The women’s Xpedition snowshoe is a mid-level, all-terrain snowshoe is great for taking your snowshoeing treks to the next level, from simple, flat trails to backcountry adventures. This shoe is not only attractive and lightweight but also boasts a few technical enhancements that prove to be a big help on the trail.
For starters, this snowshoe is pleasant to step in and out of thanks to Tubbs’ ReAct binding system. The lower binding straps are made of a pliable plastic material that form to fit nicely around you boot and cinch easily behind your heel. The nylon binding straps on top pull both to the left and right of your foot to ensure a comfortable, snug fit on both sides. Stepping out is a piece of cake with one quick pull straight up on a third nylon strap that releases the bindings on both sides.
I used these 21-inch snowshoes throughout the season in a variety of snow conditions, including deep powder, packed powder and slush and was pleased with their performance in all three cases. The lightweight, Pro-Step frame is able to flex diagonally as well as horizontally and laterally for reduced joint impact and optimal float capability. I never sunk into the snow on deep, flat spots and was able to maintain stability on trails that sloped sideways. These shoes also didn’t allow snow to clump underneath or on the sides which also helped me maintain stability.
What makes the Xpedition model acceptable for backcountry is its superior traction capability and extra features that make it easier when ascending and descending steep terrain. With serrated Cobra and Grappler crampons under the ball of your foot as well as under the arch and heel areas, slippage was not a problem at all. Even on steep, icy areas where I had to reach back and engage my heel lifts, these crampons gave me superior traction. On my bluebird day slush hike I was able to drop my weight in my heels and allow the Grappler teeth in the back to dig in and help me navigate downhill without slipping and sliding (and therefore tripping and falling!).
My only complaint about these snowshoes is that it was very difficult to engage and disengage the heel lifts, although I imagine those loosen up over time and with continued use. Also, one time when I returned to my car after a hike I noticed that the heel strap of the binding was actually under my foot (instead of around the back of my heel) which means that at some point the latch slipped open and released the strap, perhaps due to a clump of snow or my hitting it when messing with the heel lifts.
Pros: Great traction, easy on/off bindings, lightweight, fun colors
Cons: Stiff heel lifts, un-trustworthy binding clamp
For more information on Tubbs Snowshoes, visit http://www.tubbssnowshoes.com.