Synthetic winch rope isn’t news anymore. It has been around for several years, and every pro rock crawler is required to use this in order to compete – and for good reason – it’s safer and easier to use.
When it was time for us to ditch our cable because it had become frayed, bent and even burnt from electrocution (see photo), we did our homework instead of just ordering something with a catchy name.
After interviewing five companies that sold winch rope, it had become clear that Gourock (a.k.a. winchline.com) was our choice for many reasons. Before we get into the reasons why or the review, we’ll delve into a little history about the winch ropes Gourock sells.
In 2004, winchline.com, a division of Gourock, was founded by Jón Jónsson to address the need for high quality recovery gear for the offroad enthusiast and the rock crawling competitor. Gourock has been in business since 1736 making ropes, netting and sails for the maritime industry – ropes designed to take a heavy off-shore beating, to include fresh and salt water immersion, constant exposure to heat, cold and UV rays and much more. This same standard for quality has been carried on with the Gourock name for 269 years, and carried on to its new division Winchline.com
While talking to the folks at winchrope.com, we surmised that given the type of off-roading we do, the Viking Trail Line with crushproof thimble eye and an excel sling hook would be our best bet.
The Viking Trail Line is made from Samson’s 12-Strand AmSteel Blue rope, a twelve-strand, single braid line that is the world’s strongest fiber. The Viking Trail Line in 3/8″ diameter only weighs 3.6 lbs per 100′ and it’s extremely low stretch characteristics makes this line much safer and easier to use than steel cable – if it does break, it will fall harmlessly to the ground instead of whipping back with deadly force. The Viking Trail Line comes with 10 feet of high-strength tight-woven heat guard installed over the first ten feet of rope to prevent it from melting and fusing to the winch drum when it becomes overheated from excessive use.
It is also offered in six different colors, blue, black, silver, green, yellow & orange – we chose yellow to match our project Land Cruiser. As mentioned, our line came with the crush proof thimble eye and the yellow premium Excel sling hook. Winchline.com also installs ten feet of heavy duty 7/16″ Polyester Line Protector that slides along the line and can be placed where needed during winching.
But back to our original reasons why we chose Winchline.com over the others…
The Viking Trail line, made by Samson, has a secret formula coating that gives it additional abrasion and chemical resistance. The former is particularly important to off-roaders like us.
Winchline.com adheres to strict to Samson’s splicing procedures to ensure their products are superior. Other winch rope manufacturers or distributors will bastardize their splicing techniques which will lead to premature failure of the rope.
Winchline.com uses higher quality products like the crush-proof or stainless steel thimbles, and they’re super-strong hooks. They also install a 10 foot rock-guard which is made from a material called Ten-ex – a high tensile strength nylon shield (7/16″ diameter, rated at 9,500 pound breaking strength, itself stronger than most winch cables) designed to be slid along the length of the rope and placed over sharp obstacles. Most other winch rope suppliers use nylon tubular webbing, which will fray and fail much sooner.
Winchline.com also installs a sling-type hook, made in Holland, which is rated at 20,000 pounds. Designed to be stronger than the rope it is used with, The Excel sling hook is safer.
We recently took our project Land Cruiser, loaded with the Viking Trail Line, to Redbird State OHV park in Indiana for a 2-day off-road adventure. It had been raining for weeks and the dirt trails mixed with slimy Midwest clay meant for some soupy, sloppy runs – a perfect place to test the winch rope.
After four or five hard uses of our winchline.com winch rope, it became glaringly obvious that the winch rope is much easier to use than cable. We didn’t have to worry about it getting bunched up on one side of the winch drum, we didn’t have to worry about the safety problems with cable, and we were able to wrap it around our bumper very easily in between uses.
To put this rope to the test however, we convinced our friend, Scott Berkel, to once again burry his big, heavy Ford Explorer to the frame rails in the name of quality journalism. We found a long, deep rut for Scott to sink his rig into, then we began winching.
During our testing, the rope was submerged in the gooiest slime imaginable and the full 12,000 pounds of pulling power from our Mile Marker winch was run for 15-20 minutes during our extraction. As expected, the Viking Trail line performed flawlessly. Once we were finished, we rinsed the winch rope off with a hose to make it look brand new again – try that with a cable.
In the end, you couldn’t pay us to spool cable back on our winch drum – winch rope from winchline.com will be our choice from this point forward.
|Gourock / Winchline.com|
|7049 Kickerville Rd
Ferndale, WA 98248
Web Site: www.winchline.com