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Old 06-18-2019, 01:59 PM #1
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Survey on Maxtrax or other recovery board use - Norcal, Socal, AZ

For basic intermediate trail difficulty offroad camping around southern cali and in the sierras, how often do you find you need to use your maxtrax (or any other recovery board)? Why am I asking?

Because given the upfront cost, I am weighing them against other purchases that may (ARGUABLY) be more practical like ditch lights. I know one should always try to be prepared, but without much sand/snow/mud in these area, and against the insanely good capabilities of the 4runner, I question where to best plunk my $300 and am looking to you fine folk for guidance.

In short, how many find them to be 16 pounds of "just in case but never used" versus 16 pounds of "dont leave home without them"!?!
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Old 06-20-2019, 12:36 PM #2
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I'm on the fence with this too, TTT.

I may just end up purchasing a set of the cheaper Ebay X-Bull's as they have good reviews for under 100 smackers. To me, that's cheap(er) insurance...
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Old 06-20-2019, 01:30 PM #3
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Depends on what terrain. If your doing gravel roads to camp grounds and super light trails, just having better than stock tires and a buddy is fine. I have 2 tred pros for snow (they dont plow my area) and for the beach. Ive used them at the beach a few times for testing and just to park on.

Its cheaper than a winch and can get you out of alot of spots in lighter situations. But with everything its a balance of cost/need. But if you get them dont cheap out. Not something youll want to need and have break. Especially if thats your main recovery option.

The other thing to keep in mind is how youll transport them. They dont do you any good if you forget them. I had mine on a tred mount with yakima brackets to fit the factory rail u til i upgraded the rails to the LFD bars.

All in all i think theyre worth it. Id start with 2 and get 2 more if you need them.

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Old 06-24-2019, 07:14 PM #4
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It really depends on how often you go out, and how often you get stuck. If you're going out to the desert and encountering lots of sand where you might get stuck, I'd go with the maxtrax and do a buy-it-once purchase. If you're just going to the forests and driving on hard pack, with not much getting in your way, but just want the peace of mind of getting out JUST IN CASE you get stuck, go with the xbulls. I've had both, and I'd best describe the difference as xbull is a one-time-use kind of product. Even the lightest wheel spin will burn the knobs on the boards. The Maxtrax are much tougher, and have lasted through about 5 uses, and still don't look too damaged. Of course if you wheelspin on any board, you'll ruin it, but the xbulls seem to be much much softer than the higher end competitor.
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Old 06-25-2019, 04:12 PM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RRW.Michael View Post
It really depends on how often you go out, and how often you get stuck. If you're going out to the desert and encountering lots of sand where you might get stuck, I'd go with the maxtrax and do a buy-it-once purchase. If you're just going to the forests and driving on hard pack, with not much getting in your way, but just want the peace of mind of getting out JUST IN CASE you get stuck, go with the xbulls. I've had both, and I'd best describe the difference as xbull is a one-time-use kind of product. Even the lightest wheel spin will burn the knobs on the boards. The Maxtrax are much tougher, and have lasted through about 5 uses, and still don't look too damaged. Of course if you wheelspin on any board, you'll ruin it, but the xbulls seem to be much much softer than the higher end competitor.

Pretty much this!

The knockoffs on ebay are a bit cheaper, but they also dont last more than one or two times. Compare them in person and youll see MaxTrax is a much better built unit.

If you are going in snow, sand or mud a lot - then we suggest you get a set. If you are on hard pack trails, or are often with groups of people on the trail that have winches and recovery gear, etc you may be okay with out a set. We always say be prepared!

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Old 07-02-2019, 02:42 PM #6
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I wheel in the Eastern Sierras and I have used mine once. I bought the cheaper Smitty Built versions and bought the lifetime warranty through 4 Wheel Parts. I used mine while stuck in pretty deep mud when I had open diffs and was wheeling after the winters snow melted. They worked great for that one instance. I'd say they are cheap insurance if you ever go wheeling alone (Which is why I bought them in the first place). If you are always with at least someone else, then I'd say save your money for a winch.
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Old 07-03-2019, 08:45 PM #7
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So I went through a good bit of research in regards to recovery pads, here is what i have found.

First of all, any recovery pad is a CONSUMABLE ITEM. it WILL get damaged/stripped/cracked from usage almost every time you use them regardless of the brand.

With that aside, I tried to compare maxxtraxx (the instagrammer's wet dream and also some of the most expensive on the market) against other ebay/amazon brands and in the end i went with X-Bull brand recovery pads.

Why? Well, the biggest thing is, all of these pads use practically the same base plastics to make them, which results in almost identical performance of the material. The only major difference is the outward appearance of the pads, which i do not bother with too much.

In my usage of X-bulls, i have been able to recover so far, FIVE instances, and i believe they have another 5-10 uses left in them.

