What is the Difference Between Crampons and Microspikes

The main difference between crampons and microspikes is that crampons are ideal for extreme ice and snow, while microspikes are better when you are dealing with a small amount of snow and ice.

Hiking on ice/snow-covered land always requires extra traction to prevent slips and falls. Crampons and microspikes are two traction devices we use for these purposes. Although they serve a similar purpose, there are many differences between crampons and microspikes.

Key Areas Covered

1. What are Crampons 
     – Definition, Features
2. What are Microspikes
     – Definition, Features
3. What is the Difference Between Crampons and Microspikes
    – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Crampons, MicrospikesDifference Between Crampons and Microspikes - Comparison Summary

What are Crampons

Crampons are foot frames that have large spikes on the bottom. We can simply describe them as pointer versions of snowshoes and skies. This pointy design allows them to dig into ice and snow. A crampon typically has 10-12 points. However, some ice-climbing crampons may contain up to 14 points. In general, 10 points face downwards and, in crampons with 12 points, 2 points stick out the front. Having front points helps in climbing steeper ground.

Traditionally, crampons were designed for ice-climbing. They are attached to the footwear and help the wearer to improve grip while travelling in risky terrains of ice and snow, like snow slopes, ice fields, and glaciers. Hikers, climbers, and backpackers use crampons.

Difference Between Crampons and Microspikes

Crampons are usually made of two materials: steel and aluminum. Steel crampons are a good option if you are going on general technical mountaineering in steep and icy terrain. Aluminum crampons, on the other hand, are lightweight and are perfect for alpine climbs. But they will wear out quickly if you use them on rocky terrain.

What are Microspikes

Microspikes are traction devices we use to tread adventurous trails. We wear them over trekking footwear for extra traction. They are ideal for hiking trails covered in snow or ice. Microspikes have small spikes and chains. They are designed with a concept similar to that using chains over tires to improve vehicle traction.

Microspikes usually have heat-treated stainless steel spikes and welded stainless steel chains. The spikes are resistant to corrosion, durable, and dig into the icy terrain aggressively, while the chains provide extra traction in the snow while being exceptionally flexible.

Main Difference - Crampons vs Microspikes

Furthermore, microspikes usually tend to be more affordable and fit with non-boot footwear, like trail running shoes. You can even enjoy a jog or run in microspikes. They are also safe to use when the trail is muddy or rocky.

Difference Between Crampons and Microspikes

Definition

Crampons are foot frames that have large spikes on the bottom, while microspikes are traction devices used to tread adventurous trails.

Use

Crampons are ideal for extreme ice and snow, while microspikes are better when you are dealing with a small amount of snow and ice. Moreover, microspikes are easy to use, whereas crampons may require some training.

Activities

Crampons are only used for climbing. However, you can use microspikes for hiking, trekking, as well as running and jogging.

Design

While crampons have large spikes on the bottom, microspikes have small spikes and chains.

Price

Furthermore, microspikes are generally more affordable than crampons.

Conclusion

Crampons are traction devices with large spikes on their bottom, while microspikes are traction devices with small spikes and chains. Moreover, crampons are ideal for extreme ice and snow, while microspikes are better when you are dealing with a small amount of snow and ice. Thus, this is the main difference between crampons and microspikes.

Image Courtesy:

1. “1255395” (CC0) via Pixabay
2. “Microspikes 3rd time this month” By Patrick Mueller (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

Reference:

1. “How to Choose Crampons.” REI Co-Op, Available here.

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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