March 08, 2022 3 min read

What is a soft shackle?

Most 4x4 shackles are made of synthetic rope materials and you’ll find Dyneema or Plasma are the most used. 

Plasma Synthetic Rope made from High Modulus Polyethylene (HMPE) has undergone a proprietary recrystallisation process to improve its strength. This method pulls the carefully twisted strand through a heated fluid-filled pressurised tube, maintaining a consistent heat profile over the strand's cross-section. This procedure ensures that all filaments enhance the strand's fibre strength efficiency effectively. Finally, the rope is given a polyurethane finish to improve snag resistance and UV resistance.

A soft shackle is the simplest type of shackle to make, consisting of a 'strop' with a stopper (generally a diamond knot) on one end and a spliced end. Soft shackles can be a lighter alternative to traditional steel screw pin shackles for joining rigs. We recommendchecking out Factor 55 for soft shackles as they are one of the leading providers of international automotive accessories. 

Why should I care about soft shackles? 

They're safer than steel shackles and routinely used to attach recovery equipment like snatch straps. When a pin or other element of a steel shackle fails during a vehicle recovery, the under-tension grab strap with a chunk of steel attached will fly through the air. This can harm or possibly kill anyone who comes into contact with it. 

A soft shackle failure will not have the same projectile power as a hard shackle failure. Sure, being hit in the head by a soft shackle will hurt, but it will hurt a lot less than being hit in the head by a chunk of steel flying through the air at hundreds of kilometres per hour.

How to use and care for them

Soft shackles that are not well looked after or left out in the sun for long periods can swiftly deteriorate, compared to those appropriately cared for. If the shackles become dirty or are accidentally dropped in mud or water (they will float), they can be cleaned with clean water and then air-dried away from direct sunlight. Before storing the soft shackle, ensure it is totally dry. 

Make sure your soft shackle does not come into contact with too much heat since this might damage it and limit its performance threshold. Remember that, like a snatch strap, the minimum breaking strength of a soft shackle will drop when wet.

They are pretty straightforward when employing them in a recovery setting. Before utilising the shackle, inspect it for wear and tear. Thread the eye of the shackle through the rated recovery point, then slip the eye end of the shackle through the loop to link it to the snatch strap or recovery rope look. Then, to make a secure connection put the soft shackle knot through the soft shackle loop.

After connecting the shackle and snatch strap, proceed as you would with a standard snatch recovery. That is, gradually increase the pressure until the strap tensions and the kinetic energy of the stretching strap and accelerating tow truck, assist in pulling out the stranded car. Rather than trying to skull-drag the stalled vehicle out, the goal is to harness the strap's energy to aid in recovery. 

You should never utilise a vehicle's tow ball or tie-down points for recovery. Use only rated recovery points.

Factor 55 soft shackles

Factor 55Extreme Duty Soft Shackles are available in 10 and 20 inches (pull to pull length) and are manufactured in the United States to the highest quality standards. These shackles have been lab and field-tested, to ensure consistent minimum breaking strength ratings. Each extreme duty soft shackle is made of HMPE Plasma rope with a woven polyester jacket expertly whipped and coated with Fibre Lock for added abrasion and UV protection.

Compared to traditional conventional soft shackles on the market today, these Extreme Duty Soft Shackles deliver an additional 25-30% proven breaking strength for their size and weight. The longer 20-inch version serves as a standard soft shackle, but it also allows the user to twice loop the shackle for breaking forces of over 70,000 pounds. 

Offroad Industries soft shackles

Soft shackles have fast become an alternative to a rated steel shackles in a vehicle recovery situation. Here at Offroad Industries, we have a terrific selection of soft shackles for you to choose from. Factor 55 are a leading manufacturer of soft shackles, and you can browse through ourFactor 55 collection to find the automotive accessories your need.