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Traction Boards

Irun

What I want isn't as important as what I need!
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Oct 31, 2019
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Virginia
These things are mandatory over here, just like 79 series Cruisers, $20k GVM upgrades and Snorkels.

I've just bought a set of short Treds for the camper. I can see a use on sand but hope I'll never use em. Damn expensive things though, Justified the cost and then went and bought a pack of the Treds branded mounts. Then found you get one mount for 60 bucks, not two. After swearing a lot about overpriced crap spent another $60 on the other mount.

I went from a FJ40, to a 55, to a 60. Never made it to a 70 series, but the 79 is a legend! 🤩
 
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Brianj5600

TJ Addict
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Jul 4, 2018
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Middle Tennessee
I bought these.

Screenshot_2020-09-23-11-09-44.png
 
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Mud dauber

TJ Enthusiast
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South Carolina
I am looking for a set that I can use to bridge a gap between two rocks and use the mat like a bridge. Has anyone seen these mats used this way?
 

Mr. Bills

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San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico
Some of the product videos from Australia show traction boards being used as bridging ladders even though that isn't their purpose.

My recollection is that the boards deflected quite a bit under the weight of the vehicle. In one video showing the MaxTrax product, two boards were stacked for additional strength. The takeaway was that traction boards can be used as a bridging ladder in a pinch but with risk of damage to the boards and/or the vehicle.

I have a set of MaxTrax recovery boards for my Sprinter. I purchased them specifically for self recovery in the desert/beach sand of Baja California where the Sprinter is frequently used. I don't carry them in my jeep and wouldn't because they are too bulky for that application. The MaxTrax boards would never work as bridging ladders for a vehicle as heavy as a Sprinter motorhome conversion, but they might for a jeep once or twice before they crack from the deflection.


Traction boards:

Traction Boards on Sprinter.jpg


Where traction boards work best:

Beach at San Roque north of Bahia Asuncion.jpg



Bridging ladders:

image-asset.jpg


http://www.cruxoffroad.com/store/c2/Bridging_Ladders.html


A friend has a set of the Crux Offroad bridging ladders shown on the right that he has mounted to an offroad trailer that he never uses. He has never used the bridging ladders either. There is a lesson there somewhere.
 

Vasq

TJ Addict
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Sep 22, 2019
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Everett, WA
I've thought about getting some once I get my little camper trailer going but I'm sure I'll re-evaluate once I'm at that point.
 

nwdb

New Member
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May 19, 2021
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2
Location
Snohomish WA
I've got escaper buddies and my brother has tred pros. I have "bridged" multiple times on my cheaper escaper buddies and on the tred pros. Tred pros have much more traction, but these have become a staple recovery option with my tacoma and I have continued to bring them (and use them) with my jeep.

IMG957425.jpg


IMG_20190413_171241.jpg
 
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tworley

garagequeen
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May 23, 2018
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Arvada, CO
I've got escaper buddies and my brother has tred pros. I have "bridged" multiple times on my cheaper escaper buddies and on the tred pros. Tred pros have much more traction, but these have become a staple recovery option with my tacoma and I have continued to bring them (and use them) with my jeep.

View attachment 266858

View attachment 266859
I see a ton of material in both backgrounds that would lend themselves well in this situation. might take a little longer to construct though and involve a little hike thru the woods.
 

ejay

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Dec 29, 2019
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CA to WY refugee
Ronny Dahl did a video on various MaxTrax knockoffs a little while ago. He's got a whole set of videos about traction boards spanning many years. I've got some knock offs but haven't used them so I guess that makes them dead weight.




 

Rick Flair

Domari Nolo
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Feb 3, 2019
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Ozarks
Have two sets of Treds. Work great in snow.


Neighbor bought a knock off set. They don’t have as much traction and seem like much thinner material, but paid about 50% less too.
😂


But Aussies know recovery gear and it’s good stuff. I used the boards last time to free a stuck vehicle rather an pull rope.
 

