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77868Re: FR - Kahtoola MICROspikes - Andrea Murland

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  • K S
    Feb 9 10:16 PM
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      Great review!

      I have no edits for you. Upload your report when you have a minute and don't forgot to delete your test file.

      Happy Winter!


      "Making the world a better place is not only your responsibility, it is your joy, it is your blessing, it is your gift, it's your opportunity to make your life mean something, so take it." ~ Derrick N. Ashong

      On Monday, February 3, 2014 9:55 PM, Andrea Murland <amurland@...> wrote:
      Hi Kara,

      Here's my FR for the MICROspikes.  Love using them!  Thanks for the edits in advance.


      HTML:  http://tinyurl.com/ocsorxp


      Kahtoola MICROspikes
      Field Report – February 4, 2014
      Field Conditions:
      I have used the Kahtoola MICROspikes on four trail runs and three day hiking trips, as well as carried them on another day hike.  The conditions on the runs ranged from compact snow on trails and road to quite loose snow, with temperatures from -10 C to 5 C (14 F to 41 F).  On the hikes, conditions went from see-through ice to loose snow on steep, grassy slopes, and temperatures were between -18 C and about 8 C (0 to 46 F).  Both the runs and hikes were for distances between 3 and 10 km (1.9 and 6.2 mi).
      After my quick walk while writing my Initial Report, the next thing I used them for was a hiking/geocaching trip off-trail in a hilly area near home.  The snow cover wasn’t deep, maybe 5 cm (2 in), and I wasn’t on any kind of packed trail, so I started off with the MICROspikes loose in my daypack.  After slip-sliding my way up one hillside (it was hillier than I expected), I decided to try the spikes for the way down.  I wasn’t sure how they’d do on the mixed terrain, but they were great!  They bit into the partially-frozen dirt and slippery grass and made it possible to stay upright.  It was above freezing that day, and I noticed as I kept hiking that I was having some snow ball up under my feet, which felt very strange and also caused me to slip a bit.  Kicking nearby stumps every time I walked past, or kicking my feet together, was enough to clear the snow from the bottom for a few more steps.  I eventually found myself in rockier terrain, and found that stepping on a snow-covered rock was rather unpleasant in the MICROspikes, as they would make a scratchy metal-on-rock sound and also slide on the rock.  Although I removed the spikes for the rocky part of the hike, when I later found myself on a logging road that was sheer ice, I was sure glad to have them in my pack.  The MICROspikes make a satisfying crunching sound as they dig into ice, and I never felt even the slightest slip in my step.  I was able to walk with a normal stride.
      With confidence after that hike, I took them out on a trail run on our creekside trail.  I was expecting the trail to be hard packed, but to my surprise it was actually quite loose snow.  The MICROspikes didn’t impede me in any way on that run, and probably helped my traction on the steeper hills.  Although I usually avoid running on roads, especially in the winter when they can be slippery, I decided to venture onto the slippery compact snow for the way home on my next run.  I wanted to see if the spikes would change my gait and how they would bite in.  My gait was way more natural than it would usually be on that kind of surface, as I didn’t have to adjust to prevent myself from slipping.  The spikes dig in fully on compact snow, and it felt like running normally.  I haven’t tripped over the spikes yet either!  I have noticed that if I step on a section of snow that’s very thin, so that I’m basically stepping straight on the pavement, that it feels like I’m teetering on a bunch of little points (which I am, of course).  I definitely think pavement is to be avoided in the spikes, but I haven’t felt them slip on the pavement or anything.
      My other hikes and runs were on packed trails, and confirmed my other observations – that the MICROspikes give great traction and allow me to walk or run with a normal gait.
      As far as putting them on, I have developed a technique where I prop one foot over the other knee, balancing on one leg, and then stretch them front-to-back.  It’s not very graceful, but it works.  I usually have to adjust them slightly once they’re on to get them centered, as it seems that I never get the “FRONT” text quite at the front on the first try, and I want the spikes to be centered under my foot.  So far I have only attempted to put them on with thin gloves or bare hands.  Getting them off is an easy pull of the tab at the heel. 
      I have carried the spikes loose in my daypack, but I worry about scraping up all my other gear in the pack.  I have taken to clipping a strap on my pack through the elastic harness and letting them dangle.  They jingle slightly there, but I haven’t gotten them caught on anything yet.
      The MICROspikes look as good as new, with no rust or other wear on the spikes visible.
      I am enjoying navigating winter with the MICROspikes on my feet.  I have greater confidence to run and walk in packed or icy terrain, or even in loose snow with slippery surfaces underneath.  I’ve learned to avoid pavement, and in rocky terrain it’s best to avoid the rocks.  They are easy to get on and off, and are standing up to use well.
      Thanks to Kahtoola and BackpackGearTest.org for the chance to test the MICROspikes! Check back in approximately 2 months (April 2014) for my Long Term Report to see how the rest of the winter has gone.

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