Traction tracks/mats should be a must have for any driver especially those going off-roading, or this who live in places that snow. They come in different sizes, colors and quality of the materials used. This detailed traction tracks review will tell you more of these useful mats and how to choose the best.
I have been going on off-roading (mainly doing rooftop camping) for more than 7 years now and one tool I never leave behind is a traction track because I know I need it on a bad day. Nobody wants to be stuck in the middle of nowhere.
There are many brands of traction mats. There are foldable traction mats while others require to be stuck together for storage purposes. Living in a place that is cold and snows a lot during winter brings a challenge when it comes to driving.
I have gotten stuck in the snow not once but many times. The towing truck takes a lot of time to arrive. It also costs a lot of money to be pulled out of mud, snow or sand. This review I have done comes from using different types of tracks and also feedback from other of roaders.
I hope this will help you make an informed decision when acquiring a traction mat.
The Importance of Having Traction Tracks
- It helps someone to get unstuck quickly
- They are cheaper and easier to use than tow trucks which are time consuming and very expensive
- They can be kept inside your vehicle or on the roof racks
- It is easy to use and can be operated by one person
- It reduces the stress of having snow chains fixed on your tires which require installation. With traction tracks/mats one can assist a stuck driver as they are used temporarily
- They can be used for different vehicles. Most are one size fits all
- They are available for all the seasons; mud, snow, ice, and sand
- They keep your vehicle safe. They cannot cause damage to your tires
Traction Tracks Reviewed
1. Maxsa 20322 Escaper Buddy Traction Mat (Best Overall)
After seeing the downsides of several traction tracks, and more importantly the need for a traction mat for my truck which I would often use for off-roading. I took time to analyze tracks and after thorough consideration, Maxsa 20322 Escaper Buddy Traction Mat emerged the best.
It is made from a tough material (poly propylene construction). It lasts long even when used in snow as it does not become brittle.
It has three color options (orange, olive drab, and coyote brown) and I went for a bright orange which I consider to be more visible. This came as a life saver as well as a great vehicle saver for me.
During one of my visits to the beach, I got stuck in soft sand and my Toyota Tacoma truck tires started sinking. The good thing is that my Maxsa Escaper Buddy Traction mat never leaves my truck. It was very effective and in ten minutes I was at a better ground where my truck could move on its own.
It is simple to use as I just move the edges of the Escaper Buddy Traction mat infront of the wheels slightly under. The furthest the better, then drive and move your car out of the nightmare.
It is better to spare some few dollars on a traction mat rather than causing damage to a 40,000-dollar vehicle. It is also cheaper than the hassle of calling a tow truck company. It is also suitable for all sizes of vehicles, from SUVs, Vans, trucks, cars, jeeps, Sedan. I have helped a number of people who I found stuck with this tool.
When travelling off-road alone remember to get at least a traction track for recovery purposes in case of emergencies. It does not require towing hence less stressful. It is also very suitable for all seasons and can be used on mud, snow or sand.
For those who use vehicles on their farm, it is very effective when one gets stuck. Most come in standard traction mat which is 49 by 14.5 inches though there is a smaller one (34 by 9 inches) and a much larger (59 by 17.5 inches, suitable for larger vehicles including dual rear wheels) one to suit the needs of your vehicle.
Each package comes with two of the traction mats, one for each rear or front tires. One can purchase more than 1 pair (especially those who have a 4×4 vehicle and doing extreme off-roading) but not necessary.
It has treads on both sides. That dig into the surface to prevent slipping and sliding. The tracks are also raised unlike others which helps to prevent tires from spinning.
It has a weight of 13 pounds hence not a very big problem when it comes to storage in a truck. They are a bit long but for mine I just fix them on the side of my truck. Consider size according to your vehicle.
It has a shovel like property that makes it useful when digging up tires for proper visibility and to make it easier to place the Escaper Buddy Traction Mat.
Caution When Using Maxsa Escaper Buddy Traction Mat
Do not spin the tires extremely fast and continuously. Spinning the tires causes the plastic to melt and can also cause damage to your wheel. They wear out. Move your vehicle slowly and not fast in order to increase traction.
It is also important to reduce air from the tires of your car. This increases grip on the traction making it easy to get the vehicle out.
- It is made from high quality material which is rugged and durable
- It is very easy to clean up
- It is lightweight and therefore stores easily
- It is easy to deploy for use hence saves time
- It is affordable compared to alternatives which have the same durability, functionality and effectiveness. It is average priced
- It can be used as a shovel so there is no need of carrying an extra one when needed
- It can carry different weights of vehicles without bulging; SUVs, Jeeps, and Trucks
- It is all-weather. Works for muddy, snow, or sand situations
- The orange bright color makes it easy to retrieve from the mud, snow, or sand
- If your tire spins, it will cause the plastic to melt
- It is not suitable for bridging gaps
- It can become brittle when exposed to cold temperatures for long
- It does not stick very well. This is challenging when it comes to storage. I use a strap and tie it on my truck
2. SubZero 12501 Griptrax Traction Tool (Most Compact)
I got SubZero 12501 Giptrax Traction Board as my third traction track board. This is after a lot of disappointments with other traction tracks I owned previously. This was before I discovered
These traction tracks are not only high performance but also pretty affordable putting into consideration that I could use them often rather than the towing trucks. They have never failed to get me help on an off-road.
