Product: Kahtoola Microspikes
Price: Approx £48.00
Years Tested: 4 years
The Kahtoola Microspikes are an essential part of my winter kit. They are an alternative to expensive, heavy, and technical crampons. They are excellent for providing stability on icy terrain, are flexible enough to fit over your shoes, and don’t take up much room in your rucksack.
What do I use them for?
I am not a technical mountaineer; I stay within my knowledge and limits, so for me, Microspikes are perfect. If you want to ascend Helvellyn or Crib Goch in the depths of winter, I suggest you invest in a mountaineering course and the real deal crampons/boots. However, if like an amble up the Yorkshire Three Peaks in the winter, or find yourself on a walk with icy slopes and modest amounts of snow, then these little things are a lifesaver!
So, are they any good?
Positives: Yes, they are amazing! I have had mine for around four years, and they are still going strong. They are great on icy terrian, the spikes keeping you firm and stable underfoot.
What they allow you to do is hike with confidence, at the same pace, and without having to worry about a slip or fall. Depending on the terrain, you may have to dig the spikes into the surface, like you would with crampons. But after four years of use, I have never had an accident on the ice.
Negatives: My only annoyance is when you are walking through lots of snow. As you walk, snow tends to gather underfoot, forming an epic snowball. A quick bang against a rock, your good to go! So not a big gripe, just a small annoyance.
Would I recommend them?
Absolutely! At first glance, they do look expensive for what they are. However, compared to crampons, and given their performance, I do think they are worth the investment.
What they offer is confidence while winter walking, even on the smaller hills. You still need to be aware of your limits when hiking in winter. Microspikes are a useful tool, but UK mountains should not be underestimated this time of year.