Snowshoes that fit the wearer, and the snow...

Discussion in 'Winter Camping' started by Haggis, Mar 17, 2019 at 8:02 AM.

  1. Haggis

    Haggis Bushmaster

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2014
    Messages:
    5,294
    Likes Received:
    22,601
    Location:
    Northern Minnesota
    Out in the woods with Grandson Cameron yesterday AM,,, He was following me, and he kept sinking through the crust on the snow. Not his fault though, the only snowshoes I had for him where those belonging to Herself... 10”x40”,,,

    My traditional Faber’s with lampwick bindings are 18”x39”

    He was floundering pretty hard and falling on his knees much of the time,,, He kept asking me; “What am I doing wrong?” In some places there is yet 2 feet of snow on the ground. He was a good sport about it all... The imprints of my own snowshoes can be seen in the snow ahead of him. I was floating quite nicely.

    The importance of having good snowshoes, that are a match to the weight of the wearer, and the snow, is a really big deal.

    26E9C59F-9D8D-4C22-BAA3-DD544DBB8A37.jpeg
     
  2. J. Pierce

    J. Pierce Perpetually Off Topic, Sorry. Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2013
    Messages:
    2,792
    Likes Received:
    12,358
    Location:
    Wisconsin, the north end
    That's good for him, he's young yet.
    Wear him out good and that'll keep him outta trouble......LOL

    I've grumbled at times about having a pair of snowshoes that was bigger than needed, but I've grumbled even more about having a pair that was not big enough.
     
  3. TrespassersWilliam

    TrespassersWilliam Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Messages:
    1,257
    Likes Received:
    4,234
    Location:
    NH
    Maybe a thrift store pair of skis?
     
    Haggis and RavenLoon like this.
  4. RavenLoon

    RavenLoon axology student Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2012
    Messages:
    2,869
    Likes Received:
    6,149
    Location:
    U.P. Michigan
    Very true. I've often seen people buy those small snowshoes because they appear easier to use. Flotation is the most important factor.
     
  5. Haggis

    Haggis Bushmaster

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2014
    Messages:
    5,294
    Likes Received:
    22,601
    Location:
    Northern Minnesota
    The 10”x40” work for Herself,,, she’s lighter, but then too, she only follows me,,, I’m breaking trail for her to walk in.

    I used to have a really nice set of modern aluminum snowshoes,,, they were 10”x36” I think. Nice for early or late season,,, the time before much snow fall, or during the Spring melting time when snow was crusty or going away. I wore them out though,,, the plastic or what ever it is started falling to pieces. I suppose I should get another pair for the wet early/late winter times,,, Mostly for keeping my feet dry, or making walking a bit easier...

    Deep dry snow will always find me wearing big traditionals...
     
  6. JoeJ

    JoeJ Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2018
    Messages:
    343
    Likes Received:
    1,037
    Location:
    ND/MN
    Big traditional snowshoes are the way to go in most circumstances if one is experienced in snowshoeing activities. I still have mine that were made for me by Russ Merritt out of Cohasset, Minn. They are 10.5" X 80" - I had ordered 12" x 84" and he advised he would have them ready in about 6 weeks - well, it was maybe 10 weeks later he called and said he was in a sick way and couldn't honor my order and wouldn't be making anymore snowshoes but had previously made up a slightly smaller pair for a fellow, who didn't have the money to pay for them, so he offered them to me - Can't remember the year I purchased them, but I think it was in the mid-1970's?? I basically have the last pair of snowshoes that Russ made prior to his passing. I haven't used them for the past several years but I'll keep them, as Russ was one of the renowned snowshoe makers of Northeast Minnesota.


    IMG_1664.JPG


    DSCN0491.JPG
     
  7. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2010
    Messages:
    10,540
    Likes Received:
    58,218
    Those are some sweet shoes!
     
    Brook Trout, JoeJ and Haggis like this.
  8. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2010
    Messages:
    10,540
    Likes Received:
    58,218
    This is very important, and so true, and yet so simple. I see videos of guys and gals bouncing around in these tiny snowshoes and sinking like they weren't wearing any at all. Can't figure that out. :)

    Funny story. My whole family used to snowshoe with me. I would carry the pack and lead the way, busting trail, and sinking down. Everyone would trail behind me in the road I made.

    Then one day I was watching my kids snowshoe around the yard. My son, who was the youngest, didn't sink in at all. The other kids sunk just a bit more as they were bigger. Then the light came on for me. I would let the kids break trail. Each kid sunk down a little more, and with me in back, I didn't have to lift my feet so high. :) Unfortunately, we didn't have much snow the few years after that and we never did much shoeing again.

    Here are some of mine. The tall ones are military, made in VT. The others are Canada made. I have a couple more sets of wooden ones and of course my magnesium military ones.

    IMG_20190317_180233335_HDR-540x960.jpg

    I was out shoeing this morning. Did about 5 1/2 miles. Didn't sink down more than an inch or so. Today I was using the bottom set. 36" long, not sure how wide. 8-10" though I think. :)
     
    Brook Trout, Seeker, JoeJ and 2 others like this.
  9. Muskeg_Stomper

    Muskeg_Stomper Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2013
    Messages:
    85
    Likes Received:
    436
    Location:
    Gangrene Gulch, Alaska
    Cameron looks to be a good sized lad and those 10X40 modified bearpaws aren't providing enough floatation. Modified bearpaws are best used in real brushy country anyway. He'd probably be better served by longer, wider shoes in a Michigan pattern. The magnesium military surplus shoes are a pretty good option. Big trail shoes like JoeJ's are my preference, particularly in more open country. I'm usually not a big fan of most modern aluminum and nylon wonders because most of the ones I've been around don't provide enough floatation for a big guy like me, particularly if carrying a load.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2019 at 5:25 PM
  10. Haggis

    Haggis Bushmaster

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2014
    Messages:
    5,294
    Likes Received:
    22,601
    Location:
    Northern Minnesota
    He’s a big kid for 15,,, 260 maybe. It’s just that I didn’t have any thing else for him...
     
