Premium Recovery Damper

The Gnu Brothers Premium Recovery Damper is a clean-sheet design that we feel is a significant improvement on the dampers that have been in use for years in the off-road industry.

No two vehicle recoveries are the same. Every recovery is a dynamic event, and subject to variables, including, but not limited to:

  • The condition of the equipment used in the recovery
  • The extent to which the vehicle being recovered is immobilised
  • The integrity of the rigging on the recovery vehicle(s), the vehicle being recovered, and the fixtures being used to aid the recovery, such as trees, anchors, other vehicles, etc.
  • Operator experience
  • The forces and loads on rigging, which cannot be predicted or anticipated.
  • When properly used, a recovery damper helps reduce the chances of injury or damage by adding mass and aerodynamic drag to the winch rope, cable, kinetic rope or strap, thereby reducing the effects of stored energy in the system when a piece of recovery equipment fails. Ideally, the damper helps push the rope or cable to the ground, and provides resistance to the spring-back forces in the rope or cable.

    The Gnu Brothers Premium Recovery Damper is a clean-sheet design that we feel is a significant improvement on the dampers that have been in use for years in the off-road industry. How so?

    More Versatile — Four external ballast pockets, as opposed to a single inside pocket on many dampers.

    More Secure — Extra-wide Velcro strips keep the damper snug on the rope, wire or strap —Silicone grip tape helps keep the damper from sliding when winching on slopes.

    More Durable

    • 1.2mm nylon web handle facilitates carrying and repositioning along a winch line, kinetic rope, or snatch strap
    • Hand made in Canada from genuine US-made 1000 denier DuPont™ Cordura™ fabric

    More Visible — The Premium Recovery Damper is fluorescent orange in colour, with a strip of 3M™ reflective tape on each panel for superior visibility day and night


Q: Why doesn’t your design have a cut-out? What if I want to use it as a safety vest?

A: Simple answer, because the Premium Recovery Damper is a dampening device, not a safety vest, and we feel the solid design is superior for the following reasons:

  • Increased strength in the part of the damper that is most vulnerable to damage or failure from a recoiling cable or rope.
  • It allows us to use a full-width Velcro attachment instead of the two strips found in most dampers (and zero in others), which helps keep the damper securely in place.
  • Gnu Brothers incorporates a strip of silicone grip tape at the edge contact patches to help prevent the damper from slipping during winching operations on slopes.

Q: I thought winch dampers were supposed to be heavy, but yours seems very light.

A: Winch line dampers work in two ways:

  • The mass AND aerodynamic drag of the damper create resistance, which attenuate the recoil of a broken rope
  • Mass guides the rope to the ground
It is generally accepted that increased mass increases effectivity of the dampening device. Some recovery dampers have weight built into their design, others have a single horizontal pocket on the inside of the panel in which weight can be added, and some budget dampers have no pockets at all.

The Premium Recovery Damper ships without weight incorporated to avoid the high (and unnecessary) cost of shipping sand. However, we do provide the user with unmatched versatility for adding mass to the damper.

There are two vertical pockets on the outboard side of each panel, where There are several advantages to this design:

  • Weight can be added or removed with the damper installed on the rope
  • The design of the vertical pockets increases the likelihood that the added weight will stay in place during winching
  • Outboard pockets provide more aerodynamic resistance in most cases than pockets located inside the flap panel

Q: What should I use for weight?

A: The Premium Recovery Damper design allows the user to incorporate mass into the damper pockets using a variety of common items. Some of our favourites are:

  • Water bottles filled with sand, salt, or water
  • Plastic zip bags filled with sand, salt, dried corn, or dried beans
  • Folded recovery straps
  • Wrist or ankle weights
  • Loose sand or gravel

Q:I have a synthetic winch rope, not a cable. Do I really need a recovery damper?

Recovery rigging can recoil or snap back dangerously when energy stored in the system is suddenly released after a component in the system fails. While it is true that Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) ropes do not store energy through elasticity to the extent that wire rope does, every component in the system has the potential to store energy, not just the winch rope. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Stretching induced into straps or other recovery gear
  • The bending of trees that are used as anchors or redirect points
  • The flexing of bumpers or other recovery points
  • The pull or suction created as a vehicle is recovered from mud
One must consider the potential for the entire system to store energy, and understand that no matter what winch line material is used, the potential for recoil or snap-back exists in all recoveries.

Q:Can I use a recovery damper with kinetic ropes or straps?

Kinetic recoveries are extremely dynamic events from a stored-energy perspective. Massive amounts of energy can be released if the rope or a component fails, and great caution must be used. One cannot expect any product to completely attenuate these forces. See picture below!

Most high-quality kinetic recovery equipment incorporate fuse points near the ends of the rope or strap where they are designed to fail when overloaded. Placing weighted recovery dampers near each end of the rope or strap may reduce the severity of the energy released in a failure.

The Gnu Brothers Off Road Premium Winch Damper -- CAD$75