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Tubbs Flex RDG - Women's Review

This is a comfortable snowshoe with fantastic traction and great stride ergonomics for those with a narrower gait.
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Price:  $190 List
Pros:  Excellent traction, comfortable bindings, fantastic stride ergonomics
Cons:  Binding system potentially isn't secure, doesn't float well unless you're very light
Manufacturer:   Tubbs
By Penney Garrett ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 11, 2020
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77
OVERALL
SCORE


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

Our Verdict

The Tubbs Flex RDG is easy to use, and it accommodates a narrower gait excellently. Every tester that tried these snowshoes loved them. The Boa binding system allows for easy, precise adjustments on the fly. Features like flexible decking, curved traction rails, and heel lifts mean navigating steep icy terrain is simple and safe. While we feel the thin exposed cables on the bindings are a potential weak point that may rule out taking these into remote backcountry, we love the performance of this shoe for more conservative trips.

New Colors

Tubbs tweaked the colors for the Flex RDG since our test period, but as far as we could suss out, all the tech specs remain the same. The latest color/graphics are shown in the photo above.

February 2020


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Pros Excellent traction, comfortable bindings, fantastic stride ergonomicsStellar traction, heel lifts for steep terrain, easy to use, add-on flotation tail compatibleGood traction and flotation, excellent binding system, heel liftGreat traction, Boa binding system, comfortable binding, easy walking, quietAffordable, great traction, easy to use, versatile
Cons Binding system potentially isn't secure, doesn't float well unless you're very lightExpensive, front of binding difficult to navigate with thick gloves on, side and back stepping are laboriousA bit heavy, tail flips up a lot of snow, toe shape feels a little wideBoa system is more finicky and less repairable than a strap system, on the heavier sidePlastic frame is loud, requires those with a narrower gait to widen their steps, straps flop around
Bottom Line The Flex RDG offers fantastic traction and great stride ergonomics for women while being easy to use and comfortable.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 Montane is an easy to use snowshoe that offers great features for mountainous and technical terrain.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.
Rating Categories Tubbs Flex RDG - Women's Lightning Ascent Atlas Elektra Montane Louis Blizzard III MSR Evo Trail Snowshoes
Flotation (30%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
Traction (25%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
Stride Ergonomics (15%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
6
Ease Of Use (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
7
Bindings (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Specs Tubbs Flex RDG -... Lightning Ascent Atlas Elektra... Louis Blizzard III MSR Evo Trail...
Uses Variable rolling and mountain terrain All terrain All terrain Flat, rolling and mountain terrain Flat and variable rolling terrain
Optimum weight loads (per size) 80-150 lbs 120-210 lbs 120-200+ lbs 100-200 lbs Without tails: 180 lbs, With tails: 250 lbs
Weight (per pair) 3.5 lbs 4.19 lbs 4.36 lbs 4.4 lbs 3.56 lbs without tails, 4.4 lbs with
Binding mount Full Full Fixed Full Full
Binding system CustomWrap binding featuring the Boa Closure System Paragon Binding Wrapp Swift binding Boa binding DuoFit
Crampon Traction rails and carbon steel toe crampon DTX Crampon All-trac toe crampon Traxion HCS front crampon & V-rail crampon Steel traction rails and brake bars
Frame material Plastic frame and decking with steel traction rails Aluminum Aluminum V-frame 6061-T6 Aluminum ErgoStream Plastic frame and decking with steel traction rails
Deck material Plastic advanced Torsion Deck Nylon Nytex decking EDGE molded polymer UniBody deck - injection-molded plastic
Surface area (for tested size) 151 in² 180 in² 176 in² 189 in² 174 in² without tails, 220 in² with
Dimensions 8 x 22" 7.25 x 25" 8.5 x 27" 8 x 25" 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? Yes Yes No, women's specific Yes Unisex
Sizes Available 22" 22", 25" 23" and 27" 22" and 25" 22"
Size Tested 22" 25" 27" 25" 22" plus 6" add-on tails

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Flex RDG is a fun snowshoe with impressive traction that shines on packed trails and icy terrain. The Boa binding system cinches around the entire foot uniformly and allows for quick micro-adjustments with the simple turn of a dial. While we have some reservations about the durability of the binding over time, the popularity of this model among our testers can't be denied.

