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catsp
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catsp
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PostWed Feb 21, 2024 8:56 pm 
It will probably come as a surprise to most, but I’m not really what you might consider a “giver.” More “taker” really. That said, early each year I do try to “give back” in some small way to provide cover in case someone calls me out. This post reflects this year’s effort. Kahtoola Microspikes are great. But IMO there are cheapo spikes from Amazon ($20 or less) that are actually better. (Note: There are many that are simply terrible too, so you have to choose carefully.) I have both, but my “go to” are actually the cheap ones. There are two reasons. One is the higher number of spikes on the cheapo set and that the actual spikes seem slightly bigger. The primary reason, however, is the beefier set of back spikes, which put a spike farther back in the middle of the heel. Since I find spikes most useful during downhill travel, I appreciate the additional rear traction it provides. The Kahtoolas may be be more durable, though I’m not sure. Because of their high price I’m more careful not to abuse them (though I have lost one), but because the cheap ones are so, well, cheap, I don’t really care if I keep them on over rocks, gravel, or in my car, or ensure they’re not twisted when I put them on, etc. Even so, I have found the cheap ones sufficiently durable, though on one I did manage to pull a link out. As the pic partially shows I fixed it with a zip tie, which has held up well. For the price, I could’ve just bought a new pair and still be way ahead. But you can only be “right” if others agree with you. I noticed a FS post a few weeks back indicating that neek might be interested in a set of medium/large microspikes, and I just happened to have a new extra set of cheapos in large. Since it appears that neek’s birthday is this Saturday, I have left them on the Mailbox Old Trail for him. (I figured he’s probably looking to do something fun and special on his birthday, which I assume is a Mailbox Peak ascent. Happy Birthday!) They are in a black canvas bag against the downhill side of that tree that has the blue “1000 vertical feet above creek” sign. Of course if anyone reading this poaches them first, that’s on them. Just provide a review agreeing with me.

thunderhead, Now I Fly, KascadeFlat, Waterman, neek
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KascadeFlat
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PostThu Feb 22, 2024 8:59 pm 
The unexpected benefit of Amazon microspikes is that sometimes they send you two left feet. It hasn't seemed to affect my footing so far! smile.gif

For a good time call: 1-800-SLD-ALDR.
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uww
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uww
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PostMon Feb 26, 2024 2:34 pm 
How do you determine which are the ‘good’ cheap ones?

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catsp
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catsp
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PostMon Feb 26, 2024 6:01 pm 
uww wrote:
How do you determine which are the ‘good’ cheap ones?
Good question! Honestly, notwithstanding the 55 or so different brand sellers on Amazon, I think there are really only like two manufacturers of these things: one making the okay ones, and one making the pretty bad ones. And since sometimes what's in the pic isn't what you get, I only buy through Prime free delivery/free returns (so customer service through Amazon, instead of customer service through some 3rd party seller). Anyways, I think I'd give these (currently under $20) a try, or any pair that looks just like them if cheaper, since like I said I think most of this version is likely made by the same manufacturer. If you do, make sure to report back! smile.gif

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catsp
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catsp
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PostTue Mar 05, 2024 9:17 pm 
^^^ Nope, not those. The ones I linked to in the previous post are very undersized for the listed size (at least the set I ordered in Large were very undersized). Not coincidentally, the ones I received were not the same as what was shown in the pic. Oh well, thank goodness for free returns.

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neek
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PostWed Mar 06, 2024 5:31 pm 
Finally made it up this "Mailbox Peak", and lo and behold, the loot was still there. Now the kid has no more excuses for not joining me. Thanks! Noticed some balling on the way down, but that was probably from the conditions, not the spikes. So I agree with your review.

thunderhead, catsp
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thunderhead
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PostFri Mar 08, 2024 2:53 pm 
Any crampon will ball up snow. Expensive mountaineering ones have antiballing plates specifically for this, which sometimes work. Micros... i wack mine with a treking pole or try to grind if off with a sliding step. Ive used both the cheap amazon micros and the kathoolas. Both seemed to grip very well... always holding on ice and firm snow, very rarely slipping in steep slushier stuff. But I trail jog in mine and the cheap amazons just are not up to that kind of force... ive broken 3-4 before giving up on them. The proper kathoolas have not broken on me yet. They are 3x as much to purchase but last me much longer than 3x as long. With less jogging you can probably get the amazon cheapies to live longer though.

dave allyn
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zimmertr
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zimmertr
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PostFri Mar 08, 2024 11:20 pm 
My new Kahtoolas I bought last year ripped on their second use yesterday.

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Eric Hansen
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PostSat Mar 09, 2024 6:40 pm 
TJ, see these Microspike repair/hack ideas. Website is New Hampshire (White Mts.) centric but a lot of good content. https://sectionhiker.com/how-to-repair-kahtoola-microspikes-and-hillsound-trail-crampons/

Off trail rambler

zimmertr
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catsp
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catsp
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PostSun Mar 17, 2024 3:04 pm 
neek wrote:
Finally made it up this "Mailbox Peak", and lo and behold, the loot was still there. Now the kid has no more excuses for not joining me.
zimmertr wrote:
My new Kahtoolas I bought last year ripped on their second use yesterday.
Oh, that's totally my bad. When neek said "the kid" would have no more excuses, obviously I assumed he was talking about you TJZ, and assumed the cheap set would be available for your use. Sorry. Anyways, like I said, I've had decent luck using zip ties.
thunderhead wrote:
But I trail jog in mine and the cheap amazons just are not up to that kind of force....
I agree that for trail running I would use the Kahtoolas. Durability aside, I think having something that isn't as bulky and less toothy would be less likely to result in a trip.

zimmertr
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catsp
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catsp
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PostSun Mar 17, 2024 5:26 pm 
So as a follow up, here are a couple more cheap spikes. The ones that happen to be orange are the type I think are relatively good. (You might find them in orange, red, blue or black.) Biggest difference is the silicone body just seems to be better (thicker and more durable, etc.). The easiest way to spot the difference is the better cheap ones have "crampons" written on them. Though some of the other cheap spikes with a thinner body can be ok, I just don't think they are generally as good. The ones that don't say "crampons" are oftentimes sized smaller, so you need to size up. For example, while the "crampon" ones are L, the black ones are XL, but they actually fit about the same. (The boots are size 10 1/2 xtra manly.) This set of black ones don't seem too terrible compared to the set I originally linked to above (which were terrible). Even so, while ordinarily I would send them back, I'm going to be keeping these. But that's only because they have a ridiculous 32 spikes each. Pointless overkill at best, and possibly even out-rightly worse because of the excessive spikes, but I'm a sucker for testing out bleeding edge hi-tech gear. Got the orange ones for $11.50 ($22.99, but there's a 50% off coupon on the page, still there as of posting). The black ones were $11.49.

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