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Choosing the Correct Size Winch Rope for Your Winch?

safety thimble fairlead

It’s finally time to replace that worn out old steel winch cable? Or maybe your wanting to replace your current winch rope with one of ours? How do you choose the correct size winch rope?  What size diameter and length will fit on my winch? Many people assume that when they are purchasing a new winch rope for their winch,  they can get the largest and longest size they can find.  This is absolutely not true and can cause major damage to your winch.  If you want to know the details of this issue continue to read on, or you can go straight to our Winch Rope Conversion Chart to see what size winch rope is recommended for your particular winch model. If you don’t see your winch model, feel free to contact us!

Why the Correct Diameter Size Winch Rope Matters

Winch rope comes in many different size diameters and lengths to fit many different brands and sizes of winches. Let’s look at why it’s important to determine the correct size winch rope in both diameter and length. I will use a common 9,000lb winch for example. From the manufacturer, let’s say this winch originally comes with 100 feet  of 5/16″ diameter steel cable.  While you can simply use the exact same diameter and length in synthetic winch rope, it is common practice to increase the diameter size of the winch rope to gain an increase in breaking strength and working load capacity.  5/16″ steel cable is rated at 9,800lbs which is just above the maximum pull strength of the winch. 5/16″ synthetic winch rope is around 12,000lbs breaking strength. But, the most common size used on winches ranging from 8k to 12k is 3/8″ diameter for the reasons mentioned above.  Our 3/8″ synthetic winch rope has a breaking strength of 20,000lbs!

Why You Need to Choose the Correct Length Winch Rope

What about the correct size winch rope length? The “Rule of Thumb” we go by is for every size up in diameter over the original size winch cable or rope, you reduce the length by 15 feet. This allows you to run the larger, stronger size diameter rope while still maintaining the pulling power of the winch. Each layer of rope added on the winch drum reduces your winch’s pulling power.  Remember, the first layer of rope on the winch drum is where the winch can achieve its maximum pulling strength. The correct length also keeps from overloading one side of the winch drum during angled pulls. Very rarely do we get lucky enough to have consistent straight pulls. If you overload one side of the winch drum during an angled pull due to too much length of rope, the rope could come in contact with the winch’s tie-bars which can damage your rope and destroy the winch. So what do you do if you need more length from your winch rope? Check out our winch rope extensions!


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Is Your Winch Bumper Ready For Use With A Synthetic Winch Rope? – Checking Your Fairlead Mount Opening

Improper Fairlead Mount Opening

So you’ve already made the switch to synthetic winch rope or plan on making the switch to synthetic. Or, you have used your new synthetic winch rope and it failed almost immediately? How about you see abrasion on the rope and you have no clue how it happened? Chances are the fairlead mount opening on your winch bumper is the incorrect size for use with synthetic winch rope.  The fairlead mount is where your Hawse Fairlead mounts to and your synthetic winch rope passes through from the winch drum. During the winching operation, your winch rope will pass through your winch fairlead opening.  While the Hawse Fairlead acts a guide for your winch rope, it is rare to get a perfectly straight pull all the time. So the rope must come in contact with a smooth surface on angled pulls to avoid abrasion which damages the synthetic winch rope. If the first thing the rope comes in contact with is the mount opening before the fairlead surface, you have a huge issue.  The single most important feature of your winch bumper is the fairlead mount opening size when making the switch to synthetic.  Many winch bumper manufactures overlook this detail.  The correct winch fairlead mount minimum opening for synthetic winch rope is 1.75″.  We typically see openings of 1″ to 1.25″, this is simply too small for using rope and must be addressed. Don’t risk breaking or damaging your new winch rope by overlooking this!

ST Fairlead scribe line
Safety Thimble Fairlead with scribe line


How TRE Fairleads are Designed for Checking Your Fairlead Mount Opening

Fairlead Scribe Line
Scribe Line showing the correct radius needed in winch mount

Our Hawse Fairleads are precision machined with a scribe line on the back. This provides both a visual and physical indication of whether your bumper’s fairlead mount opening is correct.  We also ensure our fairlead design has the correct entry radius for the winch rope on the opening. This provides for the least amount of abrasion and friction during an angled pull. To take advantage of this feature, you test fit our fairlead to your bumper then check the backside of the opening. You must be able to just see the entire scribe line around the opening, OR by by feeling for the scribe line. If you happen to find that your opening is too small, you will need to enlarge it by cutting some material away.

How to Fix the Fairlead Mount Opening to the Correct Size

We have found it easiest to use a cut-off wheel to remove the majority of the required material. Be sure to wear your PPE. If you are uncomfortable performing this step, please seek help from a competent shop or someone familiar with using these tools. You must remove equal parts from the mount top side and bottom side. For example: If your current opening is 1”, then you will remove ⅜” material from the top inner edge, and ⅜” material from the bottom inner edge to get your 1.75”. Then use a dremel or similar rotary tool to remove any remaining material in the rounded ends. Make sure you do not leave any sharp edges! Test fit your TRE Hawse Fairlead again until you are satisfied that the scribe line is visible. You may also paint any raw surfaces if you so choose. All TRE Hawse Fairleads are manufactured from 6061-T6 aluminum, Mil-Spec Type III Hard-Anodized, and 100% Made in USA!




