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Snowshoe sizing
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Peter Griffith
(petergriffith) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Snowshoe sizing on 04/02/2013 08:11:18 MDT Print View

I'm looking to buy some MSR Lightning Acsent snowshoes. I'm 6'1" and 190 lb. What size should I get? The 25" men's cover up to 220 lb and 280 lb with tails. The 30" men's cover up to 280 lb and 300+ lb with tails. Obviously the 25" are lighter and likely easier to walk in. Considering sometimes I may be carrying a 30 lb pack with winter gear, am I better go with the 25" and add tails when I carry the pack or go with the 30"?

Edited by petergriffith on 04/02/2013 08:27:30 MDT.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: snowshoe sizing on 04/02/2013 08:27:04 MDT Print View

The sorts of snow and terrain you intend to be in most often are more relevant than your weight. Answer those questions and we can give you better guidance.

Peter Griffith
(petergriffith) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Re: Snowshoe sizing on 04/02/2013 08:36:39 MDT Print View

I live in Southern California, so we only get snow in the mountains. Could be the local mountains, could be the Sierras. As for snow conditions, powder to packed trail. I'm not very experienced with snowshoeing so I'm looking for the a the best starting point.

Stuart .
(lotuseater) - M

Locale: Colorado Foothills
Re: Snowshoe sizing on 04/02/2013 09:02:48 MDT Print View

A solid comparison of the 25s and the 30s here: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=56542

I'm 5'9" / 180lb and found that the 25s didn't give me enough float in unconsolidated conditions when carrying any more than a daypack. MSR's weight limits are on the optimistic side, especially when you consider the smaller surface area vs competing brands. For example, the Atlas 1235s are rated to 300lb, and they are utterly massive compared with the MSR 30"s.

The tails are a good idea, but as Clayton shows in his comparison, they will impact the balance of the snowshoes. You won't be as centered on the shoe with the tail attached.

Nelson Sherry
(nsherry61)

Locale: Mid-Willamette Valley
Re: Re: Snowshoe sizing on 04/02/2013 09:03:47 MDT Print View

Shorter ones are a bit easier to walk with. Longer ones have better float . . . no duh. Early season with fresher snow, you'll wish you had 45"shoes, especially off trail. Spring, on packed trails, you'll be better off with some katoola microspikes, really. Given your size, for just one pair of shoes, I'd go large unless you'll mostly be on packed trails.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: snowshoe sizing on 04/02/2013 09:31:38 MDT Print View

If you're just starting out, 30s without tails will probably be the best compromise at your weight. MSRs are a good idea for sunny California.

Michael B
(mbenvenuto) - F

Locale: Vermont
snowshoes on 04/02/2013 16:37:09 MDT Print View

I am not sure how much those weight ratings matter or how much I would believe them. If you are breaking trail in deep powder, neither will be inadequate. If you are on a trail, even just the 3rd snowshoer back in line, you will do fine on either. I have several pairs of snowshoes, including 25" MSRs and various 30" models. It does make a difference breaking trail, and I opt for my largest pair when I am just tooling around in the woods at home. But if I am heading to the mountains and am going to be on a trail, I would always grab the MSRs first. If I get to section that is impassible on the MSRs, and this happens, I have to turn around. But those sections would be impassible on the 30" shoes too. Since you are mountain climbing in Cal, and may carry the shoes, and are likely to be on trail, I would get the 25" MSRs and see how that goes.

I should note that I am 5'10" and about 190 too. The sections that get me as impassible are really deep snow on really steep sections, when I am off trail or can't find the trail. At some point, you can't realistically move forward and make meaningful progress. I don't think the size of the shoe matters then.

Edited by mbenvenuto on 04/02/2013 19:00:17 MDT.

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Re: snowshoes on 04/02/2013 16:55:14 MDT Print View

+1

Ankle deep ice/snow - 8pt trail spikes or 10pt crampons
Knee deep mixed Ice/snow - snowshoes
Hip deep unconsolidated snow - skis

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: Re: snowshoes on 04/02/2013 17:22:17 MDT Print View

Thanks for this thread! So what I'm gathering is that any snow shoe will likely work for winter trails. A 30" is good if you are breaking trail and invest in skis if you really want to travel off trail.

Hmmm, those $55 MSR Evos on amazon right now have just become very tempting purchases for next winter dabbling (I blinked and AZ winter disappeared on me haha).

Rick M
(rmjapan) - F

Locale: London, UK
Re: Re: Re: snowshoes on 04/02/2013 17:42:18 MDT Print View

~25" composite uni-bodies are good choices for Alpine terrain. Besides MSR, TLS, Atlas, and Tubbs make them too. After renting various types over the last 10+ seasons here in Japan, I broke down and bought the Tubbs FLEX TRK when they added the heel lift for this season's model. I also like their simple single pull toe binding. I found the MSR 3-buckle toe binding a PITA in frigid conditions with gloves.

Edited by rmjapan on 04/02/2013 22:33:48 MDT.

Eric Thompson
(er0ck) - F

Locale: PNW
hah! on 04/02/2013 18:07:55 MDT Print View

i was wondering the same thing last night. i bought the 22" lightning ascents on-sale from amazon. $108.
i'm 5'10" about 160 lbs and my winter pack is about 25lbs for a single overnight.
when the snow is deeper i'm on a split board.

i was holding out for northern lites. but i couldn't deny this price.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Comparisons of relevance on 04/02/2013 20:49:34 MDT Print View

Think about 200 cm. (6') XC backcountry skid W/ skins.

THEN think about 30" snowshoes. Big difference in size. So why in the world sweat over a few inches in length when you know that at you size and weight you need the most flotation you can get.

I'm 5' 10" and 185 lbs. I have the MSR Lightning Ascent 'shoes WITH tail extenders. Compaired to my 210 Asnes Combat Combi Norwegian Army backckoutry touring skis 35" snow shoes are like nothing at all.

Of course that's the problem with snowshoes, they are almost "like nothing at all" for flotation when compared to XC skis.

And if you go with a skier make sure they break the trail. Your 'shoeing will be SO much easier. No, you can't break trail for them B/C it kills a skier to follow in 'shoe tracks. Just doesn't work.