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STABILicers - Traction Devices - Hollis Easter

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  • Hollis
    O friends, Please find enclosed my OR for the STABILicers traction devices. Ooh! Ooh! Can I have a brownie point? Ahem. Sorry about that. HTML s at
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 6 10:48 PM
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      O friends,

      Please find enclosed my OR for the STABILicers traction devices. Ooh!
      Ooh! Can I have a brownie point?

      Ahem. Sorry about that. HTML's at
      or http://tinyurl.com/5pw7n7 .


      STABILicers â€" Traction Devices
      Owner Review by Hollis Easter
      6 November 2008

      STABILicers are versatile traction devices that strap easily onto my
      Quick navigation links:

      * Reviewer Information
      * Product Information
      * Field Information
      * Comments
      * Summary

      Side view of STABILicers
      Reviewer Information:
      The author
      The author

      Name: Hollis Easter
      Age: 27
      Gender: Male
      Height: 6'0" (1.8 m)
      Weight: 205 lb (93 kg)
      Shoe size: 13 US
      Email address: backpackgeartest[a@t)holliseaster(dah.t]com
      City, State, Country: Potsdam, New York, USA
      Backpacking Background: I started hiking as a child in the Adirondack
      Mountains of New York. As a teenager, I hiked my way to an Eagle Scout
      award. I love winter climbing, and long days through rough terrain
      abound. The peaks have become my year-round friends.

      I am a midweight backpacker: I don't carry unnecessary gear, but
      neither do I cut the edges from my maps. I hike in all seasons, at
      altitudes from sea level to 5,300 ft (1,600 m), and in temperatures
      from -30 F (-34 C) to 100 F (38 C).
      Product Information:
      Top and bottom of STABILicers
      Top and bottom of STABILicers

      Manufacturer: 32north, Inc.
      Year of manufacture: 2007
      URL: www.32north.com
      Size: XL (fits 12.5â€"14 US)
      Listed weight: none
      Measured weight (pair, size XL): 28.5 oz (808 g)
      MSRP: $49.95 US

      Product features (from manufacturer's website):

      * Custom designed self-cleaning chevron tread throws off snow,
      preventing build-up
      * Durable sole with cleats contacts walking surface simultaneously
      to maximize traction over the widest range of outdoor winter conditions
      * Perimeter cleat placement maximizes traction and stability
      through [my] natural stride
      * Replaceable case-hardened cleats, custom-designed to grip ice,
      rock, snow, etc.
      * Attach easily with Velcro fasteners
      * Flexible sole provides comfort and traction
      * 34 cleats bite into ice and snow
      * Straps fit snugly with easy on/off design
      * More comfortable than creepers or crampons
      * Can be worn with virtually any shoes, boots, or athletic shoes,
      but not with high heels
      * Replacement cleats are available in bags of 50, but only a few
      will need replacement at a time, which saves money

      STABILicers on my hiking boots
      STABILicers on my hiking boots

      STABILicers are traction devices that strap onto the bottom of my
      footgear. At their heart, they comprise a heavily-lugged sole fitted
      with replaceable steel cleats. When I bought my STABILicers, they
      advertised a Vibram sole; the current listing does not mention the
      Vibram name.

      The sole is a two-layer affair: an outsole of hard black rubber with
      thick lugs in the center and raised mounting points for the steel
      cleats around the periphery. The cleats protrude farther than the
      lugged sole, so that they are the only contact point when I stand on a
      hard surface like ice. When I'm standing on snow or ground, the cleats
      engage but I sink in far enough to also use the lugs for traction.

      The second layer of the sole, stitched to the first, provides the
      interface between my boot and the STABILicers. The topsole is a
      heavily-textured sticky rubber that's grooved in a diamond pattern. It
      provides a non-skid surface for my boot's sole to rest upon.

      The STABILicers strap onto my footgear using two groups of webbing
      straps: a toe strap section at the front, and a heel strap section at
      the back. All of the straps secure with Velcro hook-and-loop
      fasteners. The front strap features a strap that runs between anchors
      near the ball of my foot and near my little toe; it runs through a
      loop in another strap that runs to the front of the STABILicers. These
      straps keep my foot from sliding forward or sideways off the
      STABILicer platform.

      The back of my foot gets anchored by a pair of straps that attach to
      the STABILicers near the front of my ankle. The straps cross behind my
      ankle and are stitched together at that point. From there, they
      continue around my ankle and are tensioned with Velcro that runs
      across the front of my ankle. The system works well to keep my heels
      from slipping backward or sideways off the STABILicers.

      I don't always tighten the STABILicers using the method 32north
      advises: they recommend adjusting the heel straps first, positioning
      the heel at the back of the platform, and then tightening the toe
      straps. I always mean to do it this way, but I sometimes do it
      backwards. This hasn't posed any problems.
      Field information:

      Hiking locations used: I carry the STABILicers whenever I hike in
      winter or the shoulder seasons. I have used them on many trips; a
      representative sample includes Big Slide Mountain, St. Regis Mountain,
      the Red Sandstone Trail, Allen's Falls, and Lyon Mountain, all in the
      Adirondack Mountain region of New York state. Some of the terrain was
      flat; some of it very steep. I've used the STABILicers on snow, mud,
      running water, ice, and various combinations of the above.

