One-trick tow By the staff of Dirt Wheels

The TigerTail system retracts the rope when the vehicle you are towing gets closer than 12 feet. This makes it so that you don’t have to worry about slack getting wrapped around the wheels of the towed vehicle.

Riding trails out in the backcountry is more fun than we can handle, but the fun quickly comes to a halt when a machine gets stuck. Oftentimes we bring a portable winch or tie-downs to utilize as a tow rope in case one of our machines breaks down or gets stuck in a bad situation. Winch systems are expensive and tie-downs/tow ropes are oftentimes annoying because they have extra slack when the rope isn’t taut. Tow ropes can get tangled up in wheels and easily get caught on debris on the ground, so when we heard about the $199.95 TigerTail UT system that has a retractable rope, we had to test it out for ourselves.


The biggest feature of the TigerTail UT system is that the rope has a constant spring-loaded tension to it. The 12-foot-long rope is connected to a spool that retracts whenever tension is lost. That means when you are towing your buddy’s broken UTV and he gets a little more speed going downhill, the rope won’t drag on the ground. It will simply retract until extended to its full length and continue to pull your friend’s fallen machine. The spool mechanism is fully sealed and lubricated so it will last for years of use. It is also connected to a heavy-duty, 3/16-inch-thick steel frame so it is durable.


TigerTail offers different mounting systems for your UTV or ATV. Our General comes with a 2-inch hitch receiver, so we picked out the TigerTail receiver mount.


The TigerTail UT system weighs 9 pounds, and there are multiple types of mounting brackets you can purchase for it. We picked a straight-in 2-inch receiver mount for use on either an ATV or UTV trailer hitch. For another $69.99 you can have an added height adjustment. We had the whole system bolted together and mounted to the back of our Polaris General in under 15 minutes.


We hooked up the TigerTail UT to our General and used it to tow a Polaris RZR Turbo. While you have to pay attention to what your vehicle’s max tow rating is, the TigerTail had no issues during our use. The tow hook has a mount on the TigerTail bracket that it locks onto when not in use. We quickly unhooked it and pulled the rope out to the RZR with ease. The rope never had slack in the line while towing the machine. It was nice not to have to worry about the rope dragging and snagging on something. Once we were done, a quick unhook and the rope retracted right back onto the spool without issue.


The TigerTail UT costs $199.95, and that is cheap compared to some other winch systems. Plus, there is the ease of installation and the lack of wiring to worry about. It was easy to use, and we can clearly see the benefit of carrying this system on the back of any UTV. Our only qualm with the system is that you have to drive the tow vehicle forward to pull out another machine. Sometimes that isn’t possible. With a winch, you can park one machine and pull another out, and often tow more than 2000 pounds. Also, winch lines are often longer than the 12-foot-long TigerTail rope.


The end of the rope has a sturdy metal ring and a metal hook that you can use to latch onto another machine to tow it. It might be useful to purchase a short strap that you can wrap around bumpers and hook the tow hook onto.


With that said, the TigerTail UT system will come with us on every UTV trail ride from now on. It’s easy to use, rugged and will help pull out broken or stuck machines in most situations. There is a TigerTail AT system meant for ATVs that has a rope strength of 8000 pounds and costs $159.95. To purchase your own system, go to or call (605) 370-1071.

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