First impressions were “why would anyone want this monstrosity in the back of their vehicle?” Just unpacking it from the box was an ordeal in itself! Only joking. Although, it does take up a lot of room in the back of your 4×4.
When you start to use the beast, you can see why it’s a popular piece of equipment. We had the use of an 11,000 lb Pull-pal; there is a smaller 9,000 lb version available. We put it through it’s paces by first getting our Land Rover stuck in our mud strip (the Congo Highway).
The ground after the mud strip was also wet and fairly loose but that didn’t stop the anchor digging in really well. The more you pull on the Pull-pal, the more it digs in. We did a straight 1:1 pull and out the Landie came. No problem.
The next test involved simulating the Landie being stuck climbing a fairly steep incline of about 30 degrees. We worked out the total pull required to recover the vehicle to be 2 tons. Having checked that all our equipment was within that safe working load we then laid out the recovery gear. We decided on a 2:1 pull using a snatch block to reduce the load on the winch.
This is where we discovered the Achilles Heel to the device. It doesn’t like being pulled at from below. Because the anchor relies on a horizontal pull to dig it into the ground, pulling from below with the anchor over the crest of the hill you can, and we did, pull it out of the ground.
After the second attempt we had pulled ourselves far enough up the hill to be able to get a, near enough, horizontal pull and recover the vehicle.
All said and done, I would certainly advise individuals and organisations to consider buying a Pull-pal if working in remote/insecure areas as it does provide a quick anchor and therefore, a quick recovery. The last thing you want is to be stuck in an insecure area with no available ground anchor and having to resort to burying your spare tyre!!!
One last piece of advise to anyone who has or is getting a Pull-pal is to remember to attach a strap to it; to ease pulling it out of the ground when finished. Especially, if you are using it in very soft ground.
Thanks to Michael v. Ruger for his help conducting the test.