Hiking Snowshoes – 5 Tips to Help You Buy
Looking for hiking snowshoes? If your snowshoe trail just takes you across the surface of a lake you will fine the traditional wooden snowshoes work fine. Did you know that you can burn 45% more calories when snowshoeing than when you are walking at the same speed?
Most winter hikers will be tackling a trail in the wilderness and will require the right winter gear. Originally snowshoes used by the Indians and Explorers were made with wood using lacings from rawhide. Although wooden snowshoes are still used by some most people use styles made from plastic or light metal.
What to look for when purchasing your hiking snowshoes
You want a snowshoe frame that is made of aluminum, very hollow and light. While you snowshoe you must frequently lift your feet (higher than when hiking) and this can be tiring with heavy snowshoes after a long day on the trail. The size of your snowshoe equipment will depend on your weight and the type of typical snow conditions during your winter hiking.
The decking is attached to the frame and is like a floatation device keeping you above the deep snow. Often decking is made of plastic, however consider coated nylon as it is lighter and will last longer.
A crampon is a sharp piece of metal underneath the snowshoe that pivots and digs into the snow when climbing a hill permitting an easy ascent, essential on mixed terrain. The placement and size of the crampon needed to be considered depending on the type of conditions where you snowshoe.
The snowshoe equipment binding attaches to your boot. Two popular types include simple strap which is easy to replace and the snowboard ratchet system. Some snowshoe models also have a raised heel bar which keeps your snowshoe from sliding off, as the binding strap has a habit of doing.
Wrap your snowshoes in a storage bag, otherwise the crampons have the potential to slice open and damage car seats.
The prices of snowshoe equipment are based on the strength and lightness of the frame along with the binding and crampon system. What many hikers new do is rent snowshoes for their first few winter hikes to see what equipment works best for them.
One thing about winter hiking is that you can easily break your own trail without concern of getting lost (unless it is snowing heavily). You do need to take short breaks for your lunch or breaks as you will chill quickly once you stop walking. I always find it amazing how much heat you build up when you are on the move.
Wait, do not head down the trail yet. You also need to pack a pair of expedition or trekking poles (snowshoe pole) with snow disks to help with your balance.
A winter walk with a pair of hiking snowshoes is a wonderful experience with the right equipment.