Off-road innovations get better and more creative year in and year out. With yet another year behind us, once again plenty of new gear for your off-road adventures has hit the market.
So let’s take a look at some of the absolute best off-road innovations for 2019 from both vehicle manufacturers and the aftermarket world. Presented in no particular order, these gadgets and systems can get you unstuck from a jam or help to make tackling bigger obstacles even easier. Here are the best off-road innovations for 2019.
MaxTrax Mini and Xtreme
Although they were announced last year, the MaxTrax Xtreme and new MaxTrax Mini will be finally hitting the US market in early 2019, so we’ve included them on our list.
MaxTrax have become a staple off-road accessory that can give you traction even in the stickiest of situations. These fiber reinforced nylon traction boards are being made even more versatile with these two new models.
The Xtreme uses new aluminum replaceable lugs that are lightweight and add some serious biting edges to the bottom of the MaxTrax.
As for the Mini, the name says it all, introducing an even smaller lighter version of the MaxTrax to make portability and storage simple.
The Up Down Air system allows you to air up and air down using your portable compressor or vehicle-installed air compressor from a central point, keeping all four tire’s pressure consistent.
The user must run hoses from a central unit to each tire, and then all the rest of the control can be done from a single spot. You can air up or down, and the system will always make sure the pressure in all four tires is identical.
This makes airing up and down much easier, and hassle-free.
Polaris Rapid Recovery Winch
Winching is a crucial part of some trails and can come in seriously handy when you’re stuck. In 2018, Polaris introduced its new rapid recovery system, capable of recalling its synthetic rope five times faster than the low gear. This will save your time out on the trail, and it’s convenient to use thanks to a wireless remote that works up to 50 feet away.
A lineup of different winches can be fitted straight to Polaris vehicles from the factory, and a 50-foot long synthetic rope makes sure you can reach a strong winch point. It also means long recovery times, exactly the reason why rapid recovery was born.
Mercedes-Benz GLE Air Suspension
Surprisingly, one of the most interesting off-road technologies debuted on a vehicle that isn’t that off-road worthy. The new Mercedes GLE has a mode called “Free Drive Mode,” which uses the vehicle’s air suspension to bounce the vehicle, helping to free it from deep sand.
This essentially jumps the vehicle up and out of whatever it is stuck in, saving your buddies from having to get out and push.
2019 Ford Raptor’s Adaptive Suspension
For 2019, Ford has updated its top-dog off-road machine the F-150 Raptor with new FOX Live Valve shocks, essentially an active shock setup that allows the truck to continually adapt to the terrain around it. Combined with the shock’s internal bypass system which allows it to be position sensitive, the new Raptor is able to adjust in an instant to whatever the terrain needs. Easily one of the coolest off-road innovations we’ve had the pleasure of trying in a long time.
Toyota Tacoma’s Desert Air Intake
The 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro has a new desert air intake that brings snorkels to the production vehicle world. Though Toyota won’t officially call it a snorkel, that’s what it is, allowing to the truck’s engine to breathe from a much higher point.
Not only does this mean that water won’t be getting into the engine anytime soon, Toyota says that thick desert dust that tends to be sucked up by grille-mounted will not find its way into the air filter, increasing engine performance and filter life.
Snorkels aren’t new to the off-road world, but the Tacoma is the first vehicle to offer a snorkel straight from the factory.
MaxTrax Tow Hitch Insert
MaxTrax, the brand known for its traction boards for getting unstuck from sticky situations, has revealed a new tow hitch insert specially designed for use with soft shackles. The brand designed the tow hook insert to be stronger than the alternatives on the market, which means it can stand up to pulls from any angle without needing to be rotated.
Warn came out with a new shackle at the SEMA show this year called the SideWinder, replacing hooks and shackles for a more fast and easy direct linkage spot. It’s one of the most interesting off-road innovations we’ve seen in a while. Made from forged aluminum, the Sidewinder can be quickly attached to most bumper recovery points, D-ring shackles, recovery straps, rope extensions and soft shackles.
Warn says that this new shackle is compatible with winches up to 18,000 pounds with a minimum pounds breaking strength of 64,000 pounds.
Range Rover Evoque See Through Hood
The new 2020 Range Rover Evoque was revealed near the end of 2018, and it debuted with an interesting new off-road technology. The clear sight ground view shows the front of the vehicle on the dash-mounted screen, and using exterior cameras, makes the entire hood of the vehicle see through so that you can see what is directly in front of the vehicle.
Nose-mounted cameras in off-road aren’t new, but the way the Evoque shows the driver is certainly a new view.