Traction Board Review

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Which boards are best for your overlanding style?


  • Total voters
    105

Mademan925

Rank V
Member

Pathfinder I

2,055
discovery bay, ca 94505
Member #

1069

"Are those Maxtrax?"

This was the question we received whenever anyone noticed our bright orange traction boards. "No..." we explained, "They are Maxsa Innovations boards."

We had been using these boards for years and they never let us down. They never broke and we were content with their performance. As we prepared for more and more trips, space became an increasing issue, and our Maxsa boards didn't store as well as we would have liked. We began researching, and after reading thousands of mixed reviews, we decided to find out which ones were best for us and our needs. It was then when we bought three other brands of traction boards.

If you have not yet watched our mud test, check out the video below!


The first boards we wanted to purchase were Maxtrax MKII. We had heard all the hype and needed to know if they were truly worth the price tag of $299 for a pair.

https://us.maxtrax.com.au/products/maxtrax-mkii-safety-orange/
IMG_2701.JPG IMG_0662.JPG
length: 45 inches
width: 13 inches
weight: 15lbs per pair
warranty: lifetime warranty against faulty materials and workmanship (no warranty for use)
repairs: kits available for damaged lugs
mounting: options available for spare tire/roof rack through many different retailers including Maxtrax

The second set of boards we purchased were the Tred 4x4 1100. Also made in Australia, these boards had a different design that we thought was worth looking into for $175.

https://www.tred4x4.com/products/tred-1100
IMG_4081.JPG IMG_0914.JPG
length: 42.5 inches
width: 12.5 inches
weight: 13lbs per pair
warranty: lifetime manufacturing warranty (no warranty for use)
repairs: none
mounting: options available for spare tire/roof rack through Tred 4x4

The third set we decided to purchase were Traction Jacks. These have a completely different design and folding capabilities for $199.

http://tractionjack.com/product/traction-jack-basic-recovery-kit-colored/
IMG_6241.JPG IMG_1220.JPG IMG_9857.JPG
length: 52 inches
width: 12 inches
weight: 28lbs per pair
warranty: lifetime manufacturing warranty AND 1-year, 1-time free replacement if broken during use
repairs: homemade option to replace lugs with bolts- video available on Facebook
mounting: bag available to use in mounting on spare tire/roof rack OR when folded, they fit inside the vehicle

As you now know, we had already purchased the Maxsa Innovations Escaper Buddy for $250 on their website (or $125 on Amazon).

http://www.maxsainnovations.com/escaper-buddy-set-of-2-pieces/
IMG_7259.JPG IMG_6804.JPG
length: 47 inches
width: 12 inches
weight: 17lbs per pair
warranty: 90 day manufacturing warranty (no warranty for use)
repairs: none
mounting: none

Initial Impressions After Use

Maxtrax: These boards have great stacking and mounting capabilities as they fit together for an extremely low profile when stacked. The Maxtrax feel sturdy yet also have a good amount of flex in order to mold to the terrain and cling to the tire. They are not directional, yet include a shovel on the underside of both ends. The lugs seem to be wearing faster than we would like, as a few of them are already almost gone after being used four times. The good news is, they sell replacement lugs made of metal. However, the metal lugs will take chunks out of your tire.

Tred 4x4: These boards feel very solid, but also very stiff. They will not contour to different terrain, causing them to possibly break on terrain with large rocks. The stackability of these boards is good, but not a seamless fit with a low profile. They do have a very nice shovel on one end of the boards, however this makes them directional as opposed to the other three we reviewed. The Treds have very large gripping lugs at the beginning of the ramp which seem to bite on the tire effectively.

Traction Jack: These boards are ideal for those planning on storing them inside their vehicle. The folding feature does not seem to hinder performance and can be helpful on uneven terrain or when trying to fit them under shorter vehicles that are bogged down. They are awkward to handle due to the weight and lack of handles, but the provided rope is helpful. The lugs on the Traction Jacks are very sharp in comparison and they grip the tire quickly. They are not directional, and there is no shovel feature on these boards, so be prepared to have a separate shovel handy for initial placement.

Maxsa Innovations: These non-directional boards just work. They are not spectacular in any particular area. They do not stack well, they do not shovel, and they do not mount easily. However, they will get your vehicle unstuck. For wear comparison, they may discolor, but have not cracked, nor lost any lugs in the years we have used and abused them. These boards do flex, but there may be discoloration in those areas (we will take that over cracking any day).

