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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Atlas Elektra Montane
|Price||$200 List||$319.95 at REI|
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|$205 List||$139.95 at REI||$190 List|
|Pros||Good traction and flotation, excellent binding system, heel lift||Stellar traction, heel lifts for steep terrain, easy to use, add-on flotation tail compatible||Great traction, Boa binding system, comfortable binding, easy walking, quiet||Affordable, stellar traction, easy to use, versatile bindings||Excellent traction, comfortable bindings, fantastic stride ergonomics|
|Cons||A bit heavy, tail flips up a lot of snow, toe shape feels a little wide||Expensive, front of binding difficult to navigate with thick gloves on, side and back stepping are laborious||Boa system is more finicky and less repairable than a strap system, on the heavier side||Loud on packed snow, duck waddle for those with a narrower gait, straps do not stay in place||Binding system potentially isn't secure, doesn't float well unless you're very light|
|Bottom Line||The Montane is an easy to use snowshoe that offers great features for mountainous and technical terrain||If superior traction and versatility out in the steep and variable backcountry terrain is what you're looking for, the Lightning Ascent delivers in spades||The Blizzard III with its impressive crampons and good flotation will make for happy snowshoeing no matter what the terrain||Great traction and versatile bindings mean you will have no problem heading into a wide spectrum of snow types and terrain levels with the Evo||The Flex RDG offers fantastic traction and great stride ergonomics for women while being easy to use and comfortable|
|Rating Categories||Atlas Elektra Montane||Lightning Ascent||Louis Blizzard III||MSR Evo Trail Snowshoes||Tubbs Flex RDG - Women's|
|Stride Ergonomics (15%)|
|Ease Of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Atlas Elektra...||Lightning Ascent||Louis Blizzard III||MSR Evo Trail...||Tubbs Flex RDG -...|
|Uses||All terrain||All terrain||Flat, rolling and mountain terrain||Flat and variable rolling terrain||Variable rolling and mountain terrain|
|Optimum Weight Load (per size)||23": 80-160 lbs
27": 120-200+ lbs
|22": up to 180 lbs
25": 120-210 lbs
|22": 60-160 lbs
25": 100-200 lbs
|180 lbs||80-150 lbs|
|Weight (per pair)||4.4 lbs||3.8 lbs||4.4 lbs||3.5 lbs without tails
4.4 lbs with tails
|Binding System||Wrapp Swift binding||Paragon Binding||Boa binding||DuoFit||CustomWrap binding featuring the Boa Closure System|
|Crampon||All-trac toe crampon||DTX Crampon||Traxion HCS front crampon & V-rail crampon||Steel traction rails and brake bars||Traction rails and carbon steel toe crampon|
|Frame Material||Aluminum V-frame||Aluminum||6061-T6 Aluminum ErgoStream||Martensitic steel||Plastic frame and decking with steel traction rails|
|Deck Material||Nytex decking||Nylon||EDGE molded polymer||Polypropylene||Plastic advanced Torsion Deck|
|Surface Area (for tested size)||176 in²||180 in²||189 in²||174 in² without tails, 220 in² with||151 in²|
|Dimensions||8.5 x 27"||7.25 x 25"||8 x 25"||8 x 22"||8 x 22"|
|Flotation Tails Available?||No||Yes, 5"||No||Yes, 6"||No|
|Load with Tails (per size)||n/a||22": up to 240 lbs
25": up to 270 lbs
|n/a||Up to 250 lbs||n/a|
|Men's and Women's Versions?||No, women's specific||Yes||Yes||Unisex||Yes|
|Sizes Available||23", 27"||22", 25"||22", 25"||22"||22"|
|Size Tested||27"||25"||25"||22" plus 6" add-on tails||22"|
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