This past weekend I field tested a product that will forever become part of my winter ice fishing gear. Simply stated, I won’t walk on a snow-free frozen lake again without wearing a pair of Yaktrax Diamond Grips (below).
Chances are good that you’ve heard of the brand Yaktrax; many people wear the company’s products when walking or jogging on slippery road/trail conditions during late fall, winter and early spring. These traction systems carry the names Yaktrax Run, Walk or Pro. I’ve used them in the past for walking and running on slippery roads during winter, and they worked well. However, when I tried wearing them with heavy insulted pac boots, they sometimes fell off, and just didn’t do the job when ice fishing on snow-free frozen lakes.
This year at the 2018 SHOT Show, I stopped by the Yaktrax booth to ask for advice. On display next to the Run, Walk and Pro products designed for shoes/hikers was the boot-friendly Yaktrax Diamond Grip. The rep working the booth assured me that this traction system takes safety on ice to a whole new level.
The Diamond Grip system features patented diamond-shaped beads, with hundreds of biting edges that grip in all directions. The beads are made of case-hardened steel alloy and strung on steel aircraft grade cable. In addition, the beads swivel independently, preventing a buildup of snow and ice.
The outer band/sling is made of thick natural rubber. Last weekend I used the Diamond Grips in air temps of minus 5 degrees, and the rubber remained pliable. Because of the elastic rubber sling, Diamond Grips are easy on, easy off, provided you order the correct size (keep reading).
As the chart below states, you should add two sizes when planning to wear Diamond Grips with insulated pac boots.
Specifically, I ice fish in either a size 10 Sorel Caribou pac boot, or a size 10 LaCrosse Iceman. The Iceman is quite a bit bulkier than the Caribou, and because I wanted a perfect fit with both styles, I tried Diamond Grips in sizes XL and 2XL. I found that while size XL worked okay with the Caribou, it was difficult to get the rubber sling over the footbed. The size 2XL worked perfectly with the Iceman (photo below), and when I tried the 2XL with the Caribou, the result was the same: easy on and easy off. Assuming you wear size 10-13 winter boots, you’ll want to purchase Diamond Grips in size 2XL.
Unlike less-expensive traction systems I’ve worn on snow-free frozen lakes, Diamond Grips enable me to walk normally; I don’t have to shuffle my feet. The Diamond Grip system anchors you to the ice, and you can walk stress-free with a normal stride.
Diamond Grips Save the Weekend
In addition to brutally cold temps last weekend in South Dakota, my son and I also endured 30-mph winds. These were tough conditions on a snow-free, frozen prairie pond. Great care had to be taken to place our portable shelter — using the truck as a windbreak; shoveling slush and ice shavings around the house/sled; making sure someone was always sitting on the bench seat in the house for added weight; etc.
Whenever we slid the shelter 15-75 yards — and we moved regularly to find and stay on wandering perch and bass — the ice house caught wind like a sail. Without my son and I both wearing Diamond Grips, there’s no way we could have kept a solid grip on the ice shelter during these moves. We would’ve fallen to the ice, and the shelter likely would’ve been swept away in the high winds. Not good. The amazing Diamond Grip traction system literally saved our 3-day father/son fishing weekend (check out the photos below!).
On a scale of 1 to 5 stars, I give Yaktrax Diamond Grips a perfect score of 5.
On-ice images by Dave Maas