THERE’S been a lot of confusion about winching backwards over the years, with many saying it’s impossible. The confusion comes down to a misunderstanding of what actually happens when you winch. The winch isn’t pulling you forward, it’s pulling line in, effectively shortening the available line between your vehicle and the recovery point. In something as simple as a single-line pull, the result is one object moving closer to the other – hopefully the stuck 4x4 moving closer to the anchor point.
In a reverse winch, the set-up is essentially the same as a sideways winch, although instead of directly connecting to the rear recovery point, it’s run through a double line pull first. This double line pull at the rear is then the easiest place for the line to shorten, leading to the 4x4 being pulled backwards, not forwards. The line is not actually anchored to anything in the front, so it’ll just pull the line through the pulley block and back onto the drum. It’s a tricky operation that requires more gear than most carry, but if you travel solo it’s worth keeping the gear – and the knowledge – up your sleeve.
A reverse winch is set up much the same as a sideways winch, with one tree in front and one behind the stuck vehicle. Extension straps can be used if trees are located too far away.