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Survival Equipment

Hillsound Trail Crampons | Try these so you won’t slip on icy surfaces

Hillsound Trail Crampons | Try these so you won’t slip on icy surfaces

More of us will shovel driveways and sidewalks than traverse glaciers and Himalayan trails. This product can help you do both safely.

by Leon Pantenburg

Hillsound supplied this product. I was not paid to do this review.

Bend, Oregon – I awoke to 14 inches of new snow, and I’m not going anywhere until the driveway gets shoveled.

So what does this have to do with a pair of mountain crampons?

Hillsound Trail Crampons can be used successfully in urban setting as well as in the mountains.

Hillsound Trail Crampons can be used successfully in urban setting as well as in the mountains.

Well, if you’re like me, you don’t want some exotic piece of gear that only gets used on a rare occasion. My driveway has a pretty steep slope, and it gets really slippery when the snow melts, and then re-freezes.

I also walk two black Labs every night in often slippery conditions. I have slipped and fallen twice because of the ice. (I didn’t get hurt – I took Judo in college, and know how to fall.) I typically put a set of crampons or Yak Tracs on my dog walking books, and leave them on until the bare ground is visible.

Statistically, there are millions more people who will shovel snow and have to cross icy parking lots than those who will climb mountains and traverse glaciers. But the crampons used for both can make things a lot safer.

In Bend, there are a lot of trail runners, hikers and backcountry travelers who rely on durable crampons. But most of us just use them whenever it gets slick out.

So I was interested in the Hillsound Trail Crampons. I regularly hike on icy trails where a slip could be a really bad thing, and these looked really durable.

The day was cold, but these Troop 18 Boy Scouts stayed warm because they dressed correctly for the weather conditions.

By the time I got there, these Boy Scouts had packed the trail down to the point where it was dangerously slick.

Here are the specs, according to the back of the box:

Eleven heat-treated spikes combine with an ergonomically designed flex hinge guarantee superb grip on packed snow or ice.

Welded stainless steel flex-chain: The integral parts of the flex-chain are welded to prevent links from pulling apart on rough terrain.

Dynaflex sleastic harness: The durable elastic harness ensures a tight hold on your shoes and retains its elasticity to -60 degrees Fahrenheit.

The crampons worked really well for shoving a slippery, steep driveway. What typically happens, is that as soon as the sun comes out, the snow starts to melt and the pavement gets really slippery. That’s what happened after the latest snowstorm, but I was able to keep safely shoveling.

In one place, the snow got so slick the snow blower couldn’t make it up the hill. But I was able to walk right through that spot without any danger at all. I was so impressed, I walked downhill through the dangerous spot to see if the crampons would hold. They worked really well.

That night, I walked the dogs with the Hillsound crampons on my boots, and never felt like I was going to slip on the icy sidewalk or the steep paths at the fog park.

A slip and fall on an icy street could end up being every bit as dangerous as a fall in the mountains, and the urban situation is much more likely to happen.

I’m leaving the Hillsound crampons on my boots until the snow clears. I think they’re a solid product, and one people should look at.

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Survival Equipment

Leon Pantenburg is a wilderness enthusiast, and doesn't claim to be a survival expert or expertise as a survivalist. As a newspaperman and journalist for three decades, covering search and rescue, sheriff's departments, floods, forest fires and other natural disasters and outdoor emergencies, Leon learned many people died unnecessarily or escaped miraculously from outdoor emergency situations when simple, common sense might have changed the outcome. Leon now teaches common sense techniques to the average person in order to avert potential disasters. His emphasis is on tried and tested, simple techniques of wilderness survival. Every technique, piece of equipment or skill recommended on this website has been thoroughly tested and researched. After graduating from Iowa State University, Leon completed a six-month, 2,552-mile solo Mississippi River canoe trip from the headwaters at Lake Itasca, Minn., to the Gulf of Mexico. His wilderness backpacking experience includes extended solos through Yellowstone’s backcountry; hiking the John Muir Trail in California, and numerous shorter trips along the Pacific Crest Trail. Other mountain backpacking trips include hikes through the Uintas in Utah; the Beartooths in Montana; the Sawtooths in Idaho; the Pryors, the Wind River Range, Tetons and Bighorns in Wyoming; Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, the Catskills in New York and Death Valley National Monument in southern California. Some of Leon's canoe trips include sojourns through the Okefenokee Swamp and National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia, the Big Black River swamp in Mississippi and the Boundary Waters canoe area in northern Minnesota and numerous small river trips in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. Leon is also an avid fisherman and an elk, deer, upland game and waterfowl hunter. Since 1991, Leon has been an assistant scoutmaster with Boy Scout Troop 18 in Bend, and is a scoutmaster wilderness skills trainer for the Boy Scouts’ Fremont District. Leon earned a second degree black belt in Taekwondo, and competed in his last tournament (sparring and form) at age 49. He is an enthusiastic Bluegrass mandolin picker and fiddler and two-time finalist in the International Dutch Oven Society’s World Championships.

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