With a lot of backpacking and hiking gear you have a lot of different choices when it comes to the material that your equipment is made out of. But with snowshoes, there aren’t too many choices. There are a few plastic snowshoes out there, but most of them are aluminum snowshoes with a nylon frame. Aluminum provides the strength and flexibility that you need from snowshoes, without the chance of breaking, which a material like carbon fiber would be more prone to.
Aluminum SnowshoesThings you want to pay attention to when buying aluminum snowshoes.
- Aluminum Type – So you’ve chosen aluminum, but there are actually a few different kinds of aluminum available. Higher quality aluminums are lighter, which is never a bad thing when you’re strapping things to your feet, but they’re also more expensive.
- Intended Use – Deciding what material you want your snowshoes made out of is one thing, but there are actually a few different kinds of snowshoes. Snowshoes made for running in, for instance, are quite a bit different than snowshoes intended for backcountry travel with a backpack on.
Best Aluminum SnowshoesSome of the very best aluminum snowshoes on the market.
- MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoes - First, a great pair of aluminum backcountry snowshoes from MSR. They use a high quality, aircraft grade aluminum, to give you both strength and as little weight as possible. They come in three different sizes, the largest with a maximum weight capacity of 280 pounds, and weighing 4 pounds 7 ounces, or 2.01 kilograms. There's also an optional tail that will improve that maximum weight, and a women's version. So lots of options in a high quality aluminum snowshoe.
- Tubbs Wilderness Snowshoes - Another aluminum snowshoe, this one from Tubbs. It's a fairly average hiking snowshoe, and uses the standard quality aluminum for the frame. It uses the basic combination of toe and heel crampons, which are carbon steel, and will hold a maximum of 200 pounds, though there is a larger men's size that will hold more, as well as a 21 inch and 25 inch women's version. So a good, durable hiking snowshoe.
- Atlas Race Snowshoes - If you want to run in your snowshoes, then these are a fantastic pair of running snowshoes. They weigh just 2 punds 1.3 ounces, or 943 grams, and part of what helps them weigh so little is a superior quality of aluminum that weighs less without sacrificing strength. The maximum weight for these is 190 pounds, and they have just the minimum for crampons, so they're good for running or some light hiking. But if you want running snowshoes, there aren't any better.