NOTNSUV

Now I Know!
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Sep 18, 2021
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Spring Creek, NV
I won't go out in winter without them. I recovered at least 2 jeeps last winter using them, both had gone alone where they shouldn't have, both could have self recovered with traction boards and both had winches but nothing to tie off on. Both had busted through the crust on snow and stuck the diffs. Trying to climb out of crusted snow is ridiculous. The optional tear up the sage brush to build traction is hella more work than grabbing a couple boards.
On one of the recoveries I had to use them on the XJ, having busted through the crust as well with no anchor for a winch. Yanked me right out.

My next diatribe will be singing the praises of kinetic snatch-it straps..

Neither of these replaces a winch for all situations but can often simplify recovery and reduce the time to accomplish it.

Edit: I'm talking the cheap stuff here but would you pay $60 for a quick recovery? I have 3 sets (1 busted up but functional). Folks are adding nuts and bolts to the leading edge to prevent melting the nubs.

https://www.xbullauto.com/products/...on-tracks-sand-mud-snow-track-tire-ladder-4wd
 
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NOTNSUV

Now I Know!
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Spring Creek, NV
Can't seem to find a true in depth thread about traction boards that stay on topic. I am looking to purchase a set as winter is about to be here in the Northeast and they seem like they could be useful in slippery situations. I do not have a winch and am looking to have at least SOME insurance in case I get stuck or need to help someone else. Pretty easy to see that Maxtrax is the most reputable in the industry and I see the ARB Tred Pros are also respected. I know some of you will have opinions against these because of storage issues and how well they will actually perform over a winch but these are significantly less than a winch and portable. It would be great if some of you could comment on your personal experience or thoughts toward traction boards.

You asked for it. This is text from a recent FB post from a guy with a lot of experience with TB. Don't have to agree with it but it 'stays on topic'.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Some of you good folks might find the information useful.
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Since snow wheeling is imminent, lets talk traction boards.

As many of you know, I carry "a couple."
1f642.png
I carry 10 boards full time, with the option of tossing in extras to bring the total to either 12 or 14 boards, depending on how you count the 3-piece sectioned board set I have.
Why? Simple... because I often wheel alone, I often wheel alone in the deep snow, and I often haul my 37' camper places that most people wouldn't go (soft sand and deep snow), especially alone. I look at them as a force multiplier and a way to significantly reduce the amount of time and effort it takes me to get un-stuck when I'm by myself.
Traction boards arent a magic bullet, but when they are the right tool... they are the right tool. Not only do I own 'a few' but I also have quite a bit of experience using them, clear back to my teenage years, with a set that my dad fashioned from a heavy duty conveyor belt, and I have learned a lot of lessons along the way.

Lesson 1: 4 is almost always better than 2. 6 is better than 4. 8 is better than 6. More boards means less work for everyone involved. Sometimes the vehicle only needs to move a foot or two to be freed. But more often than not in deep snow or soft sand, a vehicle needs to move a full car-length or more in order to be freed.

Lesson 2: Once on the boards, stay on the boards. I see so many use-cases, especially with only 2 or 4 boards where the vehicle gets unstuck for the length of the board and then re-stuck again as soon as it falls off — mainly because people gas it and spin the tires. If you come off the boards, get OFF the throttle! With only 2 or 4 boards, it may be helpful to stagger them somewhat on opposite sides (locking diff's are particularly handy for this). Place them so that opposing boards are moved forward 1/2 or 2/3 the length of the boards so that you can get up onto fresh boards before stopping to reposition the originals.

Lesson 3: If at all possible winch, push or drive the stuck vehicle 2-4" in the direction opposite where you are placing the boards, then place the boards and let the vehicle weight settle back onto the edge of the board. Alternatively, jacking the wheel up enough to get the edge of the board under it can be just as effective. Again, I see so many use-cases where people just shove the board in the hole against the tire and then spin tires trying to grip the board, usually with no luck (often ruining the boards). All of the videos attached below have been staged in this way — with weight on the board before I attempt to drive.

