Gear Review – Traction Aids: Yaktrax, Due North, Kahtoola

Gear Review – Traction Aids: Yaktrax, Due North, Kahtoola


Hi, this is Greg Witt. Winter is a great
time to be outdoors hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, but one untimely slip on contact
of snow and ice to bring a lot of fun to a quick end. The best way to keep a sure
footing on a slippery winter terrain is to use a Footwear traction device also
known as the traction aid this piece of outdoor gear allows you to walk and run
with sure-footed confidence on snow and ice but before I show you the best options out there you may be asking what makes
me qualified to review and make recommendations on this type of year.
Well, I’m a professional hiking and trekking guide in the Swiss Alps. I’m a
power user by hike and run over 200 miles on compact the snow and I see it every
year. Each winter I climb about a hundred thousand vertical feet on trails wearing
the devices I’m about to show you that’s the equivalent of climbing Everest ten
times. I use all of these devices and I wouldn’t take to the trail without a
pair. They all fit snugly, they’re easy to put on easy to take off, and they provide
great traction on contact on snow and ice. So listen up and pass us along. Now
the first product and the most widely known brand in the market is yaktrax.
It’s a spikeless device and it attaches easily to any shoe or boot. Once on this
grid of Steel coils wrapped around a rubber framework grabs the ice and does
a great job of keeping you and your feet firmly planted on the ground. The yaktrax
comes in two versions- the Walker with a retail price of about $20 and the
pro with a retail price of about $30. Notice the heavier grid work and the top
strap with a Velcro closure on the pro model. Now I have on occasion had my shoe slip through the grid work on the Walker model, especially when actively hiking up
a steep hill. That’s never happened with the pro model but for most users on an
everyday basis, even if you’re just shoving a walkway or going out and
going to mailboxes in icy conditions, the Walker model is a great choice.
The next brand you’ll want to check out in a stew North. Now this product
features an arrangement of tungsten carbide spikes to give the heel and the
toe a lot of security. These are particularly effective on solid ice and
the spikes are durable and replaceable. You’re like to receive extra spikes in
the package but I’ve never had the pop on out due north also has two
models that you should consider. The everyday and the all-purpose. The great
advantage of the every day is that lightweight, it’s flat when it’s smooth
it’s off the shoe so you can pack it and store it in your purse or pocket or
briefcase and they’re very popular with runners. And the retail price on the
everyday is $20 and on the on the all on the on the all-purpose model the retail
price is about 25. It’s a great value. The all-purpose has a toe cover and it
has a wider thicker heel strap for increased stability and durability and
again a great great value. You’ll anything enjoy both of those
particularly on ice. Now, the final product I want to show you is the
Kahtoola microspikes. This is the most aggressive and durable traction device
on the market and I’ve used it and it’s also the most expensive of all of these
that I’m showing you. This retails for about $60 but it provides superb
traction on ice, packed snow, and wet blocks. Now the technology is a cluster of
three-eighths inch thick stainless steel spikes held onto your shoe or boot by an
elastomer harness, which is flexible down to minus 76 degrees Fahrenheit. Now that
may be overkill for occasional recreational users, but for active
athletic power users these are hard to beat. In fact, these are even becoming
popular with Mountaineers as a lightweight flexible crampon which
can be used for a glacier travel and on occasional patches of snow or ice but you don’t want the straps and the buckles and the extra
weight involved with a crampon. So here you have three great options the Yaktrax
Due North and the Kahtoola. And each one has specific benefits and advantages,
depending on the type of use that you expect to give it.
So don’t let winter slow you down, get a grip.
Put these traps and devices and these aids to use and you’ll be out there
enjoying the outdoors and sure-footed safety. This is Gregg Witt with Alpenwild, see you on the trail.

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  1. Hi…from the Wisconsin Northwoods. Good video, good tips, well done. Just a few comments…Yaktrax are ok but wear out way to prematurely..both styles. We get max of about 3 months on icy roads. Way to expensive for only a few months use. The other spike style is better but tends to want to come off. I'v had to use zip ties to help hold em on, but have had em for years with no sign of wear! Have no experience with the Katula. Guess we'll have to wait for ice to melt .

  2. Good observation. My Yaktrax use is almost entirely on compacted snow trails, so they last longer than if I were walking on icy Wisconsin roads. I've never had a DueNorth come off, but maybe it's just a matter of fit. Thanks. Be safe

  3. Thanks Gary. We just received a nice blanket of snow on our mountain trails last week–so I'm wearing my Kahtoolas every day now. There are some new products on the market which I'll study out next month at the Outdoor Retailer show, then post an updated video. Have a great winter season. –Greg

  4. Thank you Greg! I'm editor of the X-Treme X-Training BLOG and just reviewed the Kahtoola MICROspikes. I looked at YakTrax but decided to go with the Kahtoolas whose sizing accommodates smaller feet. Good point about the elastomer staying flexible down to -76 degrees! I guess you've done the Eiger(Nordwand).

  5. Great review thank you. Nice to have an experienced ice walker discuss these different styles. Will probably go with the Yak Trax just starting out winter hiking. Cheers!

  6. Happy to have come across your review and feel confident as the review is coming from an experienced person. Thank you. 🙂

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