Five Tips for Mud Recoveries

The Common Mud Stuck

By far mud is the most common trail challenge in South Florida that literally buries rigs. The typical stuck in mud can be thought of as variation on center high where the vehicle is driven into an area where the bottom is out of reach. Tires are spun until the rig is resting on its frame. The yellow YJ below is equipped with 35″ Mud Tires. From the buried position that’s not so obvious.


Yep, that’s stuck – Good job.

The other common mud stuck is the “slow tip” which may not be all that slow if the mud is real soft and real deep. This stuck usually happens where part of the vehicle is still in contact with load supporting feature (dry ground) and the other in soft mud. As the rig moves the part in the soft mud churns way deepening on one side causing the vehicle to tip or even roll.


Here the supporting feature is the dry shoulder on the trail. A few more back and forth attempts and this TJ on 36″ Intercos could be down on its side. A lot of times with mud “struggle = sink”

Five Things That Could Make Mud Recoveries Easier

If the recovery zone is turned into a mire, vehicles working the recovery are more likely to get stuck as well. While that makes for epic story, it’s a pretty miserable situation. The simple precautions below can make a big difference in recoveries and while they may seam like common sense right now, you’ll be wheeling then.

    #1 Use a Limited Number of Vehicles to Perform the Recovery

  • Fewer moving vehicle in the recovery area means less ground wear.
  • Fewer drivers and vehicles at the recovery site is more manageable.
  • Vehicles not equipped to assists (no wench or not snatching) should remain out.
  • Keep unfit vehicles out (you know the ones, takes nothing & they’re stuck)
  • Keep spectators at a distance for safety, keep their rigs even further.


    #2 Agree on a Recovery Approach

  • Get the driver’s buy-in who knows better how the rig will respond to the approach.
  • Go with the easiest recovery (pull forward, back, side pull etc.)
  • Use a snatch block where vehicle positioning is difficult.
  • Move recovery vehicles around as little as possible.


    #3 Avoid Getting Recovery Vehicles Stuck


    As dramatic as this looks, it was really a matter of the driver checking for hard bottom that allowed him to make the crossing and get into position for the recovery with relative ease.

  • Walk the line, know and assess the condition of the ground you plan to cross.
    – What looks like nasty mud might have reachable hard bottom.
    – What looks solid might just be crust for bottomless mud
  • Hard starts and stops are bad, momentum is your friend.
  • Plan the power out before rolling.
    Realizing the need to gun it once in the muck is almost always too late.


    #4 Always Maintain an Escape and Contingencies

  • Don’t work it so a recovery vehicle gets stuck at an exit point.
  • Stay within cable reach of trees and other rigs
  • Moving one vehicle at a time avoids everyone getting stuck at once.
    By far, this is truly the rudest of all surprises.


    #5 Agree on a Departure Plan

  • Once recovered inspect the vehicle for damage and operability.
  • Drive or tow back to camp/road avoiding all unnecessary trail challenges.
    Keep in mind how churned up the route in is, and if selection of an alternate path might be better.
  • Clear the back field before rolling (again momentum is your friend)
    On any ride there will be some drivers screwing around, wheeling in the departure path, maybe even tearing it up making it difficult to cross. Clear them out of the way and consider making the needed effort to keep them pavement bound for the next ride.