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Old 01-30-2013, 08:25 PM
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Default Snowshoes.....

Been pondering the idea of getting into snowshoeing as an activity to get me out of the Winter inversion and all the pollution that gets trapped here in the valley during the cold months. I figure it would be an excellent way to get out for a little exercise, and along with that it would also give me a way to access the river in areas away from the fair weather fisherman.

Can anyone tell me what to look for in snowshoes, and what brands to consider or stay away from?

Thanks so much in advance.
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Old 01-30-2013, 09:42 PM
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Default Re: Snowshoes.....

John,
I have four or five pairs of showshoes. A couple pairs would work for you and a couple of them wouldn't.

IMO While there may be many different things to look for in a snowshoe I feel the one that is overlooked the most is simply having enough surface area to hold your weight. In many cases people want the smallest shoe they can get for mobility purposes, easier to walk around in, lighter or whatever.
The problem with that is it doesn't have enough surface area to hold the weight above the snow, therefore they don't serve there purpose at all.

In most cases company's provide a chart indicating which shoe to use according to your weight + weight carried.

While brands are cool and all, I have used brand-less shoes and name brand shoes, depending on how often and how serious/active you get on them may determine the direction you go with that.

For instance I have some knock off cheaper shoes you can get at rec-outlet that really work well! I use to use them a bunch for walking ridges where there may be large snow drifts and then no snow at all. That way I wasn't just running down my higher end ones when I wanted to cross dry land and didn't want to take them off.

I also have some MSR's I think they may call them the Denali but regardless the benefit to those is that they have an extension piece that you can put on if you need more surface area to keep you up, being your packing more weight, its deep lite pow or a friends using them etc. They also have a heel lift making it a bit easier to climb vert.

I have used others but have minimal experience with them...

Though the Wilderness tech or whatever have plastic buckles, they seem to hold up for quite some time and take a beating. However those are the first type of things to go out from my experience. On the other hand the MSR's have rubber straps that are pretty bomber but I have had those go out also. Its just the name of the game, if you use the gear it gets worn out.

The one guarantee I have for you is that you will still sink some, they don't magically make you walk on top of snow like some people expect them to.

As always, your more than welcome to borrow them and put them to use if you would like.

For what its worth that's my take on it.

Not a bad piece of gear to have in the tool box.

Cheers,
Watson
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Old 01-30-2013, 09:49 PM
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Default Re: Snowshoes.....

Good question Fysh, something I also have had thoughts on.

Dave
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Old 02-13-2013, 06:17 PM
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Default Re: Snowshoes.....

I was hoping to hear some feedback on Tubbs, Redfeather, Atlas or others. I have used each of those, but not really enough to give any feedback on.

Anyways to add a little more input on snowshoes in general, the likely hood is that if youíre fishing the same areas I am fishing this time of year, you really donít need snowshoes. They are actually more of a pain then they are worth unless youíre in more than three or four feet of snow +, I wouldnít bother.

Now if youíre going to use them to get up and out of the inversion, exercise, explore or just have fun they defiantly have their place.

You can always rent them at places like REI and the U rec to see what suits you best.

Or seriously if you want to borrow a pair give me shout Iíll be at the rally on Friday and the show at the end of the month!
Watson
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Old 02-13-2013, 06:24 PM
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Default Re: Snowshoes.....

Spent a LOT of time on Vermont Tubbs doing grad research on winter ecology of ruffed grouse in northern NY. Loved 'em then ('80's), love 'em now. I just like the traditional nature of ash and leather. I did break one once by bridging (unwittingly) a tiny, hidden creek. I've never used the high tech jobbies. Probably make way more sense, but then, that (sense) can be in short supply around here sometimes. I just like getting out in my old Woolrich Malone pants and the wooden shoes. Curmudgeonhood.
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Old 02-13-2013, 06:31 PM
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Default Re: Snowshoes.....

I love snowshoeing. I use the beaver tail style. Not a big fan of the new style. I enjoy the nostalgia of the wooden and raw hide style. Plus a well made ash pair of beaver tail snowshoes are pretty well perfect in the original format.

I agree with an above poster on getting the right size for your weight. Look for a well carved frame and quality hide meshing. There are many ranges in quality and attention to details, so its kinda you get what you pay for.
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Old 02-13-2013, 06:46 PM
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Default Re: Snowshoes.....

Hi fysh,

The photo is not outstanding but you'll get the idea. I've been walking with the ones on the snowmachine since 1982 and like them. The style is 'Michigan' and they are 48" long. The tail helps track the shoes and they will work for big guys. I don't know who made them but I believe they were made in CO. They are at the cabin or I would check the stamp on the thwart.

I also have a pair of 36" Bear Paw style (no tail) that are better for backing up the tails are tough in reverse. The bindings are very important especially if you go with a traditional style 'wood & rawhide' lace. I bought the bindings from a guy in Maine a long time back to replace the leathers that came with the shoes.

You'll like trekking in snowshoes, it's very quiet peaceful fun.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:01 PM
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Default Re: Snowshoes.....

Ard: Is that the new wide track snowmachine in the photo?
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:06 PM
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Default Re: Snowshoes.....

Yes, I used the little pocket camera for pictures and they are not the best but here are a couple more.

Click the image to open in full size.

24" wide with 157" track, it's a regular snowmachine in every sense. It gets up and walks on 4 - 5 feet of snow with no problems.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 02-14-2013, 09:17 AM
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Default Re: Snowshoes.....

I have a pair of those old long-tail snowshoes shown in Ard's photo, but they hang on the wall in my home

My wife and I have been in to snowshoes for a lot of years, but we bought the inexpensive sets of snowshoes and trekking poles at Sam's Club, not wanting to blow the wad in case we didn't like it. Many years later we still have the same snowshoes and they work great.

Where we live in southeast Idaho there is a strong chance for using snowshoes if you chose. My son and his buddy did a television segment both for a local news reel as well as for the local PBS Outdoor Idaho. Filmed by the crazy talented Kris Millgate, they were discussing the South Fork of the Snake winter corridor and the following resulted: Tight Line Media | Outdoor News | Southeast Idaho | Video Production

It's a great sport and gets you out. I prefer cross-country skis myself, but to each their passion and zest for life. Have fun, Fysh.

Kelly.
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