Free Shipping on orders over $20


The Essential 4WD Sand Recovery Buyer's Guide

Navigating sandy terrains in your 4WD can be exhilarating, but it also demands careful preparation to be ready for unexpected vehicle recovery. In our comprehensive buyers' guide, we delve into the essential tools that will help with successful sand recoveries. 

Hema Maps MAXTRAX sand recovery


The simplest and most important sand recovery item you can own is the trusty long-handled shovel which makes removing sand from around your tyres, diffs and chassis easier. A shovel also has multiple uses, including moving coals around the fire or digging a hole for the toilet. I’ve been using a fibreglass combo shovel for years and now it is permanently mounted on my rooftop tent.

1. Ironman 4x4 Combo Shovel

2. Bushranger Diggar Shovel

3. Mean Mother 4WD Multi Shovel

4. Bunnings Shovel

    Tyre Deflator 

    The first thing you should do before you even drive in the sand is to reduce your tyre pressure as this increases the tyre footprint and provides better flotation which in turn improves your traction. You may need to lower tyre pressures more when stuck as you may be able to just drive out but don’t make sharp turns when pressures are very low, or you might roll the bead off the rim. Having used the Indeflate for the past four years, I’ll never go back to one that removes the valve stem. Not only can I deflate two tyres at a time, but it also equalises the pressure between two tyres and can be used to reinflate two tyres at the same time.

    1. MAXTRAX Indeflate

    2. MAXTRAX Indeflate Digital

    3. Bushranger Tyre Deflator and Gauge

    4. Clearview Tyre Spider

    Hema Maps MAXTRAX tyre deflator

      Recovery Boards

      Recovery boards are the second-best sand recovery items you can have. They can be used to shovel sand from around your tyres before providing crucial traction when you most need it. Generally sold in pairs and with many mounting solutions, they are easy to carry. My TRED PRO’s have come in handy in the desert and snow and because I travel solo, I carry four traction boards at all times plus they come in handy for levelling the Prado at camp.

      1. TRED PRO Recovery Boards

      2. MAXTRAX Xtreme Recovery Boards


      4. GoTreads XL Folding Recovery Boards

        Snatch Strap/Rope

        A snatch strap or recovery rope is another sand recovery item that can make the extraction easier. Because they have some elasticity, a small amount of force creates a strong rebound that pops the bogged vehicle out of its predicament. The benefits of recovery rope over snatch straps are they are lighter and offer more stretch. Having recently replaced all my straps and D-shackles, at a significant cost, my recovery bag is significantly lighter than it was. You’ll also need rated recovery points, shackles, a cable dampener or two and another vehicle to complete the package. NEVER SNATCH OFF A TOW BALL.

        1. Saber Offroad 12500kg Kinetic Recovery Rope

        2. MAXTRAX Kinetic Rope

        3. MAXTRAX Recovery Hitch

        4. Factor 55 Tow Strap

        5. MAXTRAX Core Shackle


          A 12V winch can be used in sand recoveries, especially in deep sand, when the tide is closing in or if your vehicle has a nasty lean on a dune edge. If travelling solo and there is nothing solid to winch from, there are other solutions that include burying your spare tyre in the sand or using a sand anchor. Always use a cable dampener or two for safety and nominate one person to oversee the recovery.

          1. WARN VR Evo winches

          2. TJM TORQ 12000LB Winch with Synthetic Rope

          3. Ironman 4x4 12000LB Monster Winch with Synthetic Rope

          4. Bushranger REVO 10,000LB Winch with Synthetic Rope

          Bushranger REVO 10,000LB Winch with Synthetic Rope

          Sand Anchors

          Sand anchors are heavy and cumbersome and unless you know how to use them, can often perform below expectation. The Deadman Off-Road Earth Anchor is different, as it packs up small, is lightweight and easy to use, once you’ve dug a big hole in the sand and buried it. For solo travellers, sand anchors may be considered but where to store them often means they are left at home. The other option that works well is burying your spare tyre in the sand, the same as the Deadman anchor.

          1. Deadman Off-Road Earth Anchor

          2. Sherpa 4x4 Winch Anchor

          3. Land Anchor PRT

            Air Compressor

            Once tyre pressures have been reduced, you need a way to reinflate them once out of trouble, so a 12V air compressor is another thing that you should always carry with you. Don’t waste money on an el cheapo compressor, invest in a heavy-duty compressor that will reinflate your big 4WD tyre pressures time and time again. I ran an Ironman 4x4 compressor for 10 years before recently upgrading to the ARB Twin Compressor and air tank and now my tyres are reinflated pronto. 

            1. Bushranger Black Max Air Compressor

            2. Bushranger MAX AIR III COMPRESSOR

            3. TJM Pro Series 

              In the world of off-roading, preparedness is the ultimate key to a worry-free adventure. Even if you find yourself fortunate enough to avoid getting bogged down in sand, the tools covered in our guide remain invaluable for your peace of mind. As a responsible explorer, you might also become the hero for someone else's stuck vehicle by lending a hand and your well-equipped toolkit.

              Next steps

              At Hema Maps, we strive to provide the most comprehensive and accurate maps and guides for outdoor enthusiasts looking to explore Australia's natural wonders.

              Did you find this information useful? If so, please share it with your fellow explorers. Whether it's by sms, social media, or email, your friends and fellow adventurers will appreciate the valuable tips and insights we've shared.

              Let's work together to make the most of every adventure. 


              • CHRIS ROBERTS: September 20, 2023

                Thanks for update on new recovery gear. Valuable and accurate info

              • Jeff: January 22, 2024

                HI, For a normal type 4×4 ( Landcruiser, Ranger, Mit, Etc) you should NOT be using snatch straps/ropes that are rated at 12.5 and 15t, they are more suited to mogs etc. You Should NOT be using a material type Dampener on a snatch strap/rope, heavy arrestors in the form of drag chains a third of the way in from both vehicle’s is the safest way to go.

              • Peter James Williams OAM: November 24, 2022

                I have found throughout time that Trac Grabbers have been the best recovery tool I have on board if used correctly and at a slow engine rev.

              • Ewan: November 24, 2022

                And a 2L bottle of Common Sense when recovering a vehicle or trailer. I’ve seen too many cases where it wasn’t present.

              Leave a comment

              All blog comments are checked prior to publishing