Perhaps one of the most key pieces of equipment this season is my Kahtoola microspikes. There is snow on the ground, even in SoCal, and its a safe bet no matter where you are going, that with snow, comes a bit of ice. One of the most common questions we get at @WomenWhoHike is about what to get and where to go to get started hiking in the snow. Being from Oregon and having some experience in different types of snow, trails and climates and my @Kahtoola microspikes provide me much versatility for hiking during the winter season, more so than snowshoes or crampons. In places where the snow stays powder, snowshoes are a good choice (and in fact, very fun) but here in SoCal much of our trails that get snow get hit with the sun quickly, turning it from a powder to ice chips or a sheet of ice. For that reason, microspikes are the way to go!
And when it comes to microspikes, @Kahtoola rules. Above all else, the microspikes give you CONFIDENCE. Instead of questioning the surface below you or where your next step should be when on the trail, you have the traction and stability to just GO! I have recently hiked with two newbies with the Kahtoolas who echoed the same sentiment… Spikes do in fact ‘rule’ and it made them feel safer, quicker and more confident hiking in winter conditions. They are meant for fairly level trails with moderate and gradual gain.
The Kahtoola spikes come in three sizes and feature 12 spikes per foot and are 3/4” long and crafted from stainless steel, meaning they will also not rust. They are lightweight and easy to put on, toe first and then heel. Its sort of like strapping chains onto tires but much quicker! I have used mine across streams and extremely rocky trails and have never bent or broken a spike,nor have I ever had them slip off. They also come with a two year warranty and convenient tote sack for safe keeping and backpacking.
The next step up from microspikes are crampons which are to be worn on higher angled trails with gain and ice and give you a much deeper and solid grip with their deeper and more hardcore spikes into the trail beneath you when ascending and descending.
As fun as it is, hiking in the snow, winter is something to be taken seriously. Yes, there are safe trails for all skill levels, but its not all snow angels and sleigh bells out there, there are uncalculated dangers that some don’t consider when hiking in the snow. Feel free to DM, email us or use our Facebook groups to ask questions and advice about any given trail, there are other women who hike to help you!