Self-recovery is crucial for any off-roader or overlander.
One of the most effective and relatively cheap self-recovery methods is traction boards.
With the endless choices out there, deciding what brand to buy and how much to pay can get confusing.
Therefore, in today’s 4WDTalk article, we’ll give you a list of the best options and some tips on how to use them.
Table of Contents
- What to Look for in a Traction Board
- How to Use a Traction Board
- How to Mount a Traction Board
- A Budget Option: STEGODON Recovery Traction Tracks
- A Better Option: Maxsa Innovations
- The Best Option: Maxtrax
- Final Thoughts
- Other Off-Roading Gear You Might Need
What to Look for in a Traction Board
Maxsa traction boards in action.
One must look for three criteria when buying recovery boards: size, strength, and grip.
A traction board needs to be wide and long enough to work well with an off-road tire, strong enough to support the weight of the vehicle, and grippy enough to help the vehicle find traction and get unstuck.
Most traction boards are produced in a good size and offer good grip. However, the cheaper options tend to lack strength. Beware of that as you look for the best traction board options for your needs.
How to Use a Traction Board
The video above from 4×4 Australia shows that using a traction board is simple. When you get stuck on soft ground, start by doing some digging to clear the mud or sand from the front of your tires. You then place the recovery board in the area you’ve just cleared, making sure you try to wedge it between the ground and tire.
When you apply the throttle, the tires will grip onto the traction boards and your vehicle will be free.
Keep in mind that traction boards have multiple uses. They can be used on a slippery slope to provide additional grip as you drive up, they can be stacked and driven on to raise the underside of the vehicle in case you need to do repairs, or can be used as a bridge to drive over deep holes or ruts.
Recovery boards are an incredibly useful tool, and every adventurer should have them.
How to Mount a Traction Board
All traction boards have specific holes that can be used for mounting. If you want to mount them on a roof rack, you can use a mounting kit with everything you need to get the boards bolted on and secure.
You can also opt to mount them on your spare wheel in which case you will need this traction board mount. The choice is yours!
A Traction Board Budget Option: STEGODON Recovery Traction Tracks
At less than $70, these are the cheapest recovery boards on Amazon that are well-reviewed. Thanks to their nylon mixture construction, they have a 10-ton load capacity on flat ground.
The pros of these specific recovery boards are that they are cheap; therefore, it’s no big deal if they break. They also have a good size and a grippy surface.
The cons are that they can’t be used as a bridge as they tend to break. Also, the color fades away and the material becomes brittle when left in the sun.
However, for the price, these are a great option.
A Better Traction Board Option: Maxsa Innovations 20333
The second option is a bit more expensive than the first one and for your money, you get some improvements.
The pros of these recovery boards from Maxsa are that they provide even more grip than the ones mentioned before. They also won’t break as easily.
Compared to the top-of-the-line traction boards, these will get you unstuck, but they will not last as long as the top products on the market.
These are a great option for someone who wants a relatively cheap set of recovery boards to try them out. They won’t be as tough as the more expensive options out there nor as weak as the cheapest one. They sit right in the middle.
The Best Traction Board Option: Maxtrax
There is no denying that Maxtrax are the best traction board one can buy.
Every video comparison and durability test puts them on top and for good reason. The Australian company has put decades of R&D into these recovery boards and their durability is outstanding.
Due to their build, these recovery boards can act as a bridge, traction aid, and even a base for a high-lift jack – they’re that robust.
They are expensive at $300 a pair, but we can reassure you they will last many years.
As with any other off-roading gear, you get what you pay for. While the upfront cost of Maxtrax is steep compared to the other options on this list, over the long haul, they will pay for themselves. Consider it a long-term investment in a high-quality piece of gear.
Final Thoughts on Traction Boards
Maxsa traction boards in action.
As you can tell, recovery boards can be had for a variety of different prices. All of them will do the job of getting your rig unstuck. The main difference between the cheap and expensive ones is durability and because of this, the expensive ones can serve even more purposes.
If it is your first set it may be worth going for the cheaper ones to see if you need them or not. However, if you want something that will last, the Maxtrax is a no-brainer.
If you have any further questions regarding recovery boards or anything else overland/off-road related leave them in the forum section of our page.
Other Off-Roading Gear You Might Need
- Recovery Kit
- Shackle Hitch Receiver
- KC Lites
- Hi-Lift Jack
- Tire Inflator/Deflator
- Portable Power Station
- First Aid Kit