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  • Grivel microspikes?

    Thoughts on these as an alternative to Kahtoola or Hillsound spikes? They're a tad heavier, but may be more secure with the additional plate on the ball of the foot?
    http://www.grivel.com/products/rock/accessories/88-ran


  • #2
    Except for the chain, they look almost identical to the Hillsound Trail Crampon.https://www.hillsound.com/products/trail-crampon

    Comment


    • #3
      When comparing Kahtoola Microspikes to Hillsound "spikes", you have to specify which model of "spikes" because Hillsound makes several. The model most people associate with "Hillsound" is the Trail Crampon, namely the first one they released. Like Thomas said, the Grivel Ran is virtually identical to the Hillsound Trail Crampon.

      Kahtoola's Microspikes have stainless steel teeth attached to chains. Trail Crampons have longer carbon steel teeth that are part of an articulated frame that is attached via chains.

      The photo compares the length of the front teeth. The Trail Crampons front teeth are longer than its other teeth. I should point out that this is based on the original Microspikes and Trail Crampons. It's possible the latest models are different.

      Click image for larger version  Name:	y4ml9aw4kV0G2MRQe7ZPc0NFnBX-Bg3RU329TsU1ZgbRUt2UmmNAPsxmve7B4YrXCH6CYf6BFnfU4KV0JXpAE3nUp4lamsDppSk_ooNRRNSYj0KONwKcW7DKl5GwCbIqtwgfJPQDy3FZcWN-j_IkcEv0HpW8P3cacEBExguy1M5YM61Vn6cKAC6_YcibtRqjjB9hk22zmhzzX0ZawaHmrtAtg?width=480&height=640&cropmode Views:	1 Size:	48.9 KB ID:	481790
      Looking for Views!

      Comment


      • Natlife
        Natlife commented
        Editing a comment
        I believe the opposite is true for the Kahtoola. I just sharpened a pair and I seem to remember the second row from the front, and back too, is longer.

      • Trail Boss
        Trail Boss commented
        Editing a comment
        I've got the original model (just two teeth under the heel) and all teeth are the same length ... so I guess that's outdated my information is getting <ahem> long in the tooth.

    • #4
      I guess I'll be the guinea pig. I just ordered a pair. Not really easy to find but got them on Moosejaw.com for $40 all in. Should be here around Thanksgiving. Will test them out and post a review some time after that.

      Comment


      • Trail Boss
        Trail Boss commented
        Editing a comment
        Almost half the price of the Hillsound version! Looking forward to reading your review.

      • Makwa
        Makwa commented
        Editing a comment
        Yes... half the price. After placing the order it dawned on me that maybe I only ordered one rather than a pair. Just chatted with customer service to verify that I did indeed buy a pair.

    • #5
      I looked carefully at the Grivel and Hillsound products. If Grivel was just selling Hillsounds under their own label, they would not have made the number of changes in the metal stamping, elastomer, and chain connections which are apparent between the two. I think they just copied the Hillsound designs in most respects, but changed enough features to be different. This site has them for U.S. $24.95 plus $9.45 shipping:

      https://www.trekkinn.com/outdoor-mou...ry/136287843/p

      I'm tempted, trusting Grivel's reputation. If this was some no-name Chinese product, I would not consider it.

      Comment


      • mastergrasshopper
        mastergrasshopper commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks sciencedude288 for bring this up and Joe for research
        They do look like an excellent product / price and I've loved my Grivel g-10's for many years.

      • FlyFishingandBeer
        FlyFishingandBeer commented
        Editing a comment
        I order a lot of gear from Trekkinn. Their prices are typically outstanding, even if their inventory is really hit or miss. My only gripe with them is their complete lack of tracking options for shipments. When you go to track your items instead of a timeline you get a lot of:

        "Missing your package? Did your courier leave it behind a bush? Did he or she take it home with them and forget about it?" Its not very reassuring, but I've never not gotten my merch from them.

    • #6
      I noticed the Grivel Ran has 5 teeth on the front frame. Hillsound's Trail Crampon has 4. However, the placement isn't the same.
      • The TC has 2 teeth close up front, like Lateral Incisors.
      • The Ran has a single tooth dead-center, like a Central Incisor, flanked by 2 teeth set back like a First Premolar.



      Not sure this makes any difference in traction but they're definitely not exact copies of the TC.
      Looking for Views!

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      • #7
        I think the Grivel product is, in fact, actually different, as you observed.

        I could not confirm it for sure, but I got the impression from the Grivel website that their hardware is actually made in Italy. Grivel says on their site: "We will not trade our soul for more profit or loose (sic) it by transferring it to another country." That's not explicit, but it suggests that their manufacturing is actually still in Italy.

        I believe Hillsound and Kahtoola products are made in a group of Asian factories, which also accounts for the ready supply of discount priced "unbranded knockoffs" of these products.

