I think you nailed it with the "All or nothing" comment. "Something" is better than nothing. Having a set of X-Bulls is better than nothing. I've got two pairs of X-Bulls - one for each tire.There is another “set of options” if you will. I started by buying a pair of the folding Go Treads, my reasoning being that they store under the folded down 3rd row seat, so I will always have them with me. I’m not going to drive around with Maxtrax strapped to or inside my vehicle 24/7.
Buy Pinto, Inc GoTreads Emergency Automotive Traction Tool - 2-Pack (Orange): Snow Thrower & Yard Equipment - Amazon.com ✓ FREE DELIVERY possible on eligible purchaseswww.amazon.com
They seem to get good reviews, but I don’t see them working great in really sloppy mud with packed up tires.
A buddy of mine bought a pair of the $70 X-Bulls that we put to good use yesterday. We were on a trail with two bypasses around waist deep water, squeezing between trees and making tight turns in soft mud. My LR3 with aired down BFG’s made it with judicious driving and the help of traction control, his Land Cruiser on fully inflated Coopers got bogged. Half a dozen sets of shoving the X-Bulls under the rear tires got him through.
I ordered a pair this morning so we will have 4 between us. Obviously 4 per vehicle is better if you’re in really bad stuff, but in most cases a pair is all you need.
A guy could start with a pair of X-Bulls and see how they do. If they work fine for your needs, get a second set.
If you feel like you might exceed the strengths of the first set, just buy a pair of Maxtrax for bridging, rocky terrain, etc. A pair of each would save significant $ and still work in almost all cases.
If you end up on a real expedition and want a second pair of Maxtrax, having 6 in total can speed things up in long muddy sections to basically have a mini road, or you could give them to a less prepared fellow traveler, local that you come across stuck at night, etc.
The point is, it doesn’t have to be “all or nothing” as some might suggest.