A MAJOR factor that no body seems to consider when looking at these is what terrain they are used on.
Sand will incurr less damage to them when compared to say an uneven craggy surface as the pad has more foundation to sit on sand for example. I believe this is where peoples perceptions that one board is superior to another comes from, as i cant seem to find a legit controlled experiment of recovery pads. Also, if you just drop the hammer while on top of any recovery pad, you will damage them and likely the tire's tread too. You dont need to pretend your at the BAJA 500 when using a recovery pad, use moderate power and get unstuck, then pretend your at the BAJA 500


My suggestion is to go with a set of mid-tier ones like X-Bull and see how they handle for you, as i seem to be getting the same performance with that brand as my freinds did with maxxtraxx, but at a fraction of the cost
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Old 07-05-2019, 12:19 AM #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rob_dixon View Post
For basic intermediate trail difficulty offroad camping around southern cali and in the sierras, how often do you find you need to use your maxtrax (or any other recovery board)? Why am I asking?

Because given the upfront cost, I am weighing them against other purchases that may (ARGUABLY) be more practical like ditch lights. I know one should always try to be prepared, but without much sand/snow/mud in these area, and against the insanely good capabilities of the 4runner, I question where to best plunk my $300 and am looking to you fine folk for guidance.

In short, how many find them to be 16 pounds of "just in case but never used" versus 16 pounds of "dont leave home without them"!?!
I have not used my Tred 1100, neither with my Subaru, nor with my 4R. I tested them with the Outback and they do show wear from that (and I bridged over rocks with them, with stones for support; I would not do that with the 4R). I still carry them if I expect mud and I would carry them on the beach, but I have stopped carrying them in the desert. There is no point (unless you are trying to use the stock tires).

Generally, I think all these recovery boards are really useful in sand and that's it. They might do the trick in mud or snow but chains should be far, far better for either of those scenarios. I don't know when, but I will at some point get chains and practically stop carrying the boards unless we go to a beach or dunes.

As for Arizona, neither has been needed, unless it is muddy to the north in which case chains would be better. But I just avoid those times.

EDIT: there is absolutely no connection between trail rating and the need for boards or chains, which is entirely weather dependent. You will have far more issues on some easy dirt roads, which become impassible at the wrong time of year than on some difficult rated trails, which can be drivable year-around except after downpours. For example, Cottonwood Canyon between 89 and Cottonville, Ut vs Broken Arrow or Blue Hills Rd vs Tower Arch, both north of Moab, and so on and so forth.
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Old 07-05-2019, 01:29 PM #9
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Just get the cheap ones. Carry them with you as they can come handy. If after wheeling a while you see you need more you can then get the maxtrax, by that point you might benefit of having both sets.
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Old 07-22-2019, 11:09 AM #10
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I have had a set of Treds for over a year now and have come to really like having the option of recovery boards. I have used them for my own rig a few times now where a little more traction or less angle made all the difference. I have also used them to help recover other rigs where I did not have to get my rig close enough to be part of the situation. Anytime I can keep my rig safe(ish) I am happy.

But the real question is if the boards will work for the majority of places you spend your time. I went with boards before a winch because the majority of places I wheel do not have anything big enough to winch off of. I am not about to try to dig a hole for a land anchor in Big Bend Ranch State Park - that whole place is either solid rock or river bottom sand. That said - work on the solution that fits your situation the best.
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Old 07-26-2019, 03:43 PM #11
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When I lived on SoCal I spent copious amounts of time off-road down in Baja. The only situations that presented problems were the beaches near the tip which have very coarse/loose sand (Punta Palmilla, Solmar,etc) - most of those beaches along the corridor are off limits to vehicles now so it's a non-issue. Deflating the tires always solved the problem of getting stuck though (primarily in several International Scout's I had back in the day).

Borrego/Death Valley/Etc never really caused any issues that would have required boards with a little forethought behind the wheel.

Now that I'm based in Colorado, there have been two incidents that had me thinking about recovery boards or a strip of carpet while on the verge of getting stuck in spring mud. Looking back on both incidents, I could have avoided both of those situations had I been a bit more mindful of my surroundings.

This is all to say that while I think the recovery boards are pretty nifty, for me they are more of a solution to problems I can easily avoid if I actually give some thought to the line I pick through sand/mud/snow. Far too many videos I see online seem to be of people that are purposely trying to get into dicey situations in order to justify all of their recovery gear. I'd rather spend my money on a new fly rod.
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Old 07-31-2019, 02:13 AM #12
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$300. for MaxTrax is ridiculous price for couple boards of 'plastic' with ridges. I do believe they work well and at <$100. they are cheap traction aid and can be beneficial in many different ways and $200. left for other things.
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Old 08-03-2019, 10:31 AM #13
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Someone earlier recommended used snow mobile treads. Say they work like a charm n cheap. Not a snow machine guy but would think they roll up also.


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Old 08-30-2019, 01:24 PM #14
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i've used the cheap xbulls a handful of times in snow and mud and they're holding up so far
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Old 09-08-2019, 03:49 PM #15
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my first experience was seeing them in action on snow... didn't work. 2nd time was on a super rocky and steep trail... again didn't work. Actually cracked the pad. 2 different manufacture on the 2 separate occasion. Maybe my buddies weren't using them correctly? Oh well, I have my trusty winch if i ever get stuck
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