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Snowshoes - I know nothing

Jenny

Angel Diva
So, DH and I are buying snowshoes for the upcoming winter. Keeping in mind that this is a VERY casual thing, and they will likely only be used a handful of times, and in the easiest possible manner (I’m not floundering through waist deep snow to bring medicine to dying children - I’m just out for a pleasant winter amble) - do these look OK?


7C6205AC-0142-414D-8DAB-FDD473C613BE.jpeg
They appear to be the least expensive with the turn type of tightener - is there a reason I would want the strappy kind instead?
 

Christy

Angel Diva
I think that dial looks easier to use than what I and so many others have, which is the strap system that doubles back and hooks. Tubbs is a known brand and they sell them at REI; I think you will be fine with these.
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
I have Tubbs, but an older model. I have 1 rachet clip like a board boot on mine. Length is determined by your weight, fyi. Don't forget to get poles!!
 

geargrrl

Angel Diva
For beginning, they are fine. Size is calculate by weight. If it has a heel lift clip that is kind of nice for going up hill.
Once you get into it, there are spike types for ice, wider/more narrow for different kinds of snow,etc.
 

Jenny

Angel Diva
For beginning, they are fine. Size is calculate by weight. If it has a heel lift clip that is kind of nice for going up hill.
Once you get into it, there are spike types for ice, wider/more narrow for different kinds of snow,etc.
What does a heel lift clip do?
 

Jenny

Angel Diva
This is the bottom of the ones I posted - seems like a lot fewer teeth. And different placement on the front, too.

D7C808FB-FD38-4FEA-8966-8A63EFE37DC6.jpeg
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
What does a heel lift clip do?

Some models have a little lifter under the heel that you can snap up into position when going uphill. Then your heel lands on that lifter instead of flat on the snowshoe. It adapts you to the incline and makes it feel more like you’re walking on a flatter surface than a steeper incline. It’s a nice feature if you’ll be going uphill a bit, less tiring and if you have tight calves they’ll thank you as well.

I have the MSR Lightning Ascents and love them. They’re definitely overkill unless you decide to do more than you’re saying though. They have very nice grippy crampons underneath etc., great for climbing mountains that might be icy.

Here’s a quick demo of a hell lifter.

 
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newboots

Angel Diva
Tubbs makes [what seems like] virtually all of the snowshoes one sees for sale. They are reputable, as is REI. But if you start to love snowshoeing, you'll probably want something with a little more grip on the bottom. The other thing to check out is the sturdiness of the straps. Many people have an old pair of Tubbs that have broken straps, and they no longer make parts to fix them. Take a look at the next level up. They are expensive, like everything these days. :faint:

The heel clip - oops, @MissySki just explained it!
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
So, DH and I are buying snowshoes for the upcoming winter. Keeping in mind that this is a VERY casual thing, and they will likely only be used a handful of times, and in the easiest possible manner (I’m not floundering through waist deep snow to bring medicine to dying children - I’m just out for a pleasant winter amble) - do these look OK?


View attachment 16709
They appear to be the least expensive with the turn type of tightener - is there a reason I would want the strappy kind instead?
I have a version of the Tubbs with the wire boa. I LOVE them. I also have another brand's snowshoe with a strap type boa. They are good too. But their straps do the job just fine. It's easier with the wires though to get a good grip on my boots. There's no struggle to get them on and off.

I would no longer ever buy nor wear snowshoes with straps that use buckles. The straps never clinch my boots well enough - there's always a gap between the straps and my boots. Buckles are a no-go. I have two pair of this kind of snowshoe; using them is like having loose boots when skiing.

What kind of terrain will you be on? If you are expecting to climb up any kind of hilly terrain, or if you'll ever go out when there are icy spots, or if you'll be crossing the occasional bit of exposed granite, you'll want a more aggressive bottom. Mine are Tubbs Flex RDG. I am totally confident on icy climbs and descents. Last season I snowshoed blissfully on New England singletrack trails that had numberous exposed granite and lots of ice. I loved it.

Mine have a heel lift; I never bothered. My climbs were too short. If I'd been summiting the 4,000 footers in NH, I'd have used it.

Sizing for Tubbs on casual terrain (not summiting mountains on deep powder) is usually women-22", men-24". 22 inches was perfect for my routes as they involved lots of twisting and turning and getting up and over exposed granite. Adjust up for bigger bodies and deeper snow.

In other words, I'd recommend buying a pair of Tubbs Flex snowshoes that have two long metal ridges with saw-tooth edges on each side beneath, like these:
1634297800836.png

 
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Jenny

Angel Diva
I have a version of the Tubbs with the wire boa. I LOVE them. I also have another brand's snowshoe with a strap type boa. They are good too. But their straps do the job just fine. It's easier with the wires though to get a good grip on my boots. There's no struggle to get them on and off.

