Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.
Gear-testing trips often lead me into unknown winter conditions, and a good traction device can mean the difference between turning back and forging ahead. I like to carry this kind of traction device instead of crampons whenever possible because they’re lighter and easier to pack. The XTRs gave me ice-grabbing security on a February ascent of New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington. The plastic toe and heel plate under the 3/8-inch steel spikes prevented snow from getting packed into the bottom of my boots, making it easy to navigate the icy Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail. A bomber rubber gasket makes the XTR easy to get on and off, and it stretches to fit multiple shoe types, from low-cut dayhikers to alpine touring boots (up to men’s 14). $60; 12 oz. (m); S-XXL; yaktrax.com