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Author Topic: Need Advise for First Snowshoe Purchase  (Read 6499 times)

Offline Nmakinen4212

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Need Advise for First Snowshoe Purchase
« on: December 25, 2015, 06:37:53 pm »
I am looking to purchase my first pair of snowshoes and would like some advise.
From what I've read the bigger the better so I think I want a 30 inch pair.
I'm 6'0" and 190 lbs

These are the 2 models I am looking at. I don't want to spend to much money but still want to make sure I get something that is quality.

Komperdell Alpinist Snowshoes - 30"
http://www.sierratradingpost.com/komperdell-alpinist-snowshoes-30-~p~2804y/?filterString=s~snowshoes%2F&colorFamily=03

Redfeather Guide 30 Backcountry Snowshoes
http://www.sierratradingpost.com/redfeather-guide-30-backcountry-snowshoes~p~9051k/?filterString=s~snowshoes%2F&colorFamily=99

Which of these would you recommend for backcountry camping in areas like the BWCA and Algonquin?
Do you have a better recommendation?
Do I need to spend more money to get better quality (I don't want to replace them in a year)?

Thank you for the help!

Offline AunNordDuNord

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Re: Need Advise for First Snowshoe Purchase
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2015, 06:56:21 pm »
I can't really recommend any of them, I prefer the traditional style snowshoes. Some thing like that, http://lureofthenorth.com/product/equipment/snowshoes/snowshoes/, in the Huron Style 16x48, would do you way better than the modern style snowshoes in my own experience.

 
« Last Edit: December 26, 2015, 01:46:08 am by AunNordDuNord »

Offline HOOP

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Re: Need Advise for First Snowshoe Purchase
« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2015, 07:19:51 pm »
Hi Nmakinen4212!  If you are going for the synthetic hi tech's, I would recommend going bigger.  Go for the largest you can find.  For most brands that is about 10" x 36".  The weight specs the manufactures give is fantasy.  For traditionals I also recommend a big 16x48 teardrop style, or 16x30 bearpaw, but if you can find a longer bearpaw go for it.  You will also find that the big traditionals will provide better flotation, and be easier to walk in because of the yin-yang overlap pattern.  Ironically the narrower modern high tech snowshoes require a wider stance because they do not overlap in the step.  I get hip pain when trekking long distances in the synthetics tubular frame things.  Their radical upturned toe also eliminates the efficient overlap step, and you cannot stand on one snowshoe on top of the other like you can with the flatter toe'd traditionals. 

I own both synthetics and traditionals, and enjoy both in certain snow conditions, but hands down the traditional bearpaws are my favourites.  Now that I own a pair of monoline laced wooden bearpaws, I may not need the synthetic tubular frames ever again, except for extremely soggy or icy conditions with some hill climbing. 

Many of the synthetic tubular snowshoes are made for climbing in the mountains with their agressive crampon.  That crampon, if aluminum, will ice up on lake travel due to slush interception.  In places like BWCA and Algonquin you might find the traditionals handle the flat land and lakes, and airy fluffy snow better.  Forest snow is very airy and you sink way down.  Open mountain snow is windpacked and you float better.  Lake ice travel will get you into slush, and the big wide tradtionals will float you better over low to medium evil slush (nothing will float you over full-on mega evil slush!). 

Starting out you have to pick one model.  But with time, think about acquiring several models for different conditions.   :)  My first model that I bought were traditional wood 14 x 36-ish.  They served me well for a while as general purpose, but after a while I realized the 14 inch wide was too small in deep snow for my weight which is only 150 lb's (before gear).   

If you go with traditionals, spar varnish everything with at least two coats, since the factory coating will not be enough.

Best of luck with your first purchase!
My Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/Wintertrekker

"I firmly believe that far from hurting the planet, the growing knowledge of Bushcraft is helping our natural world. When we employ bushcraft skills, it may seem as though we are consuming natural resources.  But of course, the more we learn about the trees, the plants, the animals around us, the more we respect them. The more we respect them, the more we cherish them, the more we nurture and take care of them. That is the underlying principle of Bushcraft.

Offline Nmakinen4212

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Re: Need Advise for First Snowshoe Purchase
« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2015, 10:28:21 pm »
Hi Nmakinen4212!  If you are going for the synthetic hi tech's, I would recommend going bigger.  Go for the largest you can find.  For most brands that is about 10" x 36".  The weight specs the manufactures give is fantasy.  For traditionals I also recommend a big 16x48 teardrop style, or 16x30 bearpaw, but if you can find a longer bearpaw go for it.  You will also find that the big traditionals will provide better flotation, and be easier to walk in because of the yin-yang overlap pattern.  Ironically the narrower modern high tech snowshoes require a wider stance because they do not overlap in the step.  I get hip pain when trekking long distances in the synthetics tubular frame things.  Their radical upturned toe also eliminates the efficient overlap step, and you cannot stand on one snowshoe on top of the other like you can with the flatter toe'd traditionals. 

