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View Full Version : Snowshoe advice?



DAA
12-28-2007, 08:35 AM
I have never used snowshoes before. Know absolutely nothing about them. But, I'm going to be buying some snowshoes soon. Like maybe later today, or tomorrow (I've got so much patience, :haha: ). I'm really hoping to get some good advice from you folks.

The way that these new snowshoes will get used will involve taking them on and off many times during the day. Basically, get out of the vehicle, put them on, take a short (about a half mile) hike, return to the vehicle, take them off, drive to the next spot and repeat - all day. Could easily see wanting to put them on and take them off 10 times in a day. Not knowing anything about them, I don't know if this is a biggie or not.

Not going to be carrying too much weight while walking in them. Just my almost 200 lb self and a few pounds of gear, that's about it.

Terrain won't be too steep most of the time, but may often involve moving through sage brush and other thick stuff.

So, any specific recommends? Any tips on what to look for in a pair? Size, materials, binding types, anything?

Oh, and where to get in the SLC area? Would prefer to be able to just go get them, rather than order. And will actually be buying two pair. Kirkhams maybe? Sportsmans Whorehouse?

Thanks in advance!

- DAA

jumar
12-28-2007, 08:40 AM
I've only done a little snowshoeing, so take this with a grain of salt. Recreation Outlet has some snowshoes that are a good price. Most of my family uses those. Once you have them adjusted to your boot, they're easy to put on and off. Just a couple of buckles to clip together.

kris
12-28-2007, 08:54 AM
I would not just run and buy the cheapest snowshoe out there. There are many different designs, styles, and functions available. If you don't think you will be in it for the long haul, you could always look at renting.

Myself, I am very partial to the MSR Denali shoe.

http://www.mountainmagic.com/equipment/snowshoeing/snowsho-image-jpg/msr-denali-classic.jpg

They are more on the pricey side, running about $150. They allow you to add on extra length for breaking deep snow. The big advantage to me, was the full length "crampon" running the length of the shoe. This is a real advantage while side hilling it, coming down hill, or crossing harder snow. Their binding system is great as well. It really secures your foot in place.

Here is a Tubbs shoe http://www.backpackinglight.com/backpackinglight/images/tubbs-elevation-snowshoe-review-1.jpg

Which I am not a fan of. A buddy who has them really wishes he paid the extra for a better shoe. The mount system seems to fail, boot pops out often, the vinyl is real slick when its cold.

Again, there are many options out there to choose from. Its best to find the one that suits your need.

TreeHugger
12-28-2007, 08:58 AM
Look at REI as well, they have a great selection, and Kirkhams. The salespeople will direct you to the appropriate shoe for your size, and yes, size matters! :-) As far as what you'd like to use them for, look for shoes with one buckle bindings, such as Tubbs. I have Tubbs, and they are adjusted for my boots specifically, this allows me to only have to buckle and unbuckle around the top of my boot and I'm ready to go, easy and quick. MSRs have three or four straps to hook and unhook. You'll see the difference when you go look at them. Another thing has to do with how much platform you want, which depends on the depth of the snow, you'll see what i mean with that when you look at them as well. The last thing to consider might be the weight of the shoe, but if you're not going long distances, this wont be as crucial either. Good luck and have fun!

Tree.

live2ride
12-28-2007, 11:01 AM
I have a couple of pairs of snowshoes and my favorite for nothing to serious, easy on/off and light weight are the Atlas series, they are basically spring loaded so when you take a step, the snowshoe comes up to your heal and makes it easier to walk. I have the MSR's and they are more difficult to get into and out of but with the full crampon they are for more serious climbs etc and you have to have the tails to compensate for the shorter rear section. Everyone has given you great advice and I don't think you can go wrong but you may want to go and rent a pair first then figure out if you like the "spring loaded (rubber band type) or something like the MSR's. Another thing to take into consideration is your price range ????

tallsteve
12-28-2007, 11:19 AM
I have both the MSR's and the Recreation Outlet brand. Honestly, the Rec. Out. brand are quicker to get in and out of, but the MSR's are much better overall. The Recreation Outlet here in American Fork carries both but I would call before going down because what they carry can vary wildly from week to week. Their house brand shoes cost only about $60 and they've lasted 3 years and I'm + 200 lbs.

DAA
12-28-2007, 11:19 AM
Renting a pair to try out would probably be a really good idea. But I'm not that smart, or patient :haha: . Price range - I'll spend what I have to, in order to get something I'll be happy with. Was kind of thinking in the neighborhood of $100 - $125 a pair, but that was not based on anything other than how much I feel like spending right now. I'd be willing to spend a bit more if I think it will make a real difference.

Sounds like REI is a good place to find a decent selection then? I think I'll try and go there either this afternoon or tomorrow.

Really appreciate all the good advice - Thanks!

- DAA

DAA
12-28-2007, 04:47 PM
Okay... I just got home from looking/buying.

