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MN Shutterbug

Snowshoe advice.

46 posts in this topic

I'm considering the purchase of a pair of snowshoes this winter. The way things are starting out, they could come in handy. I have figured out, for my weight, I would need the 8 X 25 size. What else is there to be concerned about? I realize a person can spend hundreds of $$$, but I don't need anything fancy or even long lasting, probably. I may try them once and decide they're not for me. Amazon has Pacific Outdoors Subzero for $60 and an [YouNeedAuthorization] seller has Alps Performance a person could probably buy for around $55 or $60, including shipping.

Or, maybe someone has a pair they don't use anymore, because they outgrew the 8 X 25? whistle

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X if ya wanta try a pair come on up I have the 8"X 30 and 10"X 36 I put on weight got the larger pair and the ole girl now uses the 8X30.Mine are wood shoes,The only other thing you may consider is a pole for balance,even with years experience and no pole I yet fall,And depending on slope,snow depth it can be hard to upright yourself.Goin down in cattails is next to impossible to get up in deeper snow.

How much do ya weigh?

Wow how'd this get in photography???

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How much do ya weigh?

Wow how'd this get in photography???

I weigh around 155.

It's tough sneaking up on critters if I keep sinking in the snow. grin

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Mike, whichever style you choose, make sure you go at least one size bigger than your weight. Most snowshoe manufacturers either don't account for heavy clothing and gear or know full well their shoes don't float the estimated weights.

In any case, get a shoe that's rated to float 200 pounds. When you are in soft deep powder, no shoe will hold up its rated weight range very well.

I'm old-school, and use the hide/ash shoes. But today's aluminum/neoprene shoes are great, with the hinged shoe mount and toe cleats for ice built right in.

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I'm in the same old snowshoe school as Steve! grin....wooden(ash) Alaskans 10"x56"....hold safely in the 200 pound range(which describes moi)....even in the powdery snow...they track well and are "quiet" ....aluminums tend to be some what "noisy" and one must remember that when trying to put the "sneak" on some birds and critters on a frozen, quite, still morning....

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Well, this doesn't apply to X-T, but at 250 lbs before I put on gear, there isn't a snowshoe on the market that does a really good job of floating me. frownfrown

Best I've found is the biggest teardrop-shaped (Michigan) style shoe in ash/hide. None of the aluminum/neoprene shoes will do it. If someone would add two additional larger sizes to their current line of aluminum/neoprene, I'd definitely pay $200 to $300 for a set of shoes that will really float me instead of just claiming to float me. With their more compact/efficient designs, they'd probably end up being about the same size as the ash/hide shoes I'm using now.

I spend hundreds of hours on snowshoes in winter, and there are places I just don't go and conditions I don't shoe in because of that lack of flotation for heavy guys.

And Jonny's right about the alums being more noisy. It doesn't matter in powder, but when you're moving across crust it's a definite difference.

Anyway, that's mostly no big deal to Mike, who is most definitely NOT a heavy guy, but who could easily jump from 155 to 180 lbs with winter clothing and camera gear. gringrin

And sparcebag is right about the poles. Better to look a bit silly and stay on your feet than take a tumble into deep powder with camera around your neck and backpack on your back. Tough enough to even get back up in those circumstances, let alone clean off your camera gear. shockedshocked

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Something like this? These are 46 X 14 and available for $79, used but in good shape. Is this type easy to strap on and keep on?

3011826768_1a1fde50d6_o.jpg

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Mike, that's the style I use. They ought to float you just fine at that size.

I'd buy them if they are in good shape. Ash/hide shoes need revarnishing every other year or so, depending on use, but you can buy spar (marine) varnish in a spray can and it works just fine. If the shoes have a few torn hide strips, that's easy to mend. It's cracks anywhere in the wood you want to avoid.

You also may or may not like the bindings. But there are tons of different types of bindings out there. I use a type of flat rubber/latex binding that you just slip your boot into and pull it back so it stretches and catches the rear of your boot. They are much easier to slip into than the old leather H-style bindings shown in your pics, and I've had good luck with them holding firm when tensioned correctly.

No time to take a pic and post it here right now, but will later.

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.Goin down in cattails is next to impossible to get up in deeper snow.

This brought back such memories, I had to respond. I am new here, by the way, though I have been following your photography posts for some time. Love the advice. And the advice on cattails is the best! Two women on snowshoes can make a buffalo wallow out of a patch of cattails that would make any buffalo proud. I didn't think I would ever get my friend pulled out. So X, be sure to stay away from the marsh side of Lake Brawner on those new snowshoes. And maybe your monopod could work for the walking stick. Kill two birds with one stone. Oh, now that was not the expression to use among all you bird photogs. Alright--holding my breath to see if this works.

Sarah

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Sarah, glad to see you made it. Sarah is my neighbor with the nice birdie backyard, I've mentioned a few times. She's learned a little about photographing birds from me, and I've learned a great deal about birds in general, from her. She's been a birder for quite some time. She took the plunge and got the Canon XTI and 70-300mm USM IS lens, and is catching on very fast. I'm sure she'll be posting pictures soon.