I would no longer ever buy nor wear snowshoes with straps that use buckles. The straps never clinch my boots well enough - there's always a gap between the straps and my boots. Buckles are a no-go. I have two pair of this kind of snowshoe; using them is like having loose boots when skiing.

What kind of terrain will you be on? If you are expecting to climb up any kind of hilly terrain, or if you'll ever go out when there are icy spots, or if you'll be crossing the occasional bit of exposed granite, you'll want a more aggressive bottom. Mine are Tubbs Flex RDG. I am totally confident on icy climbs and descents. Last season I snowshoed blissfully on New England singletrack trails that had numberous exposed granite and lots of ice. I loved it.

Mine have a heel lift; I never bothered. My climbs were too short. If I'd been summiting the 4,000 footers in NH, I'd have used it.

Sizing for Tubbs on casual terrain (not summiting mountains on deep powder) is usually women-22", men-24". 22 inches was perfect for my routes as they involved lots of twisting and turning and getting up and over exposed granite. Adjust up for bigger bodies and deeper snow.

In other words, I'd recommend buying a pair of Tubbs Flex snowshoes that have two long metal ridges with saw-tooth edges on each side beneath, like these:
View attachment 16715

We could definitely hit ice, if we use these for walking around near our home. I hadn't even thought about looking at the bottom until @Jilly posted her pics - then the ones I had first looked at seemed like they could be a bit deficient. Happy to have an option in the same price range with the same fastener but more teeth.
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
They still make mine, but it has the buckle closure. $20 more on the Canadian site for Tubbs.
 

Jenny

Angel Diva
Ok - here's what we bought, mainly because REI had two pairs of them and this way we know we have something to use this winter, in case nothing else is available. And, double rewards points weekend. We tried talking to a sale guy but all he did was read me the website, so now I’m looking for reviews and comments. Can always return these, if necessary.

REI doesn’t have the ones you have, @liquidfeet, but it does look like I can order those from backcountry.com and compare the two here at home.

 
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VickiK

Angel Diva
I was going to page @liquidfeet but she's already here! :smile:

Sounds like a good investment for a reason to get out of the house during your Michigander winter, @Jenny !
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Here are some trail photos I took last winter while being out on snowshoes. My memories of being out in this winter wonderland are solidly happy ones.

Early snow outings on nearby trails when the leaves are not done dropping yet:
Oct 31 2020 #1.jpgOct 31 2020 #2.JPG
It warms up, snow melts into puddles, then freezes back up. Aggressive grips on the bottom of the snowshoes are very helpful.
Oct 31 2020 #4.jpg
trail, March 1, melting snow allows leaves to show back up.JPG
I loved these walks ... hikes. What do you call it when you're on snowshoes in the woods? Not sure.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Below are some mid-winter images from my snowshoe walks.

In this one I'm breaking trail. The trail makes a hard right at that big rock, and heads down to the water crossing.
breaking trail down to the ponds.JPG
This trail has had previous traffic, so it's packed down.
IMG_1081.jpeg
On this one I was following deer tracks. Can I say I was breaking trail? Nope, the two deer did that earlier in the morning. They followed the trail for a long time, then left it, so I got to walk on fresh untracked snow after that. It was interesting to see that the deer know and use the human-made trails.Laurel Hill is it right side up?.jpg
 
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SallyCat

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Those look awesome, @Jenny !

I'll chime in that I would never buy a pair of snowshoes without heel lifts, so you may want to play around with them if you're on steep-ish terrain; they can keep you comfortable on steep pitches. I have MSR Revo Explores that I use mainly for hiking uphill with my snowboard. I find walking on steep areas really uncomfortable on my calves without the lift.

Btw, we have a local Wednesday-night snowshoe group in my area and I really enjoy getting out with a fun group and exploring new routes. Might be worth checking if there's something similar in your area.
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
Those look awesome, @Jenny !

I'll chime in that I would never buy a pair of snowshoes without heel lifts, so you may want to play around with them if you're on steep-ish terrain; they can keep you comfortable on steep pitches. I have MSR Revo Explores that I use mainly for hiking uphill with my snowboard. I find walking on steep areas really uncomfortable on my calves without the lift.

Btw, we have a local Wednesday-night snowshoe group in my area and I really enjoy getting out with a fun group and exploring new routes. Might be worth checking if there's something similar in your area.

I agree, the lifts make a huge difference for my comfort as well. IT makes steeper terrain feel so much easier. Same thing when skinning, I like the lifts.
 

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