I own both synthetics and traditionals, and enjoy both in certain snow conditions, but hands down the traditional bearpaws are my favourites.  Now that I own a pair of monoline laced wooden bearpaws, I may not need the synthetic tubular frames ever again, except for extremely soggy or icy conditions with some hill climbing. 

Many of the synthetic tubular snowshoes are made for climbing in the mountains with their agressive crampon.  That crampon, if aluminum, will ice up on lake travel due to slush interception.  In places like BWCA and Algonquin you might find the traditionals handle the flat land and lakes, and airy fluffy snow better.  Forest snow is very airy and you sink way down.  Open mountain snow is windpacked and you float better.  Lake ice travel will get you into slush, and the big wide tradtionals will float you better over low to medium evil slush (nothing will float you over full-on mega evil slush!). 

Starting out you have to pick one model.  But with time, think about acquiring several models for different conditions.   :)  My first model that I bought were traditional wood 14 x 36-ish.  They served me well for a while as general purpose, but after a while I realized the 14 inch wide was too small in deep snow for my weight which is only 150 lb's (before gear).   

If you go with traditionals, spar varnish everything with at least two coats, since the factory coating will not be enough.

Best of luck with your first purchase!

Where would you recommend purchasing traditional snowshoes from online?

Offline HOOP

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Re: Need Advise for First Snowshoe Purchase
« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2015, 11:42:44 pm »
Your google fu will help you.  There are many online and local bricks and mortar shops which sell quality snowshoes.  If you are passing through Thunder Bay, THE best show rack of snowshoes is at Chaltrek, and they sell via phone order as well:  http://www.chaltrek.com/    They specialize in Faber and GV. 

Last year I bought a pair of monoline bearpaw snowshoes from http://www.snowshoesalesandrepairs.com/?action=monoline  I was very pleased with their service and fast shipping.   I made the order by telephone.

My Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/Wintertrekker

"I firmly believe that far from hurting the planet, the growing knowledge of Bushcraft is helping our natural world. When we employ bushcraft skills, it may seem as though we are consuming natural resources.  But of course, the more we learn about the trees, the plants, the animals around us, the more we respect them. The more we respect them, the more we cherish them, the more we nurture and take care of them. That is the underlying principle of Bushcraft.

Offline AunNordDuNord

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Re: Need Advise for First Snowshoe Purchase
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2015, 01:46:37 am »
the people I linked above, are member here and are great people!!

Offline HOOP

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Re: Need Advise for First Snowshoe Purchase
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2015, 10:41:54 am »
the people I linked above, are member here and are great people!!

I agree, I will second that recommendation for Lure of the North snowshoes!    http://lureofthenorth.com/product/equipment/snowshoes/snowshoes/   
I was thinking that they were selling only diy kits, but I see from their website they are selling fully laced monoline snowshoes ready to go!.  They have proven them on their many trips.  They offer several binding types as well.  Give them a call if you have questions.   Image from LOTN website: 


« Last Edit: December 26, 2015, 10:51:24 am by HOOP »
My Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/Wintertrekker

"I firmly believe that far from hurting the planet, the growing knowledge of Bushcraft is helping our natural world. When we employ bushcraft skills, it may seem as though we are consuming natural resources.  But of course, the more we learn about the trees, the plants, the animals around us, the more we respect them. The more we respect them, the more we cherish them, the more we nurture and take care of them. That is the underlying principle of Bushcraft.

Offline Nmakinen4212

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Re: Need Advise for First Snowshoe Purchase
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2015, 11:13:32 am »
Thank you for all the advise! I think I'm going to go traditional and have a few recommendations to decide from.

Offline dks

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Re: Need Advise for First Snowshoe Purchase
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2015, 02:18:07 pm »
I am far from an expert when it comes to snowshoes, but, since you mentioned Algonquin and BWCA for your snowshoeing I have this opinion. Get modern snowshoes. When you have to climb hills pulling a sled you need cleats/crampons on your snowshoes. Even a slight hill will be difficult to ascend using a traditional snowshoes if you are pulling a sled. Traditional snowshoes also may not be as rugged when you are stepping over logs and debris hidden under snow. Just my humble thoughts.

