Atlas Elektra Montane Review
Cons: A bit heavy, tail flips up a lot of snow, toe shape feels a little wide
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Fun, functional, and easy to use — that's the Elektra Montane. This is an all-around great snowshoe with a fantastic binding system (one of our favorites), sticky traction, and more-than-adequate flotation.
At 27", the Montane is the longest shoe in our review (not counting the length achieved with supplemental flotation tails for our MSR models). The large surface area allowed excellent flotation, among the best of our tested models. No complaints.
Feeling secure on technical terrain is no problem in the Montane. The toe crampon is multi-directional with wide teeth, and two traction rails run parallel down the footbed to help provide solid footing on steep slopes and icy patches. A few options in our review feel grippier and are better suited to advanced terrain, but the Montane is more than adequate for most situations.
The Montane is ever-so-slightly wider across the ball of the foot than most snowshoes and, believe it or not, we could feel that while walking. Every once in a while, our testers would knock one foot into the other if they weren't paying attention. While this is something to keep in mind when deciding on your purchase, everybody is shaped differently — you may not need to adjust your gait whatsoever. Our adjustments were minor, though noticeable, compared to other models in this review.
The Montane also has a fixed binding system, which means the tail of the shoe closely follows the natural movement of the foot when walking. For some users, this can cause them to feel marginally heavier due to the back flipping up. It also tends to throw a lot of snow up onto the back of the legs.
Ease of Use
A big aspect of a pleasant-to-use snowshoe is a good binding system, and that's one area where the Montane has no problem shining brightly. The "positive toe locator" makes it easy to place the foot correctly, and the straps tighten up and release with a simple pull of the loop.
The back heel strap ratchets everything securely with an easy pull, no funny body angles or awkward yanking required. The fixed binding system has a different feel when walking than a full rotation one, but the learning curve is fast and straightforward.
The binding on the Montane feels highly secure and robust. It has strong webbing and padded support on the front, and a well-functioning ratchet system in the back. The only issue we had was with the retainer clip on the heel strap, which houses the excess strap length. It isn't great at keeping that strap in place, particularly when it's cold out. While this could be annoying, it did not affect the integrity of the heel strap in the slightest. This is a highly comfortable binding system. There's arch support, padding, and the straps cinch down evenly and uniformly with no pinch points. A++!
The Elektra Montane rings up at a very fair price indeed. It has a stellar binding system, impressive traction, good float, and heel lifts for steep climbing. If you want to get technical without breaking the bank, this is a solid choice.
The Montane is a well-rounded snowshoe fit for technical hiking and variable mountainous terrain. It offers everything you will need to stay happy and comfortable while out, from a great binding system to burly traction to heel lifts for steep ascents. There are more serious models available, but almost all of them come at a much heftier price point. For the outdoorswoman who wants to get technical within a more modest budget, this is a fabulous option.
— Penney Garrett