Come-alongs are a must-have for country living. They’re most often used to tug vehicles out of ditches and unsuccessful stream fordings, and to tighten fencing. I’ve also used mine for erecting and tightening large tents and canopies, pulling objects into and onto trucks, hoisting 350 lb carcasses for butchering, encouraging crunched automobile bodies back into proper shape, pulling stumps, straightening sagging barns back to verticality, moving large logs, turning trailers to face another direction, erecting pre-assembled 2×4 wall sections built on the floor, cinching loads onto flatbed trucks, dragging heavy boats up the ramp onto the dock or onto their trailers, erecting wind generators, extracting and installing engines in vehicles and boats. In other words, moving just about anything up to 2 tons. Come-alongs should not be used to move people, since a well-used cable can snap.
The Maasdam Pow’r Pull is the best (though not the cheapest) come-along you can buy. It is built better than knock-off copies — especially the $19.95 ones — in every way. There’s an accessory wire gripper that enables the Maasdam (or any other pull tool) to tighten fences, clotheslines etc. I’ve beat the hell out of my 1969-model, and it has never failed. It will pull 2 tons. You can buy very expensive aluminum giant come-alongs from several firms, but the fine print with them sez that they are also 2-ton, so I don’t see much point in them except they are beautiful and classy-looking. Any tool that carries a high loading should be of the very best quality, as failure can be deadly or at the least scary. The Maasdam is good stuff.
Hints for working with a come-along: Many folks loop a come-along’s cable hook around an object and then hook it back onto the cable like a noose. This is very unsafe, as the hook will either cut or seriously damage the cable. Users should invest in a couple of suitable “Shackles” (any hardware or boat store) for such duty, and never hook anything directly to a come-along’s cable. Hint for come-along use where there are no trees or objects to anchor it to: Bury your spare tire a couple feet down and hook to that. Come-alongs also need some sort of anchor for the mechanism. I keep a length of 3/8ths chain for that purpose.