With so much new gear to see at Outdoor Retailer earlier in January, we weren’t able to give you a preview to all of next year’s coolest snowshoes in one post. (See our OR Recap, Part 1.) Rest assured, we’ve got the deets on more of the winter weather goods. From easy-walking trail ‘shoes to rugged backcountry companions, check out what our friends from MSR, Atlas, Tubbs and GV Snowshoes are up to for 2014/2015.
Mountain Safety Research (MSR)
New from MSR is the Revo Explore snowshoe ($199). The Revo Explore combines steel traction walls with a flexible plastic deck for a snowshoe that’s burly for rugged backcountry terrain – yet lightweight for casual day hikers. Its new HyperLink binding has swapped MSR’s SpeedLock binding for an easier and more comfortable two-strap ratchet system that is quick to latch and unlock. Once you’ve set the heel strap, you’ll only need to adjust the single ratchet over the top of your foot. The idea is to reduce pressure points that develop from too many binding “touch points” while ensuring that your foot won’t slip out of the snowshoe while breaking trail.
Atlas Snow-Shoe Co.
Atlas debuted a new snowshoe to their backcountry collection with the Endeavor ($219.95), designed especially for multi-sport hikes that occasionally require you carry your snowshoes on your backpack. The hybrid snowshoe has a traditional, stiff aluminum nose that cuts through heavy snow, while composite decking helps to reduce the overall weight. The result is a lightweight snowshoe that’s ideal for inconsistent terrain and variable snow conditions. Key features include traction rails, a heel lift, and bindings that pack flat and accommodate larger boots (perfect for snowboarders hiking in the backcountry).
The popular 8 Series trail walking snowshoe ($139.95), ideal for casual on-trail hikers, gets a revamp with the new Light-Ride Suspension system. Atlas’s engineering department tweaked the existing suspension system to add more cushioning under your foot while still enabling the tail of the snowshoe to fall away, helping to shed snow (thus weight) with each step. To validate its straight-forward and easy-to-wear design, the 8 Series snowshoe features a simple Strapp binding. Unlike plastic-based bindings, the Strapp won’t freeze and break in sub-zero temperatures.
Tubbs debuted two new adult snowshoes for 2014-15: the FLEX VRT ($249.95) and the FLEX RDG ($189.95), both of which feature a Boa dial on the bindings for ultra fast precision and comfort. The glove-friendly, cable-based dial system reduces pressure points around your foot by providing consistent tension and an even fit. Made for backcountry adventures, it also incorporates a DynamicFit heel binding and a Flex Tail design to ease the stress on joints.
The FLEX RDG edition utilizes the same Boa closure, but its heel strap is incorporated into the overall binding for a more seamless fit. The major difference between the two models is price, with the RDG coming in at a lower price point.
Tubbs will introduce the fourth kid-specific snowshoe in 2014/2015, adding to the growing segment of youth winter gear with tricked-out features. The kids’ SnowGlow snowshoes ($49.95) harness the rad factor of colorful LED lights, which flash with every step. Of course, they’re most visible when it’s dark outside, making them a great expedition tool for nighttime snowshoe hikes, but they’re just as vivid in the daytime snow. The SnowGlow snowshoes include the easy-to-use QuickLock2 bindings, designed to keep a kids’ foot snug and secure and a parent’s sanity in check.
You’ll find many of the same snowshoes with GV Snowshoes for 2014/2015, but a major change in bindings lets snowshoers take to the trail without an actual snowshoe, if you so desire. What does that even mean? GV’s newest innovation, the Step-In Tech bindings, are a removable binding that converts to crampons to any boot/shoe in one click. With aggressive 10-spike crampons, the bindings can be used on nearly any type of terrain and is especially helpful when the snowpack becomes more hardpacked and icy. The Step-In Tech bindings will be available in 4 models (Polar ST ($299), Race ST ($199), Mountain Extreme ($259) and Active Extreme ST ($259) snowshoes) and also sold separately ($45).