Crescent Moon Silver 10 Backcountry Snowshoes REVIEW

Lots of nice features, climbs like a goat, and would be near perfect if they were lighter.

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by Will Rietveld | 2006-10-31 03:00:00-07

Crescent Moon Silver 10 Backcountry Snowshoes REVIEW

Introduction

The Crescent Moon Silver 10 Backcountry snowshoes are wider and longer to provide more flotation for soft snow conditions or carrying a backpack. Like all Crescent Moon snowshoes, they feature a pronounced teardrop shape for easier walking (so you are less likely to step on one snowshoe with the other). Features I especially like are their three crampon system (which adds a toe crampon for climbing), and single pull loop tightening system on the bindings. As for weight, 4 pounds per pair isn’t bad for 10-inch by 32-inch snowshoes, but a half pound lighter would be better.

What’s Good

  • Good balance of traction, lightweight, and durability
  • Teardrop shape allows easy walking
  • Foot Glove binding provides precise foot placement
  • Single Pull Loop tightening system evenly secures the toe area
  • Three crampon system (including a toe crampon) provides excellent traction
  • Excellent climbing ability and flotation
  • Very stiff and durable frame
  • Bindings flatten well for packing

What’s Not So Good

  • 4 lb/pair is not bad for a 32-inch snowshoe, but I would prefer them to be a half pound lighter
  • One rivet on a binding came off and required replacement
  • Clear decking on the front shows fine scratches and discolorations
  • Bindings allow the heels to float too much, especially on sidehills

Specifications

  Manufacturer

Crescent Moon Snowshoes

  Year/Model

2006 Silver Series 10 Backcountry

  Dimensions

10 in wide x 32 in long (25 cm x 81cm)

  Frame

TIG welded and polished 6063 aluminum alloy tubing, 3/4 in (19 mm) diameter

  Deck

TGS, a polyester scrim core coated in a blend of PVC and neoprene able to withstand -40 °F temperatures, and more abrasion and tear resistant than Hypalon. The upturned front section is decked with DuPont Surlyn

  Binding

Single pull loop foot-glove binding with polyurethane stirrup and two Hypalon toe area straps and Hypalon heel strap with cam locking buckle

  Crampons

Aluminum alloy at toe, ball, and heel of the foot

  Weight

Measured weight 4.0 lb (1.81 kg); manufacturer specification 4 lb (1.81 kg)

  Load rating

Up to 225 lb (102 kg)

  MSRP

$179

Performance

What really sets Crescent Moon snowshoes apart from the others is their exaggerated teardrop frame that is claimed to accommodate a natural stride and eliminate hip flexor irritation that occurs with larger, more traditionally shaped snowshoes. The Silver 10 Backcountry model is 10 inches wide and 32 inches long for extra flotation. They set my feet further apart compared to a traditional 8-inch wide snowshoe, but the teardrop shape helped with my stride so the snowshoes were not stepping on each other.

Crescent Moon Silver 10 Backcountry Snowshoe REVIEW - 1
The Crescent Moon Silver 10 Backcountry snowshoes, bottom (left) and top (right).

The frame on all Crescent Moon snowshoes is TIG (Tungsten Induced Gas) welded at the tail for extra strength. I found the longer 32-inch frame of the Silver 10 to be extremely stiff, with no twist whatsoever. The curved front is fairly short, which puts more of the snowshoe’s surface flat on the snow for good flotation. Also, the frame is polished, not painted, so there is no anodizing or paint to scratch. After several months of testing I could only detect a few small scratches on the frame.

The Foot Glove binding is close to a step-in. It consists of a foot encompassing polyurethane stirrup holding two Hypalon straps with ladder lock buckles on the front and a heel strap with a cam-locking buckle. The Single Pull Loop tightening system is a loop of Hypalon attached to the two ladder locks on the front; all you have to do is pull each end of the loop to tighten the toe area. The heel secures just as easily with a pull of the strap. The binding is fairly lightweight, secures your foot securely and aligns it properly, lays flat for packing, and is easy to enter/exit. The only flaw was a lost rivet that required replacement.

Crescent Moon Silver 10 Backcountry Snowshoe REVIEW - 2
The Silver 10's Foot Glove binding consists of a molded polyurethane stirrup and Hypalon straps: two over the toe area plus a heel strap with a cam-locking buckle. They tighten by stepping into the binding, then pulling on each end of the loop in front.

The main decking looks and feels like Hypalon, but Crescent Moon calls it TGS (which stands for "The Good Stuff!"), which is described as a blend of PVC and neoprene capable of withstanding -40 F temperatures and more abrasion and tear resistant than Hypalon. I can agree with the durability claim; I barely put a scratch on it. The decking on the upcurved front of the snowshoe is another story. The translucent decking there is DuPont Surlyn, which is apparently the same material used to coat golf balls. There doesn’t seem to be any problem with its strength, but after a few months of use it shows a lot of fine scratches and discolorations and looks unattractive.

