FR Yaktrax Pro Jerry Adams
- YAKTRAX PRO
TEST SERIES BY JERRY ADAMS
April 01, 2009
NAME: Jerry Adams
LOCATION: Portland Oregon
HEIGHT: 6' 1" (1.85 m)
WEIGHT: 190 lb (86.20 kg)
Backpacking Background: I started hiking about 45 years ago. My first backpack was 40 years ago. I currently try to do one backpack trip of 1 to 5 nights every month (which can be tricky in the winter). Mostly I stay around Mount Hood, Columbia Gorge, Mount Adams, Goat Rocks, and the Olympic Peninsula. In recent years I have shifted to lightweight - my pack weight without food and water is about 15 lb (7 kg). I make a lot of my own gear - silnylon tarp-tent, bivy, synthetic bag, simple bag style pack. My sleeping pad is a Therm-a-Rest air mattress.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: <<HYPERLINK GOES HERE - "http://www.yaktrax.com">>
MSRP: 29.95 US$
Measured Weight: 7 oz (200 g) (pair of size L for U.S. size 11.5 to 13.5 shoes)
The Yaktrax are traction aids which attach to the bottom of shoes or boots. They are designed to improve traction on ice and hard packed snow. A Velcro strap goes over the top of the boot to keep the Yaktrax on:
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 1">>
The Yaktrax are made out of rubber. There are bands that cross the bottom of the boot at three places - front, middle, and rear. Around the bands are 1.4 mm (1/16 inch) steel wire coils that provides traction. This is patented. All of the rubber is one molded piece.
The Yaktrax are stretched to attach to the boot. The stretch of the rubber around the perimeter of the boot keeps the Yaktrax on the boot. A strap over the top of the boot provides additional support to keep the Yaktrax attached.
Yaktrax Walker are the same as Yaktrax Pro, except they have no strap over the top. The cost $10 less. They weigh a little less.
The Yaktrax are sold, folded up, in a box. Here, I've removed them and placed them next to the box:
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The Yaktrax appear to be well made. The rubber material is thick and appears to be tough,. Testing will reveal just how tough. The straps consist of webbing with Velcro sewed to it, and a metal D ring sewn into one end, all the sewing looks well done.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
The package says "not for indoor use". I think this is good advice because they could be slippery on some hard surfaces and they could damage some surfaces like wood.
There are no instructions for installing, but there are several pictures of the Yaktrax attached to boots so it's straightforward to figure out.
On the webpage it says how to attach the strap. The straps are attached on the outside edge of the Yaktrax, which is the only difference between left and right.
TRYING IT OUT
Attaching them to the boot, was a little tricky. I think if I had done this, wearing the boot, it would have been easier.
I wore the Yaktrax on a short walk - 1/2 mile (0.8 km) of pavement and 1 mile (1.6 km) of dirt/mud fairly steep at places.
They felt a little uncomfortable on pavement. The Yaktrax are not designed for pavement, but sometimes a hike will include pavement and icy/snowy places. There is much less contact with the pavement so it would be possible to slip. The contact with the pavement is towards the middle of the boot so it feels sort of tippy. There were small spots on the bottoms of my foot where the force was concentrated, it feels sort of like your stepping on a couple sticks. I suspect I would get blisters at some point. If I had a long distance on pavement or similar hard surface I would probably remove them.
They felt very good on the dirt/mud. I couldn't hardly tell the Yaktrax were there at all. The Yaktrax prevented almost all slipping. Without Yaktrax I would have been slipping all over. I saw tracks where previous people had slipped. The Yaktrax are advertised for ice/snow, but I think they are also good on slippery mud.
So far so good. I am impressed with the performance on the short walk I have done. I am looking forward to more testing.
<a name="FRPT">FIELD REPORT</a>
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
1.5 miles (2.4 km) of pavement, dirt, and mud, steep at places in Portland. This was just a test run. Good test on slippery mud.
9 miles (15 km) on Eagle Creek in the Columbia Gorge. This is about the best (slipperiest) place I can think of to test the Yaktrax. There was ice, packed snow, dirt, rock, and pavement. 28 to 35 F (-2 to 2 C).
12 miles (20 km) on the boardwalks near Ozette in the Olympic Peninsula In Northwest Washington. These are very slippery, especially when icy, which they were. 30 to 40 F (-1 to 4 C).
4.5 miles (7 km) around Portland in 1 inch of snow. Good test to see if snow balls up under the Yaktrax. 32 F (0 C).
5.5 miles (9 km) near Lolo Pass on Mount Hood in Oregon. 0 to 2 feet of snow. My feet sunk into the snow about 6 inches (15 cm) at places. Good test to see if the Yaktrax come off in deep snow. 30 to 45 F (-1 to 7 C).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
On ice and snow the Yaktrax worked great. I tried the Yaktrax on the two most treacherous places I could think of: 9 miles (15 km) along Eagle Creek in the Columbia gorge, and on 6 miles (10 km) of icy boardwalks on the beach of the Olympic Peninsula. I tried walking without the Yaktrax and it was very difficult. With Yaktrax it was walking like normal.
