MaxTrax, are they worth it?

lvcjt702

New member
I destroyed 2 sets of X-Bulls today helping a buddy extract his 200 Series. It was 10 degrees outside and the LC ain’t a lightweight, but I wasn’t expecting all 4 boards to split end-to-end.

They held up ok in the first stage of the recovery to get him out of a 1-tire water hole at the bottom of a severely cambered turn - but when used in the not-quite-flat bottom of a frozen rut/trench, snap/crackle/pop. Even in their broken state they were still useful... and I suppose I could do this again 4 more times for the price of 2 sets of Maxtraxx - but I don’t think I’ll re-order the X-Bulls.
View attachment 495985
Any pics of the damage?

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bozwell13

Observer
Oh bummer, I see why they split, that's asking too much of a cheap board to bridge solid ice. I bent mine into a solid half circle and expected them to break in half but your set up in frozen ruts was rough. I guess maybe best if used on flat soft surfaces only knowing their limitations. I would buy again for how cheap they are, are not something I use often, but I also like gear I can depend on without a second thought. I just put brand new cable on my 12K warn and snapped an outer strand first time I used it pulling a neighbors F350 back up on the road. In 30 years of owning winches on everything I drive I have never seen that before and so far no reply from the seller...
 
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Here are a couple of photos. The cracks don’t necessarily show well, as unless catastrophic they tend to close up when the boards aren’t under stress.

2 of them are cracked nearly end-to-end and will fall apart if loaded again.

The other two have smaller longitudinal cracks as well as cracks at end and around the grab handles... these may be able to work for another light-duty extraction - maybe.
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Wilbah

Adventurer
Thanks for sharing that 1pieceatatime. I am with many of the people here trying to discern if the extra $ for the Maxtrax are worth it.

For a lot of things I know it doesn't always make sense to pay up for the top of the line version. But we all know that there are certain things that do require the "top of the line" version.

It would make sense to me that the cheaper versions of these boards might be just fine if the vehicle weight isn't too great. But from the experience you posted it seems to me that with a full size vehicle and the weight it carries, the Maxtrax are prob the better choice. I'm really glad you posted this, thank you.
 

BritKLR

Explorer
MaxTrax again. On rescue/recovery last night. 9000 feet, snow covered trail. Dark with High winds, drifting and snow coming in. (3) locked Jeeps. Point Jeep crept into a drift on the trail, too deep. Went on foot beyond to see if we could locate RP with negative results. Upon returning to the Jeep enough snow had drifted into tracks causing a difficult backing situation so close to the edge of the trail. Tossed MTs down, giving enough traction to keep on trail and back out. Chaining up would have been the final option if the MTs didn't work.
 
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...It would make sense to me that the cheaper versions of these boards might be just fine if the vehicle weight isn't too great. But from the experience you posted it seems to me that with a full size vehicle and the weight it carries, the Maxtrax are prob the better choice. I'm really glad you posted this, thank you.
I think if someone primarily was worried about soft sand or snow, these probably would indeed do the trick, even with a full-size vehicle. So they have their place for the price - but that place/role might appears to be not nearly so well-rounded as the MaxTrax.
 

rnArmy

Adventurer
I was on a snow run over the weekend. Managed to get my Jeep stuck (kinda buried), so we eventually went to the X-Bulls. We were parked for lunch, so there wasn't a rush to get it unstuck and keep going. Jeep came right out, and no damage to the tracks. Uneventful. I even thought I spun a little on the tracks, but didn't see any damage. There was a Land Rover there with a couple of MaxTrax attached to the side, and I was telling folks about the X-Bulls vs. the MaxTrax and the costs for a set of four for each.

I had folks helping me dig at the time, so I didn't think to take pictures. I didn't know you could get high-centered on snow! But here's a glamor shot of the Jeep from that day (with the tracks on the roof rack).
 

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roving1

Active member
Lots of cool real-world experience showing up here now. Thanks everyone.

