Kit Review – Hillsound Trail Crampons

Hillsound Trail Crampon product shot
image from the Hillsound website

Score : 5 out of 5 for grip
5 out of 5 for ease of use / fitting
4 out of 5 for snow accumulation underneath.
(score posted after a snowy / icy trip up Snowdon).

I’m heading up Snowdon at the weekend so I thought some snow spikes would be prudent.

I’m not a proper / climb K2 kinda mountaineer, definitely a hiker but the conditions on Snowdon at this time of year can be tough, treacherous even.
Snowdon last year was okay without crampons / spikes but in hindsight I didn’t know that and should have had a pair stowed away in case.
I fell down a mountain once via icy slopes.. don’t want to do it again thanks 🙂

So I wanted to be better prepped this year but I didn’t think it was worth getting hard-core crampons that wouldn’t get much use at other times.

I asked around and the Hillsound Trail Crampons (spikes) looked a good solution (and thanks to @JeffreyBowman for the tip).

I did look at some “micro spikes” options (Grivel, Pogu) but I judged that for Snowdon and the possible snowfalls and / or ice, micro spikes could be a bit too, well, micro.

Anyway, we just had some decent snow on the moors around me, so this Sunday was the time to give them a testing. And to try getting them on and off – without being at the top of a mountain 😉

Wessenden Valley view
The view across Wessenden valley .. plenty of snow and ice to test out my spikes.. other photos here http://www.flickr.com/photos/what_i_see/6825748281/

Firstly, they fold away really well, don’t weigh much at all and will go with ease into my rucksack. They don’t come with a stow bag though, which is a shame. The spikes look like they may quickly rip through the (spare) old poncho bag I had to hand.

Getting them on: They’re really easy to fit on, the rubber upper section stretches nicely around your boot with easy to grip tabs (even with gloves on) and the velcro top strap kept them firmly secured.

The paths on the tops were pretty icy in parts but they gave me good grip. And I gave myself  the added ‘stress test’ conditions of going up and down some steep snowy slopes, with the dog pulling ahead in her usual unpredictable fashion.

There’s nothing like 18Kg of excitable sheep-sniffing dog to test the digging-in ability of any boot or spikes! And there were a lot of sheep hidden in the shadows of some of the steep valleys..

My only niggle is that one of my boot soles got partly balled up with hard ice after trudging through some deeper snow for a while. I needed to stop and clear it off a couple of times. It could have been that I hadn’t ensured the rubber upper support was as taught as it should have been but it was a bit disconcerting to have it clog up. Everything else about them was great though. They could make the difference between getting to the summit / trig point on Snowdon or not.

More info on the spikes here : http://hillsound.com/2products/crampons_overview.php

I bought mine from Amazon as it was the easiest option (with my account all set up) and only a couple of £ either way (at £49) on costs compared to other sites.

10 thoughts on “Kit Review – Hillsound Trail Crampons

  1. They look very similar to my Kahtoola Microspikes, but you reckon the pointy bits are a touch longer?
    My full-on proper crampons have an anti-balling ‘plate’ to stop the snow clogging them up, but I can’t see you being able to fit something like that to any of the walking-spiky-things for sale these days. Interesting that you found this could be a slight problem occasionally. Obviously some thing you have to remember to keep an eye on when wearing them for any length of time.

    • Hi Chrissie, yes the points looked a bit longer and couple of reviews I read suggested they were better for the deeper snow and ice on trails.. any extra purchase and grip might just help me 🙂

  2. They look very similar to my Kahtoola Microspikes, but you reckon the pointy bits are a touch longer?
    My full-on proper crampons have an anti-balling ‘plate’ to stop the snow clogging them up, but I can’t see you being able to fit something like that to any of the walking-spiky-things for sale these days. Interesting that you found this could be a slight problem occasionally. Obviously some thing you have to remember to keep an eye on when wearing them for any length of time.

    • Hi Chrissie, yes the points looked a bit longer and couple of reviews I read suggested they were better for the deeper snow and ice on trails.. any extra purchase and grip might just help me 🙂

  3. Hi Mark, Nice report. I really fancy the look of these but am reading conflicting reports on sizing. I would wear these on a proper hiking boot (Asolo Power Flex B-O) size 11 as opposed to a Merrell type approach shoe. What size Hillsounds did you use and what did you wear them on – shoes or boots and what size.
    Many thanks John

    • Hi John, thanks.
      I got the size L (from size 9-11 I think it was) and they stretch well with good elastic grip over my pair of size 9 Berghaus walking boots, even though my boot size is at the smaller end of that range e.g no slack.

  4. Hi Mark, Nice report. I really fancy the look of these but am reading conflicting reports on sizing. I would wear these on a proper hiking boot (Asolo Power Flex B-O) size 11 as opposed to a Merrell type approach shoe. What size Hillsounds did you use and what did you wear them on – shoes or boots and what size.
    Many thanks John

    • Hi John, thanks.
      I got the size L (from size 9-11 I think it was) and they stretch well with good elastic grip over my pair of size 9 Berghaus walking boots, even though my boot size is at the smaller end of that range e.g no slack.

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