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Crescent Moon Gold 13 Review

This is a fun and innovative snowshoe that's great for athletic hiking on beginner to advanced trails
Crescent Moon Gold 13
Photo: http://www.crescentmoonsnowshoes.com/
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Price:  $259 List
Pros:  Secure and comfortable binding system, fixed bindings for easy snow clearing, great on trails
Cons:  Feels heavy in deep snow, doesn't float super well, fixed bindings cause heel to flip up snow
Manufacturer:   Crescent Moon
By Penney Garrett ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 11, 2020
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 8
  • Flotation - 30% 6
  • Traction - 25% 7
  • Stride Ergonomics - 15% 6
  • Ease of Use - 15% 8
  • Bindings - 15% 9

Our Verdict

The Crescent Moon Gold 13 is a well-constructed snowshoe, excellent for both the casual and serious trail hiker. The aggressive teardrop shape isn't the best for flotation in deep snow, but if you want to move quickly and with confidence on packed trails, this is a great choice. It has one of our favorite bindings, an intuitive system that feels both ultra-secure and super comfortable. Fixed rotation bindings flip snow off the tail of the shoe with every step, and an upturned toe aids with the ergonomics of navigating steeper terrain. All in all, this is a fun and unique snowshoe that we like when on appropriate terrain.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Crescent Moon Gold 13
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award  Best Buy Award 
Price $259 List$319.95 at REI$140 List$200 List$140 List
Overall Score Sort Icon
70
86
83
83
77
Star Rating
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Pros Secure and comfortable binding system, fixed bindings for easy snow clearing, great on trailsStellar traction, heel lifts for steep terrain, easy to use, add-on flotation tail compatibleAffordable, great flotation, comfortable bindings, organic StrideGood traction and flotation, excellent binding system, heel liftAffordable, stellar traction, easy to use, versatile bindings
Cons Feels heavy in deep snow, doesn't float super well, fixed bindings cause heel to flip up snowExpensive, front of binding difficult to navigate with thick gloves on, side and back stepping are laboriousLacking in traction, awkward for big bootsA bit heavy, tail flips up a lot of snow, toe shape feels a little wideLoud on packed snow, duck waddle for those with a narrower gait, straps do not stay in place
Bottom Line For athletic hiking on beginner to advanced trails, the Gold 13 is a solid choiceIf superior traction and versatility out in the steep and variable backcountry terrain is what you're looking for, the Lightning Ascent delivers in spadesBetween the floatation, comfort, and ability to walk naturally, this beginner snowshoe is sure to check most of your boxesThe Montane is an easy to use snowshoe that offers great features for mountainous and technical terrainGreat traction and versatile bindings mean you will have no problem heading into a wide spectrum of snow types and terrain levels with the Evo
Rating Categories Crescent Moon Gold 13 Lightning Ascent Atlas Elektra Rendezvous Atlas Elektra Montane MSR Evo Trail Snowshoes
Flotation (30%)
6
8
8
8
8
Traction (25%)
7
9
8
8
8
Stride Ergonomics (15%)
6
9
9
8
7
Ease Of Use (15%)
8
8
8
9
7
Bindings (15%)
9
9
9
9
8
Specs Crescent Moon Gold... Lightning Ascent Atlas Elektra... Atlas Elektra... MSR Evo Trail...
Uses Flat terrain and mellow trails All terrain Variable rolling terrain All terrain Flat and variable rolling terrain
Optimum weight loads (per size) Up to 165 lbs 120-210 lbs 120-200 lbs 120-200+ lbs Without tails: 180 lbs, With tails: 250 lbs
Weight (per pair) 3.9 lbs 3.8 lbs 3.3 lbs 4.4 lbs 3.5 lbs without tails
4.4 lbs with
Binding mount Fixed Full Fixed Fixed Full
Binding system SPL binding system Paragon Binding Strapp binding offers Wrapp binding function Wrapp Swift binding DuoFit
Crampon 3 stainless steel crampons including a toe claw DTX Crampon Twin-trac toe crampon All-trac toe crampon Steel traction rails and brake bars
Frame material TIG welded 6063 aluminum tube frame Aluminum Aluminum V-Frame Aluminum V-frame Martensitic steel
Deck material TGS decking Nylon Nytex decking Nytex decking Polypropylene
Surface area (for tested size) Not stated 180 in² 176sqin 176 in² 174 in² without tails, 220 in² with
Dimensions 8.5 x 24.5" 7.25 x 25" 6.3 x 27" 8.5 x 27" 8 x 22"
Flotation tails sold separately? No Yes, 5" No No Yes, 6"
Load with tails (per size) N/A Up to 270 lbs N/A N/A Up to 250 lbs
Men's and Women's versions? No, women's specific Yes Yes No, women's specific Unisex
Sizes Available 24.5" 22", 25" 23" and 27" 23" and 27" 22"
Size Tested 24.5" 25" 27" 27" 22" plus 6" add-on tails

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Gold 13 is a unique snowshoe designed specifically for women who love hiking with confidence on winter trails. It's not the model to choose if you plan to spend most of your time in deep backcountry snow. But if efficient movement on packed rolling terrain is your jam, then this may be the perfect snowshoe for you.

