The Best Crampons (C1) of 2024

Camp Stalker

Camp Stalker

Hiking in winter transforms the trails into a snowy wonderland – a change that, while challenging, doesn’t diminish the joy of the experience! To navigate these frosty paths safely and with enjoyment, additional gear becomes essential. Alongside the enchanting snow-covered trails, we often find ourselves equipped with crampons, snowshoes, gaiters, and an ice axe, embracing the winter hike with both caution and thrill. Crampons are particularly useful when traversing frozen, slippery terrains because they provide us the crucial traction needed to minimize the risks of slips and falls. It’s crucial to remember that crampons are always used in tandem with an ice axe, which serves to arrest a fall. Relying on crampons alone to break a fall is ill-advised, as their spikes may embed deeply into the snow or ice, increasing the risk of tumbling backwards. Additionally, we always recommend wearing gaiters with crampons. Gaiters act as a barrier, keeping snow from sneaking into your boots and shielding your hiking attire from potential tears caused by the crampons’ sharp teeth. This ensemble of equipment ensures that our winter adventures are not only exhilarating but also secure, allowing us to revel in the serene beauty of snow-laden trails.

There are three different types of crampons; C1 (Strap-On Bindings), C2 (Hybrid Bindings) and C3 (Step-In Bindings). The higher the number, the more rigid the crampon. Very rigid crampons (C3) allow you to ascend very steep (vertical) slopes but do require technical footwear. Flexible crampons (C1), on the other hand, are primarily designed for hiking and mountaineering on flat and semi-steep terrain, glacier travel and similar. 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).

In our quest to enhance your winter hiking experiences, we’ve carefully reviewed the best crampons (C1) to simplify your purchasing process. It’s important to us that you find gear that’s both reliable and suitable for your adventures. The crampons featured in this review aren’t designed for tackling extremely steep inclines or the rigors of ice climbing; however, they perfectly meet the needs for hiking and mountaineering across semi-steep terrains blanketed with ice or slippery snow. We’ve ensured that every product listed is compatible with a variety of hiking boots, offering you versatility and ease of use. This selection aims to equip you with the necessary tools to safely enjoy the beauty and challenge of winter landscapes, confident in the knowledge that you’re well-prepared for the journey ahead.

To learn more about how to use crampons, check out our article How to use winter hiking gear.

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1. Our C1 Crampon Picks

Best Crampons

Best Crampons

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

2. Comparison of C1 Crampons

Scroll Horizontally
Feature/Product Grivel G10 New Classic Black Diamond ContactBlack Diamond SeracPetzl Leopard FL Camp Stalker
Weight (pair)1 lb. 13 oz.1 lb. 13 oz.1 lb. 14 oz.13 oz.2 lbs. 1 oz.
Weight - Metric (pair)820 g808 g860 g360 g948 g
MaterialChromoly SteelStainless SteelStainless SteelAluminumChromoly Steel
Anti-balling platesYesYesYesNo (can be purchased separately) Yes

3. The Selection

Grivel G10

Grivel G10

1. Grivel G10 New Classic

The Grivel G10 New Classic represents a hill-walking adaptation of the acclaimed Grivel G-12 crampons, featuring hybrid bindings for added versatility. We find these crampons to be great for hikers seeking dependable gear that seamlessly integrates with standard hiking boots. Crafted from Chromoly steel, the G10 New Classic boasts an exceptional strength-to-weight ratio, offering superior durability compared to traditional steel. With 10 strategically positioned points, they ensure reliable traction on frost-coated trails and semi-steep inclines, enhancing safety and confidence on varied terrains. These points are designed not only for effective walking but also for ascending slopes with ease. Additionally, the inclusion of anti-balling plates significantly reduces the risk of snow build-up, which can lead to falls and slips. For mountaineers and hikers in pursuit of user-friendly equipment that doesn’t compromise on performance during their winter explorations, the Grivel G10 New Classic stands out as a great choice.



  • Lightweight and flexible, ideal for ordinary hiking boots
  • Made of Chromoly steel for a high strength-to-weight ratio
  • Equipped with 10 points for good traction on frosted trails and semi-steep slopes
  • Anti-balling plates included to decrease the chance of falls and slips


  • Not suitable for very steep terrain

Where to buy?