Final Thoughts

If you want a board that has it all, then Maxtrax are probably the boards for you. We are inclined to keep and carry these boards on the truck since we have already bit the bullet and forked out the cash for them. We will also keep the Traction Jacks in the back of our Jeep due to their compact size and so far stellar performance. Both Tred 4x4 and Maxsa Innovations boards are capable of competing against Maxtrax or Traction Jacks and are ideal for those who do not have Maxtrax in their budget. All thoughts are subject to change as testing is still under way and we will keep you updated as we challenge all brands in snow and sand.

Don't let anyone ever tell you that your boards aren't as good as Maxtrax. It's up to you as they all work and have great qualities for different situations and types of overlanding.

Nick and Lisa DeLuca
@Mademan925 and @life_of_a_tw_wife on Instagram
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Egan

Rank VI
Member

Member III

3,084
93610
Member #

2639

"Are those Maxtrax?"

This was the question we received whenever anyone noticed our bright orange traction boards. "No..." we explained, "They are Maxsa Innovations boards."

We had been using these boards for years and they never let us down. They never broke and we were content with their performance. As we prepared for more and more trips, space became an increasing issue, and our Maxsa boards didn't store as well as we would have liked. We began researching, and after reading thousands of mixed reviews, we decided to find out which ones were best for us and our needs. It was then when we bought three other brands of traction boards.

If you have not yet watched our mud test, check out the video below!


The first boards we wanted to purchase were Maxtrax MKII. We had heard all the hype and needed to know if they were truly worth the price tag of $299 for a pair.

https://us.maxtrax.com.au/products/maxtrax-mkii-safety-orange/
View attachment 13947 View attachment 13969
length: 45 inches
width: 13 inches
weight: 15lbs per pair
warranty: lifetime warranty against faulty materials and workmanship (no warranty for use)
repairs: kits available for damaged lugs
mounting: options available for spare tire/roof rack through many different retailers including Maxtrax

The second set of boards we purchased were the Tred 4x4 1100. Also made in Australia, these boards had a different design that we thought was worth looking into for $175.

https://www.tred4x4.com/products/tred-1100
View attachment 13948 View attachment 13970
length: 42.5 inches
width: 12.5 inches
weight: 13lbs per pair
warranty: lifetime manufacturing warranty (no warranty for use)
repairs: none
mounting: options available for spare tire/roof rack through Tred 4x4

The third set we decided to purchase were Traction Jacks. These have a completely different design and folding capabilities for $199.

http://tractionjack.com/product/traction-jack-basic-recovery-kit-colored/
View attachment 13951 View attachment 13971 View attachment 13973
length: 52 inches
width: 12 inches
weight: 28lbs per pair
warranty: lifetime manufacturing warranty AND 1-year, 1-time free replacement if broken during use
repairs: homemade option to replace lugs with bolts- video available on Facebook
mounting: bag available to use in mounting on spare tire/roof rack OR when folded, they fit inside the vehicle

As you now know, we had already purchased the Maxsa Innovations Escaper Buddy for $250 on their website (or $125 on Amazon).

http://www.maxsainnovations.com/escaper-buddy-set-of-2-pieces/
View attachment 13952 View attachment 13974
length: 47 inches
width: 12 inches
weight: 17lbs per pair
warranty: 90 day manufacturing warranty (no warranty for use)
repairs: none
mounting: none

Initial Impressions After Use

Maxtrax: These boards have great stacking and mounting capabilities as they fit together for an extremely low profile when stacked. The Maxtrax feel sturdy yet also have a good amount of flex in order to mold to the terrain and cling to the tire. They are not directional, yet include a shovel on the underside of both ends. The lugs seem to be wearing faster than we would like, as a few of them are already almost gone after being used four times. The good news is, they sell replacement lugs made of metal. However, the metal lugs will take chunks out of your tire.

Tred 4x4: These boards feel very solid, but also very stiff. They will not contour to different terrain, causing them to possibly break on terrain with large rocks. The stackability of these boards is good, but not a seamless fit with a low profile. They do have a very nice shovel on one end of the boards, however this makes them directional as opposed to the other three we reviewed. The Treds have very large gripping lugs at the beginning of the ramp which seem to bite on the tire effectively.

Traction Jack: These boards are ideal for those planning on storing them inside their vehicle. The folding feature does not seem to hinder performance and can be helpful on uneven terrain or when trying to fit them under shorter vehicles that are bogged down. They are awkward to handle due to the weight and lack of handles, but the provided rope is helpful. The lugs on the Traction Jacks are very sharp in comparison and they grip the tire quickly. They are not directional, and there is no shovel feature on these boards, so be prepared to have a separate shovel handy for initial placement.

