In this article we will describe the different types of shackles we use, how and when to choose one over the other.
The sturdy traditional D-Ring Shackle (upper left), made of metal is the most commonly used, it is usually always hanging on our bumpers. Its strength is great but its weight is what makes it not preferable in all situations. We prefer to use D-Ring metal shackles at the end of the line, and at all cost, avoid using it in between soft lines or straps where they could become proyectiles.
To connect two straps, or a strap to a tree saver, we prefer to use a soft shackle (upper right). Although soft shackles are rated to support lower pounds of break strength than D-rings, they also carry less mass when they break.
Alternatively in between two straps, you could simply intertwine both strap ends together, but once you apply pulling pressure from vehicles, you will need to spend some time to undo the knot formed, specially in snowy situations. But if you use a soft shackle you will save a lot of time.
Keep in mind: If you use one of these winch shackles, you will need a D-Ring to connect, to a tree saver or strap, don’t just trust your D-rings work, make sure you test your D-rings fit in your winch mount connector. Pretty often we see people on the trails trying to use their gear, just to find the D-ring won’t fit properly. Always practice and test your gear before hitting the trails.
Most D-Rings are rated to above 40,000/70,000 pounds, when soft shackles are around 20,000 to 40,000. D-rings are easier to use, in a sense, just pass the tree saver or strap and screw the metal pin. Soft shackles require a bit more finesse, to make sure they properly lock and also under snowy conditions could become a bit more of a challenge.