The unique Yaktrax Summit crampons are designed with the new Boa ratchet system for faster, easier attachment to boots or shoes. Featuring 3/8″ carbon nano spikes, they’re poised to provide excellent traction and easier use. My review:
The big differentiator here is the new Boa adjustment system. Instead of difficult to use and messy Velcro straps, the Summits use a cable that’s routed through a series of connection points around the crambines that then terminates at a rotating knob. This knob pulls the cable inside, creating tension and thus adjusting them down dynamically onto boots or shoes. The crampons can be opened up to allow a boot inside by pulling back on the knob, and tightened by simply rotating the knob clockwise. The crampons feature two sets of 3/8″ carbon spikes, each mounted to a flat stabilizing steel plates that sit under the toe and heel of the foot for stability. Chains are used to connect them together for durability, flexibility, and a little added traction. The set weighs 17 ounces, come in four sizes, and retail for $90.
What I liked
The Boa ratchet system is front and center here, so it’s good thing I like it. It does makes putting the crampons on a bit easier than typical systems as most of the traction system opens up wide, ready for the boot to slide in. This makes getting the toe in, and the final adjustment quite simple. You just slip in the toe, pull the back up, and ratchet it down. It still requires pulling back on elastic to slip the heel over, but it’s fairly easy to do and a big upgrade to fighting elastic every step of the way. The best part, however, is the resulting fit. After cranking down the knob, the straps cinch up around the boot wonderfully. This allows them to wrap around and lock down onto my boots like no other system I’ve ever tested. They simply do not budge, even when the spikes below them aren’t quite lined up properly, and this results in better stability, better traction, and more predictability. They also move around less, making them more efficient to use while hiking. Pulling the knob drops all the tension on the system, and pulling the traction kit off of boots is super easy as a result. The setup sort of reminds me of some snowboard binding systems, and I really like it.
The traction here is phenomenal. Walking on solid sheets of inclined ice, lose or hard packed snow, or combinations of all them is no problem at all. The beasty 3/8″ spikes are more than long enough to dig into practically anything I’ve put them against, including solid stone. I’m yet to feel a single slip with them on, assuming the snow beneath me stayed put (micro avalanches are no fun), and they do a fair job of keeping snow from clumping up on the spikes too.
The build quality has been great. Per my typical torture tests, I’ve put them through miles of ice, snow, gravel, and even some pavement, just to see how they held up. So far, no bending spikes, no shredding straps, or anything of the sort. Now, salt will wreck any set of crampons so always wash them off if hiking in urban areas, but otherwise they should hold up quite well. Admittedly, I was at first a bit skeptical of the durability of the suspiciously thin wires that tie into the Boa system, but after testing it, I’m now convinced they’re built to last.
The weight is pretty good for such a robust system. Not amazing, but good.
What I didn’t like
I like the Boa system, but they do still require stretching the system back over the heel before ratcheting the system down. This is a challenge I’ve come across with most good crampon sets, and it’s still somewhat present here (although less of an issue overall). The boa system makes large strides in this area, but I fee like there is still room for improvement.
The Summit traction system by Yaktrax is a new, innovative way to strap big sharp things to your feet, and I like that. There’s nothing like the sensation of effortlessly scampering up ice slides, and these provide sensation that in spades. Where many sets of crampons are difficult to put on, and basically devoid of any real adjustment system, these bolt down onto any shape of shoe and refuse to budge. They feel great, perform very well, and are relatively easy to get on and off. Combine this with their rugged build and it’s hard to not like them.
For more information on Yaktrax and and their wide range of gear, check out their website, https://yaktrax.implus.com/
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I want to extend a huge thanks to Yaktrax for providing this product for review. We couldn’t do it without their help. Our full disclosure can be found here.
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