MaxTrax Recovery Boards – Review


MaxTrax Recovery Boards – Review

Here we are. Our 8500 lbs home on wheel is stuck in sand and we don’t have MaxTrax handy. It’s dark and we’re not sure how we will get it back on the road…

Update: After two hours of digging, using rocks, carpet mat, leveling blocks, etc. we got out of there. It could have been much easier…

Van Recovery Sand (1)
“ESCAPE IPA”, how apropos…
Van Recovery Sand (2)
Not level…
Van Recovery Sand (3)
Now we’re glad we carry our avalanche gear!!
Van Recovery Sand (4)
They’re got to be a better way?!


Before we go any further, let’s start with a few lessons learned:

Lesson learned #1: If getting after dark at a campsite, just choose a site near the road. Don’t push it. There is probably a good reason why no one chose this perfect spot…

Lesson learned #2: When traction is needed, DEACTIVATE THE TRACTION CONTROL SYSTEM (TCS)!! We remembered to turn if off for our very last (and successful) attempt. Each previous attempt of our 2 hour saga resulted in getting stuck again every two feet; the van was just not keeping its momentum to get out of there. Once the TCS was off, the van literally jumped out of its hole and keep moving until we hit the brakes…

Lesson learned #3: We’re out there spending most of our time in remote areas, in harsh terrain. Let’s make things right and have recovery devices in the van, for safety sake! Who knows where and when we’ll get stuck next time?! The comment we had the most following this little event was: “just get Maxtrax yo”. We did our homeworks and researched the most popular recovery device brands. MaxTrax are indeed THE recovery boards to have. Here are our notes about the MaxTrax:

  • The Maxtrax are, by far, the most popular choice among the 4×4 crowd (it’s generally a good sign) and the reviews are great.
  • They work great on sand and deep snow, but for ice we’re carrying our Thule Snow Chains (Buy on Amazon).
  • The dimensions are 45” x 13”; it’s not exactly easy to store them in the van… except that once the pair is stacked together it’s only 3.35″ thick. Neat! We found the perfect place to store them!
  • They’re over 300$, it’s not cheap. There are cheaper knockoff on Amazon (like the Escaper Buddy) , but we stumble upon many real-world reviews showing these shredded to pieces. It’s never a good idea to cheap out on a safety device…


What we Like about the MaxTrax

  • It’s a high quality product (that comes with a high price tag), so we’re confident it’s not just a decoration
  • The boards are 45″ x 13″: it provides a large surface to get out of there
  • The boards, once stacked together, are only 3.35″ thick (they’re 2.75″ thick each)! That makes it quite easy to store them in the van without loosing too much of our precious space
  • They have handles all around for easier manipulation
  • At 3.4kg, they’re much lighter than the cheaper Escaper Buddy knockoff (7.7kg)


What we Don’t Like …

  • At the price they sell them, there better not be things we don’t like about them!!



Models & Where to Buy

DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click a product link and buy anything from the merchant (Amazon, eBay, etc), we will receive a commission fee. The price you pay remains the same, affiliate link or not.




We ordered them from Amazon and got them 2 days later: Buy on Amazon.

There are many colors available (black, blue, red, orange, etc.)

Maxtrax MKII
MaxTrax MK II Recovery Boards. Buy on Amazon.




Since they stack together (3.35″ thick), it’s quite easy to find a place to store them.


Can you find the MaxTrax below?where are the maxtrax


Here! We didn’t plan for them, but they fit very neatly 🙂

Maxtrax stored in camper van conversion




OK here’s the deal: next time we find a sand pit, we will roll into it 🙂 Wait for it!



It’s still too soon to make any conclusion, but we will update this later. However, we’re confident that the Maxtrax will be up to the task and will pass the test of time, because it is truly a higher-end product.



Like we mentioned above, there are cheaper options. But we don’t like to cheap out on a safety device! We read a few reviews where these cheap knockoff will break into pieces; knowing that we’re MUCH heavier than a Jeep, it is wise to invest in a durable product…

Maxsa Escaper Buddy
Maxsa Escaper Buddy (Buy on Amazon)
X-BULL (Buy on Amazon)




Long Term Review

These things actually work!! They got us out of trouble a few times without effort 🙂

Maxtrax Recovery Ford Transit Sand



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4 thoughts on “MaxTrax Recovery Boards – Review”

  1. Hey, I’m sure you guys know this already but if you end up in a situation like that again. Try dropping the pressure in your tires, it will increase footprint of the tire and increase their traction. Having a tire pump always helps afterwards.

    Check out this episode of seek adventure- he looks at just how low you can go

  2. A-

    Well, in principle, the MaxTrax SHOULD work. I think once when I was a kid, I got my last car (pre VAN) out of a giant frozen muddy puddle in the NY Southern Tier using a bunch of logs…and a screw jack to lift the vehicle up a little to get the logs under the tires. The jack was never quite right after that…

    But in that particular case, I think chains would have worked, if I could have got them on. It didn’t matter, I didn’t have chains in those days.


  3. A-

    So now having them, do you have a story of their rescue?

    I was wondering why you didn’t just put your chains on, you don’t need to roll on to them (that model), right? I would think chains would work in sand like snow.

    When we have the chains on, I think our van could climb trees.


    • Chains won’t work in super soft, deep sand. What you want is a larger surface or you’re just getting stuck deeper. The chains work well on ice.

      Unfortunately (fortunately), we haven’t used the MaxTrax yet!


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