My dh is in search of some snowshoes. He is interested in either buying them new...or possibly making somew him self any suggestions...what works best, typre to buy etc. He will be using them for hunting etc.
We were given the high tech ones by TUBBS. They have an ice cramp on them. I dont like them actually. It does matter what kind of snow you get....powder or heavy wet stuff.... as to the right snowshoe. Our shoes are sort of narrow so good for walking on snowmachine trails but not for breaking trail in snow over a foot deep. I only weigh 120# and sank 6in after powdery 2 ft storm....makes for alot of legwork!
I think handmade and wide shoes are yoour best bet but others like Tubbs are more readily available.
Before you buy snowshoes try to get a copy of the book titled ""The Snowshoe Book" from your library. It will teach you all about them, how to use them and how to make them(if he decides that's what he wants to do).
I've got bearpaw snowshoes, the trail kind, and the modern hi-tech kind.
For shallow soft snow, less than a couple feet- the kind you could just wear tall boots in- the modern ones work but I really don't like them. Mine have ice grippers on them too, which I really hate. They make walking extremely difficult and dangerous, not to mention running, they catch on everything, they make carrying and handling dangerous, and they serve no positive purpose. The frames are aluminum tubing which makes a noisy racket on hard snow and ice. Also the bindings, which are nylon straps and plastic clips, don't adjust small enough for my feet, and even my big winter boots tend to slip out of them at the worst possible moment. The clips are difficult to work with gloves on and cold fingers, and there are about five different unnecessary places with clips and adjustment buckles. The bindings can flip all the way to the back of the snowshoe, and because of this and the ice grippers I've come extremely close to breaking a leg or worse on these things. The plastic or whatever it is stretched between the frame collects snow with every step, traps pieces of ice that fall off tree branches and slides them around noisily, and of course scrapes loudly against branches and such. I suppose if one had no other choice they would be better than just tall boots for shallow snow and dense woods.
The little bearpaw ones are good for the same conditions without the same irritations. Mine have webbing made of some kind of fake stuff that's supposed to resemble traditional rawhide. After many years of use it's all hairy and not especially lovely, but it works just fine.
The trail snowshoes are the best for breaking trail in really deep snow. They're my all around favorites. Even in dense woods they do a good job, you just have to be aware of how much space they take up. I've hiked miles on them and climbed several mountains on them- they do it all and I really like them. The only thing I would change about my trail shoes is the webbing, which is real rawhide and it gets literally mushy in wet snow and breaks easily. I'm going to try to get the webbing replaced with fake stuff.
IMHO, neither of the "old fashioned" kind of snowshoes is noticibly heavy or cumbersome. I've carried the new fangled kind along the highway by the cold aluminum frame and the slippery, noisy plastic or whatever it is stretched over it with the ice grips continually trying to wound me, and I greatly prefer holding onto wood with my fingers securely poked through the traditional webbing.
As for bindings, which bad ones can make everything complete hell, there's only one kind I would recommend and that's the black rubber "Bob Maki" type. They come in different sizes and fit all types of boots and traditional snowshoes. You simply put your toe into them and stretch the back around your heel with one finger. No straps, no buckles, no clips. It's ideal for gloves and cold fingers and it reliably keeps your foot in. The rubber sheds the snow instead of collecting it like straps and buckles do. Strap bindings always collapse, forcing you to hold them open with frozen fingers while you get your foot in them. The rubber bindings stay open. If you're just forging a quick trail through light snow, you can just slip your toe into them without even bending down. Nothing beats them for easy on and off. I've had my foot slip out of them a few times when I was climbing up very steep hillsides on my hands and knees, but they remain around my ankle and it's very simple to get my toe back in. Also if you're doing any snowshoeing in the woods, branches and such won't catch on the rubber bindings like they do with straps. Mine have lasted for years of really hard use and they're only getting better.
Hope this helps.
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