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MAXTRAX Recovery Boards: Getting Unstuck Has Never Been Easier [Review]

Self-Recover Your Vehicle From Sand, Mud, or Snow With Ease

MAXTRAX in dunes close-up

Recovery boards can be very beneficial to help you get unstuck when you find the wheels spinning and traction lost. These basic recovery tools are especially helpful if you don’t have a winch or another vehicle to pull you out of a slick situation. Aussie-made MAXTRAX MKII recovery boards are a lightweight, durable, and super effective recovery board option worth considering. Let’s dive into what makes these recovery boards worth the cost.



The current MAXTRAX flagship recovery boards are called the MKII, as they are the second generation of this classic off-road recovery product. They are made from fiber-reinforced nylon and are offered with a lifetime warranty. Each MAXTRAX recovery board boasts six oversized handles and a built-in shovel on each end. MAXTRAX MKII recovery boards measure 46 x 13 x 3.5 inches. Additionally, each traction board weighs just under eight pounds (7.68 pounds to be exact).

MAXTRAX are stackable and can carry hefty loads up to 7,750 pounds, on a single board, more when stacked. Very few vehicles will transfer more than 7,750 pounds of weight through a single tire. They can be used successfully in a variety of terrain year-round. I’ve personally used them in soft sand while competing in the Rebelle Rally and many times in snow, mud, and even slush.

MAXTRAX traction devices easily mount to most aftermarket roof racks with an optional mounting pin set. They also can be carried via an MKII spare tire wheel harness, too. Many aftermarket companies have also built Maxtrax specific mounts for a wide range of applications. If you don’t want them on the exterior of the vehicle, storing them in a carry bag inside the vehicle is also an option.

How to Use MAXTRAX

MAXTRAX MKII recovery boards are easy to use. They also nest perfectly atop each other (saving space).

1. Find yourself stuck in a low traction situation

2. Plan how you’ll get unstuck (by either driving forwards or backward)

3. Dig out from under your tire as much as you can (in the path of your planned escape route)

4. Place the boards teeth side up (lay them as flat as possible and secure them under your tires as best as possible)

5. The MAXTRAX teeth should make contact with your tires (this will help the tires grab onto the recovery boards)

6. Slowly drive out of your stuck situation (you may need to dig and reset your boards a few times for recovery success)

Tip: Make sure not to spin your tires or accelerate too quickly when using MAXTRAX recovery boards. Using too much throttle may result in melting the teeth on the boards and/or damaging your tires.


I’ve owned MAXTRAX MKIIs for a few years now. They’ve not faded, cracked, or been damaged in any way while traveling many miles atop my Delica van or Pajero’s roof rack. Both sets have performed admirably during various recoveries. The glove-friendly handles make them a cinch to grab and the incorporated shovels help dig you out.

Other recovery boards can warp or break under pressure. They can also discolor over time. Lastly, even though they may look similar, other traction boards may not get you unstuck as easily as Outback proven, tried-and-true MAXTRAX boards. I’ve seen copy-cat type recovery boards fail during recoveries, leaving their owners frustrated and still stuck.

I’ve not had any issues with my MAXTRAX MKII traction devices. They’ve gotten various adventure rigs unstuck during multiple recovery practice sessions as well as major off-road competitions. My MAXTRAX MKII recovery boards keep taking a beating and still beg for more.

(Photos by Mercedes Lilienthal)

About Mercedes Lilienthal

Mercedes is an Oregon-based freelancer who specializes in vehicular adventure travel. She and her husband have three right-hand-drive turbo-diesel Mitsubishi 4x4s and two customized subcompact daily drivers. Mercedes enjoys automotive adventure competitions, having competed in the 2018 Rebelle Rally and the 2020 Alcan 5000 Rally. Her freelance work includes writing, editing, photography, social media management, event coverage, and marketing services.