Review & Photos by Elizabeth Kane
Shoulder season in New England can send the outdoor enthusiast straight into the blues-or you can gear up and keep at it. The awkward interim between the clear trails of late summer and the snow-covered pathways of winter challenges the trekker’s inventiveness and resolve.
Rather than give in to frustration at less than perfect conditions and hang up my pack, I’ve learned to grab some good gear and dive in. One of the most imperative pieces I’ve discovered is a reliable traction device from Hillsound Equipment, which I had the opportunity to test early this New England winter.
Equally as comfortable on my narrow Salomon trail runners or bulkier Vasque insulated winter hiking boots, the Trail Crampons were effective on a myriad of terrain. I took them on a few trail runs through the Ossipee Mountains and on a Wild River Wilderness hiking loop in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
My first impression of the Hillsound Trail Crampon is that they were light and low profile. They packed down well enough to fit into my tiny run vest pocket and the top section of my hiking pack. The Velcro strap secures the device and prevents annoying slippage and is simple to use with half numb fingers in dexterity-inhibiting cold temps. Gleefully, I noticed I wasn’t constantly adjusting the position of the Trail Crampon on my boots; they just stayed put. What the spikes lacked in size they made up in punch, grabbling sheer ice flows and verglas coated bog bridges alike with ease. I stepped confidently on icy rocks on river crossings and on frozen exposed roots.
After over 50 miles of abuse, they appeared virtually untouched; the stainless steel chains firmly in place, and no deadening of the grip of the spikes. There will be no typical shoulder-season absence from the peaks for me, no awaiting deeper snowpack, just bounding around the trails with a little extra grip.
Photos (C) 2016 Elizabeth Kane
Editor’s Note: An avid winter hiker, Elizabeth jumped at the chance to test the Hillsound Trail Crampons. This is her unbiased opinion based on years of hiking in the White Mountains. This review contains affiliate links – this means if you purchase through the link, we receive a small commission. This helps support She Explores at no charge to you.