Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Ice Trekker Crampons

I don't often need to use crampons but someone mentioned on Outdoors Magic that they'd seen Chinese made copies of the Kahtoola Micro Spikes and wondered if they were any good. I noticed that in addition to the microspike copies they also had ones where the spikes were part of a bigger plate almost like normal crampons rather than smaller sets of spikes joined by chain. The seller had a variety of sets listed at different prices, some listed at $19 and some at £19 so I thought I'd take a chance on a pair. I opted for the slightly heavier ones with the integral spikes and used the Buy it Now option to get a pair listed at $19, with shipping the total cost was just under £22.

Although the seller had only a feedback score of about 75 I recieved an e-mail with a tracking number within 24 hours of purchase although I didn't manage to use it as they were shipped Chinapost rather than Hong Kong Post which I've used before. They were ordered on the 31st December and arrived on the 14th January but I had to wait until Saturday to pick them up at the post office as I was working when the postman called.

They look fine to be honest, the chains are stainless steel but thinner and a different type of chain from the Kahtoolas, the spikes/plates are steel and the rubber part is silicone rubber judging by the amount of stretch and slightly tacky feel. The forefoot plate is articulated and I had them fitted to a wide range of boot/shoes, everything from a pair of size 9 Berghaus Kibo boots to a pair of Karrimor Pro Run trainers and fitting wasn't a problem.

Unfortunately by the time they arrived the snow had gone so I couldn't really try them out, I did try them on an old fence post that was pretty wet and slippery and they worked just fine.

They came with a pair of velcro straps which can be fitted to the silicone rubber rand to help pull them up on smaller shoe sizes but I found I didn't need to use them, the straps however were ideal as ski straps and are now doing the job of keeping my skis together. They came in a small stuff sack and the weight is as advertised which is always a bonus.

At £22 they certainly seem worth it given the amount of use I'm likely to make of them, I noticed that they're all now listed at £19 Buy It Now which makes them closer to the cost of the Kahtoola Microspikes


  1. Good work on finding those. I've just got a pair of the Kahtoolas and I have to say the concept works a treat. Can't fault them and great weight too.

  2. They look strikingly similar to these which i found recently, I thought these looked even better than the Kahtoolas with those larger articulated spikes. You got a great deal by the looks of things.

  3. Marcus, yes the concept is a good one, they can't replace full crampons but they're better in that you might take them in marginal conditions where you simply wouldn't take full crampons.

    Stuart, great link there, mine look almost identical even the velcro straps are the same and the plain links are welded as mentioned on the Hillsound website.

  4. Look good to me. I am sure there is snow high up. In fact the SAIS web sites show lots in the Cairngorms. I am sure you can get a chance to use them in snow before the winter ends. Good find and good price.

  5. Unfortunately, you have just reviewed a copy product from China. Please visit for the original design. In the US market, Ice Trekker Crampons manufactured by Jianfeng Junketing are removed from the market due to patent infringement. Further, this imitation of Hillsound Trail Crampon has critical flaw and I must worn all users to be extra careful when using them in the field. Ice Trekker Crampons should never be used for footwear under 41 sizes to avoid potential danger from using them.

  6. Yeah I found out about Hillsound after purchasing due to a discussion on the Outdoors Magic forum. It seems that Hillsound didn't have a UK distributer at the time as apart from one person nobody had heard of them or recognised the ones on ebay as a copy.

    Fortunately I take a size 43/44 as does my mate (who also bought a pair) and thus far they've worked well.

    Regarding the 'critical flaw' would you care to be more specific so that those using them can check it out before it causes a problem.

    I assume there are UK stockist for Hillsound, if you send me a list I can publish it so that anyone reading this can buy the genuine article.

    In any case thanks for the information.

  7. Hi Mac, it took us a long time to prevent the Chinese company from copying our Trail Crampons. We have managed to put an export embargo of their imitation to all non-Chinese markets. Based on our lab testing, the Chinese copy version used poor grade stainless chain prone to faster breakage. Hillsound Trail Crampon comes in 4 different sizes to fit various footwear shapes whereas the copy version had one-size-fits-all lacking the importance of fit, and safety in the outdoors.

    I am doing my best to find a UK distributor and will be setting up a booth at the next Winter OR show in SLC, Utah in January 2011 to attract international buyers. I will get back to your blog once I have UK sellers of our Crampons. Cheers!

  8. Hi Josua, thanks for the update. It appears however that things have moved on since Kris commented in April (see above)

    It appears that there's another competitor with a very similar looking product, this one in the UK.