SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE GEAR REVIEW:

Gear (P)review: Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultra

MICROspikes and Yaktrax competitor

The Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultra is a more rugged alternative to Yaktrax for running, and is a direct competitor to MICROspikes for hikers and trekking. A heavy-duty, puncture resistant bag is included in the price of purchase, making the crampons an easy carry in an EDC bag or purse.

The crampons’ design is quite similar to that of MICROspikes, but with the value added of a Velcro top strap. Having worn both, my personal experience is that the Velcro strap does make a difference. I find that the elastomer (i.e., rubber-like) uppers of the Hillsound Crampon Ultra are more apt to remain wrapped snuggly around the perimeter of my boots. This has helped keep the underfoot spikes tight up to the sole of my boot rather than flopping around uselessly, a potentially dangerous state of affairs.

Top view of the Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultra. The Velcroed top strap is black and carries the Hillsound brand label.

The Salewa Snow Trainer INS.GTX paired with the Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultra for an early spring day out.

Rear view of the Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultra. Similarly to snowshoe bindings, a boot design incorporating a rear notch goes a long way towards keeping the rubber uppers from sliding down.

Rear view of the Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultra. As with snowshoe bindings, a boot design incorporating a rear notch goes a long way towards keeping the rubber uppers from sliding down.

The design of the crampons puts twelve stainless steel teeth under the sole of a wearer’s boot, trail runner, or shoe, and six stainless steel teeth up front under the ball of the foot and toes.

The middle spike of this cluster of three is the frontmost (i.e., nearest the ends of the wearer’s toes) when the product is in use.

The design of the Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultra puts eighteen spikes under a wearer’s foot. The spikes are arrayed in six clusters of three, one of which is shown here.

One of the rear clusters of the Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultra’s stainless steel spikes. The product incorporates five clusters such as this one + one cluster of a slightly different design for the frontmost three spikes.

I put in multiple miles with my pair of Trail Crampon Ultras last season, but the fact that I did have the opportunity to use them on steeper terrain precludes me from a having an informed take on how they function under those conditions. Ascending and (especially) descending are where the spikes on this type of product are most apt to begin to dangle away from the sole of one’s boot and lose their capacity for purchase. I have not had the experience of the product doing so, but as this is a potentially dangerous situation I do not want to pretend that I can personally vouch for its reliability under those circumstances, either. Chances are good that I will have the opportunity this winter to put the Trail Crampon Ultras to the test under those conditions this season. Until then, however, my experience with them remains incomplete.

For those looking for a product for use on flat terrain, however, I see no reason not to recommend the Trail Crampon Ultras. It is important to get the fit right, though. Too small will probably be obvious upon the first attempt to slip the crampons onto one’s boots, trail runners, or shoes. Too large might be less so, but if the spikes dangle even the littlest bit go to the trouble to try on the next size down.

Purchase information

MSRP for the Hillsound Crampon Ultras is $69.99. Purchase information is available via the product page at http://hillsound.com/hillsound-product/trail-crampon-ultra/.

Authorship information

Matthew Timothy Bradley

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