Stumbled on this recently.

 

rnArmy

Adventurer
Lots of cool real-world experience showing up here now. Thanks everyone.

Stumbled on this recently.


I loved the video. Maxtrax vs. X-Bulls. They did some pretty good side-by-side testing of both, and the X-Bulls did quite well.

One area the X-Bulls didn't do as well (by a slight margin) was when being used as a base for jacking up a vehicle (watch the video around the 9:30 mark). Not something I would consider doing, but interesting for testing purposes. But tell you what... instead of spending $600 for four Maxtrax, spend $150 for four X-Bulls, and then spend $50 for a base actually designed for a jack: https://www.quadratec.com/products/92200_98.htm
I actually own one of these - it gets used more for the leveling jack on the front of my little adventure trailer's tongue than its designed purpose.
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And you'll still have $400 left over for whatever you want to spend it on. Since we're talking jacks, maybe get a better jack than what came with your vehicle: https://safejacks.com/collections/bottle-jack-accessories/products/basic-bottle-jack-kit

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Oh wait; I've still got $220 left to spend (out of $600) if I bought four X-Bulls, the proper jack base plate (watch the video and you'll know what I'm talking about), and a better jack compared to what came with my Jeep (compared to spending $600 for four Maxtrax).

I kinda like this holster - that's $50 (leaving me $170): http://aliengearholsters.com/backpack-holster.html?utm_source=google_shopping&gclid=Cj0KCQiA37HhBRC8ARIsAPWoO0zPT3wqHDQla9bEmbJsDMjpMfDHqWhBhaWangfwsm8bJsCYf_IqvVIaAjArEALw_wcB
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Screw concealed carry when I'm doing a day hike with the wife (I do have a CC permit). I want it readily accessible.

And I've still got $170 left. I could use a good portable jump starter: https://10carbest.com/best-jump-starters - All the recovery gear in the world won't do you any good if your vehicle won't start.

And I'll still have some money left over (I'm thinking ammo). See where this is going? $600 vs. $150 - your choice. I can think of other things to do with the $450 difference. I'm sure you can too.
 
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lvcjt702

New member
I loved the video. Maxtrax vs. X-Bulls. They did some pretty good side-by-side testing of both, and the X-bulls did quite well.

One area the X-Bulls didn't do as well (by a slight margin) was when being used as a base for jacking up a vehicle (watch the video around the 9:30 mark). Not something I would consider doing, but interesting for testing purposes. But tell you what... instead of spending $600 for four Maxtrax, spend $150 for four X-Bulls, and then spend $50 for a base actually designed for a jack: https://www.quadratec.com/products/92200_98.htm
I actually own one of these - it gets used more for the leveling jack on the front of my little adventure trailer's tongue than its designed purpose.
View attachment 498012


And you'll still have $400 left over for whatever you want to spend it on. Since we're talking jacks, maybe a better jack than came with your vehicle: https://safejacks.com/collections/bottle-jack-accessories/products/basic-bottle-jack-kit

View attachment 498015
Oh wait; I've still got $220 left to spend (out of $600) if I bought four X-Bulls, the proper jack base plate (watch the video and you'll know what I'm talking about), and a better jack compared to what came with my Jeep (compared to spending $600 for four Maxtrax).

I kinda like this holster - that's $50 (leaving me $170): http://aliengearholsters.com/backpack-holster.html?utm_source=google_shopping&gclid=Cj0KCQiA37HhBRC8ARIsAPWoO0zPT3wqHDQla9bEmbJsDMjpMfDHqWhBhaWangfwsm8bJsCYf_IqvVIaAjArEALw_wcB
View attachment 498016
Screw concealed carry when I'm doing a day hike with the wife. I want it readily accessible.

