Monday, May 24, 2010

Colorado TrackPads

You know when you get on an online tear, madly clicking link after link, delving deeper and deeper into a topic, refining your search again and again until you can barely remember where you started or how you got there? Well, I went off on one of those the other day trying to tick an item off of my trip prep checklist. That entry simply read “traction aid.”

Not to long ago, Overland Journal did a test of a variety of traction aids ranging from sand ladders to boards covered in nuts and bolts to inflatable bags. The solutions varied in price from a couple hundred bucks on up to a thousand or so. They put together a great video documenting the tests. Of course, the full review is in the magazine.

And a comprehensive thread on Expo on the topic.

While several of the products tested looked effective, the ones that really worked were all a little pricey for my tastes (I can hear the “You can’t put a price on safety” groans now…) but the other problem was their size. While they all would have looked super bad ass mounted on the roof rack or rear spare tire, we’re committed to not looking too geared out and would hate for $500 worth of sand ladders to “walk off” while the truck was unattended.

But after a marathon search and surf session looking at all the options and reading the four wheeler message boards, I found the answer in a post from a few years ago. The poster mentioned having ordered a section of fiberglass resin flooring material used in manufacturing plants. The material, molded into a grid/waffle design, was rigid, durable, and available in a wide variety of sizes. A few more searches and I found a current email address for the resin molder and inquired about whether the material in a 12” x 36” size was still available. He responded quickly that it was and forwarded an invoice for $100 a piece and his PayPal info.

While responding, I thought to mention the challenges I had in locating his product and contact information and just then, an idea came to me and I pitched it to him. How about I take a couple hours and set him up with a very basic web site in exchange for a couple sections of the resin waffle grids? He agreed!

COTrackPads So with that, I give you the (very simple!) Colorado TrackPads web site and encourage you to consider them when looking into options for traction aids. Other than the trade and initial setup of the site, I have no affiliation with the company or product.

A note for Xterra drivers, I ran the 36” sections through the table saw (exciting 30 seconds!) to trim a couple inches which allows them to fit in the roof basket integrated into the factory rack. They sit out of site in a spot I hadn’t yet figured out a good use for. A bungee over the top keeps them from rattling around too much.

We may never need to use them but it’s nice to know they’re there, and I can tick it off my checklist!