GoTreads, Good Winter Recovery Traction Mat + BROG Bag: In-Depth Review
When you hear the term recovery tracks most people think of the quintessential Maxtrax or similar style boards.
For the sake of comparison – we wanted to put the GoTreads up against the popular Maxtrax recovery boards, just to give you a frame of reference.
Both of these are going to be great recovery board options. The Maxtrax or “Maxtrax Style – fixed-length” recovery boards are versatile and definitely have a place in your recovery kit. However, there are a few reasons why you may want to also look at GoTreads folding/collapsible recovery boards.
My First Experience With GoTreads
My first experience with GoTreads was in the middle east. We had a Toyota Prado that had a few daily survival items that were mandatory for us getting around Kuwait.
- Number one was water, we had a 5-gallon jug and a case of bottled water as well.
- The second was a large medical bag (an overblown trauma bag).
- The third was a case of meals ready to eat (MREs).
- The last thing we had was new to me, at first I thought it was broken, but turned out to be GoTreads.
There were no instructions so like any curious man child I pulled them all the way out and played with them until I figured out what they were.
It reminded me of when I was a kid and broke open a milk crate to get my car out of a snowbank. The sand in the middle east is always trying to reclaim what man has built there.
While driving on a highway (at really high speeds, because you’re just trying to fit in with the locals), it is common to see the sand blowing onto the road. This ultimately creates intense sandbanks. Having no rocks or tree branches to shove under a tire, the GoTreads are really the next best thing for the sand.
GoTreads vs Maxtrax: Pros
While I can’t or won’t bad mouth Maxtrax (because they do have a great reputation/reviews), there are a few advantages of the GoTreads over them.
The first for me was the price, I could buy 3 Sets of GoTreads for what one set of Maxtrax cost.
- Pinto, Inc GoTreads Emergency Automotive Traction Tool: Check Price
- Maxtrax: Check Price
- X-BULL Traction Boards: Check Price
- TRED Pro: Check Price
The second was the size.
In the slow process of building my 4Runner, a roof rack was at the bottom of the priority list, which is normally where the long recovery boards are normally stored.
They will fit along the back of the rear seats, however, once used would you want to put them in the back of the 4Runner, right?
More on that in a bit.
Length and Height
- GoTreads extended: 9” W x 1” H x 46” L
- GoTreads folded: 9” W x 4” H x 12” L.
- Maxtrax fixed length: 13” W x 3.5” H x 45” L.
NOTE: The hinge is essentially an overbuilt piano hinge.
- GoTreads: 5.8 pounds
- Maxtrax: 8 pounds
Blue Ridge Overland Gear Bag
To maximize the size and portability of the GoTreads I purchased a Blue Ridge Overland Gear Bag made specifically for them.
Instead of stacking the two GoTreads into a large cube-like space, the BROG bag keeps them next to each other keeping the slim profile. That thin profile of 9” W x 4” H x 24.5” L helps it fit anywhere in the cargo area or floorboards, no matter how we load.
The quality of the Blue Ridge Overland Gear Bag is top-notch, like all of their products. The use of a vinyl-coated polyester truck tarp fabric makes for easy cleanup.
So even if the GoTreads are covered in ice and mud, just fold them up in the bag and toss in the rear and don’t worry about contaminating the rest of your gear.
The oversized zipper pull is also super helpful when trying to open it up with winter gloves on.
It is also nice to see two products paired together both made in the USA.
Another beneficial feature of the GoTreads over the Maxtrax is the ability to use them as vehicle levelers.
While Maxtrax can also be used for this their fixed height of 3.5” is it unless you stack the other for 7”. The GoTreads can be folded or unfolded as necessary to dial in between 1” and 4” per tread.
GoTreads Vs Maxtrax – Cons
Using the GoTreads is not always better than a Maxtrax.
There are two main downsides to GoTreads. The biggest shortfall is the ability to bridge or ramp an obstacle.
While you may be able to stack the treads to fill it, it’s nowhere near as effective. This is also where a lot of the more affordable options often find their breaking point.
Lack of Shovel Functionality
The next shortfall is the lack of ability to use the tread as a shovel.
Not a huge deal if you are already bringing a shovel but now it’s one more piece of kit needed and additional space taken up.
Using the GoTreads is easy as it just feeds into the front of the tire that is losing traction.
While I haven’t gotten the 4Runner stuck yet, I have used them to recover a full-size pickup that couldn’t get grip on some ice. I have also recovered my minivan that could get over an odd climbing area parking lot that had a large lip and fist-sized river rocks.
There is a time and a place for every tool and this tool is great for daily adventuring.
The GoTreads stay in the cargo area of my 4Runner 24/7.
I never have to worry about sun damage or someone stealing them as they are locked inside, ready for action when needed. It’s also easy to transfer them in the BROG bag over to the minivan for longer road trips.
These are not a replacement to any of the recovery boards but an addition to, as the boards are extremely useful when the terrain gets nastier.
The GoTreads are a great buy, and a solid performer, especially when paired with a BROG bag.