YAKTRAX WALKER Traction Device
BY KATHLEEN WATERS
March 23, 2007
White Lake, Michigan USA
5' 4" (1.63 m)
125 lb (56.70 kg)
I started hiking in 1998 after an eye-opening climb up Hahn's Peak in Colorado. Hooked, I return to Colorado often. I've hiked/snowshoed glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in domestic and exotic locations, including Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley.
At home, I plan for 2-3 hikes of 6-8 mi (10-13 km) weekly and one weekend hike monthly. Weekday hikes take place in Pontiac Lake Recreation Area, a mixture of heavily-wooded moderate hills and flat terrain. Weekend hike locations vary.
My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) including food and water
|Manufacturer: Yaktrax, LLC.|
Year of Manufacture: 2005
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.yaktrax.com
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 3.5 oz (99 g)
Colors: Safety Orange, Glow-In-The-Dark Green & Black
Color Reviewed: Glow-In-The-Dark Green
Sizes Available: XS to XL ( Men's 1-13.5 US/32.5-38 EUR and Women's 2.5-15/34.5-48 EUR)
Size Reviewed: Small
My Shoe/Boot Size: 7.5 to 8.5 US Women's
"The Yaktrax Walker is designed for people who are looking for an easy-to-use, lightweight traction device for their shoes. The Walker is the original version of Yaktrax and is ideal for pedestrians, the elderly, business people or anyone who want greater stability on ice and snow. Use the Yaktrax Walker while walking to and from work, school or just to the mailbox.
The Walker is made out of an injection molded thermal plastic elastomer designed for easy on and off. The coils are protected against rusting and hand-wound to give you 360 degrees of traction on ice and snow. When you walk in the Yaktrax Walker, every step you take places hundreds of biting edges in direct contact with the ice beneath your feet. Yaktrax can be worn in temperatures as low as -41 degrees Fahrenheit.
The patented design of the Walker makes it a unique solution to walking on packed snow and ice. The outerband conforms to the length and width of your boot or shoe. The high strength horizontal coils provide forward and backward stability. The vertical coil pattern provide side-to-side stability." from Yaktrax website
|My Yaktrax Walker traction devices are an impossible-to-miss bright green! |
Composed of a stretchy plastic-like material, the Yaktrax cover the bottom of footwear from front to back by wrapping over the toe and heel of my shoes or boots. The injection molded thermal plastic elastomer is wrapped with metal coils on the sections of the Yaktrax which come in contact with the tread of my footwear and the ground.
The webbing of the Yaktrax Walker traction devices creates a diamond pattern (two full and two half diamonds) formed by the criss-crossing of the elastomer on the sole of my footwear. There are two elastomer connectors on either side which attach to the top of the Yaktrax and two connectors in both the front and back which cup my toe and heel.
There is a tab at the back of each traction device to aid in pulling the Yaktrax on and off.
I have used the Yaktrax Walker traction devices for approximately 3 months over Michigan's nastiest weather months of January, February and March. Temperatures on days I wore the Yaktrax ranged from a low of 20 F (-7 C) to 35 F (1.7 C). It rained, it sleeted, it snowed and on some rare days, the sun shone.
The terrain varied from groomed packed snow-covered trails to icy blacktop and fresh powder snow. Most of the time, I was on relatively flat ground with rolling hills, but on my favorite trail in Pontiac Lake Recreation Area, I did encounter short but fairly steep hills. I hiked/walked at least 2 miles (3 km) daily, more often than not, 3 or 4 miles (5 or 6 km) in all weather but steady rain.
Also, during this same time period, I wore the Yaktrax Walkers on several occasions in south central Colorado where temperatures at night would drop even lower than in Michigan to as low as 10 F (-12 C) . Colorado gave me more sunshine but because of the attitude - starting at over 5500 ft (1676 m) - I spent a lot more time on solidly icy rock trails.
Most of the times that I wore the Yaktrax Walkers I was wearing a daypack weighing under 5 lb (2 kg) or so, but on a couple of hikes, I had a full pack on. Weight did not seem to be a factor as to the suitability of the devices.
I've worn the Yaktrax Walker traction devices with various shoes and boots including Asics tennis shoes, La Sportiva Venture Mid XCR boots and my trusty old Asolos. Depending on which footwear I wear, my sizes range from 7.5 to 8.5 US Women's.
|I put the Yaktrax Walkers on by placing the toes of my shoes/boots into the front of the device. Depending on which sort of footwear (tennis shoes or boots) I am wearing, I have more or less of the Yaktrax to cover my toe box. |
Once I have my toes firmly placed, I stretch the Yaktrax under my foot to my heel where I pull the tabbed back up over my heel. I then adjust the sides of the Yaktrax, stretching them as far up my shoe/boot as I am able for a secure fit.
Putting the Yaktrax on can be tricky at times particularly with my heavier boots. The devices can fly off and I've broken more than a few fingernails. Easy does it! I can't manage getting the Yaktrax on at all while wearing any kind of gloves though.
Taking the Yaktrax Walker traction devices off is easily accomplished with or without gloves on. A quick push downward on the heel tab and they pop right off.
|When wearing a boot with a more or less uniform width through the instep, the Yaktrax nicely hugs the entire boot. |
However, I've found using the Yaktrax on footwear with a more pronounced instep results in a gap between the traction device and my shoe/boot. This on occasion has caused problems with trail debris. Small twigs or even rocks sometimes get caught in the open weave and snag the Yaktrax. This results in the popping-off of the devices or the need to stop and remove the offending object from the Yaktrax.
I have not had any breakage yet though.
Wearing the Yaktrax Walker traction devices gives me an extra measure of surefootedness when winter conditions are at their worst. I've worn them in all sorts of situations from city streets with ice, slush and/or snow to snow-packed and icy trails. Initially, the Yaktrax gave me a weird feeling like something was stuck on my foot (there was!) and I walked gingerly. I soon got over that feeling and started to enjoy walking securely over surfaces that had other people treading tentatively. The Yaktrax worked great in all situations, except on bare ground. When conditions were spotty, I had difficulty navigating exposed rocky trails. I felt like the metal coils were causing me to slip. Under these circumstances, I would remove the Yaktrax.
When not on my feet, the Yaktrax fold up neatly into a small, lightweight "package." I tuck them into a ordinary zipper lock sandwich bag and slip it into my pocket or a side compartment in my backpack. It's great to always have them readily available.
Cleaning the Yaktrax is easy. When they are dirty, and they do get muddy when conditions are right, a quick bath in a bit of dishwashing liquid, finds the Yaktrax looking brand-new.
I really like these things! The Yaktrax Walker traction devices are well made, have a specific, useful purpose and a place in my pocket during winter months. They are not meant to replace crampons or to be used on exposed rock, but are very efficient at keeping my derrière off the ground when I'm hiking in snow, slush or on icy trails. After decently hard use over three months, the Yaktrax Walkers don't show much wear at all. They will definitely be around for next year.
Mine were a gift from a friend who loved their Yaktrax and I've already passed along the favor and given a pair to another friend. Neat product!
THINGS I LIKE
1. Yaktrax actually work! I feel much more stable walking and hiking in winter conditions.
2. Yaktrax are small and lightweight which means I can (and do) carry them everywhere.
3. Yaktrax are easy to use; putting them off and on is intuitive.
THINGS I DON'T LIKE
1. Yaktrax will occasionally pop-off my boots.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
2. On non-ice or snow-covered surfaces, they can be "slippery".
3. Sometimes, small twigs or debris will get wedged into the Yaktrax.
Kathleen (Kathy) Waters
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