Ruipoo Grappling Hook

Got Stuck on the ATV? Get a Grappling Hook Now!

We’ve all been stuck before on the ATV. Or side by side. If not, you haven’t challenged yourself enough and perhaps your also missing out on all the fun… The trails less taken are usually the pretty ones. They are also the ones most likely to get you into trouble. Which is why we stress the importance of getting a winch in Buying Your First ATV. But what happens when there’s no trees or solid objects to hook up to? Welcome to the grappling hook, a little known secret amongst ATVers to get out of almost every winching situation!

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Lessons From An Argo Driver

It was either New Year’s Day or shortly after. You know those days when there’s nothing to do and that scenic drive seems really good all of a sudden. Whizzing by an argo on top of a parking lot’s snow mountain (the massive one left by the plow) I just had to do a quick u-turn and catch up before they vanished into the woods. It was a chance to show the kids a tracked Canadian vehicle that goes anywhere, an argo.

As it turns out, the argo was stuck. Here’s a machine that was crushing trails and crossing icy rivers not 10 minutes ago and yes, it floats. Yet somehow as it crowned the peak of that snow pile, it bottomed itself out and got stuck. Only to have its mighty tracks simply spin in the air. Naturally I pulled them out and we got to chatting.

Ruipoo Grappling Hook with Claws Opened/Closed
Ruipoo Grappling Hook with Claws Opened/Closed

The Ruipoo Grappling Hook

My newly found argo friend said he had something cool to show me and he pulls out a Ruipoo brand grappling hook. Bewildered, one would assume that is strictly for climbing. He told me to take a picture and remember it as it’s the most amazing recovery tool he’s ever used. Upon looking up this contraption, here’s what the manufacturer says: “this climbing claws is good for wilderness outdoor climbing activities (tree, rock, ice, mountain), outdoor adventure activities, grapple falling objects, fixed fishing boat and also rescue vehicle traction.”

Ok, the English isn’t the greatest but you get the point. “Rescue vehicle traction”, what’s that all about? Luckily my argo friend explained it. One person in the vehicle is operating the winch. On the other end, instead of connecting the winch to a tree saver that’s hugging a tree, the winch is connected to the grappling hook. The grappling hook in turn is pressed into the ground. Literally, one of the spikes goes in the ground. And of course someone is stepping on it from the top to keep it there. I suppose that’s the caveat, it’s a 2 person operation. But most often, ATV trips are not done alone anyways.

Will A Grappling Hook Hold an ATV?

Why not? I recently got stuck in some pretty nasty water. You know the muddy, stinky variety. I was going slow as it was deeper than usual and the machine had bottomed out over a culvert pipe on the bottom of the trail. Granted, under 2-3′ of water which means I forgot it was there. Usually you attack these with a little oomph. Now everyone nows it takes a bit of force to get off something like this, force unavailable thanks to all wheels aimlessly spinning in the air. There were no large trees to be had either and I forgot the Ruipoo at home that day. So we hooked up to a little sapling. Yes, it got knocked over but it provided more than enough to get the machine winched out!

There’s a lesson in above. Sometimes it’s just a matter of that little extra push or pull to get things moving again. And that sapling could only hold so much. In other words, we didn’t really need too much force to get winched out. That brings us back to the Ruipoo.

The Ruipoo’s claws are made of ASTM 1050 which looks like carbon steel. Makes sense so its teeth don’t lose bite over time. Everything else on it is made of SUS304 stainless steel which is great as it’s fewer pieces to rust. All in all, it’s rated to hold 880 lbs. While I am NOT ever endorsing putting a bigger load on something that it’s rated for, generally speaking there is some safety net built into these ratings. Point being is it’s pretty darn strong either way.

Adjustable Grappling Hook Arms

I can’t speak to other grappling hooks but the Ruipoo does have one cool if not vital feature for recovery. You can rotate the upper part that holds the claws, it’s threaded. This allows you to fold the claws in for storage. Rotating the upper part back then locks them in place nicely. Conversely, it can “lock” the claws in an open position when put into service.

Let’s Get Back to Stepping on the Grappling Hook

Each claw will have 4″ of reach and just like winching off a sapling, the 4″ of reach will have plenty of bite in the ground to get out of many a situation.

