Digging a Dead Man Anchor


A dead man anchor is a technique to use if your Jeep ever becomes stuck and cannot push or pull your way out. You may have a winch installed on your Jeep, but if there is nothing to attach it to, you may think that you’re out of luck and will have to hope that another vehicle follows the same the path you did. If you don’t feel like waiting, you may have to prepare yourself for some digging.


To dig a dead man anchor, you will need to use a shovel that you have packed as part of your emergency supply kit. The size of the hole you will need to dig depends on the size and weight of your Jeep and how severely you are stuck. Remember the deeper the hole, the stronger your anchor will be. The minimum depth of your hole should be deep enough to hold your spare tire and rim.

You will want to dig the hole directly in line with your Jeep and far enough away from your stuck vehicle that you can spool out a decent length of cable. To make sure that your hole is far enough away, you may want to measure out some cable before you start digging. Measuring first will make sure that you have the right spot for your dead man anchor.

Next you will want to look around for a heavy object which will serve as your anchor. This could be a large log, rock or if you have nothing around you can use your spare tire. Once you have located an object to serve as your anchor you will want to attach a chain to the anchor and bury it deep inside the hole and angled away from your Jeep for the greatest amount of resistance. When burying your anchor, make sure that you have filled all of the open areas with dirt and then pack it down as solidly as you can get it.

Now you will want to attach your winch to the chain that you have placed around your anchor. Once you have connected your winch to the anchor, you can now start to pull your Jeep. The anchor should give you enough resistance to free your vehicle. Once you have gotten your Jeep free, you will want to dig up your anchor and remove the chain. If you used your spare tire you will want to clean it off before placing it back in your Jeep.

Written by Andrew

"You're telling me it's got four wheels, two seats and goes faster than the speed limit? Good, I'm driving."

6 comments

  1. All I can say is I wish I had known this tidbit in August. It was my own fault I got stuck, but that fact didn’t make it one bit easier at the time. There was a rather large tree but as luck would have it, it was about 18 inches away from the max my winch would reach. I don’t carry a cell phone either. Probably wouldn’t have had good reception anyway. I left home at dusk and no one knew where I was at. Broke all the rules and paid for it. I sat and waited all night and most of the morning before salvation showed up. Another off roader. He had a chain to circle the tree and meet up with my winch. Ugly lesson btw.

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  2. This is a totally awesome thing to know. I’ve always been able to work my way out or had someone who could tow me out, but you never know when this type of information might come in handy. Appreciate it!

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  3. This is a really good thing to know. I go out by myself a lot. I’ve never been stuck to where I couldn’t get out, but you never know when it might happen.

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  4. Who would have thought? Certainly not me. I would have hiked out and called in the troops to save me, and my wheels. Now, I know how to drag my own sorry butt out without exposing my ignorance to the rest of the community!

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  5. I read this right after it was posted but figured I’d never have much use for the information. First, let me say I’m glad that I read it. Now let me say I figured wrong. Not only did I have that use today, but I can tell you that the procedure worked like a charm. I impressed the hell out of my girl and that was great!

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