If you are an avid off the beaten path type of person, you know it’s important to plan ahead in case you get stuck.
Some off roaders use winches, or a combination of things to get them out of a tough situation.
There is a common denominator in all of this though, you’re not going anywhere if you don’t have any traction. That’s why traction mats have been steadily gaining popularity. This low tech, high iq item is a must have in anyone’s recovery kit.
Let’s take a look at the 4 Best Traction Mats available:
1. MAXSA Innovations 20333 Orange Standard Escaper Buddy Traction Mats, 2 Pack
Dimensions: 48 inches long, 14.5 inches wide
Best Overall Product
As long as you’re not in a big RV, all of the options in this guide will work for you. The Escaper included. It is more expensive than most options, however. But, they use more material in their design than nearly any other product out there.
Their raised spikes are higher than other designs. This is made out of a polymer plastic. If you treat it right, it will last you indefinitely. The spikes dig into your tires and the ground.
One neat feature about their design is that they’ve incorporated handles into the side of the mat.
To properly use any mat, you’re going to have to dig the stuff behind your tires out of the way a bit. So it’s a nice feature to be able to do it with these.
This is a pair, and one of the best selling options in this category. There are three colors to choose from and three functionality options. Including an extra long design that is 59 inches in length and 17 inches wide if you have bigger offroad tires.
2. X-BULL New Recovery Traction Tracks Sand Mud Snow Track Tire Ladder 4WD
Dimensions: 43 inches long, 13 inches wide
Best Overall Value
The U- shape traction design uses small raised nubs to give you grip in a snowy situation. They do stack nicely for storage space. A storage bag is included in your purchase.
You can also use these as some make shift shovels, although they don’t have quite the same opening as MAXSA to grip them as well. But, when you think about the price difference, that may be a fine concession to make.
Overall we think these are an excellent value and hard to beat all things considered!
3. BUNKER INDUST Off-Road Traction Boards
Bunker INDUST has made the most affordable option for offroaders without compromising quality. They are made of less material than anything featured so far though, so if you’re more comfortable with a longer runway you may want to move on.
These have 23 inches in length.
They use circular nub style grip points in a 3 tier setup to give your tires traction. And yes, just like other options you may use these as a shovel to help clear the way. They’ve worked the handles into the design.
You have four colors to choose from and don’t get us wrong, just because they’re affordable doesn’t mean they’re cheap. They are also one of the best stacking options in this guide.
You’ll save more space from them not only being shorter, but also stacking on top of each other so well.
4. WawaAuto All-Weather Foldable Auto Traction Mat Tire Grip Aid
We included the Wawa All-Weather traction mats to give readers another look. If you came across this guide and you’re looking for a regular option to get you out of a snowy situation, but you’re not a big offroader then these could suit you just fine.
You’ll notice compared to the other options that these look cheap, and the price matches that to be real. But, they’re not meant to get an offroad vehicle out of a jam. They’re something light duty to add to your daily driver kit.
And although they are marketed as all-weather, we say it’s fairly common sense that they’re not in the same tier as the other options we’ve gone over above.
Are traction mats a magical solution to get me out of any situation?
Nope! In fact some people melt their mats by spinning their tires over them until the nubs wear away. These are a tool in a recovery kit, and must be used properly.
How do I use my traction mats?
Nearly all traction mats are made of a polymer, which is a plastic. Heat is the enemy of plastic, friction causes heat. If you follow the instructions, you’ll know to first clear as much debris as you can from your tires.
Most of these mats can double as a sort of shovel to move crud out of the way. After you’ve cleared everything you can, THEN stick the pair of whichever you buy as far under the tire as you can. Solidly, make sure it’s in there.
After those steps are complete, give your vehicle a little gas and see if it catches the mat. If it doesn’t, immediately stop your vehicle and your tires spinning. Reset the mats by digging, and try again. A trick is to pull forward slightly and then backwards to give your vehicle some momentum if the mats are placed on your rear tires. Or, the opposite setup if they’re placed on the front.
You may have to do this a few times, but just be patient and remember that heat will melt them. If you follow those steps, you’ll be great!
We hope this guide helped you make an informed decision on the options available for traction mats. There are plenty of great options for off roaders with different pros and cons. We also included a light duty option for the regular driver.
If you end up picking something from this guide, come back and let us know how it worked out for you. We hope you didn’t have to use it too much, but we do love hearing from our readers.
Good luck on your search and thanks for stopping by!
I'm the owner of Beast Auto. I live in Phoenix, Arizona. I love anything automotive related, and taking road trips all across my beautiful state.