Snowshoes are a lot of fun, but you may not be familiar enough with snowshoes to know what to look for when buying snowshoes. And there definitely are a few things that you need to be aware of when buying snowshoes. A good pair of snowshoes that are suited to you and the conditions you’re in will perform well, while poorly chosen snowshoes will leave you floundering in the snow or laying in the snow, with the snowshoes pointed skywards.
Buying SnowshoesWhat to be aware of when you're buying snowshoes.
- Maximum Weight – One of the more important things to know about snowshoes is that they have a maximum weight. If you weigh too much for the snowshoes they wont be able to distribute your weight over a wide enough space, and you will end up sinking in to the snow, instead of floating on top.
- Intended Use – Snowshoes are designed with a few different uses in mind. There are snowshoes designed for running in, for instance, and then there are also snowshoes intended for a leisurely stroll over established trails. There are also snowshoes intended for going off the beaten path with a heavy backpack on.
Best SnowshoesSome of the better snowshoes to consider, based on the above criteria.
- MSR Evo 22 Snowshoes - If what you want is a good all around snowshoe for hiking and venturing off the trail on reasonable terrain, the Evos are a great snowshoe. They're an all plastic model, rather than an aluminum frame and nylon deck. Plastic has a few advantages, one being that it's usually lighter, and at 3 pounds 7 ounces, or 1.55 kilograms they're some of the lighter snowshoes on the market. Plastic is also cheaper, and these are also one of the cheaper pairs of snowshoes you will find. The maximum recommended load is 180 pounds, but there are optional tails that will boost that up to 250 pounds.
- MSR Lighning Ascent Snowshoes - If you'd prefer to get off the beaten trail and hike mountains, carry a backpack and have a real adventure, something like the Ascents is what you need. They're a combination of aluminum frame and nylon deck, and the entire rim of the frame has crampons built in, so that even if only part of the snowshoe is in contact with the snow, you still have traction, which is ideal for steep, uneven terrain. They come in three different lengths, and a women's version as well. The medium men's weighs 3 pounds 15 ounces, or 1.78 kilograms, and will carry up to 220 pounds. There are also optional tails that will add a a considerable amount of capacity to that total.
- Atlas Race Snowshoes - If you just want to stick to the beaten trails, or if you want to go running in your snowshoes, then you need something like the Races, from Atlas. They weigh an extremely slim 2 pound 1.3 ounces, or 943 grams, and they get down to that weight by using a minimal amount of crampons and a superior aluminum for the frame. They're also specifically designed to not interfere with a running gait, so a good choice for covering lots of ground. They will take a load of up to 190 pounds.