Hiking Gear Reviews & Guides
How Long Does it Take to Climb Mount Washington?
Climbing Mount Washington can be one of the most rewarding hikes on offer in the United States. But as anyone who has tackled it will tell you, it’s not for the faint-hearted! This mountain is the highest in the Northeastern United States, at a whopping 6,288.2 ft above sea level. So if you get the chance to reach this peak, you’ll certainly get bragging rites after. But exactly how long does it take to climb Mount Washington?
The Appalachian Trail passes right over the peak of Mount Washington, in New Hampshire. With over 2000 miles of the most scenic hikes in the whole country, The Appalachian Trail is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. But arguably one of the most stunning parts of the Appalachian trail is crossing over the peak of Mount Washington. But after all those days tackling the numerous miles of the Appalachian Trail, will you still have enough juice left to climb to the summit of Mount Washington?
The amount of time it takes to climb any mountain always depends on a few factors. Some of these include your level of fitness, how much you have prepared for the hike, what the weather conditions are like, and of course which route you choose to take up the mountain. Later we will go into these individual factors, to help you accurately plan your own journey up Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. But to begin with a rough estimate, exactly how long does it take to hike Mt. Washington? A normal hike, on average taking into account the factors above, up the mountain will take about 5 hours. But what else could factor into the legit of your climb up Mount Washington?
To start with, which trail should you take?
There are many different trails you can choose to take, to reach the summit of Mount Washington, or to explore the flatter adventures below. Most of these routes take roughly 5 hours if you’re aiming to reach the summit of the mountain, so make sure you’ve planned your trip well in advance, and considered your timings carefully, so you’ll be in no danger of being left out in the dark! As we’ve mentioned previously, climbing Mount Washington is not an activity to be taken lightly! We would only recommend this to experienced hikers, especially those who have some experience with mountaineering. That being said, there are a few different options out there for you in terms of hiking up, or around, Mount Washington.
The most common hike up Mount Washington, that takes you all the way to the summit, is the Tuckerman Ravine Trail. This 6.6-mile trail will definitely take you a whole day to complete, so make sure you head out early! If you’re thinking about camping and then hiking up Mount Washington, consider choosing the Pinkham Notch camp area. This is where the Tuckerman Ravine Trail starts from, so it’s a great place to camp, and then wake up with the lark and set off on this stunning trail.
The Tuckerman Ravine Trail starts at the Pinkham Notch camp: even if you’re not sleeping here overnight, don’t worry, it’s very accessible by car or RV. Once on the trail, it has an elevation gain of 4,280 feet, so if you’re not a fan of steep inclines then this trail might not be for you! However, if you have a bit more of a no pain no gain attitude, then listen up. The Tuckerman Ravine Trail leads you straight up the bowl of the stunning Tuckerman Ravine. The trail takes you up a few pretty hairy routes, so we wouldn’t recommend this trail for less experienced hikers, or if you’re going with your family or young people. But the steep rock steps which lead you up the bowl of the ravine could be worth it for you, especially if you’re looking to get some beautiful photos of your hike.
As you traverse the steep rock steps leading around the bowl of the Tuckerman Ravine, it allows you stunning views, as the earth opens up beneath you. Here you can catch a glimpse of the ravine, and if you look up to the north you can catch a glimpse of the Wildcat Mountain, another notch on your belt of witnessing the beauty of the White Mountains. The beautiful Wildcat Mountain has five summits along Wildcat Ridge, which curves around two miles to the south and west. At many points, it juts into the water below, and especially on fall days, you can witness the lovely colors of the leaves as they reflect in the water below.
If you’re looking for a trail with all the amenities you could need, then the Tuckerman Ravine Trail could be just right for you too. As it is the most popular trail up Mount Washington, it will provide for your needs throughout your hike. For example, there are places to refill your water bottle at the base of the bowl, and at the well pump near the Hermit Lake Shelters.
The Hermit Lake Shelters also offers toilets, shelter, and snacks, if you’re looking to take a break along the way. For all the hikes which lead you to the summit, you’ll be well provided for, with a visitor center which offers a museum, gift shop. cafeteria, observation area and the Mount Washington Observatory. Here is the ideal place to stop, rest, and take in your surroundings, patting yourself on the back for making it to the summit!
If you’re looking for an alternative, or have already made your way up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, then there are a few other options available for you. Some of the routes up the eastern slope you can choose from including Boott Spur, Huntington Ravine, Lion Head Trail (Lion’s Head) and Nelson Crag trails. If you’re looking to head up the northeast of the slope, then opt for the Great Gulf Trail. If you’re looking to coincide with the Appalachian Trail, then take a look at the Crawford Path or the Gulfside Trail. Or, lastly, to head up the western side of the Mountain, take a further look at the Ammonoosuc Ravine, and the Jewell Trails.
Our recommendation of the route, if you’re looking for stunning and varied nature and views, is to combine three of the aforementioned hikes: Jewell Trail, Gulfside Trail, and the Crawford Path. This route amounts to 11.2 miles and will allow you to take in more views, due to the way it goes in a loop around the Mount. Once you break free from the tree line, there are some incredible views down to the Ravine, and across at mountains, hills and flats in the distance. For nature viewing this trail is also ideal, especially the incredible views you can see from the summit, the spectacular white mountains surrounding you.
It’s the ideal route for bird watching, and for seeing a large variety of wildflowers. If you want to be able to identify some of the flora and fauna around you, and you’re not a natural botanist, consider downloading some of these useful hiking apps. Some of these hiking apps can help you identify the beautiful wildflowers on your hike, and some can even use GPS and your phone camera to tell you the names and some of the details of the peaks you can see from the summit of Mount Washington.