Also available at:



Black Diamond Contact

Black Diamond Contact

2. Black Diamond Contact

The Black Diamond Contact crampons stand out in our review for their remarkable lightness. Constructed from stainless steel, they promise not only exceptional durability but also superior resistance to corrosion, making them a steadfast companion in the harsh winter environment. These flexible, strap-on crampons are ideally suited for both winter mountaineering and hiking across moderate terrains. With 10 strategically placed points, they ensure excellent traction, facilitating a comfortable and secure walking experience even on flat surfaces. The addition of anti-balling plates further enhances their utility by preventing snow accumulation, which could otherwise lead to slips. Available in two distinct models—strap and clip—the Black Diamond Contact caters to diverse footwear requirements. For those of us planning to pair them with regular hiking boots, the strap model is the right choice. While slightly stiffer than the Grivel G10 New Classic previously discussed, this rigidity translates into improved performance on steeper inclines. For hikers and mountaineers in search of a lightweight option that does not compromise on efficiency over semi-steep to steep terrains, the Black Diamond Contact offers an ideal balance of performance and portability.



  • Among the lightest in this review, enhancing portability
  • Stainless steel construction offers great durability and corrosion resistance
  • 10 points provide great traction while maintaining comfort on flat terrain
  • Comes in strap and clip models for versatility with different boot types


  • Will not perform as well on very steep or technical terrain compared to more aggressive models


Black Diamond Serac

Black Diamond Serac

3. Black Diamond Serac

The Black Diamond Serac crampons present notable departure from the earlier mentioned products by featuring 12 points, a design choice that slightly increases their weight. However, this additional weight is a small price to pay for the enhanced traction and stability they offer, especially on steep terrains where these qualities are paramount. The Serac is available in three distinct versions to cater to a variety of needs and preferences: the strap (strap-on bindings), the clip (step-in bindings), and the pro (hybrid bindings). The strap-on model is particularly designed to complement regular hiking boots, making it accessible for a wide range of hikers, while the clip and pro models are tailored for technical boots, suiting more specialized mountaineering endeavors. All three models of the Black Diamond Serac are equipped with anti-balling plates, a feature that plays a crucial role in preventing the accumulation of snow beneath the crampons, thus significantly reducing the risk of slips. Made from stainless steel, these crampons not only offer improved corrosion resistance but also ensure longevity and reliability in challenging winter conditions. For those among us seeking strap-on crampons capable of confidently tackling hikes and mountaineering adventures on relatively steep slopes, the Black Diamond Serac stands out as a robust and versatile choice.



  • 12 points provide good traction and stability on steep terrain
  • Available in strap, clip, and pro models to suit various boot types
  • Anti-balling plates prevent snow accumulation
  • Stainless steel for enhanced corrosion resistance


  • Slightly heavier due to the 12-point design
Petzl Leopard FL

Petzl Leopard FL

4. Petzl Leopard FL

The Petzl Leopard FL crampons set themselves apart from other products we’ve reviewed by their unique aluminum construction, a material choice more typically associated with alpine climbing crampons. This aluminum build renders them exceptionally lightweight, tipping the scales at a mere 360 grams per pair. This featherlight quality makes the Petzl Leopard FL an ideal companion for hikers and mountaineers who prioritize minimal equipment weight during their demanding journeys. Equipped with 10 points and strap-on bindings, these crampons offer versatility and ease of use with virtually any hiking boots. They incorporate the Cord-Tec flexible linking system, significantly reducing their packed volume (a storage bag is included), which is a boon for those of us looking to optimize our pack space. Having been recently introduced to the market, the Petzl Leopard FL crampons hold great promise for gaining popularity among hikers, mountaineers, and outdoor enthusiasts seeking lightweight, reliable gear for their adventures. Their introduction reflects a growing demand for gear that combines performance with portability, potentially setting a new standard in the world of outdoor equipment.



