The day finally comes for just about every snowshoer when they decide that winter is over, the snow is gone (or too hard to access), and it is time to put their snowshoes away for next season. For many snowshoers in the Northern hemisphere, this day has already arrived. Your snowshoes are already sitting somewhere waiting for the snow to return.
To make sure you’re properly storing your snowshoes, there are a few things to keep in mind, even for modern aluminum and plastic snowshoes.
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Steps for Storing Your Modern Snowshoes
One of the great things about modern synthetic material snowshoes is their low maintenance, and thus your pair, in all likelihood, will be fine. To maximize the life of your snowshoes, though, there are a few things you should consider when storing your snowshoes for any length of time.
Clean Your Snowshoes
First, make sure your snowshoes are clean. They probably are, but they have picked up some dirt, road salt, fluid-like gas/oil from the transmission of a snowmobile or snowcat, or even food or drink spilled on them during a hasty refueling after your last outing.
If you suspect your snowshoes are not clean, wash or soak them in some clean water. You can use a mild soap on your snowshoes to remove anything worse than dirt, but be sure to rinse them well. You want to remove any potentially corrosive materials, which might harm the snowshoes.
It is a good idea to get the dirt and sand off your ‘shoes (especially if sandshoeing) as these fine particles lead to premature wear of binding straps, decks, etc., due to abrasion. Also, late-season snow conditions tend to be dirtier than normal, so cleaning will help.
Inspect for Damage
After your snowshoes are dry, this is a great time to inspect them for damage. Check all metal and hard plastic/nylon parts for cracks and splits. Look at the decks and straps and note any tears, rips, or frayed areas. Check the tightness of any nuts and bolts on your snowshoes. A certain amount of incidental wear and tear is common with snowshoes from normal use, and it is possible to make minor repairs yourself.
If you notice something severe, like a cracked frame, and you are positive this did not occur because of abuse (like slamming your snowshoes in a car door or using them on rocks), you may want to contact the manufacturer to inquire about a warranty. The off-season is a great time to speak with manufacturers, many of which can replace, repair, or upgrade snowshoes for reasonable fees.
The off-season is also a great time to buy another pair of snowshoes if yours are outdated or really beat. If you need a temporary fix for your snowshoes, you can also use a homemade snowshoe repair kit.
Where To Store Your Snowshoes
You want to store your clean, dry, functioning snowshoes in a place where they will not be damaged and where you can find them when the snow returns.
Avoid storage in direct sunlight, heat over 100 degrees F (38 C), in moist areas where mold and mildew may form, places where repeated movement may cause abrasion, and places where harmful fumes and vapors may exist.
Storing your snowshoes indoors is best, but not necessary. A shelf in your shed, attic, garage, or basement is good as long as it does not get too hot and is well ventilated. Beware of prolonged exposure to gas engine exhaust from your car or other machines like a generator as this can damage some materials. Make sure small children can not get to them as the points on some traction claws can be sharp.
Extra Considerations for Wood-Framed Snowshoes
If you have a classic pair of wood-framed snowshoes, you will have some more work to do.
In addition to cleaning them by wiping them down with a soft cloth, you should inspect the frames and rawhide webbing to decide if you need to varnish them. Many traditional snowshoe enthusiasts recommend marine spar varnish. However, if possible, consult with the manufacturer recommendations for the best way to proceed.
You will need to follow all the other storage precautions and also be careful to store your snowshoes in a place where mice and other creatures can access them to prevent them from being eaten or gnawed on.
Read More: Traditional Snowshoe Care and Maintenance
Proper snowshoe storage is easy to do and will prolong the useful life of your gear. With a little common sense and thought, it is easy to avoid things that may damage your snowshoes over time.
The idea is to ensure that your snowshoes are safe and ready to go when the time comes to use them again. It is a good idea to get into the habit of properly storing your snowshoes all the time, not just in the off-season, as you never know when the off-season will come.
Where do you normally store your snowshoes, and what other recommendations do you have? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
This article was originally published on May 17, 2004, and was most recently updated on May 4, 2021.
Hang it Up for the Season: Snowshoe Care and Storage
Snowshoeing for Beginners: The First-Timer’s Guide
What to Do Once the Snow is Gone
Traditional Wooden Snowshoes: Shapes, Designs, Names