Shackles are arguably the most essential off-road accessories you should have. Having the proper shackle for the correct application is imperative to tow, pull, and recover a stuck vehicle safely.
Shackles attach to your vehicle’s off-road bumper or bull bar’s recovery points. To learn more about off-road bumpers and bull bars, you can read about them in our articles “What is a front bumper” and “Tips When Choosing The Right Off-Road Bumper“
A shackle is a connector with a quick-release mechanism in the form of a pin or a soft shackle made from incredibly strong fibers.
These connectors anchor recovery straps to safely tow or pull a stuck vehicle.
However, not every shackle is created equal. Different types, sizes, and weight capacities are engineered and designed to achieve specific jobs.
Types Of Shackle
Shackles come in Different shapes and sizes and are rated for various weight loads.
Bow shackles (Omega Shackles)
Bow shackles are also called (Omega Shackles) because their shape resembles the Greek omega alphabet. Bow shackles are made from steel and are rated to take a specific load; the WLL will be clearly printed on the body of the shackle (with a margin of safety built-in). They are also designed to take weight or stress at various angles without deforming.
(Omega Shackles) are recommended for 4×4 recovery because the shape allows for greater accessibility to get a recovery strap, rope, or chain secured to the body of the bow shape. The bow shape provides a stronger structure that can handle side loads for difficult recovery angles.
D-shackles are not recommended for any form of recovery. D shackles are only used for lifting applications and are designed to take weight or stress in only one direction. If pressure is applied at an angle, they are prone to deform.
If a D shackle deforms, you may have to cut the shackle; this can be costly and dangerous. Never use shackles for their unintended purposes.
Soft shackles are the new buzz in the industry, but they have been utilized in the yachting industry for decades. The 4×4 industry has recently adopted them. They are made from incredibly strong synthetic fibers and can compete with some of the strongest steel shackles.
Like metal shackles, soft shackles come in various weight ratings, so make sure that the rating is clearly indicated on the actual shackle and only purchase it from a reputable dealer. Throughout the years, soft shackles have been tried and tested and proven to be a true contender with their metal counterparts.
Hamer products offer a unique line of shackles. Their shackles are renowned for their strength and quality.
Bow shackles (Omega Shackles)
Hamer Omega Shackles are constructed from high-grade steel and come with a powder-coated finish to ensure longevity.
Hamer’s Ultimate Shackles are made from reinforced material that is up to handle anything you throw at it.
They come in an aesthetically pleasing design and a powder-coated finish that will stand the test of time.
Maxo Shackles is Hamer’s answer to the D-Shackle that will get all your lifting and hoisting jobs done safely and with style.
Shackles are rated by their WLL (Working Load Limit) WLL is the rating of the maximum weight capacity of the shackle. Never exceed the WLL!
The rated shackle will be clearly marked on the body of the shackle, and the pin will typically be a different color. Another indication of a quality-rated shackle is that the pin should be a thicker diameter than the shackle’s body.
S-Rated and M-Rated
The difference between S-rated and M-rated shackles is the strength of the material they are constructed from. S-rated shackles are made from more robust rigid materials; for this reason, It is recommended to use S-rated shackles for 4×4 recovery.
Indications Of A High-Quality Rated Shackle
WLL – The working load limit should be clearly marked
The pin should be a greater diameter than the body
Pin is a different color than the body
S-grade shackles are made from more robust materials,
therefore recommended for 4×4 purposes
Care and Maintenance
Before using, always check for cracks or fatigues.
Check that the pin smoothly screws in and out. Difficulty screwing the pin in or out may indicate that the shackle is buckled, warped, or damaged.
If there is any indication of damage or wear, do not use the shackle!
An off-road build would not be complete without proper shackles.
Shackles are essential 4×4 accessories to ensure a safe recovery when a vehicle is stuck.
Before purchasing, ensure you’re getting the right shackle for your intended purposes.
Many reputable brands exist; however, if you aspire to have the coolest off-road vehicle, HAMER 4×4 products offer high-quality shackles that perform exceptionally well and come in atheistically pleasing designs and colors.
I highly recommend you check out Hamer products for all your 4×4 needs. From bull bars, skid plates, and roll bars, they are industry-leading in their quality and designs.