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MSR Revo Explore - Women's Review

This lightweight snowshoe offers full coverage decking, one metal toe crampon, and a simple binding system for casual rolling hill hiking
MSR Revo Explore - Women's
Credit: MSR
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Price:  $250 List | $249.95 at REI
Pros:  Lightweight, full coverage decking, simple ratchet system, heel lift
Cons:  Loud, subpar traction for descending, wide, no curves, pricey
Manufacturer:   MSR
By Hayley Thomas ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 9, 2022
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63
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 9
  • Flotation - 30% 7.0
  • Traction - 25% 7.0
  • Stride Ergonomics - 15% 6.0
  • Ease of Use - 15% 6.0
  • Bindings - 15% 4.0

Our Verdict

The MSR Revo Explore is a lightweight snowshoe with full decking coverage for decent float on packed snow. The simple ratchet binding system is easy to adjust on the go, but the unevenly distributed pressure creates some pinching and discomfort on the forefoot, making it difficult to wear for extended periods of time. This is a compact shoe, but the rectangular shape can turn your natural stride into a waddle. That said, the easy-to-deploy heel lift and metal toe crampon make ascending a breeze. This is a solid option if you are looking for a compact snowshoe for casual rolling terrain and don't mind spending a little extra.

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Awards  Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $250 List
$249.95 at REI
$240 List
$219.00 at Amazon
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Star Rating
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Pros Lightweight, full coverage decking, simple ratchet system, heel liftEasy and natural stride, unique 3-crampon traction system, easy binding systemAmazing traction, comfortable bindings, versatile fit, ascent heelAffordable, stellar traction, easy to use, versatile bindingsEasy binding adjustments, excellent traction, flexible, budget-friendly, good for packed snow, lightweight
Cons Loud, subpar traction for descending, wide, no curves, priceySubpar float on unpacked snow, only supports 200 pounds, bulky heel liftPoor floatation, difficult to walk backward and side-step, bindings take a moment to get used toLoud on packed snow, duck waddle for those with a narrower gait, straps do not stay in placeLoud, below average float on fresh snow, straps flop around
Bottom Line This lightweight snowshoe offers full coverage decking, one metal toe crampon, and a simple binding system for casual rolling hill hikingA snowshoe with an extreme teardrop shape and three hefty crampons for a natural stride and extra tractionA flexible and comfortable snowshoe with incredible traction, perfect for icy packed conditionsThis affordable shoe is equipped with stellar traction and versatile bindings, making it a wonderful pick for varied terrain levels and snow typesA lightweight snowshoe perfect for beginner terrain with easy-to-adjust bindings, great traction, and flexible decking
Rating Categories MSR Revo Explore -... Crescent Moon Leadv... TSL Symbioz Elite -... MSR Evo Trail Snows... Atlas Helium Trail...
Flotation (30%)
7.0
6.0
4.0
6.0
6.0
Traction (25%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Stride Ergonomics (15%)
6.0
10.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
Ease of Use (15%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Bindings (15%)
4.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
Specs MSR Revo Explore -... Crescent Moon Leadv... TSL Symbioz Elite -... MSR Evo Trail Snows... Atlas Helium Trail...
Uses Deep snow Technical mountain terrain and packed snow Technical mountain terrain and packed snow Flat and variable rolling terrain Trail walking
Optimum Weight Load (per size) 22": up to 180 lbs
25": 120-210 lbs
Up to 200 lbs 20.5": 65 - 180 lbs
23.5": 110 - 260 lbs
27": 150 - 300 lbs
180 lbs 23": 80-160 lbs
26": 150-220 lbs
30": 200-270+ lbs
Weight (per pair) 4 lbs 4.2 lbs 4.2 lbs 3.5 lbs without tails
4.4 lbs with tails
3.3 lbs
Binding Mount Full Full Full Full Full
Binding System HyperLink Cam buckle quick pull loop and ratchet heel strap Symbioz telescopic bindings DuoFit WrapTrail
Crampon Toe crampon 3 stainless steel crampon system featuring the climbing "toe" claw design Stainless steel Steel traction rails and brake bars Toe crampon
Frame Material Martensite Steel Aluminum Composite Martensitic steel Composite
Deck Material Polypropylene Nylon Composite Polypropylene Composite
Surface Area (for tested size) 158 in² 192.5 in² 229 in² 174 in² without tails, 220 in² with 190 in²
Dimensions 22" x 8" 9.5" x 29" 27" x 8.5" 8" x 22" 8" x 30"
Flotation Tails Available? Yes No No Yes, 6" No
Load with Tails (per size) 22": up to 240 lbs
25": up to 270 lbs
n/a n/a Up to 250 lbs n/a
Men's and Women's Versions? Yes Yes Unisex Unisex Unisex
Sizes Available 22", 25" 29" 20.5", 23.5", 27" 22" 23", 26", 30"
Size Tested 25" 29" 27" 22" plus 6" add-on tails 30"

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Revo Explore is a beginner-friendly snowshoe with a simple binding system and lightweight decking. It is a little loud and works best on flat, casual terrain with packed snow.

Performance Comparison


MSR Revo Explore - Women's snowshoes - the revo is a simple, easy-to-use snowshoe.
The Revo is a simple, easy-to-use snowshoe.
Credit: Matthew Blake

Flotation


Staying afloat on deep snow is one of the main reasons we wear snowshoes, but the float level varies significantly from shoe to shoe. A larger surface area and a lighter shoe often help contribute to better float, but other factors like decking coverage and shape can help too.

