ECOA Recovery Guide – Warn Epic Recovery Kit Product Review

A while back I penned an article on winching basics.  I’d like to pick up where I left off with that article and take a more in-debth look at the winch accessory kit that I got from Warn when I got my 9.5xp winch.

What’s in the bag?!?

The Epic Recovery Kit is an all-in-one winch accessory kit that includes a recovery strap, a tree saver, a pair of shackles, a pair of gloves, and a snatch block.  It all comes packaged nicely in a Warn branded backpack.  Let’s take a look at the kit…

The Bag

The bag, as basic as it is, is well made and looks sharp.
Can be carried via the large handle at the top or as a backpack.

First things first, let’s take a look at the bag the recovery kit comes it.  At first glance it’s an attractively designed bag that stands out in a sea of bland bags.  The construction is quality and the design is as functional as it is aesthetic.  Unlike most backpacks out there, the Warn Epic Bag is a side-loader with adjustable internal dividers.  This makes organizing the gear quick and and easy.  It also makes finding the right piece even easier.  There is even a separate top pouch for the winch controller.  Lastly the bag doubles as a winch line dampener.

Top pouch for Warn 9.5xp winch controler

Main side-loading pouch with quick-reference guide on the inner flap.

Notice the bright red inside making it easy to spot gear.
The two inner panels are removable/repositionable. 

The Gloves

A good set of study gloves is essential for any recovery kit.

Let’s face it, recoveries are messy work.  They are also somewhat risky.  Having a good set of gloves when working with recovery gear is a great way to keep your hands clean, mitigate blisters, and prevent rope-burns or worse yet wire splinters.  It’s nice that a kit like this comes with a good set of gloves.

The Strap

It started off white.
Already stained with some of that sweet North Carolina red clay from my time in Uwharrie.
“It’s dirty because I use it.”

Although known mostly for their winches and winch accessories, Warn also makes a quality recovery strap.  There aren’t many bells and whistles on a 30′ sewn-eye static tow strap, but there doesn’t need to be.  Since most of my recoveries tend to be simple tugs there’s no doubt this piece of the kit will see the most action.  An added bonus is that the strap can also be used as a winch line extension if needed.

The Shackles

The Warn Epic Shackles are a nice departure from the basic shackle design.

Aside from the gloves and the strap, the shackles from the Epic Recovery Kit are probably the third most likely thing to get used the most.  These Epic Shackles are both aesthetically and functionally well designed.  The power coat is thick meaning they should last a long while before any corrosion from use in wet conditions sets in.  However, like the straps, they are a basic design without any bells and whistles.

The Tree Saver

A nice solid tree saver.
The Epic series end plates are a nice touch.
Hard to see but the oval opening makes it easy to pass a shackle through the openings.

You should NEVER wrap a winch line around a tree and connect back to itself.  It’s bad for a synthetic winch rope and it’s worse for a steel winch rope.  Just don’t do it.  That’s why things like the Warn Epic Tree Saver are worth their weight in gold when making a recovery. So far I’ve used the tree saver twice and I have to say of all the other tree savers I’ve used this is one of my favorites.  Most other tree savers are basically short tow-straps with sewn eyes on both ends.  It’s often awkward and cumbersome to try and cram two soft eyes into a shackle along with the winch hook.  While the common rule of thumb is to never introduce extra hardware into a recovery system unless it’s needed, the hard ends on a strap like this would be an exception in my case.  The Epic Tree Saver is easy to use when connecting the tree-saver to the Factor55 FlatLink-E.  Since the FlatLink-E is a pass-through design it makes connecting things together a breeze.  Warn really did their homework on designing a better tree saver.  (I wonder if they could design a better mousetrap?)

The Snatch Block

Like everything else in the kit, Warn has put an updated spin on the tried and true design.

Like the rest of the Epic Recovery Kit the harmony in design aesthetics and functionality are taken to a whole new level with the Epic Snatch Block.  Like most things it’s a rather simple piece of hardware.  It’s a pulley in a split housing.  Nothing much to it.  However, like the tree saver, shackles, and bag, Warn puts their own spin on the product design that lets you know this is a Warn brand product.  I confess I have yet to use the snatch block from the kit yet.  If I’m honest I hope I never “need” to.  However, one of these days I hope to use it in a winching scenario just so I can see it in action.  Gear like this shouldn’t stay this clean forever.

The Epic Recovery Kit Summary

You wouldn’t eat french fries without ketchup. Sprinkles make an ice cream sundae better.  No road trip is complete without a solid playlist of tunes.  And bacon goes good with pizza, burgers, and a club sandwich.  Some things in life are made better with accessories.  The same goes for a winch.  A winch by itself isn’t much use.  The Warn Epic Recovery Kit is an essential accessory for any Warn winch.  It’s the difference between a basic single blade pocket knife and MacGyver’s favorite Swiss Army Knife.  Recovery kits complement and complete a winch allowing it to work well in a variety of recovery scenarios.  There aren’t many situations you will be stuck in for long if you combine a Warn self-recovery winch and one of these Epic Recovery Kits.

Visit Warn’s website for this Medium Duty Epic Recovery Kit and all of Warn’s great recovery equipment.
https://www.warn.com/truck/accessories/medium_duty_epic_accessory_kit.jsp

The only thing missing from this kit is some sort of abrasion mat.  Like most things for recovery there isn’t much too it. Just a simple mat with a rub surface on side side and maybe a hard plastic or rubber surface on the other side to help prevent a winch rope from rubbing on a rock.  What would be nice it is could roll up and attach to the Epic Recovery Bag much like a bedroll attaches to a backpack.  It would also double as a nice mat to spread out the recovery gear on.  So Warn, if you’re reading, make an Epic branded matt and send me the first one to test out here on the rocks of the east coast!

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A huge thank you to Corporate Partner Warn Industries for their help and support of the ECOA mission to educate, encourage, and inspire.  They represent the best this industry has to offer in not only the quality of their products and their high level of customer service, but also their passion for us, the off-road enthusiast, is unmatched.  Please visit their website for a wealth of information on winching and recovery.  Also, if you ever see them at a show make sure to stop by their booth and tell them Dean from ECOA says hi!

Also, If you enjoyed this article, and would like to be a part of helping ECOA fulfill our mission to educate, encourage, and inspire by doing more educational articles like this, please considering joining the ECOA Patron Support Team. Not only will you help take ECOA to the next level but you’ll get access to patron exclusive items like hardcover copies of the No Highways Tour books as well as a 10% discount at the ECOA/NHT online store on cool swag like patches and stickers.  The 2018 Patron Support Team will begin forming soon!

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