The Best Five Crampons (C1)


Petzl Irvis

Petzl Irvis

Hiking becomes much more difficult in winter when the trails are covered with the snow – but not necessarily less enjoyable! In order to safely and comfortably execute hiking trips in winter, you might need additional equipment such as crampons, snowshoes, gaiters and an ice axe. If you are hiking on trails that are covered with (slippery) frozen snow or ice, crampons come in very handy as they provide you with the necessary traction and thus minimize the chance of falls and slips. Be aware that crampons are always used together with an ice axe. There is a good reason for that – if you should slip with crampons on your boots, you will need an ice axe to stop as you never break with the crampons themselves because their points might stick so deep into the snow/ice that you will fall backwards. It is also recommended to use gaiters when you are hiking with crampons on. Gaiters prevent the snow from entering into your boots and protect your hiking pants against the crampons, since crampon teeth can easily tear the pants.

There are three different types of crampons; C1 (Strap-On Bindings), C2 (Step-In Bindings) and C3 (Hybrid Bindings). The higher the number, the more rigid is the crampon. Very rigid crampons allow you to ascend very steep (vertical) slopes but do require technical footwear. Flexible crampons, on the other hand, are primarily designed for hiking and mountaineering on flat and semi-steep terrain, glacier travel and similar activities. As they use strap-on bindings, they can be used with any hiking boots as long as they don’t have too flexible soles (like summer hiking boots).

Here we reviewed the best five hill walking crampons (C1) in order to make your buying decision easier. The crampons reviewed here are not suitable for ascending super-steep slopes or ice climbing but they do meet the requirements for hiking and mountaineering on semi-steep terrain covered with ice or slippery snow. All crampons listed in this review are compatible with any hiking boots.

If you are also planning to hike on terrain covered with soft and deep snow, please check our review of the Best Snowshoes for Hiking where we also offer a more detailed explanation of the difference between snowshoes and crampons.

This selection was updated on the 21st of October 2016.

1. Buying Hill Walking Crampons – What is important?

Material:

Crampons are made of steel, stainless steel or aluminum. Crampons made of steel are more durable than aluminum crampons but also heavier. Steel crampons are widely used for hiking and mountaineering while the aluminum crampons are mainly used for alpine climbing where using very light equipment is a priority. Stainless steel crampons offer enhanced corrosion resistance as well as other benefits of steel crampons.

Anti-Balling Plates:

Anti-balling plates prevent the snow from balling up under the crampons as too much snow can cause the crampons to lose traction. Anti-balling plates are usually made of composite materials.

Points:

The points provide you with the traction; most hill walking crampons have 10 or 12 points. The forward-facing points on hill walking (C1) crampons are positioned horizontally so that they allow comfortable walking. Reversely, climbing crampons are usually equipped with vertically positioned points so that they provide good traction while climbing vertically.

Flexibility:

C1 crampons offer reasonable flexibility and are therefore comfortable to walk with. Climbing crampons are stiffer because they need to hold the weight of a climber on steep slopes when traction is only provided with the front-facing points.

2. The Best Five Hill Walking Crampons Review

The Best Crampons

The Best Crampons

  1. Petzl Irvis
  2. Grivel G10 New Classic Lux
  3. Black Diamond Contact
  4. Black Diamond Serac
  5. Petzl Leopard FL

Comparison:

Feature/Product Petzl Irvis Grivel G10 New Classic LuxBlack Diamond ContactBlack Diamond SeracPetzl Leopard FL
Weight (pair)710 g820 g808 g860 g360 g
MaterialStainless SteelChromoly SteelStainless SteelStainless SteelAluminum
Anti-balling platesYesYesYesYesNo (can be purchased separately)
Points1010101210
Petzl Irvis

Petzl Irvis

1. Petzl Irvis

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Ski mountaineering
  • Backpacking

The Petzl Irvis crampons are very light and designed for hiking, mountaineering and glacier travelling. They are made of stainless steel and therefore offer great durability and corrosion resistance. The crampons are equipped with 10 durable points. The two front-facing points are reinforced for increased durability and the second row of points is angled towards the front for better traction when ascending slopes. The crampons come in a strap- and a clip-version. If you are planning to use them with ordinary hiking boots, you need the strap model (strap-on bindings). Additionally, they are equipped with anti-balling plates to prevent the snow from balling up under them. The Petzl Irvis are among the best hiking crampons currently available – they are light, easy to use and provide great traction. Therefore, we would recommend them to beginners as well as experienced hikers who need a reliable pair of crampons to wander on frosted snow and ice.

