When you buy a winch, 99 percent of the time it will have steel cable on the drum, but when you hit the trail at least 50 percent of the 4x4s with winches seem to be running synthetic winch rope. So why take off a perfectly good heavy steel cable and replace it with rope? And if rope is so much better than steel cable, why don't the winch companies supply rope in the first place? For one, cable and rope can be competitively priced, though some rope is more than double the cost of cable. Another reason is safety: Rope is less likely to store energy, making it hazardous should it break under load, whereas cable can. In the end we determined that cable is heavy, strong, and willing to take abuse, while rope is light, strong, and easy to use. (For ease of differentiation we'll be calling the steel stuff cable and the rope stuff rope.) Cable is tough and can take abuse in the mud, rocks, and just about any place you may need to winch. Synthetic winch rope, on the other hand, requires a special abrasion sheath if you're routing it over rocks, around sharp objects, or even over logs. Some winch drums build up intense heat, especially when winching out under heavy load due to the internal drum brake, and cable handles this heat and helps dissipate it much better than rope.Cable is tough and can take abuse in the mud, rocks, and just about any place you may need Don't do this with either cable or rope. The proper way to use a tree or rock for an anchor is with a tree strap. A tree strap is a short nonstretch strap (unlike a recovery strap) with two looped ends. Hook the end of the winch line through both loops, so it doesn't cinch down on the tree and damage the bark.Don't do this with either cable or rope. The proper way to use a tree or rock for an ancho When using rope it is advised to use a hawse-type fairlead made of either aluminum, plastic, or polished smooth steel...When using rope it is advised to use a hawse-type fairlead made of either aluminum, plasti ...There are plastic rollers for a roller fairlead, but be careful not to get the rope caught on a sharp edge of fairlead mount. When installing the fairlead be sure the bumper doesn't have any sharp edges near the rope....There are plastic rollers for a roller fairlead, but be careful not to get the rope cau One major benefit of rope over cable is weight. We found three samples of 100-foot-by-5/16-inch rope to weigh between 2 and 7 pounds depending on style and whether it had a hook on the end. The same size and length cable weighed 18 pounds, and that's without a hook! Additional weight is hard on the front suspension and much harder to drag through waist-deep, leach-infested swamps and up steep hills.One major benefit of rope over cable is weight. We found three samples of 100-foot-by-5/16 Another benefit of rope is that most of the time you can get away with handling it without gloves. Cable, on the other hand, can have dangerously sharp strands that have gouged many an off-roader. Since rope can attract sharp objects like sticks and thistles we recommend still wearing gloves for recovery.Another benefit of rope is that most of the time you can get away with handling it without A downfall of rope is the damage that can happen over time due to heat, UV light, and contamination by dirt, sand, and grit. We recommend a cover for your winch if the rope is easily visible to protect it from the sun. Hose it off after you winch through a silty mud hole, and be sure to protect it from sharp edges and heat.A downfall of rope is the damage that can happen over time due to heat, UV light, and cont One very impressive rope on the market is the Master Pull Superline XD. This rope is as close to a cable as rope gets, and in some ways better. In fact, it is a heavy-duty winch rope that has been covered its entire length with a tightly woven outer sheath that protects the rope from dirt, abrasion, and UV rays while still weighing far less than cable. The best part is that compared to an equal size steel cable, the Superline XD offers twice the pulling strength.One very impressive rope on the market is the Master Pull Superline XD. This rope is as cl SOURCES Master Pull 725 Sunset Pond Lane Bldg. E Unit 9 Bellingham WA 98226 360-714-1313 www.masterpull.com By Fred Williams Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!