Will the weather affect how long my hike takes?
If you’re allergic to inclement weather, we wouldn’t recommend planning a journey to Mount Washington. This mountain can have some of the most dramatic weather conditions of all of the mountains in the US, another reason why it should be only considered by those with some experience in hiking and mountaineering. Some of the weather conditions here can be very dramatic, leading to poetic scenery. At one point, the highest wind ever observed by man was recorded at the summit, a whopping 231 miles per hour! This is still the record for the highest winds speeds outside of a tropical cyclone.
However, the changing weather on Mount Washington can be well worth the risk. If it’s a clear day, you’ll be able to see the landscape opening up to you, viewable up to 130 miles away! But, you might be very lucky to get a hike like this. If you’re looking for clear weather and long-distance views, then we would recommend heading to the mount in the summer with your backpack, and always checking there forecast before you head off. On clear days, you can walk this mountain in 4 hours or less, depending on your fitness levels. Obviously, you can head off with no worries, without having to take as much time to watch you don’t slip on a rock, for example.
But if the weather goes in the opposite direction, what can you expect, and what effect could it have on the length of your hike? Well, when we warned you about the weather conditions on this mountain, we weren’t joking. Mount Washington is not only the most dangerous American mountain, but it’s also thought of to be the home of the world’s worst weather.
And although it makes more sense to go in the summer, early fall of late spring the weather here can be unpredictable at any time of year. But what is predictable about the weather here is that it will probably be bad. For roughly 300 days of the year, the summit is surrounded in fog: but it’s worth the risk for one of those rare clear days, where you can see some of the best and furthest views on offer in the entire United States.
The weather on Mount Washington really is extreme. The Mount Washington Observatory, located at the summit of the mountain and operating as an NGO, which records the weather conditions on the top of the mountain, has measured some really extreme weather. In 2017, the weather station measured a record low of minus -36 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning that at this point the mountain was one of the coldest places on the planet! Because the weather conditions are so often bad on this mountain, you should take this into account when planning your journey. It might take longer, for example, if you’re hiking through the fog, or you need to stop to readjust your ice shoes or clamps.
Seeing as there is often rain on the mountain, a word of caution: be careful where you’re treading! And remember to take with you a heavy-duty rain jacket. If you’re heading off on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, for example, often you’ll be on quite steep, rocky paths. Make sure you’re very careful with how you proceed, and that you’re wearing the right kind of walking boots to suit wet weather.
This, amongst other reasons, is why this climb can be seen as quite dangerous. However, as long as you’re experienced, you’re wearing and taking the right kit, and you’re very careful about how you walk, then this hike should be safe for you. More than a quarter of a million people visit it each year, so don’t be scared off, just ensure that you’ve taken the necessary precautions.
If it’s raining, snowing, hailing, or it has been and the ground is wet or snowy, then your journey up Mount Washington might take a bit longer than you’re expecting. On a clear, sunny day, you should be able to reach the summit in 4 hours. Depending on your experience, and how bad the weather is that day, you should allow about 6 hours for you to reach the peak. This might mean a very early start, so we hope you’re an early riser!
How else can I climb Mount Washington?
If the weather, and challenging climb, is putting you off considering climbing Mount Washington, think again! There’s a much easier way to reach the summit, which will still leave you feeling adventurous. We’ll give you a clue: this is the reason why so many cars in the Northeast have a bumper sticker on them saying “this car climbed Mount Washington”.
If your driving skills are stronger than your mountaineering skills, consider heading off on the scenic NH Route 16: the Mount Washington auto road. But be warned, if you’re a nervous driver, this route is definitely not for you. It has an average grade of 12 percent. Once you get to the middle of the mountain, there’s a nerve-racking mile of hard-packed gravel, with what feels like quite a steep drop to the side.
But if you’re nearing TopGear levels of driving, and want a truly invigorating drive, this is one of the best in the world. We think it’s one of the most breathtaking drives in the North of America. There are many places to stop, and viewing stations from which to take in the incredible scenery surrounding you.
However, you have to pay to climb the mountain by car, but the charge does include the famous bumper sticker, so your car can be the talk of the town. Climbing and descending the mountain slowly, and stopping off at the viewing points, is perfect on a rainy day, where you can avoid getting soaked, and take in the views when you see a break in the clouds.
If you’re looking for an even more scenic adventure, what better way to discover the mountain than with New England’s own Cog Railway? The Cog Railway, affectionately known just as the Cog, is the world’s first mountain-climbing cog railway. A great day hike is to take the train up in one direction and walk back down to make it a round trip, taking you straight back to the parking lot.
A visit to the White Mountain National Forest will always be filled with adventure. People flock here from around the world for the stunning fall foliage and the excellent opportunities for winter skiing. But for those of you brave enough to tackle the hike, the experienced hiker will ask: how long does it take to hike mount Washington? The answer, as we have outlined, depends on lots of factors, like the frankly tempestuous weather conditions, and your general level of fitness. To ensure you’re as safe as possible, make sure to set off early, and plan your hike to a T. Take a look at our complete checklist to make sure you’re ready for any eventuality!
Bonus tip: For a sneak peek of what it feels like to use the Cog Railway, check out this video!
Best in Class Reviews
The Top 5 Best Hiking Belts
A quality hiking belt is an essential accessory for every outdoor-enthusiast. Whether you use it during day hikes, or for activities such as fishing or hunting, an outdoor belt will keep your clothing and gear safely secured at all times!
