Let’s talk about Maxtrax. How useful are they? I was skeptical at first. Let’s face it the east coast is full of rocks and logs how useful can a big bulky ramp be? They are just for sand and snow, right? I will admit it, I was a rock stacker. If a vehicle needed help getting up an obstacle just throw a rock or two in and you are up the obstacle. Log, rock, whatever piece of nature was nearby and you didn’t have to worry about carrying around big, bulky ramps in your vehicle. That was always my thought until……
A few years ago I started looking into traction aids a little closer. I liked the idea and concepts in select situations. After putting my hands on a set I started to see some potential in different situations. I had bought a set of cheaper style ramps. They worked well but the more I used them the more they deteriorated. I did however see some benefits and wanted to keep my traction aid search going. So I reached out to Maxtrax and I received the set in a short amount of time.
Quality and Versatility
First thing I noticed was the quality difference, strong, yet flexible. The uses and benefits kept going through my mind. I started using the ramps in small instances of needed traction and while they work well I noticed there are a few situations that are not “Traction Aid” traditional that Maxtrax excel at. For example, you have a series of depressions or wash outs that test the limits of articulation of a certain vehicle. Place a rock in the wash out (Don’t fill the hole as before) and lay the Maxtrax over it. You just created an efficient bridge as the vehicle/driver overcome the challenge. The Maxtrax flex and move with the vehicle weight but don’t break. This same situation can be used on hill climbs and descents to keep the vehicle with traction.
In mud they work great to help pull a vehicle out of a slippery situation by providing traction. We use them a lot to stay the course in ruts. If we want to get out of a rut we use the ramps to allow the vehicle to climb. In situations where vehicles are at risk of sliding into a certain position, simply position the Maxtrax to stop the slide, keeping the vehicle and driver safe.
Now when it comes to snow things get a little tricky as it is a position thing. With our recent snowfall on the East coast we had the perfect opportunity to put the Maxtrax to the test in various snow situations.
In this scenario, you find yourself with limited mobility due to the snow. Placing the Maxtrax flat, in front of the tires won’t get much traction. However, if you place at a 45* angle against the tire they will obtain traction right away. Looking at the video of the testing, the Maxtrax, when placed at the 45* angle will even raise the vehicle up and get momentum as the ramps fall back to the ground. You can dig the snow out in front if needed with them like a shovel but we find the raising effect really works to our advantage. We have also found that laying another ramp on the ground sideways in front of the ramp allows for mproved lift because of the weight distribution.
One thing to watch for with ramps is when a spinning tire hits them you will begin to see some wear and tear. Off Road Consulting utilizes the Maxtrax during the training classes and this is where the product is really put to the test as some drivers don’t hold back! This happens especially in a situation where the driver is intimidated and really wants out of the situation. Since obtaining our Maxtrax spring 2015, they have seen over 75 different sets of tires and you can see the battle scars on our ramps. Our Maxtrax get used and abused more than the average consumer and are used by multiple vehicle types and drivers.
Some drivers use them gently and some are a little more aggressive. Our Maxtrax been shot out from under vehicles and hit with spinning tires countless times……The impressive feature about the Maxtrax though is while they are pushed to extremes they keep working effectively and efficiently.
At just 8 lbs the Maxtrax are lightweight and the design allows for easy storage. A few other advantages about using the Maxtrax versus rock/log stacking is the overall physical strain that lifting these heavy rocks can put on your back/knee etc. Another factor not thought of but when lifting rocks you expose yourself to meeting creatures who call the rock their home. Some of these creatures, depending on where you are can be harmless such as earthworms or toads. However, there is always the of coming across a rattlesnake or poisonous spider that can react if startled.
I had my reservations using a manufactured traction aid but after testing them through thick mud, ruts, deep holes, snow along with exposure to a variety of drivers and vehicle types I am quite impressed with the Maxtrax.
They have been integrated into my training class curriculum and quickly became an essential part of my recovery gear.
I’m always learning new and alternative ways to use the Maxtrax and their versatility is remarkable.
With any recovery gear and recovery situation, you must use extreme caution and take the proper safety procedures and precautions.
My rock stacking days are over and my skepticism has been replaced with a new appreciation for the Maxtrax.
This article was republished with permission from Offroad-Consulting.com.