Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Spikes 101

I live on a hill farm, with steep paths that get icy in the winter, and spikes are very much a fact of daily life.

There are two categories of spikes:

I: Floor-friendly spikes

Yaktrax type:

These would be perfect on a Hurtigruten trip. You can put them on in your cabin, and walk (carefully, as they are slippery on bare floors) outside with them on. You can also keep them on when going into shops, yet they are amazingly stable on ice and snow. There is also a version for runners.

Sandpaper type

These are surprisingly good on hard, slippery surfaces, and pretty hopeless if there is a layer of snow on top. But you can use them indoors without harming the floors.

II: Floor- harming spikes

The totally super-serious crampon type:

This is what we use back at the farm. I have them permanently attached to a pair of winter boots that are easy to slip on or off, and I change to another pair of boots in the car when I'm going to the grocery store or to other civilised areas. The scrunchy sound these spikes make when digging into ice gives a wonderful sense of security. But they are probably overkill if your only icy experience will be on a Hurtigruten trip.

Hurtigruten gift shop type: 

I've seen them used on the stone floor in reception, and they don't leave a mark there. And they might be OK on carpet. And they do give you a good grip.

Newfangled portable type

These have been for sale in bookstores for the first time this year.

The spikes are the same as in the Hurtigruten type,but these are easy to keep in a pocket or handbag. I haven't tested them properly, so I can't say if they stay on when used.

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