In this best hiking belt overview, we’re highlighting the top-rated, best-reviewed options.
We’ve ensured there’s a lightweight match for every preference, and budget, in our best hiking belt review.
From affordable canvas options that offer basic functionality to high-end designs with quick-release buckles, made of premium nylon. Discover the pros and cons of each style and find your ideal waist belt in our overview below:
Best Hiking Belts – Overview
- Best Overall: Arc’teryx Belt
- Best Stretch Belt: Jelt X Adjustable Elastic Belt
- Best High End: Cobra 2-Ply Quick Release Belt
- Best Heavy Duty: Arcade Heavy Duty Elastic Belt
- Best Budget Option: Hoanan Tactical Nylon Belt
And here’s an overview of the best hiking belts on the market today:
Best Overall Hiking Belt
1. Arc’teryx Conveyor Belt
- CONVEYOR BELT - Heavy duty, textured webbing belt with contrasting colour stitch detail and a metal buckle with the Arc'teryx logo. Ideal for keeping your pants up.
The Arc’teryx Conveyor Belt is a lightweight choice in hiking apparel, and will keep your pants up without weighing you down! The belt is 1.5 inches wide, and comes in 3 lengths: small, medium, and large. Which means there is no cutting down or trimming length required to find a great fit!
Many hiking-enthusiasts swear by the durability, performance, and lightweight comfort of the Arc’teryx Conveyor Belt. It is slightly more expensive than other options on this Best Hiking Belt list, but we think it’s worth the investment. Its excellent quality construction means this belt should last you for many years, even when used for daily wear.
The Arc’teryx Conveyor Belt is made of quality nylon webbing with contrasting stitching for a stylish touch. This synthetic, heavy-duty textured nylon webbing is engineered to withstand all kinds of challenging outdoor conditions. Whether you encounter rain, dust, or even have to wade through a river: this belt can handle it all. As the basic, metal webbing buckle on the belt doesn’t contain any moving or separate parts, it’s also less prone to wear and tear, or damage.
The Arc’teryx Conveyor Belt is a lightweight favorite amongst hikers, backpackers, and campers; as confirmed by the hundreds of positive customer reviews. Reviews praise the design’s longevity and staying power. Confirming it will hold up your trousers even when your pockets are loaded full, or if you’re wearing heavy-duty, ‘weightier’ fabrics.
A minor con is that some reviewers mention the belt is quite ‘stiff’ at first. And that it may take a few weeks to get it fully broken in, flexible enough for a comfy fit.
- Nylon webbing
- Great support
- A renowned brand in outdoor gear
- Can feel a bit ‘stiff’ at first
- Slightly more pricey
Best Stretch Hiking Belt
2. Jelt X Adjustable Elastic Stretch Belt for Hiking
- JELTX IS A BETTER ADJUSTABLE BELT – Made in Montana, USA with strong sustainable elastic from recycled plastic bottles. Flat, no-show easy to use magnetic buckle without holes. So invisible, it...
Belts are an integral part of our everyday lives. Whether you are going to the office and need to look presentable or are planning on hiking and need that extra level of support, a good and quality belt can come in very handy.
Upon concluding our research, we came across this adjustable belt for hiking by Jelt X, which we believe is amongst the best not only because of its comfortable and low-profile but also because of its ease of use thanks to the magnetic closure mechanism.
Having been made from double elastic with a grippy inner gel, rest assured that your pants will stay in place no matter how intense your hiking gets. The strong, adjustable elastic can fit any individual up to a 40-inch waist (max: men’s 36 pant size and women’s 32/14 pant size).
If you aren’t a particularly big fan of the black, you can also find this hiking belt in navy blue.
- Made out of durable and stretchy material
- Only comes in two colors.
Best High-End Hiking Belt
3. Cobra 2-Ply Quick Release Klik Belt
- YOU'LL NEVER BUY ANOTHER BELT AGAIN! PATENTED WORLD'S STRONGEST BELT: Feel the power of Klik Belts made from the world’s strongest components. This DOUBLE PLY heavy-duty nylon belt is 1.5” wide,...
The Cobra 2-Ply Quick Release Klik Belt is always ready for action and offers outstanding performance, safety, and support in every kind of outdoor situation. The design adheres to the highest quality standards and uses only top-end materials. The result is an outstanding tactical belt with military-grade durability. Yes, it is by far the most expensive option on this Best Hiking Belt list. But if you only want the very best in outdoor gear, this belt ticks all the right boxes.
Lightweight aluminum buckle
The Cobra 2-Ply Quick Release Klik Belt also comes with a buckle closure made of ultralight 7075 aluminum. As one of the strongest metals available, this aluminum buckle offers all the required support and grip, without weighing you down. This patented Cobra buckle is also super easy to disengage in emergency scenarios, by simply pressing the special side-release buttons for instant opening.
Also good to know: The brand behind this quality product, Klik Belt, is regarded as one of the top choices for tactical-style belts. Its customers include those active in Law Enforcement, Military, SWAT, and even Special Ops. Which serves as a testimony of the brand’s authenticity, quality standard, and reliability. After all, if it’s good enough for our soldiers on challenging missions, it should be good enough for your hiking trips.
Worth the splurge
With hundreds of 5-star reviews, the Cobra 2-Ply Quick Release Klik Belt is the highest-rated options on this Best Hiking Belts list. Hiking fans say the belt strikes the perfect balance between being a rigid, supportive belt, and also a comfortable one. Many customer reviews user superlatives to describe how this belt truly lives up and exceeds, expectation. It is a pricey choice in outdoor gear, but according to the glowing ratings, this will be one of the best investments you’ll ever make.
