Product Test – MAXTRAX recovery traction ramps
MAXTRAX product test.
What are they?
Portable plastic ramps that you can use to recover vehicles bogged in sand, mud, snow or even just as a bit of extra clearance.
They just work. Really work. I own just about every piece of recovery gear known to humankind, and MAXTRAX are what I take every time I go out. They’re just so useful, even in rocky conditions, and on beaches I feel actively uncomfortable unless I’ve got a set. And my set are the 1a version, there’s a later version 2 out. The version 2 design is slightly shorter, so a little easier to store in the vehicle. Ours are several years old and veterans of many, many trips and recoveries. They are still going strong so haven’t been replaced.
MAXTRAX are also pretty well indestructible. We haven’t broken a set yet, and even storing them outside seems to do no harm. Some users have had problems when they wheelspin on the ramps and wear away the tread knobs, but that’s not been a problem for us.
Not so good…
Can’t really fault much really. Storage may be a bit of a pain – ideally you’d want a roofrack, but they can go on rear wheels, or inside if you have a storage bag. But they couldn’t be much smaller and still be effective. Another reason for wanting to store them outside is to save dirt getting inside the vehicle, and for quick access when bogged. Consider how you’ll store them before purchase.
MAXTRAX claim that the ramps can be used as a shovel in sand, and you kind of can, but most of the time it’s easier just to use your hands or better yet, a real shovel.
There are competitors to MAXTRAX, and we’ve not done a full comparison but it would be hard to see how they could be an improvement. However, we have used cheap knockoff clones which failed first time out, splintering into dangerous shards.
The bottom line
If I had to head out into unknown terrain with just one recovery item, I’d take MAXTRAX over a winch, shovel or strap. They’re that good. However, do buy four not two as in extreme conditions like soft sand two will not be enough.