        Comment


        • #8
          I recently stumbled across these. Not really my cup of tea but if anyone is looking for something a little different, maybe they're the next big thing.

          https://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/5145...FVEDgQodjZEFcg
          My mind was wandering like the wild geese in the west.

          Comment


          • #9
            Those LLBean spikes look absolutely amazing and just what I need. I wear an uninsulated trail runner year round and throw on a neoprene overboot when temps are < ~20F or when breaking trail. One size of Hillsound can't fit both well, so I'm really excited about these. Maybe excited enough duck out of work and drive to Freeport. . . Thank you for posting this!

            Some people might not have faith in the BOA system, but I've used Tubbs Flex VRTs for three winter seasons and I trust those ratchets and tiny cables more than I trust the crampon or the decking. One time, I wasn't paying attention and managed to loop the cable around the side rail, tighten it and then walk like a mile before I realized the problem. No issues ever.

            Plus my last week my best set of hillsounds got run over by a truck somehow so this is good timing too.

            Comment


            • FlyFishingandBeer
              FlyFishingandBeer commented
              Editing a comment
              These are gen 3 Boas so you should never have trouble with them. The gen 1 Boa ratcheting system wasn't known for its reliability but I've had great luck with gen 2/3.

              Makwa, yes. Similar to a Boa-equipped ski/snowboard boot or snowshoes, you put them on loosely, engage the ratchet system by pushing the knob down until it clicks, then twist it until its tight and secure. To unlock simply lift the knob, which requires enough effort not to happen accidentally.

            • MJK
              MJK commented
              Editing a comment
              So i went up and got them! I think this is my seventh pair of light traction? after 3 Kahtoolas and 3 Hillsounds. Add up the gas and the tolls and the tax and these are practically as expensive as full crampons. I'm nervous about them. The spikes seem short and blunt and the rubber seems stiff and awkward. . . I plan to beat the s*** out of them this wednesday so we'll see how it goes.

            • FlyFishingandBeer
              FlyFishingandBeer commented
              Editing a comment
              MJK Good luck and please let us know how it goes

          • #10
            Finally got the Grivels in the mail this weekend. Haven't got them on the trail yet but the quality of the item looks pretty good.

            They come in a small carry pouch that weighs 45 grams. Will probably leave that behind when hiking but it's a nice little add-on. They weigh in at 492 grams for the pair... a hair heavier than the Hillsounds (stated weight of 462 g on their web site) and 100 grams more than the KahtooIas (my pair weighs 388 g)... or about 1.75 ounces extra per foot if that's important to you. The elastomer harnesses on the Grivels and Kahtoolas are of equal thickness and heft. The Grivels in Large are actually smaller than the Kahtoolas in Medium but they fit on my boots with about the same tightness. The chains on the Grivels are a bit less beefy that the Kahtoola chains but I won't know if that's an issue until I get them out on the trails. Sorry... I don't own Hillsounds so I can't do a side-by-side comparison with those.

            Hopefully I'll test them out this coming weekend or the following and report back.

            Comment


            • #11
              I think you should do a trial with Grivel on one foot and Kahtoola on the other. Seriously, I'm glad you got them and I'm tempted to do the same.

              Were your Kahtoolas the old design (has the metal toe bail; up to 2014) or the new design (poor "integrated" plastic toe bail; began in 2015-16). The latter model was much inferior to the former in every category except weight. My first pair lasted less than a month hiking in the icy Catskills in 2016. Typically, the side strap broke. I was lucky--they replaced them with the older model which I'm still using.

              Comment


              • Makwa
                Makwa commented
                Editing a comment
                Great idea! I will do that. Compare apples to apples as far as trail conditions go.

                I have the old ones. Purchased the '13 model in early '14 then didn't use until '16.

