To Hi Lift Or Not?

2 posts in this topic

Valuable tool but has safety risks.  Its heavy and takes up a lot of room and must be properly secured.  And regularly serviced and maintained for reliable performance.    Yet solves many trail-related problems.


So do you carry one?  All the time or occasionally?  Why yes, why no?  


I was asked how often i have used mine on trail in last 10 years.  Answer is maybe 5 to 7 times.  All other times it just goes for the ride.  But those times when it was needed it was there and made a difference.  Would you risk leaving it home for a trail ride?  in the daily driver?


Analogous to a spare tire.  How many flats have you had on trail?  But we carry a spare all the time.  


Soliciting thoughts here.  My preference is to leave it on the jeep all the time.   In addition to the HL, also carry a mechanical bottle jack secured in an OEM mount under driver seat.

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If it's a "Yes" or "No" question, I say carry the Hi-Lift jack... 


In the mid-'90s, I did a publicity trip through the Rubicon Trail with two relatively stock Geo 4WD two-door Trackers.  One vehicle was purely stock as specified by GM engineers, only allowed some added skid protection, otherwise bone stock.  The slightly modified support vehicle had 29" diameter BFG tires on stock wheels, a 2.5" Calmini prototype lift, a 5000# Warn winch and a prototype Right-Lock rear differential upgrade. 


Steve Kramer from Calmini Products, new to the trail, and I wrestled these two vehicles through a marathon of Hi-Lift jacking and winching.  I have never used a Hi-Lift more than that trip, and we could not have gone through without it. 


That said, I suggest taking the Hi-Lift on any backcountry trip.  If you tote it around always, you could be a Johnny on the Spot for stranded highway motorists.  I would add, however, that if you do not know how to use a Hi-Lift, don't wait until you're in a challenge to learn how.  Both a winch and a Hi-Lift jack should be tested with field practice before real world use or service!  Each of these valuable survival tools is capable of providing severe bodily injury to the unprepared or improperly trained user.


As a footnote, I also advise carrying a Pull-Pal for winching.  This tool must also be secured safely and properly, but if needed, the Pull-Pal can be invaluable!



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