Lesson 4: Use ONLY enough throttle to creep yourself onto the end of the boards. In all of these videos you can see a 'very slow' start, then once solidly onto the board you can use more throttle to gain speed/momentum if necessary. Any amount of wheel spin, in addition to causing damage to the boards, is almost useless in terms of unstucking the vehicle.

Lesson 5: The steeper the angle that you can position a board against a tire, the better. It may seem counterintuitive and might not always be possible, but the more parallel the board is to the ground, the more likely it is to be caught by the tire and spit out the other side before the vehicle actually moves or becomes unstuck. If you are framed out in snow, sand or mud, a steeper angle to the boards will help lift the vehicle more quickly as well.

Lesson 6: If you have enough boards to make a track, do so. Overlap each successive board by about 4" or so, so that as the vehicle approaches the end the board carrying the weight begins to transfer some of the weight onto the next board.

Lesson 7: Dont forget that you can use traction boards preemptively to prevent vehicles from getting stuck. Like in #6, if you have the ability to make yourself a track, do so.

Lesson 8: Cheap boards 'will' crack and break (especially when very cold). This can be mitigated by making sure that the entire board will be in contact with the ground (snow, sand) as the vehicle is moving over it.

Lesson 9: Expensive boards 'can' crack and break (especially when very cold). This can be mitigated by making sure that the entire board will be in contact with the ground (snow, sand) as the vehicle is moving over it.

Lesson 10: Metal lugs or bolts on the end/ramp of traction boards is almost always a net positive for performance and longevity. Less necessary if you closely observe lessons 3 and 4 above. ActionTrax and MaxTrax both make boards with metal hardware, or you can just do your own like I did (photo below).

Lesson 11: While probably not practical for everyone, I carry cheap Amazon boards for getting strangers unstuck and expensive boards for myself or my friends. There are probably very few circumstances where I would volunteer my expensive boards to unstuck a strangers vehicle. If they're being used as a traction aid, say to keep a vehicle on trail on a side slope, or to protect synthetic winch lines, then I have no issue breaking out the expensive boards. I've just seen too many situations where no matter how strongly you try to emphasize not spinning tires, the person will go with the when-in-doubt-throttle-out approach. A complete stranger burning up an $80 set of Amazon boards is less painful than letting them burn up a $300+ set.

Lesson 12: I'm not entirely convinced that the brand of board you go with makes nearly as big of a difference as how you choose to use them. MaxTrax or ActionTrax boards are unlikely to perform much, if any, better than other brands for actually getting a vehicle unstuck, assuming proper technique.

Now if we're talking using boards for bridging, then these two brands probably do offer a significantly better product. Both brands are unlikely to crack or break while bridging in warm weather, but both can and have cracked and broken when used for bridging in cold weather.
Lesson 13: Use lanyards! If your boards didnt come with them, get yourself about 4' of sturdy brightly colored rope or nylon strap and attach it to each one of your boards. Once the boards are buried in hard packed snow, or they disappear in sand or mud, you'll be glad you did.

What else do you have to add to the list of lessons?
 

BC Moto

TJ Enthusiast
Joined
May 27, 2021
Messages
287
Location
Bay Area SF
I own a set of the x-bull traction boards and havent really used them, most of the time they are just sitting in the back of then truck. Ive used these traction boards more for setting the jack on it to get a good surface to get the vehicle up.
 

Grant Lasson

TJ Enthusiast
Supporting Member
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Aug 15, 2019
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272
Location
Sandy, Utah
I'm out on my own a lot so I got two ActionTrax boards. Not the least expensive but I liked what I could find out about them. Their approach of just drilling out the melted "nubs" and replacing with a bolt was persuasive to me. They told me to just go and buy the bolts at a hardware store when I needed them.

