Recently purchased some synthetic shackles (Gator-Jaw) from Bubba Rope in the States. I had gotten one of their kinetic energy ropes through someone that was leaving Uganda and was very impressed.
One of the main factors for the purchase of the synthetic shackles /Gator-Jaw was to save weight when going mobile with our training. I wasn’t expecting them to be as good as they were. Once you’ve been using something, bow shackles for example, for years without issues it can be hard to accept something new could be better.
Used them for the first time when doing some remote 4×4 training.
A really bogged down 4×4 takes a load of force to overcome the resistance the environment offers up. If I had been using bow shackles I would have been right on the limit of the WLL /SWL. As the gator shackles had a higher limit I was interested to see how they coped.
So, What Are My Thoughts?
- No gritty stuff to deal with on the threads when shackles get covered in mud.
- Nothing to screw together.
- Ease of fitting and removing when covered in mud was great.
- A fair amount of strain was applied to them time and time again until we freed the vehicle.
- Once cleaned was able to inspect; they still looked as good as new.
They have now become a standard part of our mobile recovery gear and I will gradually replace our bow shackles as and when.
We also bought the next size up to deal with heavier 4x4s and they really look the part.
When storing recovery gear it’s important not to have the metal items in contact with straps and ropes. There is a risk of cross contamination which can affect the capacity of the non-metal gear.
This can happen quite easily when a recovery has finished and all the wet, muddy stuff is thrown together and forgotten about. Having synthetic shackles obviously negates this issue. This doesn’t mean we should chuck it all back in the bag and forget about it though.