If you Jeep anywhere worth Jeeping, you know the feeling: You’re stuck, and grab the hook on the end of your winch line, running it out to whatever anchor point you need to use. And you have a hook.
What the heck are you supposed to do with a hook!?
Enter the product line of winching accessories from Factor 55.
I was interested in their Prolink “thimble” that acted as a quick attachment point for the end of the winch line. After the install, I noticed it protruded out quite a bit, and I worried about that first careless person that nosed into the parking spot a little too far.
Back at Jeep Beach 2014, I bumped into the guys from Factor 55. While researching their newest accessory – the Flatlink – I ended up coming home with one.
The pro side of this product is in it’s name – it’s flat. It uses the winch line tension to remain flat against your hawse fairlead. It is a low profile solution, and is very quick to deploy, and accepts standard shackles when winching. Plus, it looks awesome and we all know how much we care about how our Jeeps look.
On a recent trip up the Rubicon trail, I had to winch twice on Cadillac Hill (I had a trailer, come on!). The ease of hooking a shackle to tree protectors from the Flatlink was appreciated. It quickly “folded” back against the fairlead when I was done.
Another pro is the breaking point for these things. At Jeep Beach, they had all the specs on their failure testing right on the table. It was pretty amazing to see the results.
The only con side of the Flatlink (and one that was fully disclosed) is that unlike the Prolink, the hoop of your winch line remains exposed to sun/UV, air, rain, and dirt. This critical part of your line should remain protected for obvious reasons.
Another note, is that you should have a snap ring tool to install the Prolink or the Flatlink. This was not something I had handy and install was a pain.
My plan is to run the Flatlink during the Summer months, and swap back to the Prolink for the winter. This will provide protection to my line when the roads are the nastiest.
Overall, this is a great addition to my recovery kit. I hope with some additional engineering, a version of Flatlink will come to the market with winch line hoop protection. Then, it will be truly be a perfect fit.
**FULL DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary Flatlink for the purposes of this review. It did not influence my opinion of the product. I purchased the Prolink at full retail.