It’s that time of year again, Winter is right around the corner. One of the joys of hiking/backpacking is that you really can do it all year long. One piece of essential gear however are Snowshoes. Snowshoes allow you to go to places in the snow that normally you wouldn’t be able to get to and snowshoes also allow you to climb steep hills and mountains. There are many snowshoe features to consider when choosing snowshoes and all the options available are important.

I have put together the top 5 snowshoe manufactures to consider when choosing this essential piece of gear. I considered Weight, Cost, and Reviews. Normally there are 3 different categories, Recreational, Backpacking, and Fitness. For this list, I’ll stick with Backpacking.

Depending on your weight and the weight of anything carried (such as a backpack, etc.), the snowshoe must be the correct length to keep you from sinking in the powdered snow. If you are only going to be snowshoeing in packed powder, possibly choose a smaller length snowshoe.

* under 70 pounds – children
* 70 – 155 pounds – 8×21
* 90 – 170 pounds – 8×25
* 170 – 220 pounds – 9×30
* Over 220 pounds – 10×36
Make sure you know your pack weight.

The MSR Denali Evo Ascent

msr

The MSR Denali Snowshoe is incredibly efficient for snowshoeing in steep terrain thanks to its Televator heel lifter. When the going gets steep, just pull up this heel lifter, and your foot will remain flat even when you’re walking straight up a steep incline. Keeping your feet flat also reduces the stress on your calves, so you can travel further. Available tail attachments increase flotation in deep snow. These snoweshoes retail for around $200.00 Trailspace.com gives it a 5 star rating

Atlas line

atlas12

As the flagship of the the 12 Series Snowshoe handles the steepest, roughest, deepest and iciest terrain that snowshoers get into. These snowshoes feature top-notch materials like a burly, lightweight ReactiV 7075 aluminum frame, Duratek deck fabric which sheds snow like crazy, and stainless steel crampons to handle icy conditions with ease. Of course, they also feature Atlas’ V Frame design, which lets you walk naturally. Retails for $140 – $200. Trailspace has it a 5 Star Rating

Tubbs Mountain Series Snowshoe

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Base of binding system adjusts to accommodate various boot widths. Binding system maximizes support for the boot and optimizes heel retention; uses Rigid Control Wings and secure toe and heel straps to center boot. Flexible polyurethane straps with fast ratchet-buckle system prevent undue constriction, improving blood circulation to the toes. Lateral heel crampon delivers additional traction on a traverse and during the descent. Puncture- and abrasion-resistant ArcTec Plus decking withstands extreme weather and use down to -40 F. Razor-sharp climbing, traversing and braking teeth ensure stability on packed snow. Rotating Toe Cord pivot point allows a natural walking gait while still ensuring maximum crampon grip in steep terrain. Strong, anodized 7000-series aluminum frames feature a streamlined, ergonomic shape for medial clearance and improved stability. Retails from $170 – $200 Trailspace gives this a 4 Star Rating

Northern Lites Snow Shoes

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Founder Russell Post is such a fanatic for a lightweight construction, he’s drilled holes in his toothbrush to lighten his load while camping. Originally an engineer, the avid snow-shoer and outdoorsman founded Northern Lites with the mission to improve and lighten existing snow shoe design. Over 15 years later, Northern Lites remains a leader in light-weight, high-performance snow shoes, trusted by backcountry enthusiasts and mountaineers for their fine construction and unparalleled lightness. For the experienced, die-hard snow-shoer who thinks nothing of a hike in the Canadian Rockies in January, the Northern Lites Elites provide aggressive crampons and the same ultra-light construction that helped snow-shoe racer Mark Macy win the Iditarod 100-mile Snow Shoe race three times. Retails for $249.00 You can buy this directly from Norther Lights. (This is the snowshoe I use) They are light and work great.

Redfeather Guide Snowshoe

redfeather

Engineered for winter backcountry getaways, the Redfeather series has a wide high-floatation profile and a rugged construction that gets you there and back while hiking, backpacking and climbing. The rounded Western Tail configuration helps keep you above the snow even when you’re loaded down with a heavy backpack (keep in mind that the 230-lb. rating for this size includes you and your pack weight). Rugged 7/8-in. diameter tubing and burly Hypalon II decking help ensure that the Guide Snowshoe holds up to trail wear and tear miles from the trailhead. Redfeather’s new Pilot Binding System has a free-sliding base plate that secures the front and back of the binding with one fastening closure, making it easy to find your size and keep it throughout your adventure.” Retails for $200. Rating 4 Stars

Don’t let a little snow stop you from exploring Nature. See you on the Trail.