With vice you mean versus?In this case you are really better off with bridging ladders vice traction matting of any form.
Much depends on the size of the gap you need to cross of course.
Ironically, however, in this case if you used Maxtrax vice Alum sand ladders, the MT will go back to shape (without a hammer) after some time in the sun.
I used to have Maxtraxx on our Landcruiser. Sold everything.
Now we have a 4x4 van (still with low-gearing and everything) and we have the bridging ladders, the waffle board type.
However, ours are cut out from some huge waffle board which was used in a ship. It is probably strong enough, but I never tested it.
But just being stuck in the sand, I'm wondering if the Maxtrax or sand ladder work better than the waffle board or that the waffle board also offer enough help.
I've seen the Maxtrax work, how they get pulled in and then provide traction. Sand ladders could be better if they also stay strong and flat when it comes to gaps, but they don't.
Basically, we always drive around on our own on holiday or long overland journey. Two long overland journeys now.I am curious about the size of hole folks want to span. If it just a hole, go around it if it is a crack in the rock perhaps your tires are not big enough. If you are going up or down a shelf perhaps your arrival and departure angle of your vehicle is not made for that shelf or the power and traction of your vehicle is not going to do it for you anyway. I have seen some situations that the vehicle is just not made for every and all extremes in the out back.
It is difficult to carry everything that one might possibly need to get far away and it might be more prudent to turn around, if possible, but the irresistible urge to push to the max is often what gets folks in over their heads.
Always without a winch. We always drive around the big holes or mud pits. Or turn around on time.
So in all that time on the road on our own we never got stuck by taking precaution.
Only once we got a bit stuck on a sand dune, and airing down further let me easily reverse out.
I carried Maxtrax around for one year, it looked really cool but only used them at a 4x4 event at home haha
I usually try to find a compromise. It is very likely that we will go for an AWD automatic van now, of which I'm wondering how much we will modify it.
After these years, I have more experience, so I know where the limits are, and also, how far you can come with a basic vehicle. Maybe we will just raise it a bit, perhaps add a rear difflock but thats it.
Anyway, it is another step down in having a less capable 4x4 again. And I also want to take less stuff. So just one type of wheel thingy. Maxtrax/sandladders/waffle board, whatever is the best compromise for all kinds of terrain.
But with a lower vehicle with smaller wheels, I feel that I will at some point have much more use for bridging gaps.
And a good set of waffle boards is cheaper than modifiying the van (which is all custom work) to increase ground clearance. Raising and bigger tyres is a lot of work unlike a regular 4x4.
By the way (or: In addition), I carry this funny wheel whinch system from Australia. Not this big steel add on wheels called bush whinch, but the BOG OUT recovery kit. It is just a bag of ropes, it weighs almost nothing, but can get us out in both directions.
Of course, if there is a winch point. (in the sand you could burry your spare wheel or buy this dead man anchor point bag)
Another compromise haha. A normal winch would be easier to use, but I didn't feel like adding 50kg and then still only be able to be helpful in forward direction.
Haven't needed it yet, so cannot comment on how good it works. This is not my photo:
So the above + one set of waffle board + a shovel = a nice kit that should get me out of most places and is still pretty lightweight.