Here is a crampon bag hack I’ve been using for the past few years to protect the front mesh pocket of my winter pack from sharp crampon and microspike teeth. It requires the use of a simple poly bubble mailer (those white padded envelopes used for Amazon prime packages) that’s large enough to hold your crampons, trail crampons, or microspikes. I find that the smooth exterior of the poly bubble mailer slides easily into the snug mesh pocket on the front of my pack and the bag’s ease of use is one of the chief benefits of this approach. These mailing envelopes are amazingly durable and I usually get an entire winter hiking season out of a single one. If you like you can also punch a hole in the bottom to help it drain if snow adheres to your crampons or spikes and melts.
Besides saving money, using a poly bubble mailer can also save you some gear weight which is a bigger deal in winter because your hiking gear, traction and flotation aids, hot water bottles, food, and layers are usually quite heavy. For example, a repurposed poly bubble mailer costs nothing and weighs 1 oz. Compare that to a Hyperlite Mountain Gear’s Prism Crampon Bag ($59) which weighs 4 oz (113g) or a Black Diamond Crampon Bag ($25) which weighs 5.5 oz (156g). On top of that, a poly bubble mailer doesn’t have a zipper, so that’s one less point of failure.
I don’t consider the use of a poly bubble mailer as a crampon bag to be that extraordinary, but I was recently winter hiking with some friends and they were quite surprised that I carry my crampons and microspikes in poly bubble mailers instead of using a crampon bag. It just goes to show, that some of the best hiking gear is not hiking gear at all.
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