The 22-inch Revo Explore has a surface area of roughly 158 square inches and is recommended for people up to 240 pounds. This is definitely a smaller snowshoe, but it still offers decent float. The ExoTrac decking is very lightweight, which helps keep you on top of the snow, but the Explore works best in slightly packed snow as it tends to posthole in the fresh deep stuff.

MSR Revo Explore - Women's snowshoes - the revo is best suited for medium packed snow.
The Revo is best suited for medium packed snow.
Credit: Matthew Blake

Traction


The benefits of wearing snowshoes do not stop at flotation. Traction is an essential attribute to pay attention to, especially if you plan to hike steep icy terrain.

MSR Revo Explore - Women's snowshoes - the revo toe crampons are great at ascending steep hills.
The Revo toe crampons are great at ascending steep hills.
Credit: Matthew Blake

The aggressive perimeter teeth of ExoTrac deck and Pivot crampons help provide traction. They work especially well on crusty snow over rolling hills or on flatter terrain as the perimeter teeth sink nicely into the snow. However, the Revo Explore only has one aggressive metal toe crampon, which can make ascending on icy terrain a little precarious. A heel crampon would help significantly here.

MSR Revo Explore - Women's snowshoes - the bottom of the revo explore is very textured but the traction...
The bottom of the Revo Explore is very textured but the traction while descending is subpar.
Credit: Matthew Blake

Stride Ergonomics


Most people have to adjust their gait a little to accommodate snowshoes because they are significantly large than their feet. While larger shoes offer better flotation, smaller or curvier shoes help encourage a more natural stride.

MSR Revo Explore - Women's snowshoes - the revo has a little shape to it, but the boxiness can make them a...
The Revo has a little shape to it, but the boxiness can make them a little difficult to walk with a normal stride.
Credit: Matthew Blake

The Revo Explore is a smaller snowshoe with little to no curvature, and the rectangular nature makes it difficult to walk without a waddle, especially if you have a narrower gait. This is a non-issue for those with wider hips or longer legs but be prepared to waddle if you are particularly petite.

MSR Revo Explore - Women's snowshoes - if you sport a wider gait or longer legs, you may not need to adjust...
If you sport a wider gait or longer legs, you may not need to adjust your stride to walk in the Revo.
Credit: Matthew Blake

Ease of Use


Motivation to get out into the cold can be hard enough to find, and a pair of difficult-to-use snowshoes may be enough to keep you inside instead of going on an adventure. When testing for this metric, we put on, take off and adjust each pair of snowshoes on the go. The general fit and how inclusive the sizing of each shoe is also taken into account here.

MSR Revo Explore - Women's snowshoes - the standard heel lift helps make climbing steep hills less strenuous.
The standard heel lift helps make climbing steep hills less strenuous.
Credit: Matthew Blake

The two-strap ratchet binding system is quick and easy to adjust, but the rachets are a little small and difficult to grip with gloves on. A slide-to-adjust feature also allows the user to switch the strap length from a medium to a small. This adds to overall fit inclusivity but is a little difficult to figure out at first. The Erg Televator heel lifts help reduce fatigue on steeper terrain and are easy to deploy. Our major issue with the Revo Explore is how loud the decking is. If you are not sensitive to white noise, this probably won't bother you, but we found it hard to hold a conversation or enjoy the sounds of nature while hiking in these snowshoes.

MSR Revo Explore - Women's snowshoes - this slide to adjust binding strap took us a minute to figure out...
This slide to adjust binding strap took us a minute to figure out, but it comes in handy.
Credit: Matthew Blake

Bindings


During our binding testing, we assess the level of comfort and convenience the bindings provide. A binding that unevenly distributes pressure can cause pinching and chafing, drastically reducing the amount of time you can spend in them.

While the HyperLink bindings on the Revo are convenient and offer inclusive sizing, they are not the most comfortable. The EVA foam cushions are comfortable, but the placement is not — it puts all the pressure on the sides of the forefoot. This creates a very uneven distribution of weight, pinching the sides of the foot and disregarding the top of the foot.

MSR Revo Explore - Women's snowshoes - unfortunately, these bindings pinch the forefoot, causing uneven and...
Unfortunately, these bindings pinch the forefoot, causing uneven and uncomfortable pressure.
Credit: Matthew Blake

Value


Like many MSR brand snowshoes, the Revo Explore is rather expensive. If you're looking for a compact shoe with decent float for rolling hills or flat terrain, this shoe may be a good choice; however, there are less expensive options that perform better in our test suite.

Conclusion


This small, lightweight snowshoe is great for casual terrain. The ratchet binding system is straightforward but lacks the comfort we'd like due to unevenly distributed pressure and pinching. The rectangular shape can make it difficult to walk in if you have a narrower gait, but the heel lift and toe crampon make ascending easy. Still, if you are a casual snowshoer who enjoys rolling hills and remaining on the path, then the Revo Explore is a fine choice.

MSR Revo Explore - Women's snowshoes - these snowshoes work well for casual use, but we think there are...
These snowshoes work well for casual use, but we think there are better options in our test suite.
Credit: Matthew Blake

Hayley Thomas
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