Flotation; Traditional off trail Snowshoes vs Modern Snowshoes

Like most things we use, “no one size fits all” is a good rule to follow and certainly applies to picking the right pair of snowshoes.  You can google numerous articles that give will give differing opinions on what will work best, best overall, what’s right for you, etc., etc.  But the essential point is you need to determine where you will be doing most of your snowshoeing. If it is mostly in the local parks or Nature Centers on groomed snowshoe trails, then a smaller footprint is required, and a Modern style snowshoe will work just fine.  If you prefer to “break trail” either out in open areas or in the woods where the only foot prints you see are the four-legged kind, or you enjoy winter camping, then flotation is key and a larger snowshoe is desirable.

Let’s be clear on one thing SURFACE AREA = FLOTATION the more you have the higher you will float.  Solid or open decking, frame weight or material, binding or style of boot makes little or no difference compared to surface area.  In this case size does matter when picking out the correct snowshoes.

Modern snowshoes are NOT lighter than Traditional snowshoes.  Aluminum snowshoes are not lighter when comparing similar size snowshoes. MSR Lightning Ascents 30" weigh 4lbs 3oz. (from REI website), our 10 x 36 Green Mtn. Bear Paw with A binding comes out at the same weight. MSR rates this shoe for 280#, our Bear Paw has more surface area, but we are more conservative and rate it for 200#. Let's not forget a solid deck holds snow on top that you lift with each step. A laced deck allows snow to sift through the decking as you stride.

I encourage you to watch the video below, Country Ways did not have any part in the making but was done by our friends at Lure of The North who we know and respect.