Thule/Konig XG-12 Pro Snow Chains – Review

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Vans are definitely NOT renowned for their outstanding traction on ice/snow… if like us you plan on using your campervan as a base camp for skiing, consider snow chains a safety feature rather than a gizmo. If you’re still not convinced, some area REQUIRES you to have snow chains (or a 4×4) when road conditions are bad (bad road conditions = awesome skiing conditions!!). The Thule / Konig XG-12 PRO snow chains are not the cheapest, but we don’t like to cheap out on safety device. We researched most of the high-quality options available and we selected them for the following reasons:

 

Thule-Snow-Chains-Pinterest

 

What we Like

  • They have a patented self-centering, self-tensioning system. In plain English it means they are quick and simple to install; as opposed to some chains, they don’t need the vehicle to move during the installation process. That’s really appreciated when putting them on during a blizzard!
  • They have a color-coded connection points to help with installation.
  • The tensioning system is plastic coated so you don’t freeze your hands when installing them.
  • Diamond Pattern: this type of pattern provides the most traction with minimal noise or vibration.
  • They come in a compact plastic case, so they’re easily stored in the vehicle.

 

What we Don’t Like …

  • Although it’s a comment about chains in general, it’s worth mentioning  that installing them require practice. The Thule are easy enough to install, but still: make sure to practice BEFORE you need them in the Blizzard. Seriously.

 

Anything else to know?

  • Per manual, they require at least 12mm (1/2 in) clearance between the tire and any vehicle structure, but 1in clearance seems more reasonable so when the chains are installed there is still about 1/2in clearance remaining. With our BF Goodrich KO2 LT225/75R16E tires installed on a Ford Transit, minimum clearance between the tire and the plastic trim is located forward and is just a little less than 1in (that is after the chains are installed; in other words measured from the chain to the plastic trim). Those with bigger tires (245/75R16) installed on their Ford Transit should get approximately 1/2in clearance measured after the chains are installed.

Thule Konig XG-12 PRO Snow Chains Review

  • If like us you’re using them on the Ford Transit, be aware that the Transit is delivered with the following notice: “DO NOT USE SNOW CHAINS”. We decided to use them anyway (like many others) making sure of being EXTRA careful to install them properly so they won’t tear apart the brake lines and other stuff on the inside of the wheel… It is YOUR decision to follow the Ford notice or not, not ours…
  • The maximum driving speed is 30 mph with the chains on.
  • All snow chains are installed on the driving wheels only… no need to buy chains for the front wheels if you have a propulsion vehicle!
  • What’s the deal?? Are these snow chains made by Thule or Konig?? It looks like Thule bought Konig years ago, or the other way around, who knows. From Thule website: “Our snow chain department has been divested to Konig in Italy. Please contact them on info@konigchain.com”

 

Where to Buy

First of all, make sure to select the correct chains size:

  • Fit Guide (hint: click on “I can’t find my car” to choose by tire size instead of by car model and then select “Van or Motorhome” car type)
  • For example, we got 245 chain size for our BFGoodrich KO2 LT225/75/R16E tires.

 

Then, click the following Amazon link (amzn.to/2DM6POG) and add the selected chain size to your cart!

Thule Konig XG-12 PRO Snow Chains

Thule Konig XG-12 PRO Snow Chains. Buy from Amazon.

 

Installation

Here is the official installation guide from the manufacturer: Installation Manual

 

And here is our take on it:

1- Put the chain on the ground and make sure there is no twist in it

Thule Konic XG-12 PRO Snow Chains Review

 

2.1- For the right wheel: start from the rear of the van and slide the chain toward the front of the van (or if you prefer: hold the yellow end of the loop in your right hand)

Thule Konig XG-12 PRO Snow Chains Review
Thule Konig XG-12 PRO Snow Chains Review-2

 

2.2- For the left wheel: start from the front of the van and slide the chain toward the back of the van (or if you prefer: hold the yellow end of the loop in your right hand, yes in the right hand again!)

Thule Konig XG-12 PRO Snow Chains - Review (14)

 

 

3- By now the chain should look like this

Thule Konig XG-12 PRO Snow Chains Review-3

Thule Konig XG-12 PRO Snow Chains Review-4
Thule Konig XG-12 PRO Snow Chains Review-5

 

4- Close the loop on top of the wheel

Thule Konig XG-12 PRO Snow Chains - Review (3)

Thule Konig XG-12 PRO Snow Chains - Review (4)

 

5- Place the chain roughly on the tire and attach the red hooks together

Thule Konig XG-12 PRO Snow Chains - Review (5)

Thule Konig XG-12 PRO Snow Chains - Review (666)

The chain size (ours are 245) should be visible, it should not lie on the tire side

 

6- Pull on the tension strap from the bottom of the wheel and attach it to the hook on top

Thule Konig XG-12 PRO Snow Chains - Review (777)

Thule Konig XG-12 PRO Snow Chains Review Ford Transit

 

7- Route the tension strap into the pulley

Thule Konig XG-12 PRO Snow Chains - Review (999)

Thule Konig XG-12 PRO Snow Chains - Review (100)

 

8- Well done!

