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Thread: Which Snowshoes???

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    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    Question Which Snowshoes???

    I have never owned a pair of snowshoes, so I was wondering what I should be looking for. I got a flyer from Kahtoola, and they have a set that looks interesting to me. It starts with a set of crampons that attach to your boots that you can use with or without the snow shoes. then they just snap into the snowshoes when you want to wear them. The spring loaded connector though has me a little concerned.

    But back to my main question. what do I look for in a snowshoe? I weigh about 195 and am 6 foot. I want something to carry as a backup to my crampons when hill hiking in the winter. I would also like to have them when I am snow machining. The one sold at Costco type stores look really heavy...my guess is these are the low end models. I would guess the bindings, or way to attach, is the most important factor. Cleats would be tne next important for hiking in the hills where ther is ice. but what about floatation? What size, they seem to come in lengths from about 24 inches to 36 inches?

    I appreciate any suggestions on what to look for.
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    Yrs ago my bride (of 48 yrs) gave me a pair of wooden/rawhide Bearpaw 13 1/2 x 32" snowshoes.. they are great for use with a snow machine when it is necessary to put down a trail to get through some deep powder.. they are great for hunting snow shoe hare and ptarmigan on fairly level ground... They aren't much good in hilley terrain...
    My son has a pair of the new aluminum things.. 9x30" (more or less) with the aluminum cleats on the bottom... those are pretty good for hunting snow shoe hare and grouse on hillsides, but for packing down a trail the 4" difference between my old Bearpaws and his new Aluminum snow shoes is rather obvious...
    but all in all I think the bindings are one of the more critical aspects of a good pair of snowshoes... You want something that is easy to get into and out of.. not something your going to have to struggle with... (and the older you get the less you want to struggle)...!

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    Look at the MSR brand snowshoes. I just bought the Denali model from Campmor for $80. Also look at all the snowshoes on the REI site.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old John View Post
    You want something that is easy to get into and out of.. not something your going to have to struggle with... (and the older you get the less you want to struggle)...!
    I resemble that remark
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKHUNTINFOOL View Post
    Look at the MSR brand snowshoes. I just bought the Denali model from Campmor for $80. Also look at all the snowshoes on the REI site.
    I looked at the MSR, but they appear like they would not last more than a few times. Never tried them, just that they looked weak. Let me know how they hold up.
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger45 View Post
    I looked at the MSR, but they appear like they would not last more than a few times. Never tried them, just that they looked weak. Let me know how they hold up.
    Military up here uses them. I have a set, they are very durable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger45 View Post
    I looked at the MSR, but they appear like they would not last more than a few times.
    They are as durable as any I have ever used.
    Good snowshoes and you can add extensions if you need additional flotation.
    "When the time comes for a man to look his Maker in the eye, where better could the meeting be held than in the wilderness?"

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    GV snow shoes, made in canada.
    I have a couple of pairs. Pretty tough shoes.

    http://www.gvsnowshoes.com/eng/index.html
    "The older I get, the better I was."

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    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by travelers View Post
    GV snow shoes, made in canada.
    I have a couple of pairs. Pretty tough shoes.

    http://www.gvsnowshoes.com/eng/index.html
    Thes folks have a ton of different shoes...just makes it harder to decide. It looks like I might like the Carbon or Polymer shoes? I am looking for something to hike the Chugach range in the winter...found a local shop that carries them, so I will go look at them today. thanks for the heads up.
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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    I just bought Red Feathers. You guys like them?
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger45 View Post
    Thes folks have a ton of different shoes...just makes it harder to decide. It looks like I might like the Carbon or Polymer shoes? I am looking for something to hike the Chugach range in the winter...found a local shop that carries them, so I will go look at them today. thanks for the heads up.
    I use the "Snow Trail" model. "Chosen by the Canadian Forces" for whatever that's worth.
    I like the solid bar on the pivot. Also you don't need to crank the bindings tight to hold the shoes in place.
    I have a 10"x36", 9"x33" and the wife has 8"x28".
    I use the 10"x36" the most, I'm a little long in the legs @200lbs.
    The 8"x28" don't work at all for me, but fine for the wife.
    "The older I get, the better I was."

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    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by whitepalm View Post
    I have been leary of "pivot bar" designs, I had a pair of shoes(I forget the manufacture but the model was Wasatch) that used the pivot bar and when it breaks you are sol.
    I am new to this...what is a pivot bar and how do I know if a shoe has it? Thanks.
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

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    I've put about 23 yrs on various sets of traditional snowshoes, military snowshoes, and mountaineering snowshoes. In my adult years, I went to the new Tubbs Mountain 36 Snowshoes after putting most of my time on rawhide/white ash framed snow shoes. I HATED them. In fact, I HATE all plastic snowshoes, with or without aluminum frames because I'm a hunter. Cold plastic and aluminum is disgustingly noisy. I have since then, went back to traditional snow shoes because they have better flotation. About the best pairs running, are the IVERSONS. You can also get them with neoprene webbing. About the best all around snow shoe for deep snow, open country, wooded country, and fellas that weigh over 200 lbs are the GREEN MOUNTAIN SPECIALS. These buggers are 44 inches long x 12 inches wide. They are easier to walk in than a bear paw, and Iverson's bindings are about the best darned bindings I've ever found. Here's another reason I like them: Made in the USA. Made in the upper peninsula of Michigan. It's nice to have the traditional ones back, 75 percent quieter in the woods and double the flotation.

