Microspikes Are My New Best Friends

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By Emily Pennington

“Why have I never used these before?!” I quietly exclaimed to myself as I skipped down the side of an ice-covered ridge in Yosemite National Park. Rather than boulder-hopping and mountain-goating from stone to stone as I had on my way up the mountain, I was suddenly free to move, parading over frozen streams and mini-waterfalls with the grace of a Bolshoi dancer. The reason? Microspikes.

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I’m not entirely sure why it took me so long to buy a pair, or why my little forest-obsessed heart was so afraid and untrusting of winter gear in general. Perhaps Southern California had begun to make a permanent impression, declaring all things cold to be untrustworthy cohorts of the Norse gods, or perhaps I just hadn’t found the right winter monkey posse to push me past my comfort zone. In any case, I am now a convert to the religion of microspikes!

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In case you’re new to the scene, like me, here’s the scoop: microspikes are a step down from crampons, tiny sets of metal spikes attached to rubber that quickly and easily snaps up and around your regular hiking boots. They’re mostly used for hiking and mountaineering when ice may be present on the trail and the slope is not greater than 25-30 degrees. The best part? They aren’t like other winter gear that costs $100 or more! One set of these on Amazon will only set you back about $30, and they work like a dream. I bought the Uelfbaby set with 19 spikes, and I couldn’t be happier. Getting out in the fresh powder atop a frost-bitten cliff in Yosemite has made my Scandinavian bones begin to crave the chilly thrill of winter sports. Snowshoeing, frozen ascents, and cross-country skiing are all in my near future, thanks to the wake up call these little foot bayonets provided. I think this may be the beginning of a tremendously fun and gear-centric snow season! Does anyone have an ice-axe I can borrow?? 😉

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Which Shoes to Choose for Camping?

By Shelby Kisgen

Shoe time is a woman’s favorite time. What is it about women and shoes? While that mystery shall remain unsolved, it is important to pick the right shoes when going camping. While you might love all your little leather babies, some are better suited for camping than others. When packing your bags, make sure you consider which shoes to choose for camping by considering these tips first.

 

Walking Shoes: Whether you plan to hike or not, camping involves lots of time walking and standing as you set up camp. Tennis shoes are good for meandering around the camp and on well-kept trails.

 

Hiking Boots: If you plan to hike steep or rocky terrain, investing in a pair of hiking shoes is a good idea. While tennis shoes are good for easy trails, hiking boots are built specifically for mountainous terrain. They feature durable bottoms that protect your feet from rocks. The sides come up higher on the leg which prevents rolling an ankle from fatigue or a misplaced foot. The laces and exteriors are made of tough yet breathable material. Many are water-proof and all provide ultimate traction, especially on slick surfaces.

 

Running Shoes: If you plan to trail run, invest in a pair of lighter trail shoes. Running in tennis shoes might not provide enough traction. Hiking boots are too stiff, inflexible, and heavy for the light-footed running necessary to pick around rocks on a trail. There are a plethora of running trail shoes available in fancy colors and styles.
Water Shoes: If you are camping near a lake or river and plan to fish or wade across any body of water, water shoes can be beneficial. Or if you want to kayak or canoe, water shoes are helpful when putting the raft in the water. They protect your feet from the sharp rocks on the bottom, and keep them slightly warmer in that cold mountain water. Water shoes do not have to be expensive; most stores carry some version for the summer months. Any shoe with a mesh outside and rubber sole will do the job.

 

Camp Shoes: These shoes can be flip-flops, house slippers, or beat-up sneakers, whatever you want. These are the shoes that you put on at the end of the day to hug your feet. These are shoes you want to wear after a day of hard hiking or freezing in the water. Camp shoes should be your favorite, most comfortable shoes. They should also be old enough that you do not worry if you drop gooey marshmallows on the toe, or if they smell like campfire when you get home. *These shoes also double as the walking shoes mentioned first if you need extra space.*

 

As women with lots of shoes from choose from, picking which to take camping can be difficult. On the plus side, since heels are not suitable, it gives us an excuse to add more shoe variety to our wardrobe. So if you do not have these options at home, get shopping and buy some new shoes! When you combine shoe-shopping with camping, it is bound to be a good weekend.

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