ARB TRED PRO Recovery Board: In-Depth Review
ARB TRED PRO Recovery Board: Review of the Low Profile Off Road Total Recovery Board on the 5th Gen 4Runner
You have an awesome 4Runner.
It may have upgraded suspension, all-terrain tires, lights, skid plates, and other various upgrades. No matter how capable your 4Runner may be, you can always get stuck.
If you want to venture off the beaten trail, you need to have a capable vehicle and capable recovery gear.
There are two main categories of recovery tactics in my opinion – self-recovery and assisted recovery.
Self-recovery tactics would be any method that you do completely on your own without any help from another vehicle and or person.
Assisted recovery tactics would be any method that you do with the help of another vehicle and or person.
Although I always recommend having a friend come along with a second vehicle any time you plan to take the path less traveled, this isn’t always feasible.
Assisted recovery methods are great, but you can’t always have a friend around and for these reasons, I believe self-recovery tactics are a must have.
What Off Road Recovery Equipment Do You Use, Though?
The first piece of equipment that most people will think of is a winch.
Winches are awesome, but they often require some vehicle modifications like a hidden winch mount or even a lower profile front bumper mod. These modifications add weight and require an object (such as a tree or boulder) that is strong enough to hook your winch line to. Winches are also what I’d consider a permanent modification—meaning you can’t simply take off your winch one day and throw it back on the next.
I didn’t want to increase the weight of my 4Runner and I didn’t want something permanent, as I use my 4Runner as a daily driver.
This led me to a clever, yet extremely simple self-recovery method – recovery boards.
Recovery boards (also referred to as traction boards) are simply a piece of plastic that you place in front of your tires to gain traction.
They typically have many plastic cleats/spikes, grooves, and indentions to provide some areas that your tire can grab on to. Recovery boards are great because they don’t require electricity, are lightweight, portable, and they don’t require any sort of object to wrap a line around.
For those of you who are familiar with recovery boards, you probably think of Maxtrax.
But, TRED developed their own recovery board that is giving Maxtrax a run for their money…quite the run at that. Luckily, ARB distributes the TRED PRO in the US!
ARB TRED PRO Recovery Board
ARB is well known for its off-road accessories and parts – roof top tents, air lockers, air compressors, roof racks, and much more. They have recently made a statement by becoming the only US distributor of the TRED PRO and adding some competition in the recovery board market, which was previously dominated by Maxtrax.
All in all, both Maxtrax and the ARB TRED PRO recovery boards are very similar and work the same.
Here are Some of the Specifications of the ARB TRED PRO:
- Approximate Dimensions: 46” L X 13” W X 2.5” H
- Stacked Height (for Pair): 3.35”
- Total Weight (for Pair): 18.08 Lbs
- Construction: Exotred™ Composite Construction (Polyolefin Material Blend)
- Teeth: Glass Filled Nylon
- 800 31″ – Check Price
- PRO 45″ – Check Price
There isn’t anything too exciting to see from the specifications in my opinion that would make you buy this or not.
From my first-hand experience with the TRED PRO, I can say that they are extremely well made and have a high level of craftsmanship. I couldn’t find any blemishes, flaws or manufacturing inconsistencies in the product.
Additionally, they have improved on the design compared to the classic TREDS 800 models previously mentioned on the website.
Although I try not to think about the appearance of a product too much (especially for a product designed to get you out of trouble), I can’t help but mention that the orange and grey color combination looks really cool.
No, the color doesn’t make this recovery board get you “unstuck” easier than another, but it certainly does look nice in my opinion.
ARB distributes several color selections for the TRED PRO, but I utilize the “Monument Grey” color choice.
There are many different ways you could store the TRED PRO recovery boards on your vehicle.
I utilize my ARB Flat Alloy Roof Rack with some bungee cords.
This method works great, but I would suggest adding a cable lock to ensure you don’t have someone walk away with some recovery boards. You can also purchase a mounting bracket from ARB, but I haven’t got around to getting one of these yet.
Eventually, I will add the mounting bracket from ARB, but the bungee cord method serves me well for now.
Mounted On the ARB Flat Alloy Roof Rack
Other storage options include a rear ladder or your cargo area.
I would suggest storing your TRED PRO boards on your roof rack or ladder, as this is a good spot to put them after you use them and they are muddy, but the back of your 4Runner is always a feasible option.
