Winch Mounting Options – Bumper Mounts, Hidden Mounts, and More

We’re starting to see some really great and stylish options when it comes to mounting your winch to your rugged 4X4. Of course each mounting option comes with its own set of separate “options” for your particular vehicle, but here’s 4 popular mounting types.

  • Bumper mount
  • Hidden mount
  • Multi mount, and
  • Winch bumper
Bumper mounted winch

Bumper mounts are common, but they're not as popular now as they used to be.

The bumper mount offers the most versatility because it can be configured dozens of ways depending on how you work or play. Most brands carry the mounting gear for all the major auto manufacturers. And you can usually choose from powder black, stainless steel, and chrome. Some even have a combination of these finishes.

A lot of the bumper mount styles have grille guards which is an added bonus. They’re some of the easiest to install since they go right there on your front bumper. And they typically use a bolt-on system configured to the factory bumpers. Bumper mounts are popular because they’re rugged and look great.

Hidden mount winch

Hidden mounted winches are especially popular, for a lot of obvious reasons

The hidden mount winch is perfect for truck owners who don’t want to change the look of their truck and have limited space behind the bumper. The hidden mount uses a short-drum winch, and is designed to bolt directly to the frame so the only visible feature is the bumper and the integrated roller fairlead.

So when you choose the hidden mount option, and if it’s available for your particular vehicle, it looks like you’re pulling your cable directly out of the bumper. One major disadvantage to this is the smaller opening which can trap or catch mud and debris. Still, it looks cool and if you’re not pulling out of a mud hole, it could be a nice option.

The multi mount winch is ideal for off-roadies who want the security a winch provides without permanently mounting it to their vehicle. This winch consists of a “carrier” and front receiver…probably sold separately.

Warn winch multi-mount

Warn's multi-mount system makes it easy to mount a winch front or rear

When you have the receiver mounted on the front of your vehicle and a standard Class III towing receiver on the rear, the winch and carrier assembly can be inserted and operated anytime and anywhere. Be sure to look for the quick connect power leads. A huge advantage to the front receiver hitch is the ability to maneuver trailers from the front of the vehicle. If you’re not good at backing up a trailer, check out this option.

The winch bumper may just become the favorite of the “real off-roadies”. You get the advantage of a winch and still have a protective “one-piece” bumper that has a “beefy” look most delirious drivers love.

Smittybilt XRC Rock Crawler Winch Bumper

Smittybilt XRC Rock Crawler Winch Bumper - click for more info.

These bumpers look like they’re really part of the vehicle…not just an add-on. And they mount to the frame with 1/4” steel sub-frames. They tend to come in the popular semi-gloss powder black finish, so they look great with just about any color.

Winch bumpers are engineered to be strong without adding lots of weight. This maintains excellent vehicle handling characteristics. Be sure to look for the extra clearance you’ll need for larger tires and increased suspension travel.

Here’s possibly the biggest advantage to the full winch bumper…the winch you choose mounts down inside the bumper for added protection from damage. This leaves the controls easily accessible and discourages thieves because the winch can’t be removed without unbolting the entire bumper.

Now…armed with this information it’s time for you to get over to the 4X4 parts store, get a winch, and get off the pavement this weekend. What are you waiting for?