Are you thinking about trading in your fall hiking boots for a pair of snowshoes? If so, you'll want to make your purchase carefully. After all, wearing the wrong pair of snowshoes can make your trek uncomfortable. Based on my experience, there are several features that you'll want to look for when making your selection.
Here's a quick look at each one:
Choose the Right Type and Traction
There are different types of snowshoes, each with their own type of traction system. You will want to select a combination that is suitable for the winter activities that you plan on engaging in. For example, there are snowshoes that are designed for winter backpacking through rugged terrain. They tend to have sturdy frames, toe crampons, heel crampons and traction bars. The sturdy frame helps to keep the snowshoes from breaking whereas the toe crampons help to provide traction when ascending mountains. The heel crampons help to provide traction when descending a mountain and the traction bars tend to help reduce lateral slippage.
Choose the Right Binding and Decking
Snowshoes also come with different types of bindings and decking systems. I'd suggest that you look for a binding and decking system that suits your gait as well as your recreational choices. For instance, if you plan on trekking in the mountains, you may want to select a pair of snowshoes that have pivot hinge bindings and a lightweight decking system. I have found that those features help to make climbing up steep mountains and traveling long distances less tiresome. The reason why is that the pivot hinge bindings' movements help to disperse any excess snow that gets onto my snowshoes. Having to lift less weight with every step also makes long journeys less taxing on my leg muscles.
Choose the Right Size and Shape
When deciding on your pair of snowshoes' size and shape, you will want to think about what activities you plan on engaging in and where. Based on my experience, large snowshoes allow for greater floatation in dry snow conditions. That's because my combined weight is able to be spread out evenly. However, they can also be cumbersome when trying to negotiate tight spaces and steep climbs. Therefore, if you plan on tackling the backcountry, you may want to consider selecting snowshoes that are teardrop shaped. I'd also recommend that when you go to try on a pair of snowshoes that you wear your boots and socks. Doing so will help you in achieving the right fit.
Killeen Gonzalez enjoys winter sports and recreation with her family. She has also traveled extensively.
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