Let’s be honest: You can make a perfectly functional base plate for a Hi-Lift jack by gluing together a couple of foot-square pieces of 3/4-inch plywood. If you want to get fancy you can add a third layer of 1/2-inch plywood with a cutout for the jack’s foot, to help stabilize it. This is exactly what I used for years.
However, the plywood got chewed up pretty quickly, and once I used it in mud it started delaminating. So I switched to one of the ubiquitous red plastic bases. It was (and is) an excellent product, and mine has held up through not only personal use but numerous training classes as well.
My only real issue with the red base is its bulk, which is significant if you’re storing it in the back of an FJ40. It takes up an inordinate amount of volume for a single-function implement.
While shopping for some items we needed for Expo East this November at one of the Tractor Supply Company (TSC) stores, I chanced upon a solution in the form of the Reese Farm Jack Foot Plate. Constructed of thick polypropylene, it’s far more compact than the red base, yet boasts a 7,000-pound capacity. I put it to an unusual but effective trial at the show: Our 20-foot cargo trailer, which hauls all the Expo equipment and grosses about 10,000 pounds, had to be parked where the tongue jack would be in very soft mud. So I placed the Reese plate under the tongue’s foot, lowered probably 2,500-pounds plus onto it—and left it there for the duration of the show. It emerged unscathed and unwarped.
The Reese plate is one-third the height of the red base but seemes even thinner, it’s so easy to stash. And I like the low-profile black color, too. This is my new standard-equipment Hi-Lift base plate. About $25 from TSC or Amazon.