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…
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
We ordered them from Amazon and got them 2 days later: Buy on Amazon.
There are many colors available (black, blue, red, orange, etc.)
Since they stack together (3.35″ thick), it’s quite easy to find a place to store them.
Here! We didn’t plan for them, but they fit very neatly 🙂
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…
Long Term Review
These things actually work!! They got us out of trouble a few times without effort 🙂