The inventor of Bog Out has his say

Paul Aubin is the inventor of Bog Out and here’s his story.

WHEN WE REVIEW a product we try and be as fair and balanced as possible. We also send the story to whoever makes or sells the product in advance of publication, not something that’s often done by journalists. The reason is that mistakes are easy to make, and often things like specifications differ between the website, brochure, your own observations and measurements so it’s good clear things like that up. However, opinions and test conclusions are what they are.

We recently reviewed the Bog Out recovery device, and after reading the review inventor Paul Aubin sent us this note. It’s worth a read.


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I’ve run an adventure tourism business in Cairns where we hired out 4WDs, mostly Troopies, and we allowed users to take them off road proper, and have a bit of fun. Consequently I got a lot of calls to get vehicles out of bogs, and I used the traditional methods of hand and electric winch, snatch and tow straps, jacks and traction boards even blocks and tackle (and a bullock if I could find one!)

As you say, each have their strengths and weaknesses, electric winches are one directional (generally), towing devices require another vehicle (that’s not also going to get stuck or broken) and traction boards proved useless on many occasions (we had 8 good ones on each vehicle).  All are partial solutions which means you need to carry multiple equipment to cover bases. I would consider a proper hand winch the most dependable device but a pain in the neck to carry, and hard work.

BOG OUT was born in the bottom of the Gunshot bog facing towards the infamous embankment in 2004. I was the first on the track that year and got well and truly stuck in the slop hole with no prospect of help from another vehicle for some time, and it was raining, the creek was coming up. The winch, the traction boards and the jacks were completely useless, and the hand winch kept breaking. After 6 hours of hard work I figured out a fencing wire solution by attaching to the back wheels and hauling out backwards, BOG OUT style.

What was surprising was how easy the vehicle came out, fencing wire is not that strong, and that really annoyed me for some years because it didn’t add up. I made other BOG OUT’s in different odd configurations and tested them and each time the system got simpler and I learned a bit more. I’m an electrician, so I’m used to testing things and I bought a load cell and display and pretty soon it became obvious the effort required to move a vehicle via BOG OUT was a lot less than the effort required using any of the higher mounted devices like a winch or tow.

The tow point is the key. The lower the tow point, the more efficient the angle of recovery. This is the same dynamic as a traction board i.e. lowest possible tow point and upwards recovery angle, reducing load, whereas higher mounted devices pull flat and through the obstruction at best, and down into the obstruction at worse, increasing load.

My experience with traction boards is they are fine for light work, but give up i.e. loose traction or spit them out at a certain point (BOG OUT’s never give up), they need weight on them to facilitate traction and are far shorter than a BOG OUT, that’s why we had 8, 4 to get out of the bog and 4 to keep moving 600 or 700mm at a time, If they held traction. I have other issues with them too, but another time perhaps.

The more you use BOG OUTs the more tips you learn. Since you’ve put yours on using method 2 (snare) I guess you have callipers in the way to stop you using the method 1 (through the rim) which is a lot easier. Yours is the case for about 15 – 20% of 4WDs (Sunraysia wheels make it worse) and makes the system less useful because you have to tie the inside knot under the vehicle and you use up a fair bit of the BOG OUT going around the tyre.  But they will still get you out of the bog when all else fails, I’ve done some horror recoveries and I ONLY use BOG OUT’s now, and I ALWAYS take two (but surprising what one will get out)

The anchor point for BOG OUT doesn’t have to be as strong as for a winch recovery, and it still amazes me how small a sapling I can get away with sometimes. A BOG OUT anchor needs to capture about the same amount of torque as a traction board, how much holds them in the ground? I suggest 1 tonne anchors and carry a couple of modified 5kg sand anchors (danforth) that are fairly flat, cheap, self-digging and tuff if I’m going near the beach. A winch needs around a 3 tonne capable anchor and a snatch, well you know the answer to that. Clearly safety is a big issue and the lesser load means safer work. If something does break on a BOG OUT recovery, the recoil is directed under the car, something to think about, that’s why gov and mining companies like them.

The anchor doesn’t have to be dead straight, the BOG OUT pulls from the sidewall so you get a bit of leeway depending on how aggressive your tyre tread is, and you can steer your front wheels about 30 degrees either side of centre giving lots of flexibility. You can reverse using a front tyre too and rotate a vehicle, handy for rut recoveries. Also the more load put on the BOG OUT the more the tyre is forced into the harness, which helps.

I’m designing a light weight 4WD friendly anchor to marry the BOG OUT but it’s pretty hard to compete with a $30 boat anchor that’ll do the same job. Surfies and beach fishers have been using these with no problems. Burying a 25kg hessian potato sack filled with sand also works well. You can use one anchor point for a twin BOG OUT recovery provided it’s not too close. 10 mtrs or more is fine, that way the angle to the tyres is not too large.

Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper is a motoring journalist, offroad driver trainer and photographer interested in anything with wings, sails or wheels. He is the author of four books on offroading, and owns a modified Ford Ranger PX which he uses for offroad touring. His other car is a Toyota 86 which exists purely to drive in circles on racetracks, and that's when he isn't racing his Nissan Pulsar. Visit his website: www.l2sfbc.com or follow him on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RobertPepperJourno/ or buy his new ebook!