      Non-hiking locations used: I wear STABILicers when my driveway ices up
      in the winter; they allow me to move easily across the surface to chop
      out the ice and disperse icemelter.
      Top view of STABILicers
      Top view of STABILicers

      I've used other brands of traction devices before, ranging from full
      crampons to simple rubber-and-metal contraptions that stretched into
      place. In terms of traction on ice and snow, the STABILicers occupy
      the middle ground: much more grip than the simpler products, somewhat
      less than full crampons. However, I can put the STABILicers on my
      boots much more easily than I can put on crampons or the other
      devices. I just rest my boot on the Vibram sole, tighten the back
      straps, tighten the front strap, and I'm good. Velcro makes them easy
      to adjust, and the initial setting is quick. Since the Velcro isn't
      under tension (unlike the rubber-and-metal products), the STABILicers
      have never gone flying off my feet while I was trying to put them on.

      It's easy to get a good fit with the STABILicers. I sometimes
      overtightened them at first, to the point where my feet began feeling
      cold after a full day's climbing. It works just as well to leave them
      slightly looser; my feet stay warm and I haven't noticed any lack of

      STABILicers are much lighter than my full crampons, and they do away
      with the risk of slashing open my shell pants and calves with the
      front points of crampons. Crampons do provide better grip on steep ice
      and hard-packed snow, so I still carry them when I expect those
      Cleats and lugged sole give good traction
      Cleats and lugged sole give good traction

      Another pleasing difference concerns snow balling up underfoot. The
      STABILicers don't include any sort of anti-Bott device to prevent snow
      buildup, but they don't need one. 32north claims that the sole is
      self-cleaning, and I have to agree.

      STABILicers excel in the wet, late-season snow that lasts for months
      in northern New York. That snow is often patchy, but where it exists,
      it's slippery, alternately crusty and soft, and a real pain to deal
      with. STABILicers eat it right up. I feel very sure-footed when I'm
      walking with the STABILicers on.

      I found the STABILicers invaluable on my recent climb of Lyon
      Mountain, a 3,820 ft (1,165) peak that stands in isolation on the
      northeastern side of New York's Adirondack Park. The STABILicers were
      literally a lifesaver on that trip. Much of the trail involved
      scrambling over precipitous terrain that might have been easy in dry
      conditions, but the combination of ice, swiftly-running water, mud,
      and moss made it very treacherous footing. A fall would have been
      extremely bad news.

      There wasn't enough ice for crampons, and boots didn't give enough
      traction. STABILicers fit the bill perfectly: the steel cleats around
      the edges gave traction on the ice, snow, and moss-covered rocks,
      while the Vibram center allowed me to stand comfortably on smaller
      rocks without skating around. It was still a very difficult ascent and
      descent, but the STABILicers made it possible to do it without falling.

      After the hike, it seemed like every stitch of my clothing was
      saturated with mud. The STABILicers were no exception, with mud
      crusted thickly in the straps and cleats. This was the first time I'd
      gotten the STABILicers really dirty, and it was a joy to discover how
      easily they cleaned up. I held them under cool running water while I
      scrubbed gently with an old toothbrush, and the mud came right off. It
      took less than five minutes to clean the pair.

      The STABILicers come along every time there's a chance of snow or ice.
      When I'm not wearing them, I put them together, cleats in, and strap
      them together with the Velcro straps. I then clip them to the side of
      my pack with its compression straps. Simple, easy, and very fast. I
      can have them on my feet in only a minute or two, which makes me more
      likely to wear them when I need them.

      I am extremely satisfied with the STABILicers, and will instantly
      replace them should they ever break.

      Likes: Dislikes:

      * Provide excellent traction in varied conditions
      * Fit comfortably
      * Work with a variety of footgear
      * Cleats can be replaced
      * Very quick to put on
      * Lighter than crampons

      * None
    • Jamie D.
      PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT! Thanks for your Owner s Review. It has been added to the Owner Review Queue and will be picked up by an
      Message 2 of 3 , Nov 7 8:39 PM
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        Thanks for your Owner's Review. It has been added to the Owner
        Review Queue and will be picked up by an Edit Moderator soon. If you
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      • Kathleen Waters
        Hollis, You know the drill here, so after you ve made the one tiny edit I was able to find (and I looked real hard!), go ahead and upload your report to the
        Message 3 of 3 , Nov 18 3:21 PM
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          You know the drill here, so after you've made the one tiny edit I was
          able to find (and I looked real hard!), go ahead and upload your report
          to the proper folder at: http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/Snow%
          20Gear/Traction%20Aids/32North%20STABLicers/ or
          http://tinyurl.com/68kn7b . Make sure you chose "Owner Review".

          I really enjoyed reading your OR and liked your HTML and pictures.

          OR EDITOR
          I sometimes
          overtightened them at first, to the point where my feet began feeling
          cold after a full day's climbing.
          EDIT: Correct is "over tightened" - two words.

          --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, "Hollis" <easter@...> wrote:
          > O friends,
          > Please find enclosed my OR for the STABILicers traction devices. Ooh!
          > Ooh! Can I have a brownie point?
          > Ahem. Sorry about that. HTML's at
          > http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/OWNER%20REVIEWS/OR%20-%
          > or http://tinyurl.com/5pw7n7 .
          > Thanks!
          > Hollis
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