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How to use an ATV or UTV winch

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Riding your ATV in the forest or countryside is all fun and games until nature decides to pull a prank on you and you end up in a swamp or a big hole. No matter how hard you shout and push on the accelerator and regardless of your driving skills, chances are that you will remain stuck in the swamp with your vehicle.

In order to avoid all these situations and make sure you always have a Plan B, we suggest you always carrying a winch with you. Using an ATV winch could be a hassle if you’re not used to it, so here is what we suggest.



Having a winch is not all it takes to pull your ATV out of a swamp or a hole in the woods. You should also buy a few accessories that will add more grip and help you finish your task faster.

Gloves are mandatory when working with winches because you don’t want to get cuts, blisters, and calluses on your palms. We suggest opting for a new pair, preferably made of suede or thick mesh to ensure that they offer a good grip, absorb extra moisture, and prevent slipping.

A storage bag for your winch also makes an excellent option to prevent dust, dirt, rain or snow from damaging the rope and the steel.

If you think about choosing a tree to recover your ATV, never use regular cable or rope with your winch as these materials are too thin and might break under the weight of your vehicle. It would be better to opt for a tree saver strap that is at least 3-inch wide and comes with loops to connect your winch hook.

You can also consider a snatch block from the winch kit to double the pulling power. However, keep in mind that using such an accessory will slow you down so you’ll end up spending more time to finish the task. The snatch block can be attached to the previously mentioned tree saver strap with the help of a D-ring.

Take your time

Another important tip on how to efficiently use your ATV or UTV winch is to take your time to finish the operation. Make sure to use the winch in short bursts to allow enough time for your vehicle to breathe. Otherwise, you will overheat it, and it will take even more time before finishing your task.

Bear in mind that pulling your vehicle from a swamp or a deep hole might take up to one hour or even more, depending on the power of the other vehicle, how much help you get from your friends, and the type of materials you use for the process.