4x4 Traction Mats

4wd-track-4x4 Traction Mats

Caption: The Maxtrax Version

A traction mat is a versatile and handy accessory to have in your 4wd. The idea of a traction mat is to place it underneath the tyre/s which are bogged and give your 4x4’s wheels enough traction to drive yourself out.

Why is a traction mat important?
A traction mat is important especially if you are by yourself and planning on doing a lot of beach or desert 4wding. When you become bogged simply remove some of the sand in front of your bogged 4x4 wheels and place the traction mat in front. Then simply drive your 4wd out. You might say why do I need a traction mat when I have already removed the sand from in front of your tyre. Well, in most cases the ground will still be extremely soft and when you try to drive out will refill in a matter of seconds so by laying the traction mat in under your wheels will give you enough grip and stability to enable you to drive through the soft ground. Even if you have another 4wd with you sometimes it is still better to use the traction mat rather than snatch your way out, there is less chance of doing damage to your 4wd and potential the people around you.

Let’s look at the different traction mats available. Firstly, and the most common are the Max Trax and the cheaper alternative Sand trax. These are made from high quality reinforced nylon, making them lightweight, strong, and even a little flexible. These can also be used as a shovel when you need to dig a hole in front of the bogged wheels meaning you don’t need to have a shovel handy. Another alternative is the X-Trax, these are made of rubber and are flexible. They are designed to bend and flex to the track you are stuck on giving the wheel the most amount of traction possible, you will need a shovel or your hands to get these underneath your wheels. And finally, Pillowtracks, Pillowtracks are flexible like the X-Trax, but are also inflatable. The theory behind the madness is you are able to get the pillowtracks under the wheel then by inflating the pillowtracks lift the wheel up slightly as well giving you a little extra height and grip. And if you are worried about the pillowtrack popping, well you can buy a bladder and replace the insert.

Almost all of the traction mats can be linked to each other providing a longer track on which you can travel. This is an extremely important option when you can see the path ahead is going to be tricky, by lying the traction mats down it will enable you to drive that distance with traction and hopefully it will be far enough to get you through without getting bogged in the first place. Prevention is always the better option! Ok, so getting yourself unstuck is the first reason you should have traction mats in your 4wd, another reason is using them as a step up. By placing the traction mat in front of a ledge or drop off, you will make the height of the drop off less. It may not be a big spacer but could be the difference between bending your sill or saving it, unless you have rock sliders that is in which case you just won’t care!

Cost vs Benefit
There are a few different brands available now with a few different benefits and options. A set of these will cost you anywhere from $75-$310. Check out the specs of the different brands and find which one will be most suitable for you.

Subscribe to our mailing list of 4wd articles & 4wd tracks