 

Pros:

  • Fit
  • Easy-to-use
  • Weight

Cons:

  • /

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Grivel G10

Grivel G10

2. Grivel G10 New Classic Lux

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Ski mountaineering
  • Backpacking

The Grivel G10 New Classic Lux crampons are a hill-walking version of the highly popular Grivel G-12 crampons (hybrid bindings). As they are fairly light and flexible, they are perfect for recreational hikers who need a reliable pair of crampons that can be used with ordinary hiking boots. They are made of Chromoly steel which has an excellent strength to weight ratio and offers enhanced strength in comparison to ordinary steel. The crampons are equipped with 10 points which provide good traction on frosted trails as well as on semi-steep slopes.  The points are well-positioned not only for walking but also for ascending slopes. The crampons come with anti-balling plates, thus decreasing the chance of falls and slips. The Grivel G10 New Classic Lux crampons are perfect for mountaineers and hikers who need easy-to-use equipment for their winter adventures.

 

Pros:

  • Durability
  • Fit
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • /

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Black Diamond Contact

Black Diamond Contact

3. Black Diamond Contact

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Ski mountaineering
  • Backpacking

The Black Diamond Contact crampons are among the lightest products in this review. They are made of stainless steel and therefore offer great durability and good protection against corrosion. These strap-on flexible crampons are perfect for winter mountaineering as well as for hiking on moderate terrain. They are equipped with 10 points which provide great traction and don’t reduce the comfort while walking on a flat terrain. The Black Diamond Contact crampons come in two different models; strap and clip. If you are planning to use them with ordinary hiking boots, you should go with the strap model.  They are also equipped with anti-balling plates.  The Black Diamond Contact crampons are a little stiffer than the Grivel G10 New Classic Lux crampons and therefore they offer better performance on steep terrain. We would recommend this product to hikers and mountaineers who want lightweight crampons for semi-steep to steep terrain that can be used with ordinary hiking boots.

 

Pros:

  • Quality
  • Sturdy
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • /

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Black Diamond Serac

Black Diamond Serac

4. Black Diamond Serac

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Ski mountaineering
  • Backpacking

The Black Diamond Serac crampons differ from the other crampons in this review by having 12 points. Therefore, they are also slightly heavier. However, the 12 points come in handy when hiking on fairly steep terrain as they provide good traction and stability. The Black Diamond Serac crampons come in three different versions – strap (strap-on bindings), clip (step-in bindings) and pro (hybrid bindings). The strap-on model is designed for use with hiking boots, while the other two models are designed for use with technical boots. All three models come with anti-balling plates which efficiently prevent the snow from balling up under them. The crampons are made of stainless steel for enhanced corrosion resistance. The Black Diamond Serac crampons are best for those who want strap-on crampons for hiking and mountaineering on fairly steep slopes.

 

Pros:

  • Sturdy
  • Quality
  • Easy to use
  • Traction

Cons:

  • /

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Petzl Leopard FL

Petzl Leopard FL

5. Petzl Leopard FL

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Ski mountaineering
  • Backpacking
  • Mountaineering

The Petzl Leopard FL crampons differ from other crampons in this review by having an aluminum construction – which is more common at alpine climbing crampons. However, due to the aluminum construction these crampons are super light. They weigh merely 360 grams (pair). Therefore, they are best for hikers and mountaineers who often do demanding trips where having lightweight equipment is a priority. They are equipped with 10 points and use strap-on bindings. Thus they can be easily used with any hiking boots. They also use the Cord-Tec flexible linking system which reduces the volume of crampons when packed (bag for storing is included). The Petzl Leopard FL crampons have just been introduced recently and have a great potential to become very popular among hikers, mountaineers and other outdoor enthusiasts.

 

Pros:

  • Weight
  • Easy to use
  • Well-packable

Cons:

  • Don’t come with anti-balling plates
  • Durability might be an issue if used on rocks etc.

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3. The most attractive product in the review

Which product is the most attractive?
Cast your vote to see the results of this poll!

4. Honorable Mentions

The below listed products were once included in our best five selection but eventually moved into this section.

Camp Stalker

Camp Stalker

Camp Stalker

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Mountaineering
  • Ski mountaineering
  • Backpacking

The Camp Stalker crampons are very popular among hikers and mountaineers. They are a little heavier (948 grams) than other products in this review but on the other hand they are also very sturdy. They are made of Chromoly steel and equipped with 12 robust points for good traction. The crampons also feature Vibram anti-balling plates, durable nylon straps and a thermoplastic heel. Additionally, they also have CC4U wear indicators on the side points that show when it is time for replacement. They come with a carrying case so that you can easily transport them in a backpack. The Camp Stalker crampons are perfect for recreational hikers who need easy-to-use crampons for their winter adventures.

Pros:

  • Price
  • Durability
  • Easy-to-use

Cons:

  • Weight

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