Maxsa Innovations: These non-directional boards just work. They are not spectacular in any particular area. They do not stack well, they do not shovel, and they do not mount easily. However, they will get your vehicle unstuck. For wear comparison, they may discolor, but have not cracked, nor lost any lugs in the years we have used and abused them. These boards do flex, but there may be discoloration in those areas (we will take that over cracking any day).

Final Thoughts

If you want a board that has it all, then Maxtrax are probably the boards for you. We are inclined to keep and carry these boards on the truck since we have already bit the bullet and forked out the cash for them. We will also keep the Traction Jacks in the back of our Jeep due to their compact size and so far stellar performance. Both Tred 4x4 and Maxsa Innovations boards are capable of competing against Maxtrax or Traction Jacks and are ideal for those who do not have Maxtrax in their budget. All thoughts are subject to change as testing is still under way and we will keep you updated as we challenge all brands in snow and sand.

Don't let anyone ever tell you that your boards aren't as good as Maxtrax. It's up to you as they all work and have great qualities for different situations and types of overlanding.

Nick and Lisa DeLuca
@Mademan925 and @life_of_a_tw_wife on Instagram
Thank you for a great review.
 
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armymgdude

Rank IV

Advocate II

1,008
Olympia, WA
Great review. I have another option to add to the mix.
http://www.cruxoffroad.com
I have these, and love them. Yes they are more expensive, but I need to be able to bridge gaps and ramp large obstacles. None of the plastic ones work for my 8000lb truck. But everyone needs to evaluate their own needs. Maxtrax have built a solid reputation because of a quality product.

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
 
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Egan

Rank VI
Member

Member III

3,084
93610
Member #

2639

Great review. I have another option to add to the mix.
http://www.cruxoffroad.com
I have these, and love them. Yes they are more expensive, but I need to be able to bridge gaps and ramp large obstacles. None of the plastic ones work for my 8000lb truck. But everyone needs to evaluate their own needs. Maxtrax have built a solid reputation because of a quality product.

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
Are these for traction also or just bridging? My rig is also very heavy.
 
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Member III

2,741
PDX, OR, USA
Member #

1987

I put my Maxsa Escaper Buddies to use last Wednesday in Portland, and they were very effective helping people get unstuck from the 12" of snow we had. No visible wear yet, either. I'm happy with them thus far!

Unfortunately, everyone I helped was only able to travel 15-20 feet before getting stuck again, but that's to be expected when attempting to drive a FWD sedan with 4" of clearance thru a foot of snow w/ no chains...
 

armymgdude

Rank IV

Advocate II

1,008
Olympia, WA
They are for both. They have some pics on their site of them being used in sand. I have only used mine as bridges so far. The Land Rover instructors said they were their favorite multi use boards.

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
 
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armymgdude

Rank IV

Advocate II

1,008
Olympia, WA
Thanks for doing this. Would love to see a comparison with the Smittybilt Element Ramps also.
I have seen Smittybilt boards break with easy use. I would recommend going with a better name brand if it is something that is possibly a life or death piece of equipment. As in you are alone in the middle of nowhere and your traction boards are your only way out.

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
 

chrispartida

Rank VI
Member

Advocate II

3,689
Los Angeles, CA, USA
First Name
Chris
Last Name
Partida
Member #

2376

Again, thanks for putting so much of your money, time & effort into this comparison. We really appreciate all of it.

I was 2WD wheeling around by myself the other day and got stuck in some riverbed mud.

MaxTrax helped me get through, turned around, and out. Had to use them 4x in total, even set a single MaxTrax board in my drive line so I wouldn't get stuck a 5th time.





Makes me think I might buy an additional set of the Maxsas that's been in my Amazon wishlist for some time.


-CP TACO
OB #3276
 

ElDusto

Rank V
Member

Traveler III

2,362
Missoula County, Montana, United States
First Name
Dusty
Last Name
S.
Member #

1259

Thanks for the comparison. I have yet to use my Maxsa Innovations boards but may get the chance in Death Valley or Moab later this year. I built a rack for my Xterra to hold them along with a 4 gal Rotopax, shovel and Hi Lift jack.View attachment 13997
yep i got a pair for xmas...they seem well built.that fits in your roof great [emoji1360]


Sent from my iPhone using OB Talk
 

Jelorian

Rank V
Member

Pathfinder I

1,569
SF Bay Area, CA
Member #

3210

Thanks for your comparison! Seems these things can be pricey but worth their weight in gold if the get your unstuck when out on the trails. Only wish the Maxsa came in other colors.
 
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