SubZero Griptrax tracks are lightweight therefore making it easy to carry around. Its compact size is also advantageous when it comes to storage space. It can fit perfectly in small vehicles.
They come in a bright color which helps in finding them in snow, mud, or soft sand. I have used them countless times on my trips to the forests, beach and all my off-roading adventures. I get stuck in the mud a good number of times and it has never broken down.
It comes in two variants, flexible and solid. The patented flexible track is more sturdy and thus more suitable for larger vehicles. That is what I use for my off-road vehicles. I use the solid for my passenger car.
It has been helpful, as it has rescued me from bad situations especially at night where help could not be nearby. It had its disadvantages too such as not able to support dual rear wheel trucks. However, it is worth its price.
- Budget friendly
- Bright color makes it easy to retract
- It is lightweight
- It is easy to clean up after use.
- It also takes up small storage space and therefore suitable for fairy large and small vehicles
- It sometimes sinks in deep snow
- It becomes brittle when used for a long time in snow and therefore cracks
- it was fairly compact and thus not suitable for very large trucks (dual rear wheel tucks)
- It does not support very heavy vehicles
One should consider how often you need it. How often you get stuck in the snow, mud or sand before buying a traction track board. Due to its small size, you can use it together with DIY traction boards. The flexible version is better for bigger off-road vehicles.
3. Maxtrax MK Vehicle Recovery Boards (Has a Shovel)
It has a built-in shovel. It comes as 2 pieces. These are lighter in weight than Escaper Buddy Traction Mats. They also stack very well.
Maxtrax MK Recovery Boards have handles which are helpful when it comes to holding it. Straps are handy when retrieving the mats from the soil, sand or snow.
They are made from engineering grade nylon that is reinforced with fiber.
It is designed in such a way that it is angled on one side thus acting as a shovel. It is useful to clearing sand or snow from the tires before placing the recovery track under the tire.
It also comes in different sizes and color range. It is important to the dimensions of the that one is buying. Some are longer, and for a small vehicle storage can be a challenge since they are not foldable. The studs are replaceable just in case they melt after spinning.
Maxtrax MK Recovery Boards are without doubt the best traction boards due to their superb performance.
- They are of high quality and durable material
- Easy to use and effective
- Has straps to help in retrieving from the mud
- They cover a large surface
- Expensive therefore not meant for budget seekers.
- They are brightly colored
- Tire spins causes the plastic to melt
4. Bunker Industry Off-road Traction Board (Honorable Mention)
I have seen it work perfectly for a friend. It also very affordable. It is way cheaper than Maxtrax Mats. It has a built-in jack base design. They thus can be used when lifting the vehicle.
They have a firm grip and are flexible. They stack well for storage. They also come in different sizes. They come in four different colors; red, blue green, black and blue.
- Budget friendly
- Durable at its price
- They have better traction and prevent tires from spinning
- They cannot be used to gap bridges.
- It is not very durable. The material used is not strong. Not very strong when compared to Maxtrax or Smittybilt.
- It is not easy to clean up
5. Orcish Recovery Traction Boards (Honorable Mention)
When evaluating the Orcish Recovery Traction boards, it is a good choice too since it does a good job at recovering vehicles without failing prematurely. It also comes at a cheaper price.
It is affordable compared to other brands and also one has to consider how often they get stuck in order to choose a suitable traction track for recovery needs. When the SubZero12501 Griptrax Traction Tool is compared to the Orcish Recovery Traction boards, the latter is at a better price point.
It has 6 side handles that helps when carrying. It has a maximum bend of 150°.
The Orcish works well too but it is not very durable (compared to the premium models) due to the low quality of the material used in its making. It becomes brittle and cracks when used in the snow. The lugs melt faster after at the slightest spin wheel.
- It is cheap.
- It comes with a bag and a mounting basket to make carrying around easy.
- Double-headed shovel design.
- It has handles for easy to carry
- Not all weather as per its description. It becomes brittle and cracks when used on snow.
- It stacks bigger than a Maxtrax. This brings a challenge when it comes to storage.
- It is not durable, made from poor quality material but works well at its price.
6. GoodYear Traction Mats (Best for Snow and Foldable)
The Good Year Traction mats are made for ice, snow, and mud. They have patented tri-level traction cleats which produce great traction and friction in winter conditions.
It measures 36″ x 7″ when open. It is also made from rubber. It folds for easy storage. Its 2x Rubber 36-Degree traction mats provide addition tire traction when a vehicle gets stuck on ice or snow.
GoodYear Traction Mat is the best traction mat for snow.
- It is easy to use
- It is lightweight and folds up easily hence smaller storage space is required.
- It is durable
- It is affordable
- It cannot be suitable for those stuck in sand
- It does not have an in-built shovel for removing snow or sand to expose the wheels
It is my hope that I have given you a good guide on traction tracks. Based on a personal offroading experience and that of other of roaders in my circle, Maxsa 20322 Escaper Buddy Traction Mat are the best traction tracks. These tracks are built from high quality materials and can support a wide range of vehicles including SUVs, Trucks, RVs and Saloon cars.
The other options outlined are also good and were able to beat an array of tracks /mats to be featured here. Each track is unique in own way with some being ideal for large vehicles while others do well work best for small cars.
Some traction mats perform better in snow while others in sand. Whichever you chose will depend on your vehicle, intended use and the trip you want to take. However, be sure none will disappoint you. They are far much better than DIY traction boards. Have a wonderful offroad experience.