I haven't yet needed to use them for self-recovery yet. Mostly just a safety item.
 

AndyG

TJ Guru
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Jul 30, 2018
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Alabama
I think it is a good idea to carry them in a boat. Water makes things real slippery.
 
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steelhd

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Jan 1, 2019
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Eastern WA
You asked for it. This is text from a recent FB post from a guy with a lot of experience with TB.
Boards are a fine tool for certain situations if you have the room to carry a set. That dude is on some kind of dumb crusade to carry as many as possible, use them for everything imaginable, and then spread the traction board gospel. Just weird.
 
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Blackjack

Evil Winch Doctor
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Dec 16, 2018
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Kenai
They work fairly well mostly in situations like mud or sand when you’ve lost momentum and need to get rolling again. The big thing is to not spin tires on them as it’ll melt them pretty quickly.

I could see keeping them in the Jeep depending on the terrain. None of that terrain is terribly common near me, however if I do an Alaska trip I’d probably pick up a set.

Depending where you go up here they can be useful but other areas a pull pal is needed more.
 
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ArmyRN

Member
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Jan 19, 2022
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Longview, WA
I won't go out in winter without them. I recovered at least 2 jeeps last winter using them, both had gone alone where they shouldn't have, both could have self recovered with traction boards and both had winches but nothing to tie off on. Both had busted through the crust on snow and stuck the diffs. Trying to climb out of crusted snow is ridiculous. The optional tear up the sage brush to build traction is hella more work than grabbing a couple boards.
On one of the recoveries I had to use them on the XJ, having busted through the crust as well with no anchor for a winch. Yanked me right out.

My next diatribe will be singing the praises of kinetic snatch-it straps..

Neither of these replaces a winch for all situations but can often simplify recovery and reduce the time to accomplish it.

Edit: I'm talking the cheap stuff here but would you pay $60 for a quick recovery? I have 3 sets (1 busted up but functional). Folks are adding nuts and bolts to the leading edge to prevent melting the nubs.

https://www.xbullauto.com/products/...on-tracks-sand-mud-snow-track-tire-ladder-4wd

I clicked on the link above - $59.00 for a pair of third generation X-Bulls is a good price. Plus they come with mounting hardware (which they sell separately for $29.00). You might be able to use the mounting hardware - maybe not.

I've got two sets of the second generation X-Bulls mounted in my TJ's roof rack (along with a shovel). I'm thinking I paid around $75/pair for them a few years ago (with no mounting hardware). I used them once to help someone else get unstuck. Since they're on the roof rack they're out of the way, so they're not really taking up space. MaxTrax I think are up to $325/pair now. So you can either spend $650 for four MaxTrax boards, or $120 for four X-Bulls. Unless you're a full-time overlander or are going to make a trip to the tip of South America, I think the X-Bulls will fit your needs (and budget).

Shovel and boards.2.jpg



Snow.1.jpg
 

NOTNSUV

Now I Know!
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Sep 18, 2021
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Spring Creek, NV
Boards are a fine tool for certain situations if you have the room to carry a set. That dude is on some kind of dumb crusade to carry as many as possible, use them for everything imaginable, and then spread the traction board gospel. Just weird.

A pair fits horizontally behind the front seats in my LJ but I have the rear seat out also and I don't do a lot of seat adjustment.
But now I have 2 pairs mounted on the roof rack. Might look like mall bling like a highlift and useless for some but I know they'll get used.
Maybe they can engineer a jeep grill that doubles as traction boards.. replace the angry grill for ridicule.
 

Zorba

"The Veiled Male"
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Merritt Island, Fl
I clicked on the link above - $59.00 for a pair of third generation X-Bulls is a good price. Plus they come with mounting hardware (which they sell separately for $29.00). You might be able to use the mounting hardware - maybe not.
Couldn't pass this up, I've been wanting a set for some time as they may prove useful here. Got 'em in Red, of course.