And I've still got $170 left. I could use a good portable jump starter: https://10carbest.com/best-jump-starters

And I'll still have some money left over. See where this is going? $600 vs. $150 - your choice. I can think of other things to do with the $450 difference.
And it should be pointed out that the X-Bulls showed stress in the plastic while the Maxtrax cracked.

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Grump E-Vet

Active member
I kinda like this holster - that's $50 (leaving me $170)
While I fully support your choice to open or concealed carry and I dont mean to be a metaphorical “sharpshooter.” But backpack holsters especially one that is so exposed may not be the best idea ever, while they still have the drawbacks of any off-body carry (fanny packs, purses, messenger bags, etc). Which are mostly obviously positive weapon retention, along with varying degrees of rapid access issues (weird draw angles, delayed time getting weapon to clear and bringing to bear.). Plus they have the added problems of the weapon getting tangled in the thinner straps or in things in your environment (this is why we never attached pistol to old TA-50 web gear straps or packs) and no matter what your mounting system is you are far more likely to have the whole holster come off. Some of what may work better depends on your body shape and size of pack if appendix carry is an option (may be difficult on some trails) you could do IWB or OWB there, with the same options for hip carry depending on if your pack has a belly strap. Other options would be a drop leg holster (usually these can be switched to allow carry on hip when waist is clear) or a separate three point shoulder rig that could be worked to have holster sit more towards the center of your core to clear back pack straps. This also allows you to drop your pack while still retaining positive control.

Just my $0.02 and hey us Army nurses need to hang together.
 

rnArmy

Adventurer
My favorite carry when in Afghanistan was the drop leg holster. You put your hand down by your side, and it was right there - very natural - my hand went right to it. It wasn't in the way of anything. Didn't feel like I needed to go feeling for it. And I've got one for civilian carry. I wouldn't want to carry one of my larger handguns in that backpack holster (I'd use my drop leg holster), but it might be nice for my little 45 3.3 XDs. My wife and daughter and I went to a state park in TX once, and my wife made some comment about why was my shirt untucked, and my teenage daughter said "because dad's packing" (they frowned on it there). Access to it was difficult though. Sometimes I miss the Army after being in for 34 years.

Anyways... with the money saved buying a pair (or two) of X-Bulls over Maxtrax, you can possibly buy a nice handgun and a holster of your choice.

And other than the cost issue of the Maxtrax (going back to the OP asking "Are they worth it"), I think the Maxtrax are a high-quality item and have proven themselves well over the years. Please don't ever think I'm implying that I think the X-Bulls are a better product than the Maxtrax (I can't really speak about the other similar items out there). At best, I think the X-Bulls are just about as good (good enough for me) or about on the same level. If you have the extra money to spend and cost isn't an issue, go with the Maxtrax. I just can't justify the higher cost when I can get basically the same thing for much less.
 
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Ray_G

Explorer
Maybe take the extra money and get something that uses a sling vice a holster? That way you aren't bringing a pistol to a long gun fight...
...may come in handy after the pit bulls break and the truck is still stuck.

I am (mostly) kidding of course since we have long covered the substantive points. Much like synthetic rope, or tires, you get what you pay for, but maybe it's good enough.
This isn't how they are mounted is it?



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rnArmy

Adventurer
Maybe take the extra money and get something that uses a sling vice a holster? That way you aren't bringing a pistol to a long gun fight...
...may come in handy after the pit bulls break and the truck is still stuck.

I am (mostly) kidding of course since we have long covered the substantive points. Much like synthetic rope, or tires, you get what you pay for, but maybe it's good enough.
This isn't how they are mounted is it?



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Wow - Impressive. That's one way to do it. Someone went to a lot of work to make a set of truck bed crossbars out of 4x4s. They must weigh a ton. I guess you use what you've got on hand. It would have been simpler and lighter (and not that much more expensive) if they started off with something like this:

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But anyways, mine are mounted inside the roof rack on top of the Jeep. I can also mount them on the lid of my trailer when taking the trailer (makes it much easier to get to them when they're on the trailer).


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