ITEM: Snowline Chainsen Light & Snowline Chainsen Pro Spikes
SPOILER ALERT: They’re awesome.
PRICE: $49 (Pros) – $59 (Lights)
We’ve taken up winter hiking this year, but having moved from sunny LA, we didn’t have any traction gear. We’ve been borrowing snowshoes from a friend and they’re great, but we’ve come to realize that they are a little overkill for the trails we rock. You don’t really need snowshoes for heavily packed trails, just some solid hardware on your feet so you don’t slip around. Snowshoes are for deeper snow where you need to float on top. We’ve been procrastinating on this purchase because spikes aren’t cheap, but after I took a pretty good fall on the Mills Lake trail a few weeks ago, we decided to invest in a pair.
Knowing that most metals rust, we knew we definitely wanted to go with stainless steel. After that it was pretty slim pickings in the store, so I randomly picked up a pair of Snowline Chainsen Light’s for myself and the Snowline Chainsen Pro’s for Andre.
The only difference we could discern was weight, so here’s a nifty little chart I made based on info from the product website:
Although there seems to be a sizable weight difference between the Pro & Light, neither of us really felt anything remarkable in the way of extra weight being added onto our feet. I put my spikes on at the beginning of the trail, and didn’t really notice I had added anything until I took them off to cross a long stretch of dry rock near the summit. Very minimal difference. Apparently wearing almost 1/2 a pound on each foot isn’t a struggle for a 6′ 6″ dude either, as Andre noted the same un-remarkableness of the additional weight on his feet. That being said, I would save the $10 and go with the Pros. Lights don’t seem to be worth spending the extra cash.
CHAINSEN PRO ON LEFT, CHAINSEN LIGHT ON RIGHT.
They both look exactly the same, and we both reported the exact same thing: These chains definitely help avoid slipping and sliding around in the snow and even solid ice in a major way. They’re really easy to slip on and there’s no buckles to mess with.
It’s kinda difficult to find where to buy these guys in a store, and you can’t even buy them directly from their website. So if you’re going to pick up a pair I recommended doing a google search for “Buy Chainsen” and choosing from one of the sites that pop up. You can try going to their Find a Retailer Page, but I can’t get it to locate a store outside of Europe. If you live in the Denver area, we got our spikes at The Wilderness Exchange, which doesn’t even pop up on their Find a Retailer page, so just click on that link in the line above. Even though you can’t just run out to your local REI and buy these guys, it’s definitely worth it to find somewhere you can.
Snowline Chainsen Spikes: Worth the effort to find, worth the cost to buy.
– C. Egli