Thule Konig XG-12 PRO Snow Chains - Review (11)

 

9- Make sure everything look neat and centered

Thule Konig XG-12 PRO Snow Chains - Review (122)

Thule Konig XG-12 PRO Snow Chains - Review (133)

 

10- Drive forward to tension the chains

Not much to see here…

 

It feels GREAT knowing we can get around safely despite the ice everywhere…

Snow Chains Sedona

… OK it’s time to drive north.

 

Removal

1- Drive forward (or back) to position the chain as follow and remove the tension strap from the red hook

Thule Konig XG-12 PRO Snow Chains - Review (16)

 

2- Detach the tension strap from the pulley

Thule Konig XG-12 PRO Snow Chains - Review (18)

 

3- Detach the red hooks

Thule Konig XG-12 PRO Snow Chains - Review (21)

Thule Konig XG-12 PRO Snow Chains - Review (22)

 

4- Detach the loop

Thule Konig XG-12 PRO Snow Chains - Review (3)

 

5- The chain can now be removed

(you might have to drive slightly forward/back to remove it from under the tire)

Thule Konig XG-12 PRO Snow Chains - Review (2)

 

Operation

Snow chains are a temporary device for the worst conditions (ice /steep / etc)… remove them when they are not required and don’t drive faster than 30 mph with the chains on.

At the time of writing these lines (December 2017), we haven’t actually drive with the chains on (we’re currently in Arizona but we are starting our journey to British-Columbia in just a few days); we will report back as soon as we hit some bad weather!

Subscribe to our Mailing List to be notified of any update.

 

Reliability

It’s too soon for us to discuss about reliability, but durability and reliability is one of the reason we chose the Thule / Konig XG-12 PRO so we expect them to last!

We will keep you updated! Subscribe to our Mailing List to be notified of any update.

 

Resources

 

 

 

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7 comments

  1. Comment by Patrick

    Patrick Reply March 16, 2018 at 6:19 am

    Ok, thanks again!

  2. Comment by Patrick

    Patrick Reply March 15, 2018 at 9:55 am

    Hi, thanks again for all the great info. Have you had to use the chains yet? I’m in Colorado, we don’t have the chain law but I’m thinking of getting the chains just in case.

    Thank!

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply March 15, 2018 at 10:07 am

      Hi Patrick,

      We used them once only because it was mandatory up the Cottonwood canyon in SLC. We think chains are a must-have in the van at all time (winter); you never know when you will need them: going up a steep icy road, or to get unstuck from a inclined parking spot. We prefer not to use them, but having them in the van buy us peace of mind!

      When they’re on it’s a bumpy and noisy ride, but they do works!

      Cheers!

  3. Comment by Mike

    Mike Reply December 27, 2017 at 10:24 am

    I like the simulated “snow and ice” in your photos!

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply December 27, 2017 at 10:34 am

      The guy walking his dog near us seems to think we’re crazy haha 🙂

  4. Comment by Ryan

    Ryan Reply December 27, 2017 at 9:53 am

    Awesome tutorial and recommendation! Two cold weather questions:

    How have you guys been washing the van? The snow, ice, and salt can wreak havoc and cause long term rust. But most car washes won’t fit the van. Any suggestions?

    Also, what have you guys been doing with the roof ventilation fan when the diesel heater is on? Do you keep that on to continue airflow? Or do you turn it off the keep the air in?

    Thanks again!

    • Comment by Antoine

      Antoine Reply December 27, 2017 at 9:59 am

      Thanks!

      We had the van sprayed for rust last year (https://www.krown.com/), but ideally we would do it again this year (every year in fact). We washed the van a few times in HAND car wash (self-wash); we see plenty of car wash where the van fits (but not in the automatic car wash). It’s then possible to spray under the van, but easier said than done…

      At night, we turn the fan off but we leave the cover slightly open (like 1″) to keep minimum ventilation. That being said, we’re in Arizona right now; it’s SO dry here, moisture is not an issue. The real test will be in the Pacific North West and we’ll see that soon enough!!

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