Sponsor Highlight - Freedom Recovery Gear Inc.
Freedom Recovery Gear was founded in 2019 by Richard Sheridan. Richard has over 3 decades involved in technical 4X4 off-road adventures and competitions, careers in commercial diving & in manufacturing. During those years he saw numerous dangerous situations involving equipment improperly rated as well as people using equipment without adequate education on how to use their equipment properly and safely. Seeing room for improvement in the quality of recovery equipment and in the opportunities to train and educate fellow off-road enthusiast he founded the company.
Richard has spent numerous hours at testing facilities destructive testing recovery products sold by other manufactures to find out their actual breaking strength. To say his findings were disappointing is an understatement. Most load ratings were inaccurate and for the most part the product failed below the rating. Another flaw found with some equipment sold is the lack of labels or ratings marked on their products. If a company is proud of their product and know it will stand up to their claims of strength they will put their name and ratings on it otherwise how are you supposed to trust their claims
Both my husband and I have attended Overland rallies with education sessions on recovery gear and rigging. We know that if it doesn’t have a rating tag don’t waste your money. We found when purchasing products online this past summer in preparation for the Rebelle, we purchased several products that had a good name and high customer review ratings. When the products arrived we found the rating tags were not there and in place of them were simple warning stickers. Honestly, not all pieces were top dollar, most expensive, but we had paid a decent amount and expected better quality.
In August we received a phone call from Richard, who had been informed from an acquaintance of his, that we were in need of a recovery equipment check over and asked if we could come to his work shop. When we met with him there to go over our equipment only one piece of gear made the cut. Richard then proceeded to inform us of why he put the gear he did into the "not up to standard" pile. He showed us the bins he has of destructive tested competitors gear with their lack luster break point numbers tagged on each piece of gear. As well as the bins he has on his own gear destructive tested so he could assign a proper rating associated with each type and size of gear. He informed us about the different types of dyneema ropes and why he chooses the rope he does. He informed us about WLL (working load limits), MBS (minimum break strength) and what safety factor refers to in regards to those.
Now here's where it gets even better... Richard then sat us down at his work table and showed us how he turns those large spools of dyneema into pieces of recovery gear by teaching us, hands on, how to make our own pieces of gear. He taught us how to make a simple eye splice, and then a proper brummel locking eye splice and why he uses those. He showed us proper tapered tail burial and the importance of the taper. The proper way to join two pieces of dyneema together was next taught to us. This skill allowed us to splice together some proper heat resistant dyneema to a winch line giving us that all important heat resistant first wrap on the winch drum. This skill is also very useful in doing a winch line repair if you come across one that breaks.
Richard next took us over to his tension table where he showed us how each piece of gear is properly pre-tensioned before it goes out the door. He gave those two 10' bridals and the 100ft winch extension we had just made the tension they required. This ensures that the loops are set correctly and not going to slip as well as it gives the piece of gear a test before it heads out the door guaranteeing it is going to perform properly. Richard then showed us how he makes a soft shackle. WOW... that's a tricky knot and should be left to the professionals. We also got to see how he "sets the knot" on a different tensioning device. After the "knot set" he showed us how this one didn't quite set right and he wasn't happy with how the knot looked so it met the chopping table and into the scrap bin it went.
Richard is an owner that demands quality of the product that is going out the door. The splices have to look good and feel proper when you run you hand over them. The knot on the soft shackle has to form well when tensioned. These are just a few of the rigorous standards of quality that are built into this company
From FRG webpage:
"All of Freedom Recovery Gear cordage products are made in Canada from from high strength synthetic rope manufactured in Canada the facility our rope is manufactured in is an ISO 9001 certified production facility, which means they track the process from start to finish. Our products are honestly Rated so our customers can make safe and informed decisions when selecting gear they rely on for their personal and vehicle safety. When we provide a rating of a MBS (Minimum Break Strength) or WLL(Working Load Limit) , it is based on data from actual destructive tests performed on each type of product to determine true Minimum Breaking Strength."
Richard is an absolute wealth of knowledge on recovery gear. If you are considering purchasing recovery gear, I urge you to take a look at www.freedomrecoverygear.com and purchase quality gear with honest/true ratings. An added bonus is it is a Canadian company and Richard will be able to get you the right equipment for the right application. Enjoy 20% off using code rebellerally2020 at check out.
Not only did Richard get us hooked up with proper gear so it won't fail us when we need it, he also took us out and showed us how to properly, calmly, and safely use our equipment. This is an absolutely amazing company you need to support.
Video of our time with Richard making our two 10' bridles
Glamis Sand Dunes Rebelle Rally