SMITTYBILT: Element Ramps Traction Aide Review – $150
$300 for a pair of Maxtrax!? I mean really, for a piece of plastic? Why on earth would anyone need/want to pay $300 for some “Recovery Tracks”? So when Matt Beaty and I found a pair of Smittybilt recovery tracks for $150, which seemed to be priced right. Matt and I both purchased a pair.
The tracks come in a nylon bag that zips open on 3 sides. The bag is only large enough to fit a pair and maybe a little mud. The bag’s zipper is a standard zipper, it was not made with rugged use in mind. The bag has carry handles as well.
My first impressions of the tracks themselves were, “Yup”, nothing special, and nothing amazing or revolutionary. The edges were a little sharp and I worried I could cut my hand if not wearing a glove if I had to pull them from the mud. There are side cutouts for what appear to be for your hands to use the tracks as a shovel.
My first use was during our snowy trip though Grand Staircase in Utah. We were forging a path through newly fallen snow in the Tundra. It was fine until we started following what might have been ATV tracks. The truck got stuck a few of times.
Well this was the perfect opportunity to try out my new pair of tracks. Well it didn’t go well. I had to try over and over and over again before I would get unstuck. My tires (mud terrain) would not grip the tracks. And when they did, the traction spikes would shear off, even at low tire rotation speed. I used them on three occasions that day. By the end of the day one track broke in half and the other was cracked in multiple places. Both were missing 80% of the traction spikes.
I don’t know if the tracks broke because of the outside temp. 15 degrees, but I was extremely disappointed. I contacted Smittybilt and sent them some pictures of the tracks, they sent me a replacement with basically no questions ask. Matt also had similar results when using the tracks in the snow and were also replaced by Smittybilt.
With the new set of tracks, Matt was able to use them in mud and sand effectively. I’ve used mine again in the snow with bad results again. I would recommend not using these in the snow.