            • #12
              I haven't used the Grivel spikes you mentioned at outset. I did try out two of the Hillsound models during the last week of November in and around the High Peaks - and am passing along some thoughts about them. Some background - I've used the Kahtoolas for many years for some "stick" on icy trail hikes and during non-technical climbing. They are adequate and perform well. The issue of snow "balling" under the foot is moderately annoying with these. I got both the Hillsound Trail Crampon and the Trail Crampon Pro for this trip - to see if there was a hands down preference over the Kahtoolas and between the Hillsound models. I used the Trail Crampon during moderate snow and icy conditions on the return leg of hike around Avalanche/Colden Lakes. The amount of balling seemed to be considerably more than the Kahtoolas. This required stops continually to knock the snow off. I finally got to the Dam and stopped to take some pictures and the ground slightly soft under the snow caused a mass of snow and mud (1.5 lbs or so) to stick on the Hillsounds every time I took a step or stopped and so much so that it almost caused me to stumble on a couple of occasions. This was way beyond "moderately annoying" - it was dangerous. These also would not stay firmly on my boot (heel specifically) as well even though the proper size was chosen as per their sizing specs. The Velcro strap was just superfluous. I took them off (gladly) for the trip back to the LOJ. The following day was trip up the Brothers, to Big Slide, and down Slide Brook trail. I took the Trail Crampon Pro model and ending put putting them on right before the climbs up the Brothers. The Pro model performed superbly all the way to the Johns Brook. The binding is very easy to use - and the crampon does not move off the boot. Period. The two moderately front facing spikes were very useful in going up the frozen waterfalls along the woods trail between the Brothers and Big Slide. Most importantly no balling because of the fixed anti-balling plates. The Trail Crampon Pro will be the go-to trail spikes for the foreseeable future - it outperformed the Trail Crampon ( and the Kahtoolas) by a huge margin in every way. In some ways there is no comparison. The weight addition to the Pro - is only a slight disadvantage when considering all the time spent stopping ( i.e. wasting time and taking your eye of the trail etc.) to "look at the bottom of your boots" etc. I would highly recommend the Trail Crampon Pro. (Note about Hillsound fit. I've read others complain about the sizing for Hillsound products and mentioned the issue with the Trail Crampons (coming off the boot heel) which was ridiculous. The Pro model used was a Regular which "fits to M size 12". It was just long enough for my size 11 La Sportivas - it would be slightly too short for a size 12 I think but workable)
              www.brandtbolding.com

              Comment


              • Thomas
                Thomas commented
                Editing a comment
                Users of the Trail Crampon pro should be aware that they are not rcommended for boots with flexible soles since they have a stiff bar. The K10, on the other hand, has a spring steel bar.

            • #13
              So you used Trail Crampons once? This is definitely a YMMV situation but one trip doesn't tell the whole story.

              I've used them dozens of times over 6 years in all kinds of snow/ice conditions. Can they accumulate snow/ice underfoot? Yes but the conditions have to be just right. 95% of the time there's no problem.

              Can they accumulate snow more readily than Microspikes? Yes because their teeth are part of articulated frames as opposed to teeth attached to flexible chains. The snow can attach itself to the non-flexing frames more readily. HOWEVER, these frames are also what prevents the teeth from shifting underfoot thereby permitting them to bite more aggressively.

              Sizing is important. I wear size 11 insulated winter boots and the Large works well. It also works well with size 11 uninsulated leather boots.

              The Velcro strap prevents the Trail Crampon from twisting if you use French technique to traverse a slope (and other maneuvers that apply a twisting force). Of course, they won't stay on as well as a full crampon (or the TC Pros or K10's).

              The Trail Crampon Pro is, like the Kahtoola K10, in an entirely different league. They have significantly longer teeth, are attached like traditional (full) crampons, and have available anti-balling plates (and they weigh more).


              Anyway, JoeCedar has the K-10's and he can tell you why he chose them over the TC Pros.
              Looking for Views!

              Comment


              • Makwa
                Makwa commented
                Editing a comment
                I believe we have all had the snow accumulation underfoot. Annoying as hell but definitely condition dependent as TB points out.

                The Velcro straps also keep the crampon from getting lost should it somehow slip off your boot. Read enough winter trip reports and you'll see some mentions of Kahtoolas coming off and disappearing into the deep snow. Don't think I've seen any references to that happening with the Hillsounds.

                I am only familiar with the French Technique for making toast... perhaps you could share a quick primer on the subject as it relates to winter hiking?

              • Thomas
                Thomas commented
                Editing a comment
                After the first few times I used them, I removed the straps from the Trail Crampons and haven't regretted it.

                Regarding French technique, I find that unless my foot is as parallel with the fall-line as possible, traction with the smaller traction aids is poor, whether I use French technique or not. Using proper crampons is another story.

            • #14
              brandtb ha, youíre absolutely right about the balling, but heed Taraís advice that it is wholly dependent on warmer softer snow. The real advantage of the Trail Crampons happens when itís cold but not snowshoe conditions. Or when itís icy.

              Glad you enjoyed the TC Pros! Have fun.
              ADK 46/46W, Grid 237/552
              Photos & Stuff

              Comment


              • brandtb
                brandtb commented
                Editing a comment
                autochromatica - had a great trip thanks for help (et al) on front end. Re. "wholly dependent on warmer softer snow"...Absolutely. I've been involved in winter sports for nearly all my life and hiked/climbed a good bit in winter using the Kahtoola micros (or similar) - and know what to expect from them in different types of snow. That said, the Hillsounds underperformed the Kahtoolas in certain conditions and in one instance when I was working they nearly caused an accident to some very expensive equipment. B.A.D. For what "I do" i.e. my work, I need something that is dependable in all snow conditions. I can't take two pairs of spikes on each trip - one for dry and one for wet...and the great binding/fit for Pros is infinitely better. So, solution for me is to go with the TCPros - done deal.

            • #15
              Requisite photographic example ... (April 2011, SaBaSa).

              Looking for Views!

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