What are Maxtrax?
Maxtrax are a unique recovery device for four wheel drives. You can see them in the photo to the right – they are reinforced engineering nylon boards which are pushed under your tyres when you get stuck. They can be used in mud, snow and are most commonly used in sand. You simply drive onto them and you are out – they are very simple and they work well.
What are the changes?
Maxtrax MKII are lighter, strong, easier to clean, provide more grip and have the ability to be mounted even easier. They are slightly shorter and the weight difference is certainly noticeable. Along with the Maxtrax, you get some pegs which allow you to ‘peg’ the Maxtrax down when travelling. A lot of people put them on their roof racks, so rather than having to strap them down every time you can just use the pegs.
No doubt if you have done any four wheel driving before you will know that getting stuck is easy to do. If you do happen to get stuck, using the Maxtrax is very easy. Use the Maxtrax to dig a little bit of sand/mud/snow out of the way of your tyres (you can use them as a shovel), and wedge the Maxtrax under the tyres in the direction you want to drive. Get in the car, and drive onto the Maxtrax slowly (don’t spin the wheels). Your car will quickly sit on top of the surface again, thus allowing you to drive off. Have a look at the video below for a demonstration!
Are Maxtrax worth it?
I mentioned above that I was happy with the original Maxtrax (and the new ones are even better). Compared to other ways of recovering a four wheel drive, these are by far the quickest, simplest and most safe method. I have used mine many times, and am very happy with them. You can see from my photos that they work very well, and many 4wds that travel in remote locations carry them – the proof is in the pudding! Sure, they aren’t cheap, but what price do you put on being stuck all night, or losing your vehicle to the tide? I frequently see people recovering four wheel drives in an unsafe manner – Maxtrax take virtually all of the risk out of a recovery.
Most four wheel drive shops sell Maxtrax, along with the larger camping shops. You can also buy the Maxtrax MKII online. They retail at $299 (for a pair). You can also buy a carry bag for them, pegs and joiners to connect several Maxtrax together.
There are a few things you can use as alternatives to Maxtrax, but they don’t tend to work as well. Shade cloth is popular, but it rips easily. Carrying timber around is too heavy and slippery. There are a few products similar to Maxtrax, which are cheaper. These are made out of poor quality nylon without the UV resistance required, and aren’t very strong. They bend, and break down quickly when left in the sun. Saving money might be a priority, but you end up spending more when they don’t work as marketed.
I couldn’t be happier with my Maxtrax MKII, and they come with me on every trip in the sand and mud (unfortunately we don’t have snow here!). I would certainly buy another set, and I recommend them to anyone who wants an easy, stress free way to get unstuck.