DIY Recovery Board Mounts

3D Printing Apr 20, 2024

After our Sunshine Honeymoon trip, I realized that I was going to need a better solution for storing my gear. Having a full-size pickup for the last few years made it just too easy to bring a lot of stuff, and my gear got a bit out of hand. Now that I'm back in a Bronco, space is at a premium, and I've had to get a bit more thoughtful about what I bring, and where it goes.

When thinking about my options, two standouts were the extra fuel and recovery boards. Being able to get those outside of the truck would immediately free up some space, with the added benefit of removing the possibility of any fumes from the gas can moving outside as well.

Plus, as we all know, the quickest way to boost your overland cred is to have as much of your gear as possible outside the vehicle, and not in it.

Driving a soft top Bronco meant that a roof rack wasn't an option for me. Sure, there are racks available that can be used with the soft top, but I like opening it too much to lose that functionality. That meant I needed to look into a spare tire mounting solution. Having attended the Salt Lake Off-Road Expo a few weeks ago, I saw the EZ Rack setup from Rockslide Engineering. It seemed like a good option, so I placed my order that day.

I paired the EZ Rack with a Rotopax 3 gallon container, and that took care of my fuel situation. I have been carrying a five-gallon can with me, so I am losing two gallons, but if I need to add more, I can add another mounting plate to the EZ Rack. So far though, I've been pretty impressed by the mileage I'm seeing in the Bronco, and careful planning should reduce the need to bring a ton of fuel with me.

Another benefit of going with the EZ Rack and Rotopax is that they're both local Utah companies. Wherever possible, I like to buy from and support the local brands, and they usually make pretty great stuff.

Next up was finding a spot to mount the Tred recovery boards. The official mounts look nice, but they were pretty pricey. After a few trips to Ace for some hardware, and a run to Lowes for some Unistrut, I put together a setup that works pretty well so far. Even printed up a set of handles to make removing the nuts securing the boards a tool-free experience.

I’ve taken it on a few test drives around town and on some pretty bumpy dirt roads, and so far, things haven’t budged. We’ll see how they do on a longer trip, but so far, so good.

Now, you may look at those Tred boards, and think that they're way too clean. And you're right. I've determined that carrying a set of these things is lucky for me. I bought them after getting myself stuck in sand and other spots where these things would have been really nice to have. But ever since I started carrying them… well, knock on wood. Better to have them than not.

If you'd like a copy of the file to print your own grips for the nuts securing the board, they're over on my Gumroad page. As usual, pay what you want. Just put a zero in the price field if you want them for free.