I don’t know about you but I’m particularly careful when winching anything!!! As you know, you don’t want to be behind the winch in general as the line can torque up and snap. Sending it flying right back at you which is usually why I duck when pushing that button… That risk is greatly diminished when not using a steel cable and partly why I prefer synthetic winch line. One would ask why then are you asking me to step on a grappling hook? It’s something I’ll stress that you must do at your own risk and I can’t assume liability for it. For the winching scenarios in the context of this post, it’s assuming there is absolutely nothing else (trees, other machines and so on) around to hook up to. Ie. It’s a final and desperate resort!

The saving grace with the Ruipoo and its “vital” aspect lies in its adjustable claws we talked about earlier. I can set it so that only one claw is in the open position and that claw goes in the ground. Then when I step on it, my foot is never between the path of another claw and the machine itself! Otherwise, I would refuse to do it myself. I’ll also stand off to the side and as upstream as possible on the grappling hook. If it is to come loose, it’s travelling away from me.

Ruipoo Folding Claw Grappling Hook in Use
Ruipoo Folding Claw Grappling Hook

Other Uses for The Grappling Hook

I’m not a climber by any means so the main intent and purpose of the grappling hook (climbing) is out for me. I do however LOVE IT on my canoe trips or even with the 12′ or 14′ aluminum fishing boats. It’s a great security anchor on shore for mooring, especially when there are no trees close enough to tie up to. Technically, it can be used as an underwater anchor but I like mine too much to do that!

The grappling hook also comes in handy when roping trees. If trying to get control lines higher up for a timber, the grappling hook toss makes an easy job of it. Other times, there may be that gnarly dead branch that’s hung up somewhere and needs to come down. After all, it is a hook and it has some weight. A little redneck engineering goes a long way from having to order a man lift for a smaller job.

Maintenance / Accessories

As silly or even overkill maintenance may seem on a grappling hook, it’s not. Just like anything, there is maintenance involved. I’ll generally wipe mine down after use and remove any dirt. Periodically, I will rotate the top and lube the threads and will also wipe the claws with oil to help with rust. I don’t know about you but I try to take care of my things. It’s working as 2 years later, my Ruipoo has a couple small rust stains on the claws but otherwise looks brand new.

And yes, there is an accessory that can make your life easy. Your ATV’s winch cable has a hook on it but that doesn’t mean it fits into the Ruipoo’s attachment hole. It is a bit on the small size. You will also use the grappling hook with rope at some point. I usually like working with dock line just because its strong, has some stretch and has a really nice hand in general. So a strong carabiner of suitable strength does make all the rigging that much easier.

Where Can I Buy the Ruipoo Grappling Hook?

Other than amazon, the Ruipoo Grappling Hook is not exactly the easiest thing to find. Let’s put the Ruipoo brand aside for a minute. Now stop and think for a second, when is the last time you saw a grappling hook of any form in store??? As much as we like to purchase locally, my wife ordered mine online as a gift.

Let’s bring the Ruipoo brand back into context and the fact that it’s a product under $100. It’s obviously not a professional grappling hook for climbing. But I’m guessing a pro climbing hook only needs to hold a couple hundred pounds and is meant to be on the lighter side by nature. What the Ruipoo does do well is provide more than enough strength and it has a form factor excellent for winching. All at a price that is cheap insurance for those rarer moments we may actually need it out in the field. That is a definite winner in my books.

Disclaimer

The Ruipoo weighs about 1 lb and has 4 x 4″ steel claws on it. Obviously if you are using it to winch, you must consider the tension winching applies and understand it can become a deadly projectile. It’s also not rocket science that what goes up, must come down and extreme caution is warranted when tossing this up into a tree! I’m here to tell you what it can do – and you need to use it at your own risk, with extreme caution, as per the manufacturers instructions in observance of its technical limitations. I’ll also stress that winching anything whatsoever should be done by people with experience.

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Stelios Lazos
Stelios Lazos

Stelios comes from the corporate world where he was a highly successful executive. Inspired by his love for the outdoors he has re-located with his family to live to the BushLife where he blogs about his adventures. Finding inspiration in the never-ending questions from aspiring outdoors people, Stelios aims to share his knowledge, one post at a time.

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