Hands-on Gear Review

Crescent Moon Gold 13 Review

Crescent Moon Gold 13
Price:  $259 List | $206.99 at MooseJaw
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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 a lot of snow.
Bottom line:  The Gold 13 is a fun and innovative snowshoe that's great for athletic hiking on beginner to advanced trails.
Editors' Rating:   
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Uses:  Trail walking
Sizes Available:  24.5" in
Size Tested:  24.5" in
Manufacturer:   Crescent Moon

Our Verdict

The Crescent Moon Gold 13 is a well-constructed snowshoe, perfect for both the casual and the 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 beginning to advanced trails that are packed or newly packed, this is a great choice. The Gold 13 had our favorite binding system, an intuitive system that felt 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 feel confident recommending for the appropriate terrain.



RELATED REVIEW: Best Snowshoes for Women


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Penney Garrett

Last Updated:
Saturday
April 22, 2017

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The Crescent Moon Gold 13 is a unique snowshoe designed specifically for women who love hiking with confidence on snowy trails. It's not the model to choose if you plan to be primarily in deep backcountry snow, but if efficient movement on packed rolling terrain is your jam, then this may very well be the perfect snowshoe for you.

Performance Comparison


The Crescent Moon had our favorite binding system and felt great on packed trails.
The Crescent Moon had our favorite binding system and felt great on packed trails.

Flotation


The Gold 13 was our least favorite model 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 more closely mimic the natural movement of your foot, but it means the tail flips up with each step you take. In deep snow you will be physically flipping up wads of snow as you walk. In more 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. If you plan to be in deep snow regularly, we recommend you check out our favorite model for flotation, the Atlas Elektra Rendezvous, which was also our Best Buy winner, or our Editors' Choice, the MSR Lightning Ascent - Women's.

Because of the Crescent Moon's narrow teardrop shape and full rotation bindings  it wasn't the best for floating in deep snow. The front half of the shoe sinks much lower than the back half.
Because of the Crescent Moon's narrow teardrop shape and full rotation bindings, it wasn't the best for floating in deep snow. The front half of the shoe sinks much lower than the back half.

Traction


The Gold 13 has the perfect amount of traction for the terrain it's designed for, namely packed trails. Some models with really burly traction meant that climbing could 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. And on more moderate trails you will be walking with ease and confidence. Our top performer for traction was our Editors' Choice winner, the MSR Lightning Ascent. It grabbed a 10 out of 10 for traction and is the model you should look at if you plan to explore steep mountainous terrain in the backcountry. We struggled the most in regards to traction with the Tubbs Xplore - Women's.

The Crescent Moon's had good traction that performed decently on steep slopes  though it did require some focus on keeping each step weighted in the toe.
The Crescent Moon's had good traction that performed decently on steep slopes, though it did require some focus on keeping each step weighted in the toe.

Stride Ergonomics


The Gold 13 did decently for this category, though it wasn't our favorite. Despite the narrowness of the the tail, the front toe portion was actually the widest of all the models 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 didn't have to change their gait much at all, though the way the heel flipped up took a bit of getting used to for everyone. The comfortability of walking in these shoes was definitely terrain dependent — in deep snow we struggled a bit, but on packed or partially packed trails we felt great. Our favorite model for walking with ease was the Tubbs Flex RDG, a lightweight and fun model with great features. We also really liked the Atlas Elektra Rendezvous which has a teardrop shape too, though it's not nearly as pronounced as the Gold 13. Our least favorite model for this category was the Tubbs Xplore which felt awkwardly wide and cumbersome.

Despite the narrowness of the tail on these snowshoes  they were the widest shoe tested across the toe area at 8.5" which meant women with smaller frames still had to widen their gait a bit.
Despite the narrowness of the tail on these snowshoes, they were the widest shoe tested across the toe area at 8.5" which meant women with smaller frames still had to widen their gait a bit.

Ease of Use


This snowshoe performed near the top for ease of use. The binding system was our favorite and walking on trails was a breeze. The binding does require that your foot is properly centered for optimal comfort and stability, and the heel flip from the fixed rotation bindings takes a bit of getting used to. But overall this is an easy and straightforward snowshoe that trail hikers will love. Our best performer for this category, and also our Top Pick Award winner for Ease of Use, was the Tubbs Flex RDG - Women's, a great snowshoe with an easy to use Boa binding system and an ideal design for walking naturally. The Tubbs Xplore didn't quite measure up and fell to the bottom due to a few issues with the binding system — and the fact that walking on trails was awkward.

The Crescent Moon's full rotation bindings caused a lot of snow to be flipped up with each step. This wasn't a big deal on packed trail  but in deep snow it hindered our ability to float and walk efficiently.
The Crescent Moon's full rotation bindings caused a lot of snow to be flipped up with each step. This wasn't a big deal on packed trail, but in deep snow it hindered our ability to float and walk efficiently.

Binding Security


This snowshoe had our favorite binding system both in regards to security and comfort and we rewarded it with a perfect 10 score — one of only two in this entire review. It may not ultimately be quite as burly or as versatile as the simple straps and buckles of the Lightning Ascent or the MSR Evo - Women's, but it eked out a win due to its smart design elements. The system hugs the entire foot evenly and both tightens and loosens with the pull of a single loop. This 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. Our lowest score for binding security went to the Tubbs Flex RDG. While we loved the system, we couldn't overlook the fragility of the entire binding being dependent on wire-thin cables that are exposed to the elements.

The Crescent Moon just eked out a win over the Lightning Ascent for the most secure binding. Well protected and fitted from all sides  this is a great system.
The Crescent Moon just eked out a win over the Lightning Ascent for the most secure binding. Well protected and fitted from all sides, this is a great system.

Binding Comfort


The Gold 13 is so comfy! As long as your foot is properly centered before everything gets tightened down, you're good to go. The evenness of the cinch achievable from the SPL (single pull loop) system; combined with built-in support areas and a well-supported ratchet buckle in the back, our feet felt uniformly supported at all times. All of the models we tested had high quality and comfortable binding systems, but this one was just a notch above the rest.

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

Best Applications


The Gold 13 is an ideal snowshoe for hikers that plan to stay on trails that are packed or newly packed. In deeper snow, the narrow tails impeded flotation a bit, but for quick and natural movements on trail, we really liked this shoe. While this model isn't specifically designed for running, this is the closest shape of all the shoes we tested to a runners design, and we did in fact feel great the few times we ran for short distances. From beginner to advanced trail hiking, this is a great shoe to consider.

Value


Retailing at $259, this is was the second most expensive shoe in our entire review. 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. As an additional bonus, Crescent Moon snowshoes are made in the U.S.A. and are eco-friendly, manufactured in a wind-powered factory where they have eliminated PVC and recycle everything. When you consider those aspects, we think this shoe is an even better value and a conscious way to spend your hard-earned dollars.

Conclusion


The Gold 13 is a well-made snowshoe with a comfortable and secure binding system and a smart design for quick 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 Crescent Moon fell short in a few ways compared to the rest of our test suite  it's still an interesting and well performing snowshoe that we recommend for trail-loving snow hikers.
While the Crescent Moon fell short in a few ways compared to the rest of our test suite, it's still an interesting and well performing snowshoe that we recommend for trail-loving snow hikers.

Penney Garrett

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Most recent review: April 22, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (4.0)
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