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As a volunteer with the local county’s CERT*, I’m always on the lookout for safety items and search-and-rescue tools that can help in emergencies — plus it gives me an excuse to look at and buy stuff for my truck. This Rugged Ridge kit is aimed at the 4×4 crowd, but it could also be useful to the less off-road user. The kit contains a 2″×30′ 20,000 lb. recovery strap, a 3″×6′ 30,000 lb. tree trunk protector strap, a 20,000 lb. snatch block pulley, two heavy-duty 9,500 lb. D-rings, a winch line damper, a pair of leather gloves, and a storage bag. It’s available online for as low as $70.

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Our friend Brad was recently schooled in the ways of mud. He fell prey to the same situation that nabs all of us at one time or another: that classic scenario where once one vehicle is stuck the quickest thing is to bring something else in to push/pull it out. Then something like this happens.

We got the Defender stuck. So we took the Dodge to pull it out. Then we got the Dodge stuck. So we took the Backhoe to pull it out. Then we got the the Backhoe stuck.

Yes it must have been a fun and very clean time for everyone involved. Having put my right foot down and plowed right into one similar to this with an airplane tug I can say this image doesn’t capture the colorful phrases and descriptive language that was most certainly going down.

What’s the lesson? Pull from outside the mud if at all possible.

Toolmonger Photo Pool [Flickr]


Almost like training wheels for hooking up trailers, the Couple Mate helps guide your trailer hitch over the ball as you back up, so you don’t have to constantly get out and check.

Made from steel and double-dipped in zinc to help withstand the rigors of use, the Couple Mate fits most receiver hitch and ball combos. Slide the base over your trailer hitch and then install the ball through it and the hitch to hold it in place. The wings then slip into the base when you want to hook up the trailer and slip out again after you’re done, so nobody need ever know.

You’ll pay about $50 for the Couple Mate after shipping.  If you visit the homepage, watch out for the annoying self-starting video.

Couple Mate [Corporate Site]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]


The CSPC announced a recall today of about 94,000 Sevylor tow behind tubing kits. It seems the “quick hitch” connector that connects the tube to the boat can snap, “posing serious hazard to users.” Not only may you come unattached from the boat at an inopportune moment, the CSPC notes that the manufacturer “has received one report of an occupant of a boat being struck by a piece of the ‘quick hitch’ still attached to the tow rope.” Doh!

The gear involved in the recall was manufactured between 2005 and 2009, and was sold at retail and department stores around the US. The list is pretty long, so check the link below to the full list and CSPC release if you suspect you might own one.

And watch your head.

Sevylor Tow Behind Recall [CSPC]