View Full Version : NOBO Feb/March...whats your opinion/experience on Microspikes/Trailrunners/Gaiters

01-18-2017, 21:42
Feb/March start...Microspikes? worth carrying or not? Trailrunners (Wildcats 2.0 or 3.0) for first section in Feb/March, ok? or start with a warmer snow runner style boot till snow/slush is less likely then switch. Gaiters? Full traditional style to start and then down grade to dirty girl style or start with dirty girls and make do. Thanks...really appreciate the shared wisdom here.

01-18-2017, 22:04
Met 2 Mainers on the Long Trail doing the AT this year and they wore tall gaiters the whole way and they said they would keep them on. I am doing the same this year with my alpine gaiters. It can save a lot of scrapes, stuff going in the shoes and bug bites. I also treated mine with permethrin.

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01-18-2017, 22:10
I'd take microspikes in February, it can be icy in the Smokies. I like real gaiters, too, in the snow, along with waterproof/breathable trail runners.

01-18-2017, 22:12
I am in the minority as well...
calf height gaiters in all seasons...
Starting NOBO 4/3
Recently switched from my old standby O.R. Rocky Mountain High to Zpacks...
Much lighter!

01-18-2017, 22:20
Tall gaiters in the spring for sure. Every time I think I can get away without them, I end up having to buy a pair along the way at some point.

Short ones in the summer if you wear runners.

It looks unlikely that you'd need spikes this year, but that could still change.

01-19-2017, 06:49
Microspikes are a 12-13 ounce insurance policy against a hike ending injury. They're well worth the weight and you can send them home in 6 weeks or so.

01-20-2017, 10:54
I'll be taking yak trax, short gaiters, and trail runners.

01-25-2017, 14:39
I did Springer through the Smokies starting in late January in 2010.

Shoes/socks: I used mid-weight trail runners (keen targhee IIs) and "trekking"-weight smartwool socks. My feet were plenty warm as soon as I got moving. Pretty brutal putting the cold shoes and socks on in the morning, but I think that's probably unavoidable. That winter was very cold and very snowy; we had 3-4 foot snow drifts to plow through most days we were out. I think I might have had more trouble with my footwear if it were less cold and more wet. As it was, snow would collect on my socks over my ankles and shins and actually work pretty well as insulation. Not a whole lot got in my shoes as they fit pretty well over the bulk of my socks.

Gaiters/spikes: I didn't use them. Never had a problem with slipping (big fan of trekking poles). Gaiters would have saved me some superficial scratches on my shins that were almost exclusively from post-holing through the icy crust over soft snow. If you like them, more power to you. When planning, I chose to go without them for weight/stuff minimization reasons, but, in retrospect, the biggest reason I'm glad I did not bring them was my morning routine. As I said, it was brutally, brutally cold. If I took more than 5 minutes between getting out of my bag and getting warmed up by hiking, I think I would have been in some fairly significant discomfort. I'm really glad I wasn't fumbling around with gaiters and spikes with bare fingers while my core temp was taking a hit. In short, I never really missed having them and I think I would have found them more of a hindrance than a help.

01-25-2017, 17:52
Last year I started with boots and swapped out to trail runners at the NOC. They were perfectly fine. The way to prevent blisters is to use Injinji toe liners underneath your smart wool or darn tough socks.
These prevent your toes from ever touching each other and elimanate the possibly of blisters as a result of that. I cannot stress how awesome they are. As for micro spikes and gaiters, I never touched them....extra weight and never had a need for them in Georgia, Tennessee or North Carolina. Can't speak for other parts.

02-03-2017, 20:08
thanks for the response RollTide, when was your starting date?