Are there any cons? Of course, no product is perfect, though this belt comes close. Some hikers report that the aluminum buckle is too large to fit through certain belt loops. Meaning that if you want to wear it with your favorite pair of hiking shorts, you might have to unthread the belt from the buckle first to weave it through, then reattach the buckle. However, mentions of this are rare, so don’t consider it a big risk, but it is something to be aware of.
- Military-grade materials
- Corrosion-resistant aluminum buckle
- 2-ply construction for extra support
- Might not thread through smaller belt loops
Best Heavy-Duty Hiking Belt
4. Arcade Heavy Duty Elastic Webbing Belt
The Arcade Heavy Duty Elastic Webbing Belt scores high marks on performance, comfort, and style. And certainly classifies as one of the best-looking hiking belts available. This makes the belt both suited for active outdoor usage, as well as casual wear, adding to its appeal as a versatile addition to any wardrobe.
Metal-free buckle closure
The belt’s clamp closure buckle is low profile and metal-free. This means the non-metal buckle won’t set off airport security when walking through metal detectors, ideal for those who often travel.
Another big perk of the Arcade Heavy Duty Elastic Web Belt is that this product is fully machine washable. It can even withstand a clothing dryer, making clean-up a breeze. Simply chuck it in with your other laundry and voila: your belt is once again free of dust, dirt, or other residues.
Multiple fun colors and styles
With nearly all 5-star reviews, the Arcade Heavy Duty Elastic Webbing Belt is a firm, or should we say: elasticated, favorite amongst hikers. The design is praised for its outstanding comfort, size adjustability, trendy aesthetics, and value. Minor cons mentioned is that the belt material does seem to attract cat/dogs hairs, and might ‘fuzz’ a bit with repeated wear.
Overall, the Arcade Heavy Duty Elastic Web Belt is a stylish and affordable choice to keep your pants, any hiking accessories, firmly in place. It’s not the most heavy-duty belt on this list, but for the average day hiker, it should offer more than sufficient support.
- Elastic Nylon Webbing
- Stylish design
- Machine washable and dryer-proof
- The material might ‘fuzz’ with repeated wear
- Not the most heavy-duty belt
Best Budget Hiking Belt
5. Hoanan Tactical Nylon Belt 2-Pack
You simply can’t beat the value of the Hoanan Tactical Nylon Belt 2-Pack. Though this set of 2 tactical-style hiking belts is super affordable, it doesn’t compromise on quality: making it simply a steal at the price listed.
YKK Plastic Belt Buckle
Each belt in the Hoanan Tactical Nylon Belt 2-Pack also comes with a non-metal, YKK clip plastic buckle. This makes the design extra attractively for those with metal allergies, or hikers that zip through airports a lot: as the plastic will not trigger any security devices. The YKK branding on this non-metallic buckle also ensures a high-quality standard of production.
A Fantastic Budget-Buy
The Hoanan Tactical Nylon Belt 2-Pack also has great user reviews to back up its quality, comfort, and value. Other hikers say they were surprised at the sturdiness and great grip of the lightweight plastic buckle. Confirming that for a budget-buy, this belt set certainly exceeds expectations. With literally no negative reviews at the moment of writing, it’s hard to fault this outstanding value-for-money set.
- Metal-free buckle
- Nylon webbing
- Not the highest-quality, heavy-duty support and construction
We guarantee: each product on this Best Hiking Belt overview will hold up your hiking trousers with ease! However, some offer slightly more performance than others. Which product is best for you, completely depends on where and when you plan to wear the belt. For die-hard hikers who want maximum performance, grip, support, and durability, the Cobra 2-Ply Quick Release Klik Belt is a heavy-duty match.
Considering functionality, price, durability, and performance, the Arc’teryx Conveyor Belt is our winner.
The product’s quality is backed up by lots of glowing customer reviews, confirming it lives up to the quality standard Arc’teryx is known and respected for. The design is lightweight enough so it won’t weigh you down on the go, yet durable enough to keep everything firmly strapped in place, which is a winning combo for us.
Best Hiking Belts FAQ
To help you better understand the different factors to consider when buying a hiking belt, we’re answering the most frequently asked questions on this topic. Learn what to look out for when shopping for hiking and trekking belts, and discover more about what kind of belt will suit your needs best:
What is the best type of hiking belt material?
Though there are some exceptions, most hiking belts are made of canvas, polyester, nylon. Each material has its specific characteristics:
Canvas Hiking Belts
Canvas is often affordable, making canvas hiking belts ideal for those on a tight budget. Though this material is durable and easy to clean, it also tends to absorb water. Meaning that when you’re caught in a downpour, it might ‘soak up’ rain, without the ability to dry quickly. This is why it’s not the most preferred material of choice by experts, but it nevertheless will get the job done and hold your shorts up in style.
Polyester Hiking Belts
Polyester is one of the most common materials used in hiking belts by outdoor brands. It’s lightweight, durable, water-repellant, and sturdy enough for daily wear. Water-resistant polyester webbed belts are comparable to the types of straps you’d find on a backpack, only thicker and more durable. If comfort is a main priority, look for a polyester belt with elastic webbing, as often this material can feel a bit ‘stiff’ until broken in.