Performance Comparison


Flexible polymer straps evenly embrace the foot, both tightening and...
Flexible polymer straps evenly embrace the foot, both tightening and releasing with the pull of a single loop.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Flotation


The Gold 13 is one of our least favorite models for flotation due to its narrow tail design. This reduces surface area and directly affects flotation in deep snow. In addition, it has fixed rotation bindings, which means the tail of the shoe follows closely behind your heel with each step. This allows the snowshoe to mimic the natural movement of your foot more closely, but it also means the tail flips up with each step you take.

In shallow snow, this is smart because it clears the snow off the top of the shoe quickly and efficiently, but it's not ideal in deeper snow. In deep snow, you will be physically flipping up wads of snow as you walk. If you plan to be in deep snow regularly, we recommend researching other models.

Because of the narrow teardrop shape and full rotation bindings, the...
Because of the narrow teardrop shape and full rotation bindings, the Gold 13 isn't the best for floating in deep snow. The front half of the shoe sinks much lower than the back half.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Traction


This snowshoe has the perfect amount of traction for the terrain it's designed for, namely packed trails. Some models with really burly traction make climbing feel sticky on shallow, packed terrain. And some models meant for trails are practically useless on hills. The Gold 13 hits a great balance here and performs well on both. While the edges can feel a bit slippery, if you focus on the aggressive toe crampons when navigating steep areas, you will be fine. On moderate trails, you will be walking with ease and confidence.

The Gold 13 has good traction that performs decently on steep...
The Gold 13 has good traction that performs decently on steep slopes, though it does require some focus on keeping each step weighted in the toe.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Stride Ergonomics


The Gold 13 is decent here, though it's not our favorite. Despite the narrowness of the tail, the front toe portion is among the widest we tested. These shoes are designed specifically with a woman's gait in mind, but one of our testers still felt they had to widen their steps a bit. Most testers, however, didn't have to change their gait much at all, though the way the heel flips up took a bit of getting used to for everyone. The comfort of walking in these shoes is terrain dependent — in deep snow, we struggled a bit, but on packed or partially packed trails we felt great.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Ease of Use


The Gold 13 is very easy to use. The binding system is one of our favorites, though, for optimal comfort and stability, it does require that your foot is properly centered. The heelflip from the fixed rotation bindings takes some getting used to, but the ratcheting heel strap is a cinch to master, and walking on trails is a breeze. Overall this is an easy and straightforward snowshoe that trail hikers will love.

The full rotation bindings of this shoe flip up a lot of snow with...
The full rotation bindings of this shoe flip up a lot of snow with each step. This isn't a big deal on a packed trail, but in deep snow, it hinders the ability to float and walk efficiently.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Bindings


This snowshoe has one of our very favorite binding systems in regards to security and comfort. It may not be quite as burly or as versatile as other shoes in our review, but it's close. The system has built-in support areas, hugs the entire foot evenly, and both tightens and loosens with the pull of a single loop. The evenness of this SPL (single pull loop) system makes for a very uniform feel and means that on-trail adjustments are quick and easy. The heel strap is a simple ratcheting system, much like a ski or snowboard binding. As long as your foot is properly centered before everything gets tightened down, you're good to go. All of the models we tested had high quality and comfortable binding systems, but this one was a noticeable notch above many.

The Gold 13 has highly secure bindings. Well protected and fitted...
The Gold 13 has highly secure bindings. Well protected and fitted from all sides, this is a great system.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Value


The Gold 13 gets into expensive terrain. It's a rather advanced design, and while perfectly fine for the beginning snowshoer, isn't exactly a beginner model. If you know you want to snowshoe for years to come and plan to advance your trail skills along the way, it's a worthy investment for a well-made shoe.

Conclusion


This a well-made snowshoe with a comfortable and secure binding system and a smart design for quick and efficient navigation on trails. We don't recommend it if you plan to head out into deep backcountry snow drifts or super icy steep terrain, but for trail hiking, whether beginner or advanced, this is a solid purchase.

While the Gold 13 fell short in a few ways compared to the rest of...
While the Gold 13 fell short in a few ways compared to the rest of our test suite, it's still an interesting and well-performing snowshoe recommended for trail-loving snow hikers.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Penney Garrett