Offline Bkrgi

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Re: Need Advise for First Snowshoe Purchase
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2015, 02:32:37 pm »
Lure of the North is A 1 for gear and I'm also eyeing some Bear Paws in kit form from them...nothing like adding one's own labour of Love. In fact just working on one of there Winter Moc kits for myself and recently did there Anorak kit....
And if you have question do pick Dave's brain at LOTN and he will get you on track.

As I see it either your either floating in Traditionals or your not, as moderns do not float unless on a hard pack of sorts....have a modern set and not really happy with them at all...yah they work but not very well IMO (and I am a light weight Guy).

I'm actually looking forward to pairing the winter mocs with some Bear Paws in the future
Living warm in North x Northwest BC
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Offline AunNordDuNord

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Re: Need Advise for First Snowshoe Purchase
« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2015, 03:23:08 pm »
Like Bkrgi, I don't find the modern shoe to float that well.... I use to have super big modern snow shoe and they didn't work that great and they are so noisy it drives me nuts. I like simple, traditional, indian hitch and moccasin, most comfy, most flotation, warmest and lightest and so quite!!
 

Offline HOOP

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Re: Need Advise for First Snowshoe Purchase
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2015, 05:11:39 pm »
....When you have to climb hills pulling a sled you need cleats/crampons on your snowshoes. Even a slight hill will be difficult to ascend using a traditional snowshoes if you are pulling a sled. 

I agree DKS!   I have had many a challenge ascending hills on packed trails with my traditionals.  I have kicked my pac boot toe into the snow to create a divot to grab with, but slippage can be bad.  Sometimes on soft trails the friction from the lacing itself is enough, but on hard packed its not enough.

One of these days I am going to have to make a quick attach/detach crampon for traditionals.  Maybe a piece of thick leather or seat belt webbing with some kind of studs riveted on with washers, and clipped on and off with a fastex buckle and webbing. 
My Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/Wintertrekker

"I firmly believe that far from hurting the planet, the growing knowledge of Bushcraft is helping our natural world. When we employ bushcraft skills, it may seem as though we are consuming natural resources.  But of course, the more we learn about the trees, the plants, the animals around us, the more we respect them. The more we respect them, the more we cherish them, the more we nurture and take care of them. That is the underlying principle of Bushcraft.

Offline Bioguide

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Re: Need Advise for First Snowshoe Purchase
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2015, 05:49:06 pm »
One of these days I am going to have to make a quick attach/detach crampon for traditionals.  Maybe a piece of thick leather or seat belt webbing with some kind of studs riveted on with washers, and clipped on and off with a fastex buckle and webbing.

Nmakinen4212, I agree with the others and say go with traditional first and if you are like many of us on this site, over time, you will end up with a few different styles of traditional and some modern snowshoes as well. All to be used for the various "snow conditions", i.e. when there is snow, you might encounter.

Hey Hoop, not to hijack the thread, but would you be interested in trying a pair of these crampons?:



Offline HOOP

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Re: Need Advise for First Snowshoe Purchase
« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2015, 07:11:53 pm »
Hi BioGuide!  Something wrong with the link, its showing as a blank and minus sign in the middle. 

One of these days I am going to have to make a quick attach/detach crampon for traditionals.  Maybe a piece of thick leather or seat belt webbing with some kind of studs riveted on with washers, and clipped on and off with a fastex buckle and webbing.

Nmakinen4212, I agree with the others and say go with traditional first and if you are like many of us on this site, over time, you will end up with a few different styles of traditional and some modern snowshoes as well. All to be used for the various "snow conditions", i.e. when there is snow, you might encounter.

Hey Hoop, not to hijack the thread, but would you be interested in trying a pair of these crampons?:



My Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/Wintertrekker

"I firmly believe that far from hurting the planet, the growing knowledge of Bushcraft is helping our natural world. When we employ bushcraft skills, it may seem as though we are consuming natural resources.  But of course, the more we learn about the trees, the plants, the animals around us, the more we respect them. The more we respect them, the more we cherish them, the more we nurture and take care of them. That is the underlying principle of Bushcraft.

Offline jerryswiss

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Re: Need Advise for First Snowshoe Purchase
« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2015, 07:14:39 pm »
Anything that I have to add probably would not be helpful since the snow conditions where I live are so much different than where you are describing. With the exception of saying I whole heartedly agree with the traditional snowshoes. I would do what ever I had to do to get traction for that design. I have been known to wrap 3/8" rope around the frames for traction.

I also have made a set of detachable cleats that I lace to the bottom of my snowshoes. I will see if I can post a picture.

Also consider Army magnesium framed shoes with cable lacing. They float pretty good and have lots of traction, and are cheap. I would go that way before the modern stuff. That is just me. 8)
The driest snow is high desert snow.