How to Winch Without Trees

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Last Updated on June 27, 2022

Finding yourself stuck in your vehicle in a remote area while on a trip is a curse in itself. Maybe it’s not so bad that your car got stuck, it will just take you some time to winch it out from the hole.

But hold on, you look around and realize that now things just went from bad to worse when you find out there are no trees around. 

You have your tool, but you still need an anchor to work out the whole operation. This is when knowing different ways to make an anchor yourself when your supposed anchor, a tree, is missing. Thankfully, you have us here to provide you with that sort of knowledge.

How to Winch Without Trees

Dead Man Anchor

Probably the best solution to having no anchors for your winch operation would be a Dead Man Anchor. A dead man anchor would help you make an anchor by yourself without too many extra tools and it is mainly designed to help you almost anywhere you get stuck. 

Making a dead man anchor isn’t difficult. It won’t be difficult for you if you’re in decent shape. Even if it isn’t up to par, taking small breaks while performing the task will suffice. The only problem you’ll have is maybe getting to the right depth in the ground.

In terms of time consumption for this task mainly depends on the type of terrain or ground you are stuck in. It will probably take you more time if the soil is soft than that of a hard one. 

Another big advantage of making a dead man anchor is how cost-effective it can be. Most of the other ways to get an anchor that isn’t a tree would require you to buy certain tools that may be expensive. That is why we are focusing primarily on the dead man. It would require you to get tools that you probably have in your garage like a shovel, a spare tire, etc. 

How to Make a Dead Man Anchor

Now before you start to make a dead man anchor, you need to understand that your task would take time. You will also draw a lot of sweat while you are at it. 

That’s why you should try out all the other possible ways to get your vehicle out of the mud hole such as reversing, accelerating, or even trying to dig out the stuck tire. If that does not work, let’s just begin with our method.

  • You will need to start digging with the shovel you have. You are going to have to make sure that the hole you are digging for the anchor is in a straight line with your vehicle. Then determine how much of the cable rope you are going to need. For measuring that, just pull the cable out. 
  • As mentioned before, the type of soil will play a big role in how much hard work you will need to put in. The hole you will dig would be smaller if the soil is hard and vice versa. Another thing you should keep in mind is that the hole you dig is not angled. A straight hole will decrease the chances of the anchor slipping out. 
  • Now, for your anchor, choose whatever big and strong thing you have at your disposal. It could either be the spare tire of your vehicle or a large rock or a big log in your surroundings. 
  • Once you have your select anchor, you can now hook the rope of the winch around it. And if you find that it will help, try to angle the anchor from the vehicle in a way so that the anchor becomes more durable and steady. Then bury the anchor into the sand and fill the hole up as tightly as possible for further durability.

So that is pretty much it for a self-made anchor. So once it is well buried, you may engage your winch to start the vehicle extraction. Just in case your dead man comes out while pulling, you will be required to put it back in but the hole will need to be deeper this time. 

Once your whole winch operation is done, be sure to fill the hole so that nobody else faces the same fate as yours. And also, put back whatever you made an anchor of especially; if it’s a rock or logs you picked up from the side of the road.

Safety Precautions:

Winching as always will be a risky operation and so, like every other time, always take all the safety measures that are needed. 

In this instance, be sure to steer clear of the winch rope while the winch is engaged. You never know when or how your winch rope might snap and a very bad accident might occur.

During the whole digging and whatnot, be sure to take small breaks in between and keep yourself hydrated if it’s a hot and humid day. Take help if anyone capable is with you during your trip and take turns. 

Always wear safety gloves. This is the most common and basic safety precaution you should take during winching. Make sure that your gloves are of good quality, durable, and strong for the task at hand.


Surely, Dead Man Anchor is not the only way to get an anchor when there are no trees available. There are other methods such as pull-pal and many commercial anchors that come at a certain price. You can always get one and learn them through the user manuals. 

We recommend Dead Man Anchor because of its ability to get the job done with things in your surroundings and for cost-effectiveness. 

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About the Author: Brian Silvestro

Brian Silvestro is the founder and chief editor of OffroadersArena. He spends his free time tending to his BMW iX SUV and explaining its merits to anyone who'll listen.

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