  • Super lightweight aluminum construction, perfect for long, demanding trips
  • 10 points with strap-on bindings for easy use with any hiking boots
  • Cord-Tec flexible linking system reduces volume when packed; storage bag included
  • Potential to become popular due to its lightweight design and ease of use


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


Camp Stalker

Camp Stalker

5. Camp Stalker

The Camp Stalker crampons have earned their popularity among the hiking and mountaineering community, striking a balance between weight and durability. Weighing in at 948 grams, they are indeed heavier than the other crampons we’ve discussed, yet this weight contributes to their sturdiness. Crafted from Chromoly steel, the Camp Stalker crampons are designed to endure the rigors of outdoor adventures. They feature 12 robust points that ensure excellent traction, making them suitable for a variety of terrains. A notable feature of the Camp Stalker crampons is the incorporation of Vibram anti-balling plates, durable nylon straps, and a thermoplastic heel, all of which enhance their functionality and longevity. An innovative addition is the CC4U wear indicators on the side points, providing a clear visual cue for when the crampons require replacement. This feature is particularly appreciated by those of us who value maintenance simplicity and equipment safety. Included with the crampons is a carrying case, facilitating convenient transport and storage within a backpack. The Camp Stalker crampons are an ideal choice for recreational hikers in search of an easy-to-use, reliable tool for navigating the challenges of winter terrain. Their combination of durability, traction, and user-friendly features make them a solid investment for anyone looking to enhance their winter hiking or mountaineering experiences


  • Sturdy construction with Chromoly steel
  • 12 robust points for good traction
  • Features Vibram anti-balling plates, durable nylon straps, and a thermoplastic heel
  • CC4U wear indicators for timely replacement
  • Comes with a carrying case for easy transport


  • Heavier than other models reviewed
  • Its robustness might be overkill for those who only occasionally hike in winter conditions.


4. Buying Hill Walking Crampons – What is important?


Crampons are made of steel, stainless steel or aluminum. Those made of steel are more durable than aluminum crampons but also heavier. They are typically used for hiking and mountaineering while aluminum crampons are mainly used for alpine climbing which requires very light equipment. Stainless steel crampons offer enhanced corrosion resistance as well as other benefits of steel crampons.

Anti-Balling Plates:

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


The points provide you with 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 front points so that they provide good traction while climbing vertically.


C1 crampons are flexible and thus comfortable to walk with. Climbing crampons are stiffer because they need to hold the weight of the climber on steep slopes when traction is only provided by the front-facing points. Learn more about different types of crampons in this post from Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports.

5. Questions and Answers

Can you use crampons with hiking boots?

While C1 (Strap-On Bindings) crampons can be used with any hiking boots, C2 (Hybrid Bindings) and C3 (Step-In Bindings) crampons require technical boots. C2 (Hybrid Bindings) crampons require boots with a stiff sole and a heel groove or welt to hold the heel lever while C3 (Step-In Bindings) crampons require boots with a stiff sole, a heel groove and a toe groove.

Do crampons fit all boots?

C1 (Strap-On Bindings) crampons that are listed above fit all boots. However, for best fit it is recommended to use them with boots that have relatively stiff soles.

What are automatic crampons?

Automatic crampons have Step-In Bindings (C3) and require technical boots with a stiff sole, a heel groove and a toe groove.

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Author Information


Outdoor enthusiast with experience in all types of hiking and mountaineering. Hiked in the Alps, Iceland and other countries. In love with via ferrata trails and snow-covered slopes. Check out my hikes.

One comment on “The Best Crampons (C1) of 2024

The problem with the Black Diamond Serac is the heel is too narrow to accomodate average hiking boots. I had to trim the heels (cut the heel of my boots so they would allow the boot to sit flush with the bottom of the back plate) The boots were Salomon GTX 4D and also Timberland Mt. Maddsen (both size 9-1/2) I noticed other reviews describing this issue. AS stated by another reviewer “I wish the heel of my shoes sat flat against the back piece of the pons instead of sitting up on top of the two up-turned metal tabs, but they still hold on nice and tight. I’ve even used them for some light ice climbing on a warmer day and they held up great! Not recommended, but possible in a pinch!”

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