The Yaktrax also work good on slippery mud. I tried a section of trail in the Portland Oregon where other people had slipped all over but with the Yaktrax there was no problem.
The Yaktrax are designed with rubber bands with steel wire coils around them. The steel of the coils bites into hard icy surfaces. The entire rubber bands with coils provide traction on soft snowy or muddy surfaces. Very clever design. Patented.
The rubber of the Yaktrax stretches around the outside of the boots, keeping the Yaktrax attached. Additionally, a strap over the top of the toe of the boot provides additional support. Once, the Yaktrax slipped off my toe and the strap kept it in place. A less expensive version of Yaktrax omits the strap. If all I wanted to do was walk on icy sidewalks, the strap would be unnecessary.
There is a technique to using the Yaktrax. When placing the foot down or picking it up, force must be applied to the entire bottom of the boot to maximize traction. Also, sideways force must be avoided, especially when placing the foot, or picking up the foot. A couple times the band slipped off when I didn't do this - minor problem, I just readjusted it. After a while I got the hang of it and they stopped slipping off.
The Yatrax weigh 7 ounces (200 g). Theoretically, this much weight carried on my back would be minor, but this much weight carried on my feet would be tiring after a while. I seemed a bit more tired after my trips, but without the Yaktrax, I probably wouldn't have even attempted the slipperiest trips. Slippery surfaces require walking slowly and carefully, but with the Yaktrax I can walk almost normally. The point is, if it's slippery enough, the weight of the Yaktrax is worth it.
One problem, is that wilderness trails are sometimes a mixture of different surfaces - icy, soft snow, muddy, dirt, paved, and boulders. The Yaktrax work great (much better than without Yaktrax) on icy, soft snow, and muddy surfaces. With Yaktrax works as good as without on dirt surfaces. The Yaktrax don't work as good as without on hard surfaces. Sometimes the Yaktrax will be slippery because there is much less contact with the surface. Other times they will just feel top-heavy. I would take them off if I had a long distance to go. The Yaktrax are poor on boulders. It is better to have a rubber sole to provide traction on the small area of contact. Also, there can be a sharp concentration of force on one part of the foot which is uncomfortable. Sometimes a coil caught on an edge of the boulder which caused me to trip a little. I would take the Yaktrax off if there was very much bouldering to do.
A minor problem is, occasionally, a leaf or stick got caught up in the coils so I had to step on the offending object with my other foot to get it off. If I had a large distance on dirt with little branches and things, I might remove the Yaktrax.
The Yaktrax are a bit difficult to put on. I found that it worked if I put the Yaktrax around the toe, pressed them into the ground, and then pulled the Yaktrax around my heel:
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 1">>
The Yaktrax work great at preventing slipping on ice/snow and also on slippery muddy trails. They can make an otherwise impassable trail fairly easy. They would also be good around the city when there's freezing rain.
There is a technique to walking with Yaktrax - place boot flat on ground and avoid sideways force.
On trails with a mixture of icy places and hard surfaces or boulders to step on, the Yaktrax don't work as good. I would consider taking the Yaktrax off on the difficult sections.
The Yaktrax are a little difficult to get on.
7 ounces (200 g) on the back is hardly noticeable but on the feet it's a bit tiring, so I would only use them if needed.
Thanks to Yaktrax and Backpackgeartest.org for letting me test these.
I have already tested everything I had planned, but I may get another opportunity to use them for the Long Term Report which will come in two months.
This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Hi Jerry, just a couple of edits/comments for you to look at. BTW, no need to post the entire report here, just the pertinant section (FR in this case) Also, you forgot to provide a link to the test folder version.
First edit or comment: Is there a way to add the date at the beginning of each section. I am aware that at the top the present BGT report writer does not but I was under the impression dates could be added at the beginning of each section.
--- In email@example.com, jerry adams <jerryaadams@...> wrote:
> INITIAL REPORT
edit: like add the date here even if you have to add it on the same line.
> <a name="FRPT">FIELD REPORT</a>
edit: and here, again on the same line if it only works that way.
> 4.5 miles (7 km) around Portland in 1 inch of snow.
Edit: add the (3 cm) conversion for 1 inch.
I tried a section of trail in the Portland Oregon where other people had slipped all over but with the Yaktrax there was no problem.
comment: I might say, I had no problem. sounds better (to me anyways) and is more direct.
> One problem, is that wilderness trails are sometimes a mixture of different surfaces - icy, soft snow, muddy, dirt, paved, and boulders.
comment: I have not seen any paved sections on wilderness trails. Not saying you didnt as there could be. But I would say: One problem is that wilderness trails are sometimes a mixture of different surfaces - icy, soft snow, muddy, dirt and boulders as well as paved areas at the trail head.
Freebie: the comma after problem should go...
That's all I see. Fix to your satisfaction, upload and remember to delete the test folder copy.