4+ Ways To Get A Grip In Winter
Sigh. Get a grip…No Rarotonga adventuring in this budgetary cycle…. We’re talking get a grip in winter, alas, the kind that’ll keep you from slipping on ice.
No South Pacific this year
Reality has made the South Pacific disappear off your bucket list for now, but not to worry, 62+ go-getters generally have some workarounds for the many many many times they’re not sunning themselves in the Cook Islands.
But it can take some preparedness to set off for a mini-adventure on those many many many days in the middle of winter when the weather isn’t exactly cooperating. Either it’s sunny and slick, or gloomy and crusty. These are days when just getting out for a walk is a big WIN.
If you’re not getting a grip—on the ice, that is—spikes can get you one. Also known as cleats, they’re good for ice, frozen ground, and unexpected water-created winter-generated “banana peels”.
What exactly does Muddy Boots mean by spikes here? NOT the big ol’ stabbers used for Mount Everest (and other, natch, lesser peaks), the ones termed “crampons”. See the overkill to your left? “Over” being the fall-flat-on-your-face variety and “kill” the certain outcome? You don’t need this kind for a breezer in the local park or a woodsy path with patchy snow.
Nor is Muddy Boots referring to snowshoes. Those require 4+ inches of softish snow stuff, unless you want to wreck them by clattering around on hard pack. You can read about those right here, by the way: Get Started With Snowshoes: Q&A For Outdoor Seniors.
So, let’s sort out exactly how to get a grip in winter:
Type #1: Microspikes
These are made by Kahtoola. They have a fairly pronounced spike, and are generally used on hikes and woodsy walks. Microspikes are notoriously durable. Microspikes are easy to get on—even while wearing gloves—but Muddy Boots recommends you size up if this works for you, so they are easier to stretch onto the boot.
Type #2: Nanospikes
Nanospikes are also made by Kahtoola. They have tiny studs, just enough to grip ice on a sidewalk or a mellow trip to the woods. They have a very low profile, which means 62 plussers won’t be tripping over their feet. As for Microspikes, consider sizing up to stretch them onto your boot more easily, but not so large that you can snag your boot. Kahtoola.
Type #3: Yaktrax
Yaktrax may be the most popular brand for everyday use when folks want to get a grip in winter. They achieve traction by a series of coiled wires, just like traction devices for passenger cars. Yaktrax are modestly priced and should last a season or two. Caution, though. They are a higher profile device: step carefully when you first put them on. And, be sure to purchase the type with a strap over the boot, otherwise you’ll wonder where you lost them. Yaktrax.
Type #4: Stabilicers Lite
The Lite version of Stabilicers is a low-budget model that works great while shoveling the driveway. Translation: Muddy Boots gives a thumbs down for anything but the back yard. Big plus, though: they come in several colors! 32°North Stabilicers.
That’s it for Spikes! Just remember to take your trekking poles whenever you plan to snug on your the grippers: they’ll help you zip along and stay upright on the slick stuff.
Photo credits for Get a Grip in Winter. Snow Zone sign: CC BY 2.0 via Flickr by Oregon Department of Transportation. Yellow Boat, Avarua Foreshore: CC BY 2.0 via Flickr by Bob Linsdell. Crampons: CC BY 2.0 via Flickr by Michael Pollak. Microspikes: CC BY 2.0 via Flickr by Rebecca Siegel. Nanospikes: ©DustyCarMuddyBoots.com, All Rights Reserved. Putting on Yaktrax: CC BY-ND 2.0 via Flickr by Laurel F. Stabilicers: Eastern Mountain Sports. Skating!: CC BY-ND 2.0 by Duck Lover via Flickr. Nanospikes: ©DustyCarMuddyBoots.com, All Rights Reserved.