I need some cheap recovery boards for snow and mud... Any suggestions?

Regcabguy

Expedition Leader
In my early Baja days I'd bring four 2 x 12's about 4' long. Some guys would upgrade them with hex head one way bolts for added traction. Heavy but we had 3/4 ton trucks. back then maybe $25 in 'em.
 

Jnich77

Director of Adventure Management Operations

WRONG_WAY_DAVE

Active member
They look to be a little too short length, width and thickness :censored:

Again, they are better than nothing, but I'd feel better with another near to a/full foot longer on each and wider for sure...

YMMV
 
Too short? Buy two sets and put one behind the other since they are so inexpensive.
You read my mind! That's exactly what I was thinking about doing. Lol... I would rather spend $30 on 2 sets that give me the option to put one on each tire, or one in front of the other on 2 tires. Plus, if they break, the loss isn't as great. I have snow chains I can resort to if needed as well
 

krick3tt

Adventurer
You can strap them on your vehicle and not really get too upset if they walk away when you are not looking and since they are the cheap ones probably no one will steal them. Maybe...
 

geojag

Member
I have a set of Go Treads that aren't too expensive. They work great as leveling blocks and fold up to take up less space. A pair fits in a milk crate with room to spare.
 

robert

Expedition Leader
In my early Baja days I'd bring four 2 x 12's about 4' long. Some guys would upgrade them with hex head one way bolts for added traction. Heavy but we had 3/4 ton trucks. back then maybe $25 in 'em.

It was pretty common to see a couple of boards or strips of plywood 3-4ft long in the back or top of trucks and Jeeps at the ski slopes back in the '80s. The fancy ones had thin strips attached perpendicular across them (IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII). Make sure they're not visible in any instagram photos so you don't lose overlanding points and get labeled as a redneck offroader instead. 🤠 :p

Make sure you move as much snow out of the way of the tires and differentials as possible before getting unstuck; a hoe is often easier than a shovel since you can reach under and pull material out of the way instead of lifting it and you can reach further under the vehicle without getting down on your knees and getting wet. A trashbag or whatever can help keep you from getting wet as well.
 

Jacobm

Member
It was pretty common to see a couple of boards or strips of plywood 3-4ft long in the back or top of trucks and Jeeps at the ski slopes back in the '80s.
Let's say someone wanted to try this, using hex head wood screws into 2x12s - would 1/4" or 1/2" screw heads be better? And should I look for pressure treated lumber and stainless screws or just regular wood and paint 'em (bright orange just to annoy the Instagram crowd)? I'm thinking some 2x12s, possibly with furring strips added for extra gription, might be a fun way to DIY some traction boards. Probably not any cheaper than some China specials but at least the money goes to the local lumber yard and not some nameless corporation. And you can make them any size you want, any color you want.
 

robert

Expedition Leader
It's been a long time but I think most of them were just 2x6s a couple feet long or approximately the same size strips of plywood with just thin furring strips screwed or glued to them- probably just construction scraps. I want to say they had some strips on both sides to help prevent slippage but again, that was a quite a few years (and brain cells) ago and I doubt I ever took any pictures with them; I'm not even sure where most of my pictures from that era are anymore. I remember everyone around always jumping in to help each other though- get the snow away from the wheels and from in front of any undercarriage parts so you're not trying to push snow out of the way, get some bystanders to push and I don't recall us ever having to call a tow truck or snowcat. You could always add some sanded paint* to them to make them extra grippy and more weather resistant but I'm sure they're not as effective as some modern Maxtrax. There's a reason why skiers and climbers used to be called bums and dirtbags back then, most of us didn't have dad's credit card, had older vehicles and we made do with what we had.

*Add play sand to whatever can of paint you happen to have left over, shake well and paint with that.


ETA- I googled "wooden traction boards" to see if I could find any examples but most show through-bolts. That seems like it'd trash your tires first time they spun, no bueno (maybe I'm wrong?). I found this video and it's a good idea of what not to do: The diagonal grooves aren't going to do squat, no idea what the idea was behind that. If I were going to try that, I'd diamond checker them like a pair of handgun grips maybe but even that seems like more work. The other design has the spacing too close together, you want the tires to just drop in between the horizontal pieces so that it's pulling the board under the tire while riding up onto them. His were effectively no better than just a plain board, which obviously wasn't going to work in that slop.
 
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