Wherever you decide to store these recovery boards you will easily be able to stack them on top of one another.
This is a nice feature that both the TRED PRO and Maxtrax offer.
It may sound like a simple thing that is easily overlooked, but it makes a big difference in having the capability to stack these recovery boards for efficient storage.
So how do these things work?
They are extremely simple and straightforward to utilize. If you get stuck in mud, sand or snow, simply place a TRED PRO under your two front tires (or rear depending on particular situation) and slowly drive onto the boards and out of trouble.
You will want to be in 4LO and use the little throttle. It doesn’t take much to gain traction with these boards. You especially don’t want to “floor it”, as this could cause the boards to shoot back and damage something or burn off the cleats. Just ease on the throttle while you are in 4LO and you will crawl out of the mess you are in.
What I have found to be so nice about these boards is that you don’t need something to hook to like you do with a winch. Wherever you get stuck, simply place your TRED PRO boards in front of your tires and start moving again. It is as simple as this, depending on the situation and how you are stuck.
The teeth on the boards have excellent grip and ARB claims that multiple 4×4 tires were analyzed to design the optimal teeth pattern for traction. The traction these boards provide is phenomenal and a great recovery tool to have with you.
There really isn’t much else to the functionality of the TRED PRO… they simply work and are very easy to use.
So far, I have only tested the TRED PRO boards out on limited occasions and only in the mud.
However, I have experienced no deformation, cracking, or structural failure whatsoever. The boards seem to be quite durable and can withstand the beating that your 4Runner might put on them.
Only time will tell for me, as I have limited testing, but they have held up great so far.
TRED PRO vs Maxtrax
Which is better – the ARB TRED PRO or Maxtrax? Well, the dimensions of the two boards are nearly identical, but Maxtrax comes in at a slightly lighter weight (approximately 15 lbs for a pair).
Maxtrax has a “ramp” on both sides of their board, whereas ARB TRED PROs only have a ramp on one side.
There are also differences in teeth design, handles, color schemes, and overall shape.
Which is better though?
From my experience, I can only say I have tested out TRED PRO recovery boards.
I have never utilized Maxtrax boards firsthand… however, I know a lot of people who have. I decided to give the TRED PRO a shot after installing the ARB Flat Alloy Roof Rack to my 4Runner because I was so pleased with the quality of this rack.
Honestly, I think they are both pretty comparable. Either option will work, and work well. I would like to give a definite winner in this comparison, but I can’t say I have my mind set on either option.
I have the TRED PRO and I have been really impressed with them so far. A lot of people are impressed with Maxtrax though.
The TRED PRO is no different and is a great option for self-recovery.
Why Should You Invest in ARB TRED PROs?
If you aren’t already convinced of purchasing some ARB TRED PROs, let me elaborate a little bit on why I think these boards are such a valuable piece of equipment to have.
Although you never plan on getting stuck, sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason – it is difficult to traverse. The best adventures also require a little bit of work.
You never know when you are going to get stuck and having these boards can get you unstuck remarkable easily.
Furthermore, if you know you are just going to the grocery store or around town where you don’t have any chance of going off-road, simply leave these boards at home.
You can’t do that with a winch!
These boards are also a fraction the cost of a winch, require no power, are portable, can be used on other vehicles and will save you a significant amount of weight.
TRED PRO recovery boards don’t require a tree, rock, or some other structure to hook to either! Simply set them on the ground in front of your tire and drive off.
If you want to be prepared, these boards are a great, cost-effective solution.
The TRED PRO is a fine recovery board.
It is a direct competitor to Maxtrax and from my testing, it works quite well.
These boards are one of the best self-recovery options on the market for those of us who don’t want to install a winch.
For those of you with a winch, there will be a large amount of time savings and hassle that you can avoid by also having a pair of these boards.
A winch is a great option, but you might not always have a sturdy structure to hook to, and at times you might not need to deploy your winch…just some TRED PRO recovery boards.
If you are looking to go off the beaten path a little further or simply just want to be prepared, I recommend looking into purchasing a pair of TRED PRO recovery boards.
They have served me well thus far and are a great addition to any vehicle. They would be great for the snow, sand, or mud. I take my TRED PRO with me almost everywhere I go.
Although I never intentionally plan to use them, I always have a plan if I get stuck – the ARB TRED PRO!
Questions or Comments? Leave them below!