Ended up at Kirkham's, since it's closer than REI. They had a really nice selection. But the prices were higher than I was anticipating. The Tubbs were about $169 and up, the MSR Denali's were $200 without any tails and the Atlas started at about $250.

Just looking at them, I liked the MSR's a lot. But the Atlas looked really nice too, and I suspect I might like the spring loaded feature. But, with zero experience to draw on, I really don't know. Liked the Tubbs just fine too, as far as that goes. If price were no consideration, I think I probably would have gone for the Atlas. But, even though I said I was ready to spend what I needed to, when I started thinking of plunking down like $500 for two pair of the MSR's or Atlas, without even knowing if I was going to like snowshoeing or not, I started to get cold feet...

So... I went across the street to the Recreation Outlet place. They had the MSR's for the same price as Kirkham's. The only other kind they had were the house brand mentioned earlier, for $79 a pair. Of all the ones I had looked at, the RO house brand impressed me the least. But, I was really starting to realize that you guys who have said I should rent first, are right. But I just hate the hassle of renting. So, I decided to just get two pair of the cheap RO house brand for the time being. I'll use them for awhile, and be able to make a more informed decision based on experience on some nicer ones later, if I decide I really want to.

Thanks again for all the input, it's appreciated!

- DAA

TreeHugger
12-29-2007, 08:50 AM
DAA,
Those prices are really high. Check this out: The MSR Denali's are $139, and the others are quite a bit cheaper than you quote.
http://www.rei.com/snowshoe/Snowshoes?cm_re=toc*toc*snowshoes&vcat=REI_SSHP_SNOWSHOE_TOC

You might also check like Backcountry.com

Tree.

live2ride
12-29-2007, 10:03 AM
Lets go snowshoeing! I live in Layton and wouldn't mind going up Muellers for a good hike!!

kris
12-29-2007, 02:58 PM
DAA,
Those prices are really high. Check this out: The MSR Denali's are $139, and the others are quite a bit cheaper than you quote.
http://www.rei.com/snowshoe/Snowshoes?cm_re=toc*toc*snowshoes&vcat=REI_SSHP_SNOWSHOE_TOC

You might also check like Backcountry.com

Tree.


The prices he posted, are probably the MSR Denali EVO, or possibly the Denali Ascents.

DirkHammergate
01-03-2008, 07:51 AM
Lets go snowshoeing! I live in Layton and wouldn't mind going up Muellers for a good hike!!

I'd be down for that, lets put that in the unplugged section to see if anyone wants to go.

shagster
01-04-2008, 10:46 PM
You can't beat the MSR Lighting Ascents. In fact I just ordered a pair, should be here soon. I can't wait to go use them. :nod:

DAA
01-05-2008, 10:06 AM
You guys are right - the prices I've found online are WAY better than what I saw at Kirkham's and Recreation Outlet. And, as is typical for me, I got all impatient and had to have some right away, thinking I would be using them the very next day. Turns out, I have not been able to use them at all yet, and if I had it to do over, I'd likely have ordered some nicer shoes online.

But, since I did buy the ones I bought, I think I'll stick with the plan of using them the rest of this winter (if my schedule and the weather can ever cooperate to let me...), and then see if I want to pony up for some nicer ones next year.

Thanks again for all the input!

- DAA

Heather
01-08-2008, 09:08 PM
Joe and I have Northern Lites. They are not the cheapest out there, but they are wonderful and I highly recommend them! :)

http://www.northernlites.com/

http://joe-and-heather.smugmug.com/photos/195323075-M.jpg

tallsteve
01-09-2008, 10:24 AM
I bought my MSR's at Rec. Outlet for $130. I'd check back with them in the spring when they are clearing out the winter gear. Last spring the MSR's had dropped to around $90 and I should have grabbed them when I had the chance.

jumar
01-09-2008, 10:51 AM
I might be selling a pair of my shoes sometime soon. I now have two pairs, and only need one.

devNull
01-12-2008, 09:28 PM
I figure that I will add my two cents here. I have tried a few different pair of snowshoes. I was a big fan of the Atlas 8 Series for a while. The easy to use bindings are nice (although they tend to cause blisters on the heels of most folks). They weren't sturdy enough for me though as I destroyed the snowshoe/binding connection on two pair before I switched to a pair of MSR snowshoes. I am very happy with my MSR snowshoes...and haven't managed to destroy them in 2+ years of use. I prefer the Evo series as I question the longevity of the Lightning series (you can read some backpackgeartest reviews that also indicate the same concerns) although maybe MSR has addressed these issues in the most recent model. You can also get a snowshoe repair kit from MSR with the components to do most snowshoe repairs in the field. I haven't needed it yet, but I feel a bit better that I could potentially repair many problems. The bindings do take a bit longer to operate, but I can do it easily even with my gloves on and I have yet to lose a snowshoe due to a binding malfunction (which happened from time to time w/ my Atlas snowshoes) Oh, and I can't stand the spring action shoes b/c all the springs really do is flip snow up your back and get you wet.