Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Gear Closet: Hillsound Trail Crampon Pro - 2018 Edition

A couple of years back I took a look at a product from Hillsound called the Trail Crampon Pro and found it to be an excellent add on to our hiking boots and shoes for use on icy and snowy trails. True to its name, the Trail Crampon acted much like traditional mountaineering crampons, attaching to your boot in a quick and efficient manner. But, since that time the company has updates its design, making it a lot more convenient and easy to use than the previous generation.

Unlike the previous generation, the updated model of the Hillsound Trail Crampon Pro uses a ratchet and buckle system to securely attach the spikes to your shoes. Previously hikers had to adjust the sizing of the crampon using a tool, which required setting it up ahead of time and made it challenging to adjust in the field. This latest iteration is about as simple as it gets however, and having used both models extensively, I haven't noticed any change in performance whatsoever. Essentially, this product now offers the same level of grip as a mountaineering crampon, with the ease of something that is far less technical.

Designed for low and medium grade ascents – as opposed to ice climbing or truly taxing alpine pursuits – the Trail Crampon Pro features ten individual 1 inch spikes, with six found on the front and four at the rear. This allows hikers to not only get a solid grip on the ascents, but make descents with more control as well. I've used them over snow, ice, and slush on trails and over rocks, and have found them to be an excellent option for use in the backcountry during high impact winter pursuits.

The latest version of the Trail Crampon seems more comfortable on my foot as well, although I can't tell if that is due to any change in design on Hillsound's part or if it is the result of using them with different pairs of boots. Either way, they aren't overly constraining or restrictive, even when ratchet on tightly, making it a breeze to wear them for long hikes and alpine approaches. And when you no longer need them, they slip right off and can be stashed inside or hung from a lashing point on your backpack until you need them again.

It is important to point out that these crampons tip the scales at 23.5 ounces (667 gram) per pair. That isn't especially heavy, but its not the lightest we've seen either. But, the good news is that I feel that Hillsound has found an excellent middle ground in terms of weight, durability, and convenience, making these a good all around option for those who need a bit of extra traction on slick surfaces.

The Trail Crampon Pro is also fairly budget friendly, carrying a price tag of just $79. That makes them less expensive than most technical crampons that you'll find, but also more expensive than some of the less technical options from competitors. Indeed, I feel like this product has found an excellent middle ground that offers a more durable and stable product for those who need it, without forcing them to purchase higher price crampons that exceed their needs. Chances are, they'll like what they find in Trail Crampon Pro, and love the price and convenience that they bring.


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