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79991OWNER REVIEW - Kahtoola MICROspikes

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  • Mark Thompson
    Feb 2 1:52 PM
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      OWNER REVIEW - Kahtoola's MICROspikes
      BY Mark Thompson
      January 20, 2011
      NAME: Mark Thompson
      EMAIL: markthompson 242 at gmail dot com
      AGE: 46
      LOCATION: Castle Rock, CO
      GENDER: M
      HEIGHT: 6' 0" (1.80 m)
      WEIGHT: 190 lb (86.20 kg)
      Outdoor adventures started for me at a very early age, undoubtedly the result of
      adventurous parents.  Over the years, my passions have bounced from sport to
      sport, but being in the mountains has always made me feel at home, whether it's
      the Sierras, Rockies, Adirondacks or the Alps, I am always planning my next
      adventure.  After a 24 year separation, I am finally back home in the Rockies. 
      My near term goals include climbing the Colorado 14ers (8 down, 46 to go) and
      increasing my climbing skill level (presently comfortable to Class 3, but
      need/want to get to 5.0).
      Manufacturer: Kahtoola Inc
      Year of Manufacture: 2010
      Manufacturer's Website: <<HYPERLINK GOES HERE -
      MSRP: US$59.95
      Listed Weight: 14.4 oz (408 g)
      Measured Weight: 14.5 oz (411 g)
      Size: Large
      <<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 1"  IMAGE CAPTION = "Photo courtesy of
      Kahtoola Inc.">>
      Kahtoola Inc. designed their "MICROspikes" product to provide a quick and easy
      way to add traction improving spikes to shoes and boots.  The design looks like
      a combination of crampons and tire chains.  A polymer band serves as the
      attaching mechanism to footwear and, according to Kahtoola's web site,  is
      flexible to -76 deg F (-60 deg C).  A webb of stainless steel chain is attached
      to the polymer band at 8 points.  The stainless steel chain is fitted with 10
      stainless steel spikes (for size large) each being 3/8" (9.5 mm) long.

      I purchased the MICROspikes in Fall of 2010, to facilitate winter hiking in
      Colorado and with the expectation of improved traction.   I have used the
      MICROspikes on several day trips and have accumulated approximately 45 trail
      miles (72 km) on 7 - 10 trips in winter weather conditions on several different
      trails with varying terrain, including:
       - day hike on the Colorado Trail at Kenosha Pass
            - elevation: began and ended at approximately 10,000' (3,048 m)
            - max elevation: 10,000' (3,048 m)
            - distance: 10 miles (16.1 km)
            - elevation gain:  1,000' (305 m)
            - weather:  cloudy, cold and breezy
                - temperature: 28 deg F (-2 deg C)
                - winds: calm to 15 mph (24 km/h)
                - precipitation: started at zero, then increased to 1" (2.5 cm) per
            - trail conditions: 2 - 6 inches (10 - 15 cm) snow and snow pack - once
      the snow got above 10" (25 cm) deep, I removed the MICROspikes and donned the
       -  day hike in the foothills of Colorado's Front Range (Heil Valley Ranch):
            - elevation: began and ended at approximately 5,500' (1,676 m)
            - max elevation: 6,500' (1,981 m)
            - distance: 15 miles (24 km)
            - elevation gain:  2,000' (610 m)
            - weather:  sunny, cold and breezy
                - temperature: 34 deg F (1 deg C)
                - winds: calm to 18 mph (29 km/h)
                - precipitation: none
            - trail conditions: 2 - 6 inches (5 - 15 cm) snow and snow pack
      - day hike in Rocky Mountain National Park (Flattop Mountain):
            - elevation: began and ended at 9,465' (2,885 m)
            - max elevation: 12,000' (3,658 m)
            - distance: 6 miles (9.6 km)
            - elevation gain:  2,600' (792 m)
            - weather:  sunny turning cloudy with incoming storm front
                - temperature range: 22 to 34 deg F (-6 to 1 deg C)
                - winds: calm to 25 mph (40 km/h), above timberline - gusts to 35 mph
      (56 km/h)
                - precipitation: light snow
            - trail conditions:  1 - 2 feet (  ) of snow pack turning to soft deep
      snow below timberline, hard snow and patchy ice above timberline
      - day hike - Quandary Peak:
            - elevation: began and ended at 10,300' ( m)
            - max elevation: 14,265' (4,348 m)
            - distance: 5.6 miles (9.0 km)
            - elevation gain:  3,965' (1209 m)
            - weather:  started with significant cloud cover then opening up above
      12,000' (3,658 m)
                - temperature range: 14 to 34 deg F (-10 to 1 deg C)
                - winds: calm to 25 mph (40 km/h), above timberline - gusts to 35 mph
      (56 km/h)
                - precipitation: none
            - trail conditions:  1 - 2 feet (0.3 - 0.6 m) of snow pack turning to soft
      deep snow below timberline, hard snow and ice above timberline - I used the
      MICROspikes until the snow pack wasn't strong enough to support my weight, then
      removed the spikes and donned snowshoes
      The MICROspikes are especially well suited for those trail situations that fall
      between clear trails and the need for snowshoes.  I noticed a significant
      improvement in traction in shallow snow (2 - 10"/ 5 - 25 cm) and packed snow
      conditions.  Initially, the spikes worked very well on ice, but after 10 - 15
      miles (16 - 24 km), the spikes lost their sharp points and became less
      effective.  Even so, the spikes are much better on ice than boots alone.  Also,
      the manufacturer's web site claims improved traction in virtually all
      situations.  I found that the spikes are not well suited for traction on rock or
      wet rock surfaces.  While hiking in the Heil Valley Ranch, I found that the
      spikes actually decreased traction on rock and wet rock surfaces so I
      intentionally hiked the snow and avoided the rocks.  This experience was
      repeated on my hike on Flattop Mountain.
      Things I like:
          - The attaching mechanism is quick, easy and secure.
          - The polymer remains flexible even at 14 deg F (-10 deg C) - this was the
      coldest that I have experienced with the MICROspikes.
          - Significantly improves traction in shallow snow, snow pack and ice.
      Things I don't like (or things I feel need improvement):
          - The spikes are made from stainless steel which effectively prevents rust,
      but is much softer than ferrous metals or alloys and thus reduces durability and
      longevity.  Increasing the spike harness, either through improved materials or a
      hardening process would improve product value.
          - Price: the item is great and met my expectations, but the durability
      should be improved or the retail price significantly lowered.
          - Conditions for use is realistically limited to 2 - 10" (5 - 25 cm) snow
      and snow pack and would suggest that the manufacturer change their web site to
      accurately reflect the conditions that this product can be utilized.

      This OR is also available using this link:  http://tinyurl.com/microspikes

      Mark Thompson
      markthompson 242 at gmail dot com
      "Mark242" on cmc dot org
      "CDR242" on 14ers dot com
      "Horse" on bikejournal dot com
      This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
      Copyright 2011.  All rights reserved.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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