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 Snowshoe Size 
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Adept Ascender
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 Snowshoe Size
I'm curious about how to determine what size of snowshoe to buy. After searching I find that it is based on combined weight. That being said, how do I know what length is long enough, and what would be too long/short. I weigh 250lb plus pack, so owuld 36" be a reasonable size to start with?


Sat Jan 29, 2011 9:36 pm
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25" should be a good compromise of float vs. length (long shoes are annoying because they can be a beast to maneuver....and they weigh a lot more). 30" if you really are worried. With gear I push over 300 pounds. I have 25" shoes. Work as best as one can expect. YMMV.

Brian


Sat Jan 29, 2011 11:07 pm
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Thanks, my brother had a friend that was selling Tubbs Yukon 36" but thought they might be to long. I was finding conflicting info when googling so figured I would come here to the experts.


Sun Jan 30, 2011 2:56 am
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Consider also the width and whether you are on tracked trails. A lot of snowshoe tracks are made by MSRs or Tubbs Flex Alps and they are 2 x 8" wide (+/-) so a larger wider shoe doesn't ride in the track very well.

Tim
p.s. 225+ with gear

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Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:37 am
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My friend Russ has a pair of 36" shoes....he calls them his clown shoes, and he never wears them. That should tell you something. :lol:

You will rarely find many people using shoes that long anymore. Are they the best? Well, when it comes to floatation yes, longer will always be better. Where they fall short though is in weight (obviously the bigger the shoe the more they will weigh....either on your feet or when worn on your pack), and in maneuverability. Longer shoes will have a tough time when you get into areas with a lot of tight turns (like when avoiding rocks and other obstructions) and when you get into situations like that the tails will be dragging on each other as you try and make those tight turns. With a smaller shoe your going to sink in powder. I have had to break a lot of trail this year so far and in, say, 2 feet of snow I will sink about a foot to half a foot. A longer shoe would probably float me more (not sure HOW much, but surely not more than around half a foot to foot) but in the end I am still going to sink....it is just something one has to expect with winter hiking. But in the end, for me, the lighter weight and maneuverability are more important to me than flotation which can be so complicated with factors anyways (the type of snow you are on....loose powder, wet, mash potato, etc.....also plays a huge factor in flotation) that there is no real "ideal" shoe.

That being said.....if you are getting a really really good deal on the TUbbs you could consider getting them knowing that at some point you will upgrade. Having a back up pair is alwyas a good thing in case your main pair break, and occasionally if you have a really deep snow dump where you know you will spend the day in your shoes breaking trail you could always just drag out that pair. But again, only if you get a good deal on them.

Brian


Sun Jan 30, 2011 8:10 am
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What Brian & Tim said.

Also - long shoes are a pain stepping over blowdowns or stepping up or down over , well, steps :)

I have a pair of 60" snowshoes I no longer use, partly because they're really *really* old, but mostly because they're not much fun anywhere except crossing ponds or walking wide trails. But for that, they're excellent :)

I have a pair of 36" tubbs which I don't much use because they are too prone to breakdown. The webbing rivets tend to pop, the webbing loosens and the frame comes apart. And they are tough to maneuver. And they have poor traction. And they are too wide (it's surprising what a nuisance this is). But mostly the reliability is the issue with them.

I have a pair of MSR Denalis and I bought the 8" flotation tails.
So far no breakdowns; the shoes are one big piece of plastic, and the tails seem sturdy enough.

Tim's point is also valid for snowmobile trails, my 36" shoes don't fit that well, my Denalis fit the sled track better.

On a packed trail I don't really need the tails, but they help in loose snow. They're a nuisance to take on & off so I just leave them on. They do have an unbalancing effect (front of shoe tends to dive as the long tail gives lift), but a little practice takes care of that. The only real problem with the tails is they tend to lose traction on descent, so have to be careful of that.

One other thing about maneuverability - the MSRs have a hole just forward of the boot opening. The Tubbs I have do not. The hole is handy for lifting the tail of the shoe with my poles - backing up with snowshoes is kind of inconvenient; being able to push down on the front of the shoe with a hiking pole to lift the tail can be very handy.

Mine don't have the ascender bail thingy on some models, which looks pretty cool but also looks like another point of failure to me. And I don't need it nearly as much as I need to save the $.

Winter hiking I'm in the Clydesdale+ weight class - circa 300 skin-to-trail.
With the tails my MSRs are 30". They work OK for me and are a good enough all-round compromise.

YMMV.

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Sun Jan 30, 2011 10:21 am
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 What is the expected use?
Do you think you will be breaking trail most times or do you think you will be hiking established packed out trails?

Are you hiking to reach peaks or for a walk in the woods?

Do you care if your snowshoes are heavier than they might need to be?

I have a pair of 8x25s that I use in the Whites hiking packed out trails.

I have a pair of 9x30s for the golf courses and the State Forest.

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Sun Jan 30, 2011 12:50 pm
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I have a pair of 9x30 (LL Bean/Tubbs) for flat stuff and the 8x22 (+4 or +8) MSRs. I really cannot detect a difference in how far I sink, especially with at least the +4 tails. The +8 tails make them unbalanced and I trip more often. The +4 tails are useful though.

I've hiked the power lines behind my house, making parallel tracks using the 9x30, the 8x22 and the 8x22+4 and in reality averaging all of the depths comes out to about the same. What the MSRs lack in flotation they make up for in braking, relative to the 9x30 (which are not climbing shoes). YMMV.

I have heard largely positive things about the Flex Alp 24s. They are 2 inches longer and have reportedly superior bindings. Like many, my feet slide around a bit in the rubber strap bindings on the MSRs.

We stopped at my father-in-law's after skiing today and he had out an old pair of wooden shoes that were 10x56! He actually still uses them. They had to weigh 4 or 5 pounds a piece.

Tim

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Sun Jan 30, 2011 9:24 pm
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Buy Snowshoes That Suit Your Weight and Suit Your Snowshoe Size to Conditions, Add Tails to Your Snowshoes to Extend the Length but Rent snowshoes a few times before you decide to buy. This will give you the chance to test out different sizes so you can buy the right one and enjoy a perfect fit. 8)


Fri Jun 17, 2011 4:37 am
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