Nylon Hiking Belts
Nylon is quite similar in characteristics compared to polyester. Nylon is affordable, water-repellent, and very durable. Though an added benefit of nylon is its flexibility: with stretchy webbing that doesn’t require a break-in period to make it “fit your body” comfortably. Another perk of (elastic) nylon is that this belt material can be easily disinfected (unlike canvas or leather), making it a preferred choice for hunting and fishing enthusiasts.
What is the best type of belt buckle?
Hiking belts can come with a variety of buckle types. The most common options are:
This is the most common type of closure used in luxury leather belts, dress belts, and casual belts. This classic buckle closure is sometimes also used for hiking gear. The design is simple and features a frame, bar, and prongs. There are single-side tongue buckles (the most basic style), and double-sided tongue buckles (with two prongs for extra grip and hold).
But if we’re being completely frank, we think this type of closure is more suited for leisurely use than intensive, heavy-duty hiking. It simply lacks the durability and performance of other types of belt buckles and is more prone to wear and tear with repeated usage. Therefore, we wouldn’t recommend you to select a hiking belt with this buckle style for your outdoor activities.
Clamp Closure Buckle
A clamp closure is a style of buckle that features two parts attached to a belt. One part is larger, the other smaller: allowing them to ‘latch’ together to provide a secure hold. Easy to use, solid in grip, and durable, this buckle is great for hiking belts.
Quick Release Buckle
This style of buckle is all about safety. A hiking belt with a quick-release belt buckle usually doesn’t contain any holes. Instead, the buckle consists of two parts that ‘click’ together to create a durable hold. To unfasten, simply press the release pins and the buckle will instantly spring open.
Flip Closure Buckle
This buckle uses a special ‘flip flop mechanism’. Hiking belts with flip closures don’t have any holes. Instead, the flip closure buckle uses special teeth at the underside to grip the fabric when you ‘flip’ the top part. Which securely holds the belt in place. This type of buckle is mostly used in fabric and canvas belts. Though a convenient, easy-to-use style, a flip closure can be prone to a bit of wear and tear. And also may damage the canvas or fabric of your belt after extensive usage.
A webbing buckle belt features a simple loop at one end. To secure the belt in place, simply put the non-buckle end of the belt through the buckle loop, and cross it back. It’s simple, yet effective.
Best in Class Reviews
Top 7 Best Microspikes for Hiking – 2023 Review
Microspikes make hiking easier.
Hiking is a wonderful activity. It allows us to see beautiful highs and exhilarating lows. From canyon valleys to high-altitude peaks, it’s a great way to see the world and give your body a superb workout. Not to mention a rewarding palate cleanse for your eyeballs. But when the leaves start to fall, and the snow soon after it, most of us turn indoors, find a good book, and wait for the inevitable thaw. Those people are called quitters.
When stepping outside in the frozen months, the slick icy surfaces below can make it dangerous to rove around. Fortunately there are additional devices we can equip to our boots to better combat the conditions. Crampons and microspikes are something you can add to your boots for that added traction when the trails get slick and it’s you want to keep pressing onwards and outwards on the slopes.
Related post: The best dinnerware items for camping
In a hurry? Here’s the test winner after 10 hours of research:
- BEST FOR: Winter hiking, backpacking, ice-trekking, ice fishing and trail-running. The MICROspikes are designed for all-around use and your backcountry winter adventures! Ideal for hiking shoes and...
Best Microspikes for Hiking – Overview
And here’s an overview of the best microspikes for hiking on the market today:
To be a 4-season outdoorsman extraordinaire, it’s a necessary pair of equipment to keep you safe and upright. But before we expand beyond what the product is and how it keeps you moving, let’s break down all the essential characteristics of their pointy exoskeleton: from frame construction and points to the bindings, materials, as well as the size and weight and the boot compatibility questions you’re probably holding inside.
Best Overall Microspikes
1. PECO MICROspikes Crampon
- BEST FOR: Winter hiking, backpacking, ice-trekking, ice fishing and trail-running. The MICROspikes are designed for all-around use and your backcountry winter adventures! Ideal for hiking shoes and...
Kahtoola microspikes are a great option because they offer super stability and fantastic spike positioning. The material these are made with a heat-treated stainless steel, and the harness holding them together is a superb elastomer as well. The steel chain which connects the spikes provides some awesome durability and reliability to boot. The eyelets are reinforced so you don’t need to worry about them giving out on you mid-trail. Each shoe is strapped up with 12 spikes that are 3/8ths of an inch long.
We also like the variation in weight and size, ranging from extra small to extra large with corresponding weight from 11 ounces to 13.5. Also, you won’t have to worry about these undersides slashing your bag, because they come with a convenient carrying bag. It’s a compact 5x3x2 inch box, so it won’t take up too much time. Additionally, you’re provided a 2-year warranty, so it’s a good way to invest appropriately in a pair of microspikes.
- The two-year warranty guarantees the product’s quality
- Heat-treated stainless steel means the spikes stay sharp for longer
- A bit more expensive than some of the other options listed
- Considering the competitors, they are a bit heavier as well
Best Budget Microspikes
2. Crampons Ice Cleats Traction Snow Grips
- Stronger and safer spikes: Featured 19 high quality stainless steel spikes per foot and firm chain system, providing excellent traction on a variety of terrain or other worst conditions, keep you safe...
If you are on the lookout for added stability to your shoes while hiking, then these traction steel spikes by Cimkiz were explicitly made for providing you with an excellent level of grip and support in your adventures.
Each pair features 19 stainless steel spikes alongside a firm chain system, which is excellent for providing you with excellent traction on a vast range of terrain to keep you safe and injury-free.
