03 Sep Go Treads Product Review- AUSTRALIAN 4WD ACADEMY
Roaming around the outback as a tour operator for 25 years has given me the chance to visit many of Australia’s iconic destinations. In all those travels we have driven some of the best, and worst roads this country has to offer. Some of our greatest challenges have been on dirt roads after rain, or on sandy tracks nearer the coast or the central deserts such as the Simpson.
Experience has taught us what gear we need to carry, and how to use it correctly, and safely. This experience is backed up by the fact I have been teaching 4wding skills since the mid 1980’s. I have seen so many 4WDers get it wrong, either through ignorance or lack of knowledge and skills.
I would never venture far off road without some traction aids, and have used various brands, from the cheapies to those that are recognised as market leaders.
Recently I was asked to test the new ‘Go Treads’ whilst on aplanned a trip to Fraser Island with a group of friends. Fraser is our new backyard and we regularly drive the area including Rainbow Beach, Teewah Beach and Inskip Point, so driving in soft sand has become second nature. Apart from lowering tyre pressures to suit conditions I would never venture far without traction mats so I jumped at the opportunity to test these new, and very different, traction aids.
I have to admit that I’m a stickler for what I know works best, and the Go Treads are different – in fact very different. Not your usual rigid hard plastic boards, they fold down to make them easy to carry and transport, yet open out to become a very rigid traction aid.
Our group consisted of a couple of 4WDers with very little sand driving experience, so I knew there would be plenty of times we would need help.
The Go Treads were needed before we even got onto the barge at Inskip Point. I carried them in our rear spare wheel bag, and they fitted in here easily. In fact, thanks to their compact size when folded, they would easily fit into just about anywhere in a 4WD. No need for special mounts or roof racks to carry them – our first positive observation for the Go Treads.
We used them on both front and rear wheels for recovery purposes, and the aggressive tractive pattern on both sides saw them work very well. I also like the fact they we had to do minimal digging behind the bogged wheels as the hinged sections meant they were able to follow the shape of the wheel tracks, with the leading edge of the Go Treads acting as a ramp, ensuring the wheels got positive grip quickly and easily. As with any mat, avoiding wheel spin is the correct technique, creating instant traction and getting the vehicle out of the bog easily. Our bogged friends were amazed at how easy the recoveries were, and they were well and truly bogged in the soft sand.
The Go Treads were an instant hit with the group and other observers who stopped to watch our recoveries. I reckon I could have sold my set numerous times along the beach.
I certainly won’t be hitting the beach again without a set in the back drawer. I look back at all out trips to the Simpson Desert, Kimberley region and other destinations, and reflect on how handy they would have been then.
I can see other practical uses for the Go Treads too. Because of the way they fold up we used them as wedges to level our 4WD when setting up camp each night, thus ensuring the roof top tent was level. This would negate the need for separate blocks for camper trailers or caravans. They could also be used as a jack base in soft country, or under a wheel that is spinning in free air in a wash out.
Rigid or folding, traction boards are a very important part of your recovery gear, but for me, the new Go Treads are a real winner, and have become a permanent part of my gear.
Always pays to clear under the tyres so that they can then get a good grip on the Go Treads. Be sure to use slow acceleration when driving out of the sand, snow or mud.