Better to have ’em and not need ’em than to need ’em and not have ’em.
Recovery tracks. Rescue boards. Sand ladders. Whatever you call them, they’re an essential part of off-roading. Problem is, they take up precious room in your rig and only serve one purpose. Far too often, recovery tracks get left at home. In the safety of your garage you think, “I’ll be careful. I won’t get stuck.” But when you’re hundreds of miles from civilization and the only thing between you and that perfecto camp site on the mountaintop is a hundred feet of sandy, Jeep-rutted trail, the little voice in your head says, “Dammit!”
But what if your recovery tracks served more than one purpose? Enter Muputrax.
A couple months ago, when planning for my first true overlanding trip through California’s Death Valley, I started shopping for recovery tracks. Of course, Google searches produced, almost exclusively, links to the ever-popular MaxTrax. You know, the fluorescent-colored boards you see mounted on almost every Jeep? Sure, the reviews were good, but the ultralight backpacker in me couldn’t help but think that such an obtrusive piece of equipment could and should serve more than one purpose.
A deeper Google search landed me on Muputrax’s website. The UL backpacker rejoiced! Here was a recovery track setup that could also serve as (clears throat): a camping bench and table, a high-lift jack base, a step stool, a leveling ramp, a bridging ramp, a loading ramp, a camp shower base, and (a use I found on my own after the trip) a rooftop cargo holder.
Muputrax’s customer service was top-notch, and Helmut had the package on my doorstep, from Australia to California, within a week of my inquiry. I was impressed with the setup right away; the military grade materials looked and felt built to last.
What’s in the box? The two tracks are made from fiber-reinforced, UV-resistant, corrosion-resistant, fire-retardant, ISO resin (the same stuff used in many industrial applications where high strength yet lightweight components are required). The bench/table legs are made from 6063-T-5 aluminum (aka marine-grade aluminum). The fittings are made from SS316 surgical grade stainless steel, and the padding layers are composed of heat-resistant rubber. The storage bag is made of waterproof and UV-resistant 1000D PVC.
Setup is a breeze. Before heading out to the desert, I marked the appropriate holes for the hardware with a pencil. Simply insert the table/bench legs in the tracks and tighten up the screws by hand. That’s it. And you’ve got a camp table and bench (or step stool to reach the roof racks). I’ve never been more comfortable camp cooking and, by evening, the table became our camp bar!
The full setup weighs close to 50 pounds. Not exactly lightweight, until you consider how many functions are condensed in an easily-packable design. When I thought about how cluttered my rig would be with recovery tracks and a camp table, bench, step-stool, and roof rack mount (good for holding jerry cans, etc), the near 50 pounds was negligible.
For those “bug out” types who keep recovery equipment on-board at all times, the bench/table legs, hardware, and rubber pads can be left at home, bringing the weight down to under 25 pounds (competitive with other recovery tracks on the market).
Check out this rad video from Muputrax!
Muputrax is largely unknown in the United States. It was cool to bring this Australian product into the California outback. Overlanders, off-roaders, and car campers will find Muputrax to be the perfect innovative, functional, and tough solution to rescue and camp comfort needs. I hope to see more of these out on the dusty trail!