Check out all of Tactical Recovery Equipment Hawse Fairleads







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Replacement Winch Rope for Warn Zeon Winches

safety thimble fairlead

If you are looking to replace your worn out cable or synthetic winch line on your Warn Zeon Winch, then look no further. Tactical Recovery Equipment offers a Replacement Winch Rope for Warn Zeon Winches. All TRE Replacement Synthetic Winch Ropes are made of Heavy-Duty, 12 strand UHMWPE synthetic rope. Each 3/8″ Synthetic Rope has a breaking strength of 20,000 lbs. The Replacement Winch Rope for Warn Zeon Winches are available in 85 ft. ,100 ft. & 125 ft. lengths, depending on which Zeon model you have. Each synthetic rope comes with 8 ft. of black durable Polyester sheathing to protect your synthetic rope against abrasion on a rock, or sharp tree. The Replacement Winch Rope for Warn Zeon Winches has two options for the winch termination, the standard tube thimble or a Safety Thimble.

*When ordering please write in the notes that it is for a zeon winch, and we will create the loop that will be needed for installation.

Optional Safety Thimble

The “Original” Safety Thimble II was the first “Winch Thimble”, designed and used in the off-road industry. The Safety Thimble II has been in existence since 2004 and is the safest winch termination for all synthetic winch lines. Not only does TRE offer 10 Synthetic Winch Rope colors but also 5 different colored Safety Thimble II. Each Replacement Winch Rope for Warn Zeon Winches ropes comes pre-assembled, along with all the hardware needed for an easy installation. Continue reading Replacement Winch Rope for Warn Zeon Winches

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TRE Recovery Gear in Use at Winter 4×4 Jamboree 2018


winter 4x4 jamboree 2018

Winter 4×4 Jamboree 2018

An off-road event like no other, the winter 4×4 Jamboree gets bigger and better each year. This Winter 4×4 Jamboree 2018 marked the fourth year that Tactical Recovery Equipment has attended while being a silver sponsor and vendor. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect with a warm 65 degrees on Thursday and Friday. The Weather then turned into rain and snow on Saturday but that made it better for the mud puddles!

On day two of the three day event TRE product was captured in the moment of recovery after a rollover. The roll over accident took place on Milts Mile. A green jku was too high on the mountain of an obstacle and made too sharp of a turn.  The jku rolled 5 times and into a two door wrangler. Thankfully no injuries occured to anyone in either jeep.

The red wrangler was then removed by winching him out with “The Original Safety Thimble II” and a TRE Soft Shackle. After recovering the red wrangler the next mission was to roll over the green JKU, with the help from Honey Badger by Scorpion Motorsports. Due to the angle and weight of the jku, two snatch blocks were used, one being the 2 lb aluminum TRE snatch block (connected with TRE soft shackles) to double the pulling strength to flip the jeep over. The recovery was a success and everyone walked away injury free. Both jeeps were able to drive out and finish the trail.

TRE would like to thank the event staff for putting on another amazing Winter 4×4 Jamboree, and the continued support from our customers. See you next year!

TRE Products Used During Recovery:

  • Snatch Block – Lightweight while being heavy duty,
  • Soft Shackle – Lightweight, safe, and can be used for multiple situations
  • The Original Safety Thimble II – The safest thimble option due to minimal connection points

TRE Day Two Winter 4x4 Jamboree 2018TRE Day Two Winter 4x4 Jamboree 2018Snatch Block at Winter 4x4 Jamboree 2018TRE Day Two Winter 4x4 Jamboree 2018Winter 4x4 Jamboree 2018TRE Snatch Block

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Tactical Recovery Products at Hump-N-Bump 2017

Tactical Recovery Equipment Product

Tactical Recovery Equipment attended the 36th annual Hump n Bump at the Logandale Fairgrounds this past weekend. This year was the 4th year that Tactical Recovery Equipment has helped sponsor Hump n Bump as a Gold Level Sponsor. TRE raffled off Two 85 ft. Winch Ropes with Safety Thimble II, Two Safety Thimble Fairleads, one 3/4 inch Kinetic Recovery Rope, as well as four Soft Shackles. Unfortunately there was one roll over this year during the Bronco Falls run, thankfully the driver walked away with no injuries! We also had a nice visit from Blackops with his 2017 Sema build of his LS7 1984 CJ7 On 49” Tires. It was another successful year at Hump n Bump selling real world safe recovery gear. If you have not yet been to this event, we suggest you check it out and register next year!

