If you have been in ACA long enough you've probably heard the story of the girl that dumped a guy because he bought yaktrax. Well, I am that girl and the yaktrax were just the final indicator that we weren't meant to be together.
To share the story:
I was leading an ACA hike last March in Rocky Mountain National Park and I invited the guy I was dating at the time to come along. He did not own any traction devices. (This should of been my first clue it was not meant to be.) I was not concerned if we would of needed snowshoes because I had an extra pair of those, but he needed microspikes just in case snowshoes were not needed. After several discussions and looking up several traction options online and showing him what I owned I thought I had it drilled into his head that he needed to purchase micropsikes. To go even further I found a friend to lend a pair just in case he was not willing to buy any at the moment since Kataloos can go for $60-$70 at REI. There are cheaper options out there as well, for example I own a pair of Snowlines from Sierra Trading Post and they are awesome. They look exactly like Kataloos, but only $30. So, back to the story. I told him about the pair he could borrow he said not to worry about it because he bought a pair and was good to go. Now it is the day of the hike. We get up to RMNP we all put on our traction I look down at his feet and he is wearing Yaktrax. I specifically told him several times not to buy Yaktrax. I was that girl that showed up to lead a hike with a guy who was unprepared.
Some of you may be thinking it is no big deal, but when Always Choose Adventures put what gear is needed for a hike it is for safety reasons. We want everyone to be safe so they can enjoy themselves.
Please take a look at the difference between the two:
Microspikes have actual spikes that allows you to get a better grip on icy surfaces. Yaktrax only have coils which makes you more prone to slipping in ice. Do not get me wrong, Yaktrax serve a purpose. They are great for walking on sidewalks and running on flat trails in the winter that are mostly found in the city. I myself even own a pair of Yaktrax that I use to run in during the winter. I will have to note though, that I have rolled my ankle while wearing them still because of the ice.
It is important to know your trail conditions prior to going out on a hike so you can know the proper gear needed for the hike. For instance, microspikes are not always the answer. They are great for snowpacked trails and where there is some ice, but when ice climbing or doing more technical hikes you would want crampons.
If there is fresh snow and you will most likely be breaking trail you will want a pair snowshoes. These make it easier on the legs and you won't be post-holing it on a trail.
Please always be prepared and have the correct gear for a hike. if you do not own something and are not ready to make the purchase yet you can always rent it from several shops and Always Choose Adventures even has some gear they can lend out.
Stay safe out there!