    http://www.iversonssnowshoes.com/

    http://www.pcsoutdoors.com/iversongr...bcapacity.aspx


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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger45 View Post
    I am new to this...what is a pivot bar and how do I know if a shoe has it? Thanks.
    Some shoes have a solid bar going from outer frame to outer frame. Others have a strap of some sorts that your foot pivots on.
    GV shoe have both types, and wood ones too. If I was going wood, I'd buy a pair that mainer linked to.

    Lots of good advice your getting.

    I use my snow shoes for work in the timber industry and haven't broke a pivot bar.
    I prefer shoes with a pivot bar, my feet are old and it seems like it takes less effort to walk in them.

    You might end up buying a couple pairs to get what works for you.

    The wood shoes mainer posted are nice looking shoes. I've had several pair of wood shoes in the past and they are quiet.

    Good luck on your choice, and HAPPY NEW YEAR.
    "The older I get, the better I was."

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    I have pair of old Iverson Bear Paws that I used to carry in my plane because they were short and fit better in the plane. They probably have about 20 miles on them and they are NOT easy to walk on at all. They do turn well which is good but they are not much fun on a cross country trip. I just bought 2 set of Red Feather alum and plastic shoes (12x30) and have yet to try them out but I got them for emergency shoes and not cross country although I figured they would serve for that too.

    If I am not hunting with the shoes and don't care about noise, do you folks (with a lot more experience than me) find any real advantage for the wood/rawhide or neoprene shoes over the alum/plastic?
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lowrider View Post
    If I am not hunting with the shoes and don't care about noise, do you folks (with a lot more experience than me) find any real advantage for the wood/rawhide or neoprene shoes over the alum/plastic?
    I find that the old-school ones have better flotation, but I probably just need to buy bigger aluminum ones. *However* ... the bindings on the new-school snowshoes basically act as a spring and flip the tail up as you walk. I guess that's less tiring but it does end up flinging snow at my butt with every step and I hate that (that's what friends are for, anyway).

  17. #17

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    Get moderns for hard crusted,steep, and icy. Get BIG traditionals for powder. I am 6 ft and 200# and my 10 x 36 moderns suck in powder compared to my 12 x 60 Alaskans and I wish they were about 8 inches longer most times. For the best of both worlds www.snowshoesalesandrepair.com laces trad frames with 300# monofilament(strong,quiet,light,maintenance free) and their "ratcheting-pivoting" binding is ice cleated and works fantastic. FWIW aluminum snowshoe noise is as obnoxious as crinkly,swishing, junk poly fabrics when hiking imho.
    Most moderns ss upturn too sharply in the toes which causes you to nosedive under powder because yor heals are the flotation section...dumb design.
    A guy can't just one of anything...haha!

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    OK...I should have asked you guys first....for the time being I'm stuck with the obnoxious metal shoes. If for some reason I were to need to buy another pair and I am ~220 with gear, it seems the 12x60's would work just fine in powder and with the ice cleat bindings they should work OK on hard and crunchy too. Right? I'm just thinkin...#2 son needs shoes too so maybe he will get the obnoxious ones and I'll get into the Continetial 12x60's with the ice cleat bindings...couldn't find the Alaskan.
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

  19. #19

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    it seems the 12x60's would work just fine in powder and with the ice cleat bindings they should work OK on hard and crunchy too.
    The 12 x 60 will be far better in powder... you will sink 4-6 inches compared to 12-14+ inches with 10x36 of course depending on the snow. Your tips will stay up where they belong also. Flotation is simply surface area...good to the point where they are too cumbersome to move. I find the improved flotation requires way less energy than a couple of ounces saved in a smaller frame size.
    The bindings mentioned are a great upgrade for any style of traditional ss imo. The cleat on this binding does not compare to the agressive MSR style for serious steep terrain but handles some good hills. If you need more traction just bolt a couple of small u-bolts to the cross frames on trad ss. but you won't need to often.
    The 12x60 will allow you to float on a very thin crust that you will posthole with the small sizes at our weight.
    The monofilament lacing is handling abrasion very well, but like anything will need replacement sometime.
    I consider ss as a tool and would rather not use ANY ss...haha.
    Hope this helps.

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    Thanks 450!!

    I looked at some other info and it certainly agrees with what you said so I think I'm headed in the right direction.

    BTW, the KTM 450 is an awesome bike!! I have looked at them several times but I'm sure I would hurt myself with one. I ride a moded to my needs DRZ 400. Not a perfect bike but it works for me. I did a few hundred miles thru Moab and a bunch of trails in Colorado and Wyoming in 2010 and want to do the Continental Divide Trail this year if things work out as planned. In Aug last year, I rode my Lowrider from MD to our house in ID with a stop in Sturgis for the rally....there are lot of old folks there now!!
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

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