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Steve, are you telling me those bindings can be replaced? Yes, when you get the time. please post a shot of yours and a close up of the bindings. Jonny, are yours pretty much like Steve's?

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Welcome aboard Sarah!.....Looking forward to your photos!......XT my snowshoe styling is simalar to Steves but his, if I remember, are "Michigans" which are more "tear drop" shaped then Alaskans(mine) Alaskans are more elongated and have more of a radical, upturned tip then Michigans...then of course there's the "Ojibwa's" which are seperate sides that come to a "point" at the tips(for splitting brush easier as one walks) the the Michigans or Alaskans are for more open country...Hurons are for more brushy areas(rounded tips)

.....here's an image of my Alaskans from a couple years ago while snowshoeing near a local lake....

Frame_DSCF6788-1copy.jpg

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Nice photo, Jonny. Well, the ones I was looking at just sold. These look similar to yours. They're the same size anyway.

3011901342_c54b640675_o.jpg

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Yuppers!...those guys are Alaskans!.....they look to be in good shape also......Got mine for Christmas a couple years ago..... grin

Frame_DSCF6570-1copy.jpg

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Jonny, how do you like the bindings? They look the same. Are they easy on and stay put?

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I realy like em!....fit ok...easy to get on and off....good "adjustability"...they didn't come "with" the snowshoes...had to buy em seperately...I think I paid about $25.00 for em if I remember right.....all in all they've worked well for me....Here's a pick I just took out in the garage a few minutes ago of the binding set-up.....the shoes were about $129.00(Cabelas)....

P1050968-1.JPG

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There are so many different shapes, Does it make that much difference? Here is a pair that measures 12" X 42". Or, how about 36" X 11"?

3011244353_8f0b8fd47d_o.jpg

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your last pic looks like a pair of Michigans....the bigger they are,the more surface area that will hold one up....smaller they are...you'll sink more in the snow......to me ,bear paws(rounder and smaller ones) are out of the question.......I'm not one to even try to meander through thick brush with snowshoes so the bigger longer,wider shoes,may it be michigans or alaskans, will do just fine.....the shape really is not that important....

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Thanks for all your helpful advice. I did find a site that explains much of you you told me and a few more things to look for. I see now that I'm going to need approximately 500 sq. inches for my weight, if I choose wooden shoes.

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Mike, here are my 14x48 Michigan style shoes with the flat stretch latext bindings.

For me, the Michigan is an excellent compromise between the round bearpaw forest shoes and the long narrow open-country shoes. I like them in open country just fine, but when I do need to get into the forest, they are easier to maneuver than the really long shoes.

That's just me, however, and we each have our own preferences.

The bindings, when tensioned right, hold the foot firmly but with enough play so it can pivot just fine. They are the simplest bindings I've seen. Just stick you toe in the big hole and stretch the binding back behind your heel. Presto!

These shoes are in need of some bigtime spar varnish and a bit of repair to a couple small torn-out sinews in the toe webbing, all of which they'll get in the next month or so. They are nearly 10 years old and I use the everloving [PoorWordUsage] out of them. They sit in my excursion vehicle all winter (or behind the seat in my pickup if I've got that), because I never know when I'm going to need to pile out of my vehicle with the camera and hit the woods.

3013871814_cde86d6828_o.jpg

3013038419_138c049f8e_o.jpg

3013040403_ed59d326ef_o.jpg

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Thanks for all your helpful advice. I did find a site that explains much of you you told me and a few more things to look for. I see now that I'm going to need approximately 500 sq. inches for my weight, if I choose wooden shoes.

Did you do the calculation with 10 lbs of clothes/boots and 20 pounds of gear added? Because manufacturers are a bit too optimistic about such things, I'd definitely get a shoe big enough so it's rated for 200 pounds, which is only 15 pounds more than you and your gear anyway.

You will definitely appreciate the added flotation capability when you hit the deep powder! gringrin

Because my 14x48 Michigans won't float me and my gear very well in powder, I'm seriously considering picking up some flat rawhide as well as some thinner round rawhide string and adding to the existing weave to make a better flotation platform.

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.the shape really is not that important....

There is one difference that shape makes--if they are really wide and you have narrow hips, they can become tiring over longer treks because of the unnatural position it forces you to take.

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Something like this? These are 46 X 14 and available for $79, used but in good shape. Is this type easy to strap on and keep on?

3011826768_1a1fde50d6_o.jpg

For 79 bucks without any frame cracks I'd buy those in a instant!!

stf try coating with linseed oil,redone after each season.

I tried your style binding,it tore out not even a winters time,I go in heavy brush maybe that was the problem?

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Hmmm, I worried about how the bindings would be when I first got them, especially in intense cold and brush, but I've gone nearly 10 years with these bindings, and often in the heavy woods, too.

I've used the linseed oil before but didn't care for it, and usually now use shellac or spar varnish.

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