Another unique feature of Crescent Moon snowshoes is their three crampon system, with crampons at the toe, ball of the foot, and heel. The toe crampon is very functional because each time you take a step, it maintains a grip on the snow when you push off and transfer weight to the other foot. And of course a toe crampon is very helpful for climbing. I found the Silver 10s would climb slopes so steep I had to hold on with my hands.

Crescent Moon Silver 10 Backcountry Snowshoe REVIEW - 3
The Silver 10 Backcountry has a three-crampon system (left), consisting of toe, ball of foot, and heel crampons. The front view (right) shows the teeth on the toe and ball of foot crampon.

The Silver 10 uses a conventional pivot strap system, which is a very strong and flexible band that attaches to the foot plate and wraps around both sides of the frame. The pivot strap has a moderate torsion that does not cause the snowshoes to snap up and hit the bottom of your foot with each step, flipping snow on your back.

Crescent Moon Silver 10 Backcountry Snowshoe REVIEW - 4
The pivot strap system (upper right) has moderate torsion (left) to position the snowshoe at the proper angle for each step (lower right). The decking clears of snow fairly well, and I had no trouble with the snowshoes flipping snow onto my backside.

In Use

The Silver 10s perform very well in a variety of snow conditions. Their extra surface area provides plenty of flotation, even when carrying a backpack. They are quite maneuverable in spite of their longer length, which is attributable to their foot forward design and fixed pivot system. Their climbing ability is superb thanks to the three crampon system. The Silver 10s hold their own on sidehills, but the bindings does not “lock down” my heels very well, so there is some sideways twist. On steep downhills I can lean forward on the Silver 10s a little more than with other snowshoes to prevent tobogganing. When the slope gets steeper than about 35-40 degrees, it is hard to avoid going into a controlled slide, but glissading on snowshoes is a lot of fun.

In snow with a thin crust, the front of the snowshoes has a tendency to catch on the crust, which is a bit cumbersome. Slightly more upturn in the front will avoid this problem.

I like the balance of these snowshoes; the balance point is near the front so the snowshoes don’t feel as long as they are. But they are not front heavy (meaning the front dips down); rather the pivot strap lifts the front of the snowshoe up and positions the snowshoe at a proper angle to facilitate a smooth gait.

One issue I have with the Silver 10 is with tracking; my heels have a tendency to turn inward. I am pronated, so basically I am saying that the binding does not hold my feet in proper alignment in spite of my pronation. The result is walking slightly duck-footed. Users with normal feet may not have this problem.

Crescent Moon Silver 10 Backcountry Snowshoe REVIEW - 5
The Foot Glove binding allowed some sideways movement of my heels and did not overcome my pronation, so my feet were a little duck-footed on the snowshoes.

Assessment

Overall, the Crescent Moon Silver 10s are nicely designed, reasonably lightweight, good performing backcountry snowshoes. They have exceptional climbing ability and flotation. The exaggerated teardrop shape definitely helps to maintain a normal stride, although the 10-inch width still places the legs a little farther apart than 8-inch snowshoes. The wider stance is noticeable but not a problem. The bindings are very user friendly, light, and compressible for packing, but they allow the heels to float a bit, which is most noticeable on sidehills. Lastly, the Silver 10’s are solidly built of durable materials; my only reservation being a rivet that fell out of one of the bindings.

What’s Unique

The Silver 10 Backcountry (and other Crescent Moon models) snowshoes have an exaggerated teardrop shape to facilitate a normal stride, and have a three crampon system to provide excellent traction. The frame is TIG welded at the tail and is very strong and solid.

Recommendations for Improvement

I commend Crescent Moon for the continual improvements and refinements they have made in their snowshoes. Overall, I am very pleased with the design and performance of the Silver 10 Backcountry snowshoes. However, I have a few suggestions for improvements that might be worth considering:

  • Since our magazine is focused on lightweight backcounty travel, it’s not surprising that I recommend making them lighter by at least half a pound.
  • The translucent Surlyn decking on the front of the snowshoe seems to be adequately durable, but it gets discolored after a few months of use. I suggest going to a brighter color so it is easy to see the front of the snowshoes in powder snow.
  • Finally, I recommend a little better appearance and quality control on the rivet work.

Citation

"Crescent Moon Silver 10 Backcountry Snowshoes REVIEW," by Will Rietveld. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/crescent_moon_silver_10_backcountry_snowshoe_review.html, 2006-10-31 03:00:00-07.

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Crescent Moon Silver 10 Backcountry Snowshoes REVIEW
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Carol Crooker
(cmcrooker) - MLife

Locale: Desert Southwest, USA
Crescent Moon Silver 10 Backcountry Snowshoes REVIEW on 10/31/2006 21:30:51 MST Print View

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Crescent Moon Silver 10 Backcountry Snowshoes REVIEW