The Hillsound Trail Crampon Pro is a minimalist 10-point crampon designed for walking on easy, low gradient frozen surfaces. Lightweight (672g), these semi-flexible crampons come with an easy-to-use binding method, anti-balling plates and are very well made.
The Trail Crampon is easily adjusted with an Allen key, but is designed to fit wide boots, such as bulky winter hiking boots and snowboard boots. They need to be chosen with caution: I fitted the crampon to my Asolo ‘wide-fit’ tramping boots and discovered that because the front strapping posts on the crampon are so far apart, the crampon’s front points sat uselessly beneath the forefoot of my boots.
The binding method is nifty and efficient and utilises two straps with cycling shoe-style ratchet buckles. Nice and quick to put on and do up, but possibly a problem to release if they were frozen.
While a step up from instep crampons, the points on these crampons are around a half to two thirds the length of a ‘typical’ crampon point and hence would not give very reliable contact in soft snow, as is often found at lower elevations in New Zealand, making them really only suitable for gentle terrain. Hillsound describe their ideal use as ‘glacier travel and icy or snowy approaches’. I’d hesitate to recommend them for off-trail use in the New Zealand backcountry where fickle snow and ice conditions, and lack of a winter ‘deep freeze’, mean that light-use backcountry visitors are better off with a crampon with longer points for penetration in soft snow.
If you live in Central Otago or the Canterbury High Country and enjoy winter walks on snowy or frozen tracks, these might be ideal. Glacier trekkers and visitors to ski fields or ski field staff might also find them very useful.