It can be tough to find a snowshoe that offers the full package – performance, design, comfort, and cost. But I must say, after a review, I am pleasantly surprised at how much I love my Delano X2 snowshoes by Wildhorn Outfitters. This company, known for its ski and snowboard products, has recently stepped into the world of snowshoes, and what a great first impression.
I had the opportunity to test and use these snowshoes on a few snowshoe outings this spring while exploring Alaska. Here’s a rundown of the experience while breaking trail.
The Delano X2 offers quite a bit of traction, including three crampons directly underneath the toe, three between the toe and the ball of the foot, and three crampons underneath the heel. Each crampon is made of electroplated or coated steel and has multiple teeth of varying shapes, sizes, and angles.
The traction provided through the Delano X2 is enough that I would consider this to be a technical snowshoe. Even though there are mountaineering snowshoes with more traction, they also typically cost quite a bit more (up to triple) than the Delano X2.
For my needs, which involve steep climbs but are mostly recreational outings, the Delano X2 performed well. I had enough grip ascending on the trail and wasn’t concerned about slipping. I did have one very steep descent (about 50 degrees) in deep snow where I didn’t quite have the grip underneath my heel. However, I altered my technique and step-slided my way down in that case.
This snowshoe also comes with a steel heel raiser to help alleviate strain on the calf muscles. Heel lifts are quite a popular feature and helpful for steep climbs. I found it easy to pop up and down. Though, personally, I don’t tend to use heel lifts very often.
Floatation, Design, and Size
A few outings required me to break trail in deep snow, and the Delano X2 floated as intended. No extra sinking here! I sank to about my lower calf on my outings, which is pretty typical for me. Since the snowshoe’s shape is fairly wide, it provides the surface area to distribute weight and limit sinking in deep snow.
If the conditions may change over the course of your hike and you’re not sure whether you’ll need snowshoes, the Delano X2 snowshoes are also easy to attach to your pack when not in use. My snowshoes came with Wildhorn’s velcro straps, which I threaded through the loops on my backpack for a front carry.
Also, for this review, I used a size 22 model of the Delano X2 snowshoes. According to Wildhorn, this size is optimal for 80-160 lbs (36- 72.5 kg). However, you can choose a size 28 model, optimal for 160-235 lbs (72.5- 106.5 kg). Snowshoe sizing, in general, can be tricky. Thus, I recommend considering boot size and the weight recommendation to find the snowshoe size right for you.
One final note about sizing: Though the 22″ provided excellent floatation for me because it has a wide surface area, I also have a pretty narrow stride. So, occasionally I would step on my snowshoes as I was walking. I never fell, thankfully. But for those who also have a narrow stride, I recommend being cautious of your steps as you’re walking.
Read More: Add the Delano X2 to Your Gear This Winter
Binding Fit and Comfort
Speaking of finding the right size, let’s talk about the fit and comfort in the snow. Many snowshoe bindings are either love or hate for me. The Lock n’ Load quick lock and release straps of the Delano X2 are much more towards the love side of the spectrum.
First, I placed my foot on the grip pad with my toes about one to two inches from the top of the opening. When I say “placed,” I do recommend placing instead of sliding your foot in the binding. The Delano X2 has a textured grip pad for your foot, and boy, it works! Your foot won’t slip at all on the trail, but that means it also won’t slip into the binding.
Once your foot is placed in the binding, tightening is a cinch. Haha, see what I did there? You can use the quick cinch binding to pull the black straps up, and it tightens straight away. The heel strap on Delano X2 is a standard TPU strap, so you just need to pull it tight and secure the excess in the strap holder. While snowshoeing, I didn’t feel my foot slip at all, nor did I have any issues with rubbing or my foot leaning inwards, which sometimes happens in other snowshoes.
Getting out of the binding is easy once you’re all snowshoed out for the day. Wildhorn recommends using the quick pull release (the gray strap in the binding) to exit. However, I found it easier to simply lift the gray lock on each strap and pull the main black strap up because of the angle while removing my snowshoes. I did the same for the heel strap and just lifted the gray lock and pulled the heel strap to loosen.
The Delano X2 is a low-cost, versatile, easy-to-use snowshoe that provides floatation, grip, and comfort for all levels of snowshoe outing. As time goes on after this review, I’m looking forward to seeing how the materials of the Delano X2 snowshoes hold up. More to come, and here’s to future snowshoeing adventures with the Delano X2!
Grab your own pair of 22″ or 28″ Delano X2 snowshoes at Wildhorn Outfitters for $159.99.
Are you familiar with Wildhorn Outfitters and/or the Delano X2? Have you used these snowshoes, or would you give them a try? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
Wildhorn Outfitters provided the Delano X2 snowshoes for testing. All of the thoughts and opinions expressed in this article are based on the author’s genuine experience of the product.
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