Yak Trax vs. Kahtoola Microspikes

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Home Forums Gear Forums Gear (General) Yak Trax vs. Kahtoola Microspikes

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    Darwin Roos


    Locale: Great Lakes Area

    For hiking/backpacking on snowy/icy trails, which do you think is best Yak Trax Pro's or Kahtoola Microspikes?

    [email protected]

    Brad Rogers
    BPL Member


    Locale: Southeast Tennessee

    I have no experience with the Yak Trax, but in researching the two a few years ago, it seems the Microspikes win hands down.

    Christopher Kayler


    Locale: Outside

    I've never used the Yak Trax, tho I have handled them in person. I do own the Microspikes. I think that, for situations that actually call for a light duty crampon, the microspikes will be the better of the two every time. The microspikes have 5/8'' actual steel spikes. The yaktrax will provide a bit of extra traction, but I personally view them as more of a "walking about downtown on slippery sidewalks" type of thing.

    Brett Peugh
    BPL Member


    Locale: Midwest

    Microspikes everyday and twice on Sunday

    Dondo .
    BPL Member


    Locale: Colorado Rockies

    Go with the Microspikes. Yak Trax(including the Pros)are too fragile for hiking. After breaking several pairs, I stopped using them.

    douglas girling
    BPL Member


    Locale: Adirondacks

    I second all the above – if you're headed out on trails Kahtoola is the only way to go. They are awesome (but a little heavy) I use them frequently for running on icy trails. This is my third season with them. Never failed, never fallen off

    Short walks on flat snow mobile or groomed trails, or going out to get the mail then Yak Trax are ok


    Sarah Kirkconnell
    BPL Member


    Locale: Homesteading On An Island In The PNW

    Microspikes. It is apples to oranges on comparing them to other pull on devices :-)

    Elena Lee
    BPL Member


    Locale: Pacific Northwest (USA)

    I don't have the Kathoolas but i have regular crampons and yak tracks. I've never used my crampons for any hiking situations, but I always put a pair of yaktracks in my pack if the trail is a potential for snow/ice, even in the summer.

    Yes they sometimes break, but it depends on how heavy you are and how you are using them. I'm a pretty light person and i've used them in multiple situations, including some rock, and they are holding up. Now i've also seen them fail on others. I've climbed Mt. Adams (12K) in WA using only yaktracks. I use them on snowy trails all the time.

    Whereas weight is your primary consideration and you are not planning on doing any crazy climbing, i do recommend yaktracks. they work just fine and are very lightweight.

    Darwin Roos


    Locale: Great Lakes Area

    Thank you all for the input. I appreciate it.


    Zack Karas
    BPL Member


    Locale: Lake Tahoe

    What about for running on snow packed and icy roads with the occasional exposed asphalt?

    Miguel Arboleda
    BPL Member


    Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan

    I just received the Kahtoola Microspikes that I had ordered last week, but earlier today before I got home and found the package waiting I came across some new ice walking mini-crampons at a store I stopped by. They are the Grivel Spider. Has anyone seen these and used them? How would they compare to the Microspikes? They are much lighter and more compact than the MIcrospikes so would be more suited to UL if they are good enough for the same kind of walking that the Microspikes are good for.

    BPL Member


    Locale: The Cascades

    "They are the Grivel Spider."

    The issue I could see with these is that there is no forefoot traction, the only traction is under the very middle of your foot. So I'd think they'd be unhelpful while climbing hills, and even on flat surface they seem like they would force you to walk completely flatfooted.

    My caveat — I'm only going by the picture, I've never used them.

    Miguel Arboleda
    BPL Member


    Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan

    So I'd think they'd be unhelpful while climbing hills, and even on flat surface they seem like they would force you to walk completely flatfooted.

    That makes sense. The instructions on the Grivel site do warn users not to use them for alpine climbing, so not having a forefoot grip would surely preclude too steep a climb. But they do remind me of six point crampons, so mild climbs should be okay, no?

    BPL Member


    Locale: The Cascades

    "so mild climbs should be okay, no?"

    Another caveat: I'm not a climber;-) But just for backpacking up and down hills and such, when icy, I think I'd choose the heavier microspikes. The times I've slipped it's been because either my heel was slipping or my forefoot was slipping. Of course, YMMV.

    Jonathan Ryan
    BPL Member


    Locale: White Mtns

    Microspikes are the way to go. I have been hiking/trail running with them for 2 seasons now and they are still in like new shape. If I had stuck with Yak Trax I would be on my 3rd or 4th pair. Only had Yak Trax once and they did not even make it through one winter.

    BPL Member


    Locale: The Cascades

    "Only had Yak Trax once and they did not even make it through one winter."

    I've had a pair of Yak Trax for going on three years now ….. of course that's because I've never used them. Found microspikes shortly after buying the Yak Trax. They sit up in my gear room, unused.

    Diplomatic Mike


    Locale: Under a bush in Scotland

    Another option is to use Icebug shoes/boots. Most of the range have carbide studs in the sole. Details HERE

    baz john


    I like the microspikes they're pretty good. never tried yaktrax.
    used the microspikes for 2 winters. 1st winter a lot of my time day hiking. i was hoping they would be solid as i was in a sling after a 'lat dorsi' transfer and could not afford a fall. you can run in them. you do have to get a feel for them, understand how they behave on different surfaces.
    i'm on my second pair. the spikes themselves are tougher than i expected. the rubber frame can break. apparantly my first generation had some weaknesses that are now fixed. carry a ziptie in case, and you'll be good.
    not a fan of the red colour.
    good fit on my salomon trail runners and also on my heavy scarpa boots. the rubber harness/frame works well over a range of shoe shapes.
    they work good on ice. they'll work on rocks and in mud. river missions are fun with them!!!

    Michael Winslow


    Locale: Manhattan, NY

    Just got back from hiking in the Grand Canyon and used these Microspikes hiking down the Tanner Trail. The first mile and half had snow and ice on it and with these Microspikes and poles the trail was a breeze. Without these spikes you could have easily died trying to hike down this trail. Also on our way out of the canyon we hiked up the Grandview Trail with 2 feet of snow on it. If we were not wearing these Microspikes we would have certainly died from a fall. Also they are supper easy to put on and take off. As long as you have the right fit the spikes won't slip. I wear a 9.5 shoe and bought the medium spikes and they fit great!!

    BPL Member


    Locale: NoCO

    Used them both….Microspikes is the way to go. Durability, function, and life expectancy.

    The chain on the Kahtoola Microspikes are 300-series stainless steel, and the spikes are heat treated 400-series stainless steel.

    Ryan Smith
    BPL Member


    Locale: East TN

    I've used Icetrekkers a few times and they work really well. No long term reports yet as I've only had them one season.

    Alex Armitage


    Chris Hanson


    Locale: Eastern Wyoming

    Microspikes all the way. I had a pair of the Yak Trax Pros that died on my first hike…I contacted Yak Trax (with photos included) and they didn't even bother to respond. That pretty much did it for me.

    James Loy
    BPL Member


    Locale: Pacific NW

    I agree with Chris's comments. I have had the same experience with Yak Trax though I do still use them on short hikes that involve intermittent snow & ice as well as bare rocks or gravel.

    Doug Wolfe
    BPL Member


    Yak tracks should be saved for snow blowing your icy driveway or walking your dog… Micro spikes or instep crampons… Better safe than sorry. Just my 2¢

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