a cable be better from the Xterra to the Hi-Lift?
When winching, is it better to have the Xterra in 4WD low with some body behind the wheel? Or would it be to difficult coordinating a pull, winching with a Hi-Lift? I'm guessing an electric winch provides constant tension, which might make it a bit easier. An electric winch may be a future modification but for now, the pump and grunt method will have to do. I'll bet the first time I throw my back out of kilter, a winch mod will move to the top of the wish list.