Now that winter has finally arrived, it’s time to consider the various ways that you can improve your traction on slippery surfaces, such as snow-packed trails and icy running paths. Sooner or later, you’re probably going to need a winter traction system, so here are three key questions to consider when picking out snow and ice grippers.
How much traction do I really need?
For most people simply looking for a little extra traction on the way to work in the morning, it may not be necessary to invest in a pair of heavy-duty crampons for hiking. You may be able to get along just fine with a pair of rugged boots designed for harsh Canadian winters.
However, if you enjoy getting in a winter run on a regular basis, or plan on going hiking in the woods, then you’ll want to consider ice cleats for shoes. The very best ice spikes (such as those from Yatta Life) are designed to be worn over a wide variety of shoes and boots. They literally slip over the shoe with a rubber elastomer harness, and can be adjusted for the proper fit.
These ice spikes are really optimal for flat or gently inclined surfaces. They have plenty of metal spike length to really dig into an icy surface. However, if you plan on traversing more vertical surfaces, or are really into ice climbing, then you will need to invest in a set of crampons for hiking. Unlike ice cleats, these crampons are much harder to take on and off and are not designed for surfaces like pavement. And you certainly can’t show up at the office wearing these!
How much durability am I looking for?
The best ice spikes and micro crampons need to be durable. For one, you want to be able to wear the same pair for the whole winter – and hopefully, more than several winters. As a result, it’s important to check out the durability of the trail spikes for hiking. First, check the spikes themselves. The best ones, such as those from Yatta Life, are made with stainless steel that hold up well, even in the harshest conditions.
Remember – the metal spikes need to dig into an icy surface, so you want the strongest, most durable material possible, and in most cases, that’s stainless steel. Next, you’ll want to check out the elastomer harness. You want a snug fit, and the peace of mind that the harness won’t shift on you during movement. Thus, always see that there are ways to tighten and loosen this harness so that you can get an exact fit.
How important is portability for my ice spikes?
Finally, consider issues like portability. The best hiking spikes should be able to be put on and taken off very easily, and then stored very compactly in a backpack or other gear bag. Also, it’s best if the trailspikes come with some kind of storage bag of their own. The last thing you want to have to worry about is damage to items within your backpack from any protruding metal spikes.
With these three questions in mind, you’ll be well-prepared to choose the very best ice spikes. If you plan on doing more than just basic hiking and trail running, you might also want to consider trail crampons or specialized trailspikes for hiking across the most challenging icy surfaces. The next time you’re looking for a winter traction system, then, consider these three factors: traction, durability and portability.
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