Thinking about my SMB getting a little 'long in the tooth', and my desert meanderings. I know that AAA won't send a truck if you get stranded on a dirt fire trail, let alone well off the beaten path like Saline Hot Springs, where I came close to getting stuck a coupe years ago. My though is anyone with a strong towbar could help rescue me, if I get stuck a long way from home, or 50 miles from the nearest paved road; But I don't own a strong enough towbar.
I decided I needed a towbar, all figured out, well before I ever need it. Beside, one way to guarantee you'll never need to tow your rig, is to own a means in which to do so! (one of Murphy's laws I think)
Flat towing a car or truck isn't a big deal, I've done it too many times to count. But all lightweight cars. The key is having the right equipment, a strong, roadworthy connection between the rig being towed, and the tow vehicle.
With my van tipping the scales at 9000lbs, and looking around a Blue Ox and other commercial solutions, they are all high dollar, about $1k, and frankly not very safety inspiring.
So I looked at what the Military does, with the H1 Hummer. One problem with the Hummer towbar solution, just buying one from ebay, is the cost, the shipping cost, and getting the right adapter feet for it. I researched the heck out of the mounts and different light, medium, and heavy military tow bars, and was more confused than when I started. I even looked at a local surplus towbar intended for a 19 ton Stryker fighing vehicle, which was only $100 no shipping, but the 4" diameter x 8' long bars, 200lbs are way overkill, would need shortening, adapter feet, and modifying.
At the end of the day, the hummer solution: I'd be into it for $600-$750, maybe $900, and be stuck with a Lunette ring/Pintel deal.
Pretty strong stuff, folding (I like), but uses a Lunnette Ring and requires a Pintle Hook type hitch. I think the shipping weight is over 100lbs.
If I get stuck, and happen to have my towbar, I'd need to also have a Pintel hitch, which I don't own, add another $150-$400 depending, and maybe another 50lbs.
After considering all of that, I decided to design and fabricate my own, starting from a clean sheet of paper. The goal was to make something as strong as an ox, no heavier than it needs to be, say, less than 75lbs. keep the cost under $200 if possible.
I wanted a more common trailer ball set up, 2-5/16" I think, too, so one of my friends with a 1 ton truck can come get me if I get stranded. No Pintel necessary.
I just modified my front bumper with features like a towbar in mind. Without sounding too much like an engineer, I followed the load path, and strengthened the elements that during starting and emergency stopping are in compression and tension, by adequately reinforcing them. That starts with a solid foundation: