Winter is here and with it a varying degree of weather depending on where you live. For the average outdoor enthusiast, it might mean that their local hiking trails are closed or limited due to snow and other winter conditions. Barring any local agency restrictions, having a little adverse weather doesn’t mean you can’t continue […]
Winter is here and with it a varying degree of weather depending on where you live. For the average outdoor enthusiast, it might mean that their local hiking trails are closed or limited due to snow and other winter conditions. Barring any local agency restrictions, having a little adverse weather doesn’t mean you can’t continue your adventuring. Despite the cold and increased hazards, winter is one of the best seasons to hit the trails. You only need a to add a little extra gear and knowledge to enjoy that added tranquility and change of scenery. The Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultra covered in this review may fit the bill for some of our readers.
- Spike material: Stainless steel
- Spike length: ½”- 2/3”
- Number of Spikes: 18
- Harness: Elastomer
- Weight (pair): 14.25 oz | 422g (M)
- Velcro strap keeps the device securely fastened
- Welded double-link chains
- High-strength stainless steel withstands use on rock + mixed terrain
- Elastomer harness stretches easily over most footwear
- Wide heel plate with 3 spikes for secure downhill traction
- Carry bag included
- Trail Running
- Hiking/ Backpacking
- Ice Fishing
- Icy approaches
Courtesy of Hillsound
My thoughts and review
No location is inaccessible with the right gear. Let’s be honest though, winter gear can get really expensive. The best advice I can give a beginner is to prioritize your wish list and know where you can cut back on spending without having to buy inferior products in lieu of quality gear. Buying cheap gear in the moment almost always means buying replacements later, but you also don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of technical crampons if you’re only dealing with a little ice and snow on your local trails. For most hikers, a simple slip-on pair of crampons like the Hillsound Trail Crampton Ultra is all you need to hit the trails. I have used similar traction devices in the past but the Trail Crampton Ultra strikes me as a superior design.
Useful and practical, but not so technical
The term crampon here is a bit of a misnomer. While I have no problem referring to these accessories as crampons because of their similarity and lack of other designations, other hikers detest calling them as such because they are incapable of being used for tackling steeper and more technical winter terrain. These slip-on crampons are great for hiking on light snow and ice on trails, but it should be obvious that they were not meant for mountaineering purposes.
How does it fare against its competitors?
I immediately noticed that the elastomer harness by Hillsound is better than similar crampon styles. These types of rubber harnesses are commonly used by manufacturers because it makes taking the crampons on and off a much quicker and hassle-free process. The problem is that these rubber harnesses tend to be the weakest component and can snap apart. The elastomer harness on the Trail Crampon Ultra is much thicker than its competitors. This allows the crampons to not only fit snugger, but it’s also less likely to snap apart. I noticed this was a common complaint among users with competing models so I’m glad to see Hillsound offer a superior alternative.
The Trail Crampon Ultra also features 18 spikes. Many similar crampon styles only have about a dozen or so spikes, so this is another improvement by Hillsound. These spikes are not nearly as long as they are on more technical crampons, but remember that these are designed for milder winter conditions.
-Great for light snow and ice
-Easy to put on and take off
-18 spikes, more than other competing models
-Not suitable for more technical terrain
The Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultra does its intended purpose well and currently go for an MSRP of $69.95. Of all of the similar traction devices on the market, like traction footwear from Kahtoola or Yaktrax, Hillsound offers a superior design over its competitors. These traction devices are all in a similar price range, so I would opt for the better design. If you’re dealing with a little ice or snow on your local hiking trails then these crampons will get the job done. They are comfortable and easily slip on and off. If you happen to be doing more technical ascents, then I should be preaching to the choir when I reiterate that these are not designed for that specific purpose. Adapt to the winter environment, use the proper gear, and be safe in your adventuring. I plan to use these all throughout the winter and hope to write an updated review after a full season’s worth of use.
If you have any experience with Hillsound products, we would like to hear about your experience. Let us know what you think.