Back Country Towing

August 16, 2023

After a jostling half hour trek up a goat trail that you were convinced was going to break an axle, you finally come across the garbage truck on its side, halfway down a steep embankment covered in blackberry bushes. Night has set in and the rain is picking up. So, what’s the plan?

It’d be nice if every commercial vehicle stuck to asphalt. However, the demands of the job sometimes forces some into off-road environments which can lead to mishaps. Rugged terrains and unpredictable obstacles can become real head-scratchers when rescuing that overturned tractor trailer or stranded delivery truck. Efficiently and safely recovering vehicles in tricky situations requires specialized skills, equipment and a deep understanding of the environment. Zacklift’s detachable towing equipment is ideal for the challenges faced and offers strategies to ensure a successful rescue mission.

Understanding the Challenges

Recovering a vehicle from a rough road environment is very different from performing the same task on a paved road. Mud, sand, rocks, steep inclines, and dense vegetation can complicate recovery efforts by making access difficult and increasing the risk of damage to both the stranded vehicle and the wrecker itself.

Since recovery often takes place in remote locations where access to traditional resources and assistance might be limited, self-reliance, adaptability and a well-prepared recovery team using the right kind of equipment is essential.

Specialized Equipment

The success of off-road wrecker recovery heavily depends on the equipment used. Here are some essential tools that play a pivotal role:

The Zacklift D-BOOM detachable towing package is an excellent choice for entry-level towing recovery operators needing to navigate the challenges of rescuing vehicles in demanding off-road terrains. Designed with a focus on versatility and durability, the D-BOOM’s detachable design allows for swift and efficient installation, while its robust construction ensures reliability even in the most challenging conditions. 

With its advanced hydraulic capabilities, user-friendly controls and adjustable boom angles, the D-BOOM enables operators to retrieve vehicles from various angles and positions, enhancing their effectiveness in tricky off-road scenarios.

Winches and Anchoring Systems

Powerful winches are a must-have for off-road wrecker recovery. They can be attached to both the stranded vehicle and a sturdy anchor point, allowing the wrecker to exert controlled force and pull the vehicle out of difficult situations.

Tailored for budget-conscious customers in search of exceptional towing capabilities, the Zacklift EZTOW detachable "rear" recovery system stands out. With a specialized focus on off-road towing conditions, this system delivers high-quality performance without breaking the bank.

Heavy-Duty Rigging Equipment

Sometimes, the vehicle might be overturned or lodged in a challenging position. Heavy-duty rigging gear, such as snatch blocks and shackles, can provide creative solutions to change angles and pull the vehicle from various directions.

The GENESIS 30T by Zacklift presents an advantageous solution for off-road recovery tasks. Boasting a robust 30-ton integrated boom and a reliable 35,000 lbs underlift system, this equipment is tailor-made for the demands of off-road recovery scenarios. Its thoughtful design emphasizes compactness and balance, rendering it particularly suitable for towing and recovery operations within confined spaces. As an excellent choice for environments where space is at a premium, the GENESIS 30T provides a versatile and efficient tool to tackle difficult recovery challenges with confidence.

Skill and Technique

Safe and effective wrecker recovery not only requires the right equipment, but also a patient and skilled operator who understands how to handle challenging terrain.

Before attempting recovery, understand that every recovery situation is unique. Assess everything from the condition of the stranded vehicle, the obstacles, soil and potential anchor points. Make a solid plan considering the angles, forces and potential surprises that may trip the process up.

Establish clear communications before and throughout the recovery process. Each team member should understand his or her role and follow instructions precisely to avoid any damage being done, and especially no one getting hurt. Always remember, rushing the process can lead to mistakes and potentially dangerous situations. Take your time, act deliberately and communicate always.

Wrecker recovery in dirt road environments is a complex undertaking that demands a unique combination of equipment, skills, and patience. By embracing the challenges using specialized Zacklift detachable towing equipment, your team can build a solid reputation as an off-road recovery master operation.

Zacklift International is an industry leader in heavy-duty detachable towing equipment. Visit our website to view our products, or call 509.674.4426 and discover how we can help you tackle any recovery job with strength and confidence.

Photo by Micah Boerma


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