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Dirtbag Crampon Bag Hack

Dirtbag Crampon Bag Hack

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.

I use the same envelope for my Hillsound Trail Crampon Pros (shown here) and my Trail Crampons
I use the same envelope for my Hillsound Trail Crampon Pros (shown here) and my Trail Crampons

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 use a slightly larger bubble mailer for me full crampons
I use a slightly larger bubble mailer for my full crampons

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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14 comments

  1. Great idea, thanks for the tip!

  2. This is f-cking brilliant! As usual…love your website for this reason.

  3. great! I’ve been carrying my microspikes in their supplied bag, but this year I’ve added the Hillsound pros to the arsenal and was wondering how to carry them.

  4. Those bags are useful. I don’t need crampons in Texas but keep my tent pegs rolled up in the end of one of those bags. It keeps the pegs together, protects my other gear and keeps any dirt away from everything else. If we enter another ice age, I’ll use them for crampons.

  5. I use one of those bags as a sit-pad for day hiking, but use a closed-cell foam pad for backpacking. The bubble-bag rolls down much smaller, to fit in a day pack. When I bring hot soup for day hikes in winter, I put the Thermos inside the mailing bubble-bag for added insulation. I’ll bet your readers can come up with at least 20 uses for these bags.

  6. Love it– this falls into the small category of ‘things that weren’t designed for backpacking but work as well as anything that was purpose built’. For example: Smartwater bottles, Trash compactor bag pack liners, cold-soak Talenti jars. Can anyone think of others?

  7. Hey yoo, it’s the Owlshead early bird from this past October. My friend and I were chatting it up as you seemed to be enjoying a peaceful morning in the woods.

    I actually use the Amazon bags for my bladder. Similarly, it slides effortlessly into the bladder holder and serves as leak protection. I’ll have to try this storage solution, also. Anything to save a gram or two.

    Thank you for all you do.

  8. Remember, as kids, there was nothing better than having a big appliance box to play in.

    • My favorite toy as a little kid was a empty Quaker Oats container. Oh what memories. But now I think I can find a few uses for one while hiking!

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