Having being made out of thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), you can expect a solid performance in temperatures under -49°F without the risk of damaging, over-stretching, freezing, or flat-out snapping during your expeditions.
If you aren’t planning on hiking, it is also worth mentioning that you can use this product when you go fishing, hunting, running, want to safely walk on icy and frozen roads, mud, and wet terrain.
This particular product comes in 2 different colors – black and orange and three different sizes – medium, large, and X-large, making it suitable for children, adults, and the elderly.
- It can be used under icy weather conditions
- You can use the spikes for a range of outdoor activities
- Very durable and long-lasting
- No small size available
- Quite pricey
3. Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultra
- VERSATILE: The Trail Crampon Ultra is compatible with running shoes, hiking shoes with rigid or soft soles, and winter boots. Suitable for trail running on packed snow, black ice, and partially...
When winter hiking through the backcountry, you’re sure to come across some icy trails. And the last thing you want to do is slip and fall, making it handy to have one of these winter traction devices. And to stay upright on slippery surfaces, the Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultra is one of the best options providing great traction.
Winter trails will feel like a snowless summer walk in the park thanks to the 18 stainless steel spikes that are strapped below you. And with the elastomer harness providing a secure fit, you have no worries beyond what’s for dinner that evening after a lovely day outside. It also comes with a convenient carry bag and a two-year warranty. So it’s not going anywhere, and you can bring it anywhere.
- Reliable two-ear warranty and 18 stainless steel spikes
- The convenient bag helps you bring it to the campsite
- A bit more expensive than the other options
- Sizing can be a bit tricky, we recommend sizing up
4. Hillsound Trail Crampon
- VERSATILE: Designed for hiking boots with rigid or soft soles and insulated winter boots. Suitable for ice, snow, mud, and slippery surfaces.
We love these crampons for their reliability, as emphasized by the two-year warranty they come with. The ergonomic plate system the spikes come with is impeccably designed, and each boot is draped with 11 spikes for superior stability. Also, the front plate is divided into two parts connected by a couple of hinges, which improves flexibility across the front foot.
The harness is designed from an elastomer material, while all the spikes are of stainless steel. The spikes here are long, around 2/3 of an inch, so you’ll get a good grip on any surface. Though with that length comes added weight, and the 16.3 ounces means they’ll be a bit heavier and more costly than competing products. However, all that plus the two-year warranty means you pay for what you get, and this is a reliable product.
- The flexible front plate for added stability
- Two-year warranty for super reliability
- A bit heavier than other options at 16.3 ounces
- A bit more expensive as well
5. ICETrekkers Diamond Grip Traction Cleats
Hikers looking for something to strap to the bottom side of their hiking boots should look no further than this fantastic option from the folks at ICETrekkers. From backpacking through the woods or trekking up icy slopes, the stainless steel spikes on these guys will keep you upright and chugging along.
The spikes can strap onto a pair of winter boots or hiking shoes with the same degree of comfort, thanks to the ingenious sling design that holds the spikes doing together. When you need good traction on those winter hikes, the grippers on these microspikes will keep you safe and secure. We also love that the grip moves in all directions, so they can handle any slush or mud you may come across as well.
- Steel alloy beads move in each direction for maximum stability
- Tough rubber sling keeps them intact regardless of frigid temperatures
- Doesn’t come with a warranty
- The steel spikes can wear down quickly on concrete
Bonus Budget-Friendly Option: Yaktrax Pro Traction Cleats Crampon
- Traction cleats that fit over shoes for safely walking, hiking, or jogging on packed snow or ice
These are a cool option because they have been made with a different design than the other products listed. Instead of a few specific points digging into the earth below, they are designed with coils for improving traction. The coils are 1.4mm thick steel and positioned in all directions to maximize 360-degree stability.
The harness holding the coils to the bottom of your boot is made with a similarly designed heavy-duty rubber with additional straps. This means it can withstand the same punishment you’re placing on your boots, and the additional straps ensure it won’t wither away under duress. The harness only comes in four available sizes, but the harness is pretty elastic so you can fit it onto your boot easily. Plus the adjustable straps mean even with all the gloves and protective coating you wear, you can adjust accordingly to ensure a safe fit.
- Steel coils to keep you stable
- Interesting design with adjustable straps
- Only four sizes available
Bonus Ultralight Option. Kahtoola NANOspikes
- BEST FOR: Road running and walking on sidewalks and city streets in hard-packed snow or icy conditions. NANOspikes footwear traction are designed for safely transitioning between dry and...
When moving through deep snow in Colorado or ice fishing in Michigan, it’s helpful to have something additional on the underside of your boots. The low-profile of these nano spikes makes them a great choice along the hiking trails when the snow has turned to ice but you still want to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Mountaineering enthusiasts among us will appreciate the lightweight design, as each only runs from 7.2 ounces to 9, depending on the size you select.
Plus a one year warranty means you can bring them on a backpacking trip without worry. While they’re mostly designed for trail running, they are a great option for anyone looking for some extra protection on the trails without so much burdensome weight. So place them on your trail running shoes and get out there today!
- Minimal and lightweight design
- One year warranty ensures premier craftsmanship and safety concerns
- Doesn’t come with a tote sack
We love the PECO MICROspikes Crampon because it’s always been one of the more popular products, and with good reason. The superior stability they require as well as the two-year warranty they guarantee means they know their product isn’t going to wear down after just a few uses. Knowing how harsh winter can be, it provides great comfort knowing these guys believe in their product this much.
