My preference was to acquire the individual pieces separately. For two reasons: First, using the experience of many of the guys on this list, you can get better quality components than often are supplied in the "kits";
...and second, you can focus on the specific tools that are best suited for the kind of wheeling you do.
For one, I usually carry sand anchors because there are no trees to wrap a strap around in the desert; there are better choices if you wheel on rocks. A lot of the guys prefer wider straps than are usually supplied in the kits, and so on. I'm sure you get the drift of it...
Do what I did. First, buy the separate pieces. Then, attend an offroad event in Moab (crucial) and win the Warn recovery kit in a drawing. Actually, the Warn kit has high grade stuff and I'd offer to sell it to you, but it's so heavy that shipping costs would be ridiculous.
Best advice I have is to overspend on the tow strap and shackles. You can break a cheap shovel, lose chintzy gloves, or find that crappy flashlight is corroded and still get home the next day. But if a strap or shackles let go, someone could get seriously hurt. And if you know it's anything but top grade you'll not be confident in slamming the crap out of the strap when you really need to (which is usually).
I prefer to buy stuff seperatly, especialy when seting up 4 winch equiped Cruisers, plus even the non winch rigs have some stuff
if you look around you can get some great gear at some great prices, just need to know where to look.
For example I have some large 4.5 ton snatch blocks, just like the red ones Warn sells for $150(has anyone ever bought one?)
see pic http://pic4.picturetrail.com/VOL55/691553/1171205/32060166.jpg http://pic4.picturetrail.com/VOL55/691553/1171205/32060171.jpg
except the ones I use cost $40! Where do you look, places like Wire/Rope and rigging suppliers, if you live someplace there is a port or logging or alot on industrial activity then I bet you have one, in Tacoma WA its Northwest Wire and Rope. These places sell great stuff that you know works(and if it didn't a logger would kick their ass) I get winch cable made up at the same place, $50 for 150 5/16's about the same for 125x3/8's, they swag the ends ect. Choker chains, $30-40 20ft. Shackles, $6 ect ect. Get a bag or a box and load it up
I always see the red cast hi-lifts on sale someplace local for under $50 for the 5ft.
Straps, just pick em up when I see a deal to add to the collection,
But the Warn kits are not a bad way to go, but you can get better/more for less.
Buy it indiv like the Pimp says. Last year I bought 100 shackles at one time and got reseller pricing. I was able to turn around and sell a bunch to make money including suj some myself. Have none left now.
The only problem I've heard about Recovery Gear is with the Black Rat HiLift that would'nt release to be lowered and most Snatch Straps break well before their rating(4WD Monthly did a test a few months back). Junk - John Rowlandson got a reply back from ARB about it.