Put your tire chains on in 12 seconds? That’s what Thule claims you can do with their Easy-fit version of the time honored traction device. I’m here to tell you that 12 seconds might be a little optimistic in real world conditions. Still, after a couple of practice sessions, getting these things wrapped around your meats in a minute per wheel is not an unreasonable expectation. Check ’em out.
Other features and concerns regarding Thule Easy-fit tire chains: An attempt is made at rim protection, though we suspect you’ll still create some blems if you ram your chained tires into tight ruts. Ditto for the tensioning system, which could be damaged if you encounter the type of deep icy trenches that occur on roads that don’t get a lot of snow plowing. Removing the chains is easy. You press small red tabs, tension releases. If you’re on snowpack you can sometimes drag the chain completely off without moving the vehicle, by slipping the thin cable out from under the tire as you pull the chains off (requires positioning by driver). On harder surfaces, you get everything to the outside except the cable, then have the driver move a few feet. The chain easily comes off after that. Whatever the case, with a small amount of experience removal literally does take seconds. Another downside is price, but if you challenge your Prius or other Euro scooter to reach back road trailheads, Easy-fit chains could change your life.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.