We also love that it comes with a carry bag so you can lug your stuff around without fear of it puncturing your tent or backpack. For the backpacker eager to set foot in winter, it’s a much welcome benefit they provide.
All in all, adding a pair of microspikes to your winter collection is a great way to stay safe and ensure you can stay outdoors in the coldest months of the year.
Bonus tip: Check out this great video explaining the differences between crampons, microspikes and snowshoes!
Microspikes Buyer’s Guide
What do microspikes do?
Within the microspikes umbrella term, there are several options that you can strap to your boots’ underside. Depending on what you’re looking for, you can either focus on something that improves grip but still allows a normal stepping motion, or something needed to climb steep surfaces with deep indentations. Essentially, microspikes are so helpful for two reasons: they increase traction and surface area.
Of course, the most important characteristic of their ability to stab into icy surfaces with the spikes stopped on them. They’re great for slick surfaces like hiking on icy slick surfaces or scaling alpine ice-covered boulders. And the wider surface area some provide will also be different between staying above the layers of snow and sinking right through them.
What are the different kinds of microspikes constructions?
When talking about frame constructions, there are three main formats. The spike harness can either be fully flexible, semi-flexible or rigid. Because the best option for walking is a fully flexible frame, this is the option that all microspikes first come with. Usually, there is also a hinged bar that connects the front and backplates.
These plates and the hinged bar is great for preventing the accumulation of snow beneath your boot. This snow collection throws off your natural gait and it a helpful way to normalize your motion in challenging terrain. Plus, they work for conventional climbing methods as well.
A semi-rigid frame
A semi-rigid frame combines the two options, that are popular for its versatility. They can come with an adjustable bar to choose how rigid or flexible you want the device to be. And then the most rigid frames offer the best precision. They sit really tight on your boot and offer great support and maneuverability when climbing. Not such a good choice for walking, though.Within the microspikes community, build, fit, traction are the most important considerations of the item’s function. However, we want to start our focus on how easy it is to put them on and take them off.
It’s actually more difficult than you may think, especially when you have numb fingers and the wind is blowing something fierce. It’s just the last thing you want to worry about, and the hassle can become potentially dangerous if you need to get inside quickly. This is something we hope to highlight as we move onto the reviews of the microspikes and something you should keep in mind.
However, one aspect we won’t have to remind you of its importance is the traction of your spikes. You’ll obviously want something that provides the additional traction you need to move around. If you’re just hoping to get to the bus stop on a particularly blustery day, obviously you don’t need something with aggressive spikes. Beyond the spikes and the traction of the product, you also want to consider the build. Even if it’s not such an expensive addition, you still want your microspikes to be able to last you a few winters.
The most important thing is the match the microspikes stiffness with your boots. If your boots bend, don’t get a stiff traction device. It will wear down and eventually break the thing that’s supposed to keep you safe in the blustery winter. Not ideal. What is ideal is to have a good fit between the spikes and your boots. If they wrap too tightly around your boots, they could leave with you with some uncomfortable pressure points on your feet, and something that’s too loose won’t be able to help you as you would like. If anything this will hamper your motion and inhibit your exhibition into the outdoors.
Something also to consider with your microspikes is how and where are you going to use them. If you purchase aggressive spikes, just know that they wear out quickly on cement, pavement, and other unforgiving man-made surfaces. That leads us to our next consideration, which is where you are going to use them. If it’s just to make sure you’ll stay upright under particularly slick evenings where there could be black ice around, there’s no need to invest in heavy aggressive traction. Minimalist stuff or chains can get you moving with confidence and poise at lighter weights.
If you’re stepping over a frozen pond or stream, you want something that will keep you grounded on the icy surface. These styles will be heavier and clunkier, but obviously worth the unfortunate risk of falling and slipping. Both painful and dangerous, it’s best to keep your butt off the ground and your eyes on ahead, moving forward.
Microspikes, crampons, and snowshoes: what’s the difference?
Just know that just because we’re emphasizing microspikes in this article, that doesn’t mean there is the only option on the table. Microspikes are most effective on slick packed snow or ice. You’re really looking for that extra traction that can keep you on top, but microspikes are nothing compared to crampons.
Crampons are heavier than microspikes because of their larger steel teeth on the toes and base of the boot. Due to their weight, they’re a bit more difficult to maneuver with, and you’ll be stepping slower and getting more tired with them on. They’re helpful when climbing up an ice-covered slope and some equally challenging icy conditions.
And when the ice is still copious amounts of snow, the best options are that with the widest plates of stability: snowshoes. They’re designed to keep you above dry soft snow that otherwise you have you sinking to your knees. If you’re inching along a downward sloping surface, the grippy set of teeth on the undersides can help.
Hiking Gear Reviews & Guides
Essential Things Hikers Should Bring For A Multi-Day Hiking Trip
This article is for anyone who wants to know what to pack for their upcoming hike and how to efficiently pack their gear to travel light and get more out of their hiking or camping trip.
An unforgettable adventure to have at least once in a lifetime is a multi-day hike. Maybe you’re thinking about one, or you’ve got plans. Allow us to assist you in selecting everything you’ll need for your upcoming adventure.
Finding the ideal weight-to-equipment ratio when packing a backpack for a multi-day hike entails choosing a few valuable items. In fact, during the hike, anything can happen, so you must be prepared for anything. Because of this, choosing clothing and equipment is a deliberate process.
We’ve put together a guide on what to bring for a multi-day hike that lists all the gear you might need and explains why you need it. Since each experience is distinct and extraordinary, you can modify the list to fit your particular hike, your routines, and your specific needs.