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Replacement Synthetic Winch Rope for Warn 8274-50

TRE Replacement Synthetic Winch Rope for Warn 8274-50

Tactical Recovery Equipment offers a synthetic replacement winch rope for Warn 8274-50 winches. The Warn 8274-50 winch was originally sold with 5/16 wire cable.  We recommend for synthetic winch rope to upgraded to a 3/8 x 100 ft. synthetic winch rope. This upgrade give your winch ro[e a breaking strength of 20,000 lbs. which is more than double the strength of the original 5/16 cable, allowing you a significant safety factor while winching.   All TRE Replacement Synthetic Winch Ropes are made of true Sk75 Dyneema 12 strand synthetic rope with a breaking strength of 20,000 pounds. Our Replacement Synthetic Winch Rope for Warn 8274-50 comes with two options for a connection point; Safety Thimble II or a standard black steel eyelet. Each synthetic rope comes with 8 ft. nylon sheathing as well as our newly designed replacement drum attachment. TRE offers 10 different colors of synthetic rope, as well as each rope comes pre-assembled and ready for installation. Continue reading Replacement Synthetic Winch Rope for Warn 8274-50

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Replacement Winch Rope for Smittybilt Winches

TRE Replacement Winch Rope for Smittybilt Winches

TRE Replacement Winch Rope for Smittybilt Winches are available for all models of Smittybilt winches. Our winch rope is made of true Sk-75 12 strand synthetic rope with 20,000 pounds of breaking strength, Each Replacement Winch Rope for Smittybilt Winches can be purchased with a Safety Thimble II or standard steel eyelet and also comes with 8 ft. nylon sheath and a replacement drum attachment. Replacement Winch Rope for Smittybilt Winches is available in 11 colors as well as the appropriate length depending on your Smittybilt winch model. Replacement Winch Rope  are a direct replacement rope that comes pre-assembled and ready to install. Continue reading Replacement Winch Rope for Smittybilt Winches

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Kinetic Energy Tow Rope


Kinetic Energy Tow Rope with a 32,000 pound Pulling Capacity


Our Heavy Duty Kinetic Energy Tow Rope with an amazing 32,000 lbs of pulling capacity can pull you out of just about any situation including mud, sand or snow. These Kinetic Recovery tow Ropes provide superior performance, strength and durability compared to conventional Tow Ropes. It’s ability to stretch under load allows it to use it’s own kinetic energy to help reduce the amount of energy needed to recovery your vehicle. These Heavy Duty “snatch ropes” use a double braided rope and feature a Urethane Polymer Coating making them resistant to UV, Water and Abrasion. Our ropes are commercially braided and spliced with heavy duty loops on each end allowing multiple ways to make connections no matter what type of vehicle you are trying to recover. Continue reading Kinetic Energy Tow Rope

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Soft Shackles

Soft Shackles in use at Winter 4×4 Jamboree

During this last Winter 4×4, we were able to use our TRE Soft Shackles in recovery. They easily replace a D-ring, so if you or the person you are recovering doesn’t have one, no problem. These soft shackles will not only replace the D-ring, but they are much more versatile. You can wrap these around virtually anything; roll cages, bumpers and whatever else you can find. With a breaking strength of 25,000 pounds and light-weight, these tools are easy to use and will get the job done.


Soft Shackles are made from 3/8” synthetic winch rope with a breaking strength over 18,500 lbs. Each soft shackle has an inside diameter of approximately 7 inches. Soft Shackles are used in many situations instead of a steel shackle and are considered a high strength replacement for most situations requiring the use of a steel shackle. Soft Shackles are made from the same high strength synthetic winch rope in use on a lot of winches to give you the same advantages of high strength, light weight, and ease in handling. Soft Shackles are used in many situations instead of steel shackles and are considered a high strength replacement for most situations.

Some of the Advantages of Soft Shackles:

  • Light enough to float
  • Stronger than steel cable in equivalent sizes
  • Can be wrapped around objects that steel cable and shackles cannot without damage to your vehicle


  • Can be wrapped around a roll cage to upright a vehicle
  • Can be attached to an anchor point the same way a steel shackle is used
  • Can quickly be wrapped around a bumper, axle or anything else for a quick pull
  • Can be used in place of Anchor Shackles and D-ring shackles in just about any application

Note: Soft Shackles are made of the same synthetic rope as winch rope and are susceptible to cutting and fraying. Please replace rope if you notice any of these.

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Winter 4×4 Jamboree Event

Hump n Bump line up

TRE in attendance – Winter 4×4 Jamboree  

winter 4x4

The 2016 Winter 4×4 Jamboree will be held January 22nd and 23rd, near St. George, Utah. TRE is a proud sponsor of Winter 4×4 and will be attending both days! Come join us out on the trails and visit our Tactical Recovery tent! We will have our products at the site and ready for you! We are excited to be out in St. George and to get our rigs dusty! This is a good time to get the information of our products you need and to purchase with special rates! Continue reading Winter 4×4 Jamboree Event

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