We have always had a set of heavy duty glass fibre recovery boards in our pick up, but for the camper we felt that a lighter weight set of plastic boards was a reasonable compromise. Given the disparity of price between boards £350 vs £50 and not knowing anyone with plastic boards, we decided that for the price, we would try the Britparts boards – £75 from eBay.
On the surface they seemed to be a good design: lightweight with handles and well spaced teeth to allow good traction and ease of cleaning. Each board had a sticker stating the maximum load was 1250kgs per board and given that our truck has a maximum wheel load of around 600kgs, this seemed reasonable. That said, we were happy that they would probably not be suitable for bridging any large gaps or climbing a ledge or bank, but they fit together well so we could probably have doubled them up in an emergency provided any gaps weren’t too ambitious. We will never know…
Note that we added a buoyant nylon rope to each board, which is standard practice to allow you to drag the board out of mud or water without getting too wet. The boards were light enough to be easily transported on our roof, without adding much weight. However, the lightweight nature of these boards is their failing. We carried ours around for a year before we finally got stuck…. No worries, we had our trusty boards, didn’t we? We were stuck in a field in the mud by the entrance and the ground was even and free from stones etc. The van had all terrain tyres, the treads of which were full of mud so we had no traction. The boards were placed in front of the front and rear tyres on the drivers side and after a bit of rocking back and forth and a litttle wheel spin, we were able to drag ourselves onto the board. This is the end result:
The middle ripped out of the centre of the board. There had been only a little wheel spin and the tyres weren’t full of stones, so why did this happen? There is no sign of heat damage or melting of the teeth, it simply ripped out! This is very unsatisfactory and the boards are scrap. We had to spend a while digging through the mud trying to find the broken off pieces so they didn’t present a danger to livestock.
In short, these boards are utterly unsuitable for use with our trucks. Except for the weight, I have never had any issue with the glass fibre boards and in the meantime will revert to using them. In future, I think I will have to look into MaxTrax boards and try to find a UK supplier who doesn’t charge an extortionate amount for them!