The more frequently you must stop and rest, the slower you walk, and the sooner you are likely to stop and set up camp, the more carefully you must choose your gear and pack it. You’ll typically feel more comfortable on the trail the lighter your pack is.
Before getting to the hiking packing list with all the necessary equipment, let’s review some fundamental concepts. They deal with organizing and planning your trip as well as the items in your backpack:
- Carefully plan and organize your hike; although it takes time and effort to do so, the planning stage can be critical to the overall success of the hike.
- Travel light and avoid carrying extra baggage. Only venture too far if tough enough to endure the barest comfort in a tent during bad weather.
- There are wide price variations, especially in clothing, where higher prices frequently only signify the newest design, color, or fabric rather than improved quality. The best designs are often the cheapest, lightest, and most straightforward.
- Remember to inform someone of your destination and route.
Here Are Essential Hikers Should Bring For A Multi-Day Hiking Trip:
Having to endure darkness at camp and possibly on the trails is a drawback of multi-day hikes. Packing light is almost necessary if you want to safely navigate to your campsite in the dark, cook at night, or take bathroom breaks at night.
Many different flashlights and camping lights are available, from hand-free head torches to lanterns that can light up your entire camp.
It is essential to make sure your artificial lighting will have power. Investing in a solar-powered or hand-crank model may be wise for longer journeys, as battery-operated flashlights can have a limited lifespan.
Never undervalue the significance of sun protection. Prolonged sun exposure carries several dangers, such as dehydration, sunburns and blisters, and heat exhaustion that can develop into heat stroke. Sunburns, heat stroke, and severe dehydration frequently require medical attention.
On your hike, remember to pack sunscreen, hats, and eyewear. Without adequate sun protection, you risk sunburns that could lead to melanoma skin cancer and cataracts in your eyes.
To shield your head from the sun, put on a hat. Put on long-sleeved clothing with an ultraviolet protective factor, including pants (UPF). To protect exposed skin, use sunscreen with an SPF of 30. Apply once every two hours. Drink more water on hot days.
You’ll need a few things to maintain good personal hygiene while hiking. They include:
- Hand sanitizer and toilet paper
- Moist wipes
- Toothpaste and a toothbrush
- A towel that dries quickly
You should have these in your wash bag as a minimum, but you are free to include anything else you deem necessary.
A Mini Repair And Multi-Tool Kit
You can fix unforeseen problems like a broken strap, a loose trekking pole, a tear in your backpack, and other things with a mini repair kit while you’re out exploring.
It’s always a good idea to carry multi-purpose tools like a pocket knife, EDC Blot action pen, repair patches, safety pins, or strips of the always-useful duct tape with you, even though the contents of repair kits can vary between products.
Wrapping a lighter in duct tape will keep it close at hand in case you suddenly need it.
Snacks For Energy
Bring enough food for the entire day to keep you satisfied and energized. Take granola bars, nuts, trail mix, or dehydrated meals if you’re on a long hike. Like apples or carrots, solid fruits and vegetables that won’t get squashed in your bag are excellent choices. Or you can always pack a good ol’ peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
While it’s essential to always have enough food on hand, having extra is only helpful in an emergency. Refrain from skimping snacks and nutrition because you’ll burn more calories than usual.
Glock For Any Unwanted Danger
No matter how much research you do or how cautious you are, things can still go wrong. The equipment you brought and your planning before the hike may come in handy.
Utilize your tools to stay as warm, hydrated, fed, and visible as you can. Turn on the locator beacon if you selected it. Use your Glock if necessary, but make sure it’s clean and loaded with bullets to prevent common Glock malfunctions.
See also: How to Plan a Multi-day Backpacking Trip
You should use the whistle you brought. Your location will be made possible by the information you left with a friend or relative.
Make sure to make sure your next hike’s packing is smooth. Even though there are six items on this list that are the best for day hikes, you only need the necessities.
Also See: Find the Perfect Hiking Spot for the Ultimate Adventure
The Top 7 Bike Models for Thrilling Outdoor Adventures
The Best Snacks to Bring on a Hike
How to Pack for a Day Hike
Hiking Safety Tips and Precautions
How to Plan a Multi-day Backpacking Trip
Tips for Hiking with Kids
Find the Perfect Hiking Spot for the Ultimate Adventure
11 Campgrounds within Two Hours Distance from Philadelphia
How to Find & Buy a House in a Remote Location? Top Tips to Follow
Try Shooting Sports as a Hobby: Everything You Need to Know
How to have amazing experiences camping in Alaska?
5 Best Tackle Boxes for Fishin
How The Annual REI Dividend Works
The Best 10-Person Tents
10 Best Gazebos for Camping
Guns & Shooting Gear Reviews5 months ago
Best Gun Brands – Top 10 Gun Manufacturers in the World
Best in Class Reviews5 months ago
7 Great Sleeping Bags for Tall People – 2023 Review
Outdoor Blog4 years ago
Camping Cots and Air Mattresses: What’s Best for You?
Best in Class Reviews5 months ago
The 7 Best Camping Dinnerware Items
Outdoor Blog3 years ago
5 Useful Items To Have When You’re Out On Your Hunting Trip
Best in Class Reviews2 years ago
6 Best Long Range Trail Cameras
Best in Class Reviews5 months ago
Top 10 Outdoor TV Antennas for Rural Areas
Best in Class Reviews3 years ago
The 7 Best Fixed-Blade Survival Knives – Tested & Reviewed