  11. Muskeg_Stomper

    Muskeg_Stomper Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2013
    Messages:
    85
    Likes Received:
    436
    Location:
    Gangrene Gulch, Alaska
    Yes, I would say he’s definitely a big kid. Wow
     
    RavenLoon and Haggis like this.
  12. Haggis

    Haggis Bushmaster

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2014
    Messages:
    5,294
    Likes Received:
    22,601
    Location:
    Northern Minnesota
    He’s pretty much 2 or 3 inches over 6 feet now, but he’s still a little boy to his Papaw... Out snowshoeing with me on Saturday, flew out to D.C. on Sunday... They grow up fast...
     
    Morrow7x likes this.
  13. Morrow7x

    Morrow7x Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2018
    Messages:
    469
    Likes Received:
    2,044
    The modern small 'shoes are good for folks who travel the most popular trails. Just have to avoid surprise postholing on trails that otherwise would support a hiking boot they're so packed... On the Colorado Front Range that's pretty much all of them, unfortunately. Trying to explain to a woman who has to rent 25s because you're out of 21s that 10x36 used to be considered a 'handy' sized recreational snowshoe is enough to make you want to beat your head against the wall. 4" trailing behind is an almost overwhelming concern to some... Thanks, Interwebs… :rolleyes:


    (Sorry if that sounded sexist, but that was increasingly my experience renting them for almost 25 winters at the same shop...)
     
    RavenLoon, Haggis and Brook Trout like this.
  14. John from Alberta

    John from Alberta Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2018
    Messages:
    218
    Likes Received:
    1,463
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    I’ve been using the modern plastic MSR Ascents for close to 20 years. No issues with sinking and they’re WAY lighter and less awkward than classic snowshoes. I’m not a big guy (maxing out around 175lbs these days), so I don’t need a ton of acreage to keep me floating, so the smaller shoe has worked for me. I also tend to pull a pulk instead of carrying a pack, so I don’t need to worry about additional pack weight making float more difficult.

    I had no idea they made beasts as big as those above! That’s amazing, definitely not gonna sink on those.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2019 at 1:13 AM
    RavenLoon, Haggis and Brook Trout like this.
  15. AK Adventurer

    AK Adventurer Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2012
    Messages:
    570
    Likes Received:
    1,771
    Location:
    Two Rivers(Fairbanks), Alaska
    Indeed. Here in lies my current conundrum.

    According to All manufacturers(that I can find anway) of traditional shoes, by the way they fit shoes by your size and weight, None of them make a shoe big enough for me, unless I'm on heavily crusted or wind drifted/packed snow. Which is Extremely rare here.

    I'm 6'3" 360# currently. In an average winter I'm around 320#. (Out of shape further this year after pneumonia put me down for 2 months.. )

    Even at my lightest, about 300# when I'm working steady and in pretty good shape, no one makes a shoe that specs to be able to hold me, let alone with winter clothes and a pack added, in interior Alaskan snow conditions.

    The max weight that most places list for their biggest shoes for open country float, is 260#. And thats for Big open range 14"×5'+ "Alaskan" shoes... I actually need a bear paw or modified bear paw style, thats shorter for maneuvering woods travel.

    Currently I use a pair of the MSR mil surp shoes with the big tails on them. In 3' of snow I sink around 2'.

    Amazingly, there is a gain to this, if you know how to do it, to overlap the steps, it's still a lot less work than post holling/slogging through without anything...

    But it's not easy going either. The most I gain is a hard frozen easy trail for the return, IF I come back the same way.

    Been really at a loss as to what the hell to get/do. Not looking forward to a $200 to $300 experiment to see IF it'll work or not.. I really need to find someone I know that has some big shoes that I can try out in powder, and actually See how it works, or doesn't.. Unfortunately, everyone I know that snowshoes, are one the decidedly petite side of the scale and float great with these modern mini shoes(Like the MSRs I have, which are on loan from a friend).
     
    RavenLoon, Haggis and Brook Trout like this.
  16. Muskeg_Stomper

    Muskeg_Stomper Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2013
    Messages:
    85
    Likes Received:
    436
    Location:
    Gangrene Gulch, Alaska
    AK Adventurer, I couldn’t believe it when the units up here ditched the magnesium shoes for the MSR Denali even with the floatation tails. Not enough floatation. They pack a heckova lot easier though when you have to attach them to a ruck or sled.

    It might be beneficial for you to look on fleabay or Craigslist for the longest, widest Alaska trail snowshoes you can find. The military bindings do a good job fitting big hooves in bunny boots too.
     
    RavenLoon, Haggis and Brook Trout like this.
  17. Haggis

    Haggis Bushmaster

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2014
    Messages:
    5,294
    Likes Received:
    22,601
    Location:
    Northern Minnesota
    Timely I think

    Ojibwe Word of the Day
    Bebookwaagimed-giizis ᐯᐴᒀᑭᒣᑦ ᑮᓯ
    'Moon when the snowshoes break, March'
     

Share This Page