If you’ve ever seen one of those classic movie or cartoon scenes where a character slips on a banana peel, feet fly out from under them, and they land flat on their back, you know that its a bit of an exaggeration. But, its exactly quite accurate of how someone falls when trying to walk on slippery snow or ice. Microspikes are essential if you plan to do any hiking in the winter, and many trails even post warnings during the winter about continuing on without them. Not to be confused with crampons (which require a special boot), microspikes simply slip over your existing boot.
To keep steady a footing, myself and my clients hike equipped with Kahtoola Microspikes. Kahtoola is also a sponsor of Roulette Travel, but I owned a pair of their spikes prior to the partnership. I had previously bought a cheap pair from an off-label brand, and they broke during my 4th or 5th hike (inconveniently, halfway up a mountain). Not fun. There are some items where getting the generic brand makes sense, but Microspikes are not one of those things. Kahtoolas even have a 2 year warranty as well, so if something does go wrong, you know the company stands by their product.
Kahtoolas are great for the following reasons:
- Great fit over most shoes and boots
- Easy to slip on and off
- Excellent traction on ice, packed snow, frozen ground
- Easily stowed when not in use (small bag included)
While one pair should last you many years, I always recommend having a backup pair, especially if you will be hiking solo. I am a big proponent of having a backup for everything in the winter – that way if something goes wrong with my gear, I know that I can always still get out safely.
A comparable product can also be found from Hillsound, and I have heard good things about their products. However, I have not yet tried them and as such can’t offer a review. Definitely browse the web to compare for yourself before you buy!