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Old 11-12-2019, 12:47 PM   #1
Troy64
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Budget MicroSpikes

Has anyone tried non-Kahtoola microspikes? If so, are they any good?
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Old 11-12-2019, 04:51 PM   #2
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Sure; I have a pair or two. I also have the "brand name" product.

Periodically, markets will be full of these off-brand items. There are two versions:

>"Knockoffs" that are cheap imitations of the brand name item. These are often prone to early failures.

>"Off-label" items. These are often the identical item, made in the same (usually Chinese) factory, but marketed separately by the manufacturer through their own channels. These are top quality, but cheaper because you are not paying for the brand name and all the middle men.

It can often be hard to determine on line which version you are looking at. The knockoffs are usually a bad investment. The off-label items are usually a good investment.

Regarding the off label stuff, I used to think it might be unethical to cheat the "middle men" out of their share of the profits. But I have realized that middle men are not adding any value, they're just taking my money. So if you find a $30 version that's identical to a $70 item, buy it and give some of the difference to the charity of your choice.
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Old 11-12-2019, 11:55 PM   #3
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I have tried chinese imitation versions from two different ebay sellers. the problem I had with both was that the chain links are not welded closed, so about every 3 miles a link would come open and I would have to bend it back with pliers. Eventually that got old and I just went with the expensive Kahtoola ones.

I would also advise against Yak Traks for anything besides lake ice or a flat parking lot.
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Old 11-13-2019, 12:53 PM   #4
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I'll second the advice on knockoffs... mostly junk that fail quickly.

There are less expensive spikes out there. Grivel started offering a pair within the past few years that can be found for around $45 that compare favorably to Hillsounds.

Here they are at Campsaver but if you search a bit you might find them cheaper... https://www.campsaver.com/grivel-ran...EShopping%3EUS
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Old 11-15-2019, 10:06 AM   #5
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I have several pairs of traction aiding slip ons left by some of my former tenants
They are like a mini rubber overshoe with many embedded metal spikes
Don’t know the brand names but they work pretty well and certainly have survived many outings
I would assume they were a reasonable cost since the tenants were not highly compensated
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Old 11-15-2019, 12:32 PM   #6
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Theres many inexpensive pairs to choose from as in an Amazon search. Which are good? I don't know. I do know, for me anyways, that any that don't have a Velcro strap over the top of the foot can fall off, especially when going off trail. I have left a couple half pairs somewhere in the wilderness...which made an interesting walk when back on trail.
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Old 11-15-2019, 03:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodly View Post
Theres many inexpensive pairs to choose from as in an Amazon search. Which are good? I don't know. I do know, for me anyways, that any that don't have a Velcro strap over the top of the foot can fall off, especially when going off trail. I have left a couple half pairs somewhere in the wilderness...which made an interesting walk when back on trail.
You can add a velcro strap to most any pair you buy. Kahtoolas do not have the strap whereas Hillsounds and Grivels do. Not difficult to retrofit though.

As for the inexpensive (knockoff) pairs that you can find for $15 or $20 on-line. They are inferior in just about very way possible to those mentioned above. I bought a pair when I was just starting out winter hiking and didn't want to invest much in winter gear without knowing if I would enjoy it or not. That pair of spikes failed in the first hundred yards of trail. Absolute junk. I got home that night and ordered a pair of Kahtoolas. I also have a pair of Grivels (that I linked to in post #4) that I use when conditions warrant a beefier spike. As for Yaktrax and those kind of devices. They may be just fine for walking on flat ground or on gentle rolling hills but I wouldn't trust them going up/down anything steep. The other brands mentioned are far better suited for more rugged terrain. There's lots of gear and clothing you can find cheap alternatives for but I don't believe microspikes is one. The last thing you need is for them to fail in a spot where a fall could injure you. I would recommend buying quality.

Last edited by Makwa; 11-15-2019 at 11:20 PM..
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Old 11-15-2019, 04:14 PM   #8
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Right. I have added Velcro straps to all my pairs of microspikes. In the first couple seasons of microspike popularity, there were several reports of lost microspikes, so that made sense.

Yaktrax (brand name) also now markets a couple of "spike" style devices. So I generally say "Coil spring type devices" to differentiate. And I agree, the coil springs are only for going to the mailbox. Similar with the older devices like instep crampons and Stabilicers.
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Old 01-24-2020, 08:54 PM   #9
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I ended up getting the Yaktrax version. They are the Traverse model, and are similar to Kahtoola MicroSpikes, which I already have.

My son (Yaktrax) and I (Kahtoola) used them in Iceland for a week, and they both worked great. We would not have been able to get around without them.
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