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The 4X4 Beer Economy: What is a recovery worth?

Mitsubishi Pajero bogged at Gunn Point, in the Northern Territory
Mitsubishi Pajero bogged at Gunn Point, in the Northern Territory

If you recover someone out in the bush? Do you expect some kind of remuneration in return? I’m not talking about exchanging money, but rather a bartering system of goods in exchange for the recovery.

This comes after a local Territorian was left feeling cheated after he recovered a vehicle for some tourists, but was left empty-handed at the end of it all.

What’s a fair amount to expect? Is it okay to ask for something up front? Should it be beer or another cold drink to trade? Some play by rules, where others don’t. Let’s look at the brass tacks.

Land Rover Discovery bogged on the beach
Land Rover Discovery bogged on the beach

A snatch strap will cost you anywhere between $40 and $80, depending on what brand you buy. Safe practice indicates you should only use our strap between a half-dozen and a dozen times in an actual recovery situation, before your turf it out for a new one. This really depends on how hard you use the straps, how well-made it is and how well you take care of your gear. But the point here is: Straps have a finite life, and each time you use it effectively costs you money.

You’re using your vehicle, recovery points and gear, and maybe even some recovery board and a winch as well. Your time is one thing you need to consider as well, right? You might get wet and muddy in the process of the recovery, and you’re risking damage to your own vehicle in the whole process.

What if you’re putting in the hard yakka, pushing through mud or digging with a shovel under the sun? Does the amount of effort expended relate to the final reward?

What’s a reasonable ‘fee’ to ask or expect in this situation? Tell us what you think in the comments below. You never know, maybe we can set up some rules …



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Martin Thibou

Its simple I will pull you out with your gear and I would appreciate if you pulled me out with MY gear, that’s the only payment I ask. But if we have time I am sure we will have a beer and a laugh.


I’ve lived in the bush. I’m often surprised by ‘Townies’ fitting two-way radios but carrying nothing in the way of recovery gear when preparing to go off-road. In one Summer I heard (over the UHF) cries for help from four of those odd souls and went to offer my help. One bloke said “Nup! I’ll manage.” That, I thought, was strange – he had called. Anyway the other three were women drivers with kids still sitting in the very hot cars and they did accept assistance. Each of them told their children to thank me for the nice cold drinks… Read more »


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