Rating: 4 / 5
The Redfeather Hike 22s were my first pair of snowshoes. I got them about three years ago at a Big 5 for about $60 on sale. Normally they are about $90. Today was my day to review my snow gear, read up on it here at BPL, and figure out whether what I have got is good enough, safe enough to go for more serious winter hikes and camping ventures -- especially reviewing my snow shoes and alternatives.
They were purchased for day walking in the snows around Mt. Lassen and Mt. Shasta, lower Cascades, northern Sierras, and Trinity Alps. I had at the time I bought the Hike 22s done almost no walking in and nil camping or serious trekking in snow.
As it turned out we moved up on the mountain later in the year I bought them. Thus, they have gotten some good use. They have worked for winter day walking and hiking. They have been used regularly and this will be the third winter. They have shown no signs of damage or wear.
They are comfortable and work well on solid packed snow and soft powder immediately after it snows. I think I am at the top of the weight range for this size shoe because when I use a heavier and bigger shoe they don't dig into the powder as much, but I noticed no difference on packed snow with the bigger shoes. I did notice the larger size and weight of the bigger shoes and prefer the smaller and lighter Hike 22.
For me they have been a perfect first pair and training / learning snow shoes.
I have little experience with bindings on any other snow shoes so cannot comment on how they compare. The bindings work and I can set them quickly and without having to reset them after an hour or two of use.
Now that I am thinking of more serious hiking and eventually camping further away from home than our yard area or the creek about 1/2 mile or less away I am studying snow shoe use, safety, which mainly means durability to me, versatility on slopes, flat areas, icy / pack / powder snow, and weight / exhaustion factors.
The following BPL articles have been very helpful in dealing with and learning about how to use and evaluate snow shoes:
1. Backcountry Travel on Snowshoes for Lightweight Backpackers: Backcountry Travel on Snowshoes for Lightweight Backpackers. By Don Ladigin. At:
2. Lightweight Snowshoes: Two Models from MSR and Northern Lights are Cream of the Crop, by BPL's Product Review Staff; at:
3. Winter Backpacking Checklist (Gear List): Ultralight Winter Snowcave Camping - A lightweight approach to traveling light in the winter on snowshoes. By Ryan Jordan, at:
4. And a number of BPL reviews at:
Given that I knew nothing about using or evaluating snow shoes when I purchased the Hike 22s I was just lucky IMO to get a good, functional set of shoes. I was very happy to find out the Redfeather brand is considered good by the BPL Product Review Staff (of course that is when you have a size of shoe corresponding to intended use and body weight, I now know).
When I graduate from the day walking preparatory to actually going out into snow pack I will be looking seriously at the MSR Denali Ascents and Northern Lites' Quicksilver 30s and Backcountry/Rescue snow shoes based upon the BPL articles:
1. The MSR Denali Ascent shoes 8" x 22", weigh 3 lbs. 12 oz, cost about $179.
The specs state they come with optional 4" and 8" flotation tails which eliminates the need for several pairs of shoes for different conditions.
The Northern Lites Quicksilver 30" (metallic frames, 45 oz., $169), and Rescue 30" (43 oz., $229 - same as Backcountry with black frames but with orange decking), and the Backcountry (43 oz., $229, tan decking). These shoes are all lighter than my Redfeather Hike 22 shoes (48 oz.), and bigger for powder or uncompacted trail use:
Because the Hike 22s are for day hiking and minimal heavy winter hiking and camping use, and their weight is higher than bigger and safer sounding shoes I give these a 4, even though they have been a real 5 as far as a begginers pair of snowshoes.