Ed note: There's a children's series of books that pits animals against each other (Great White vs. Orca, Lion vs. Tiger) and we decided to play off of that and write DMOS vs. MaxTrax, Which Would Win?
Enter guest writer, Emme Hall. DMOS Founder, Susan, asked her friend and off-road racer, Emme Hall, to help out. Hall can be easily described with three f-words: fearless, fashionable and fun. Equal parts artist and adventurer, she’s happiest speeding across a desert landscape. Hall and her Team #140 "Killer Watt" teammate, Rebecca Donaghe, have competed as a team in five years of the Rebelle Rally and have won the rally twice. However when she’s not getting dust in her hair, Hall reviews new cars on YouTube for Roadfly and TFL Car. On top of that, she’s the Costume Manager for a well-known regional theater in Washington, DC. Susan knew Emme would have a strong opinion and weigh in on this formidable contest and the following is her answer.
"When it comes to recovery tools, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. Winches, ropes, shovels, recovery boards…which is the most useful? They all have their place but you can get by with just one: a shovel and not just any shovel, a DMOS.
(Pictured here: Emme's Miata, "Buddy" and her DMOS Delta Shovel)
But wait…what about traction boards,” I hear you ask. We’ll get to them, don’t worry. Traction boards and a shovel work great together, like partners in crime. At some point, you’ll want to have both sets of tools in your arsenal, but people were getting unstuck with just a shovel long before recovery boards were ever invented and you can too.
I carry my DMOS Delta because, as they (DMOS) say, it's always at hand and never in the way. It's full-sized, powerful and will last forever.
First of all, when you find yourself spinning tires, check your air pressure. If you’re rolling high, the easiest way to get unstuck is to just let some air out. If you have an air compressor and time, you can take almost all the air out, get yourself going and then air back up. If you don’t make any sudden moves with that steering wheel you should be alright.
But let’s say you’re really in it. Take your handy DMOS shovel and get to digging. You want to see all of that tire, so dig out a big trench around each one. Yes, digging out the inside of the tire can be a big pain, but you can lock your DMOS shovel head at a 90-degree angle and turn it into a hoe and drag instead of the dig, making it much easier on your back.
You’ll then want to dig a trench a few feet in front of each tire, getting gradually more shallow until you’re up on terra firma again. Pack down those trenches as much as you can and grab any sticks or rocks you might be able to find and add those. These will help with grip.
Start in low gear and with a gentle throttle, slowly accelerate until you find the grip. It might take a few tries but you’ll get out.
(Hall and Donaghe in the Rivian in Glamis Dunes, 2021)
Adding recovery boards just makes things easier. These hard plastic boards have little “nubbies” on them that grip the tire tread and provide traction. I like MaxTrax boards for their strength in all temperatures and proven reliability, but there are other, less expensive options out there.
You’ll still want to dig all around your tires with your shovel, but now you’ll want to make a bit of space under your tires as well. You may have seen people digging with their recovery boards but I’m here to tell you that is a recipe for exhaustion. Digging with a nearly four-foot-long board that’s over a foot wide and weighs seven and a half pounds, ten pounds for the Extreme version, well– that doesn’t sound like a good time to me. Dig with your DMOS. That’s what it’s made for.
If you have a hi-lift jack and know how to safely use it, you can lift your rig and shove the board underneath the tire, but I find that digging and a good kick get the job done the fastest and safest.
Once your boards are in place it’s the same process to extract yourself– low gear and easy throttle. If you spin your tires the boards are not set correctly. Be sure to attach the locator straps onto your recovery boards as they can get buried pretty deep during extraction. Another reason to have your DMOS shovel at your side!
If you’re just getting started on your off-road adventures you’ll want these two key recovery items. However, if you have to pick one, go DMOS."
Thanks, Emme! Now, don't go running and share this with MaxTrax. We see them at shows and want to stay friends. :-)