Hiking

Best Microspikes and Crampons for Thru-Hiking – The Trek

Summary

Snow is fun, magical, challenging, and dangerous. Many thru-hikers may encounter their first winter snow/ice conditions while on the trail. Traction for snow is NOT something you want to purchase while out on the trail, after your first encounter.

It’s imperative to research which sections of your trail may have snow, and have a plan set. Slipping onto your butt on ice is no fun, and the consequences can be much worse than just a bruise. Traction devices keep hikers stable in slippe…….

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Snow is fun, magical, challenging, and dangerous. Many thru-hikers may encounter their first winter snow/ice conditions while on the trail. Traction for snow is NOT something you want to purchase while out on the trail, after your first encounter.

It’s imperative to research which sections of your trail may have snow, and have a plan set. Slipping onto your butt on ice is no fun, and the consequences can be much worse than just a bruise. Traction devices keep hikers stable in slippery conditions while also allowing you to hike up steeper grades in snow without fear of slipping.

Now that I’ve lectured you on how important it is to carry spikes (when necessary), let’s dive into how to choose. There’s a ton of different traction devices on the market, with varying weights, sizes, and features. Each product is going to work in a slightly different way that’s better suited to a particular adventure. Here’s a shortlist of the best microspikes and crampons for thru-hikers.

I absolutely adore hiking and running in snow—but I ALWAYS carry spikes in mixed conditions.

The 5 Best Microspikes and Crampons for Thru-Hiking

Best for Variety / All-Around Use

The majority of thru-hikers will fall into this category. For example, PCT NOBO hikers on a mid to high snow year will definitely need spikes of this weight in the Sierra. These two options feature enough traction to keep you safe with significant amounts of snow, without hindering your ability to still move quickly. However, with their weight approaching a pound, they’re definitely an item you’ll want to mail between sections as needed. Paired with an ice axe, spikes of this weight can be used for all but very technical mountaineering.

Hillsound Trail Crampons

Best microspikes and crampons for thru-hiking: Hillsound Trail Crampons.  Note: these can be worn with lighter boots or running shoes as well. Photo via Hillsound.

  • MSRP: $69.00
  • Weight: 15.7 oz
  • Materials: Carbon steel spikes / stainless-steel chain / elastomer harness

The Hillsound Trail Crampons are designed for traction in a variety of winter conditions, without sacrificing comfort. They heat-treat their carbon steel spikes to increase their durability, so with good care, they will last for years. There is also a strap that fastens across the top of your boots or trail runners to keep the spikes from sliding or popping off in deep snow/powder.

While these spikes are great for very heavy snow, steep grades, and glacial terrain, they are heavier than any of the other options besides technical crampons. Additionally, in just ice and light snow, the higher profile spikes may decrease ankle stability and cause rolling without caution.

Kahtoola MICROspikes

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Source: https://thetrek.co/best-microspikes-and-crampons-for-thru-hiking/