Performance Comparison


The Flex RDG is an easy to use women's snowshoe that all our testers loved hiking in.
The Flex RDG is an easy to use women's snowshoe that all our testers loved hiking in.

Flotation


This isn't the best model for flotation due, primarily, to a small surface area. And, unfortunately, Tubbs only offers the Flex RDG in one size with no options for add-on flotation tails. For those that weigh over 150 pounds fully dressed and loaded up, there are better snowshoes to consider, especially for deep snow. But for packed trails, shallow powder, and steep terrain, this is a great purchase, even if you're over the optimal weight load.

The Flex RDG is a small lightweight shoe that isn't our favorite for floatation in deep snow  especially for larger framed women. Smaller testers had much better performance though.
The Flex RDG is a small lightweight shoe that isn't our favorite for floatation in deep snow, especially for larger framed women. Smaller testers had much better performance though.

Traction


The Flex RDG is one of our favorite snowshoes for traction. Curved traction rails, carbon steel toe crampons, and molded brake bars make for an impressive shoe in icy conditions and on steep terrain. The Flex also has heel lifts for climbing high angle hills.

Carbon steel toe crampons  curved traction rails  and molded brake bars combine to make the Flex RDG a great snowshoe for steep icy terrain.
Carbon steel toe crampons, curved traction rails, and molded brake bars combine to make the Flex RDG a great snowshoe for steep icy terrain.

Stride Ergonomics


This is an area where the Flex RDG shines. Every tester in our crew could walk almost completely normally. Combine that with fantastic, confidence-inspiring traction, and we were happy snowshoers.

The smaller size of the RDG (black  center) made it a favorite among our testers for easy natural walking on packed trails and in light powder. It's light  comfortable  and an overall great design for accommodating a narrower gait.
The smaller size of the RDG (black, center) made it a favorite among our testers for easy natural walking on packed trails and in light powder. It's light, comfortable, and an overall great design for accommodating a narrower gait.

Ease of Use


Once you figure out a few nuances, this binding on this snowshoe is incredibly fast and easy to use. The Boa system opens up nice and wide to accommodate a large boot, and then tightens down with the simple turn of a dial — that's it! The entire foot is cinched evenly and uniformly, and the frame design allows a gait almost as normal as if you weren't wearing snowshoes at all.

The only aspect of this system that is moderately difficult is pulling the Boa dial open with bulky gloves or cold fingers. It clicks into place quite tightly for security, so you just need to be prepared to use your grip strength to get it open. Another detail to be aware of is the fact that Boa systems are bulkier than simple compressible straps, so if packing your shoes down flat is a priority, the Flex may not be the best fit for you.

Set up for success
Here are a couple of tips that will save you the initial confusion we experienced:
  • Figure out the heel strap sizing before you head out to hike. There are two settings on the strap that are set into place via two pegs that fit into holes on the rubber strap. They are tight and tough to adjust with cold fingers. But they only need to be adjusted once, so do it when your fingers are warm, and you're not impeded by layers of snow clothes.
  • When the Boa dial is pulled up in the 'open' position, the top of the binding system stretches and opens quite far. We initially didn't realize this, which is why we were messing with the heel strap unnecessarily.

The bindings on the RDG are super easy to use and adjust on the fly. Once you have the back strap properly sized  you'll love how quickly you can get in and out of these shoes.
The bindings on the RDG are super easy to use and adjust on the fly. Once you have the back strap properly sized, you'll love how quickly you can get in and out of these shoes.

Bindings


This is an interesting category for the Flex RDG. On the one hand, we love the Boa binding system — it feels very secure, it's uber comfortable, and it allows for tiny micro-adjustments on the fly. We saw a couple of mentions in other online reviews saying the area where the Boa dial is located causes a pinch point, but this was not our personal experience and may have been an issue of those users over-tightening the dial. We had zero issues in the time we were testing.

However, the fact that there are thin wire cables exposed to the elements at all times causes us to raise an eyebrow. This feeling was confirmed when digging into other online reviews. There is a pattern of people having issues with the durability of this system and a general trend of unreliability. Multiple reviews discussed the binding system breaking or coming loose in deep snow. While we feel great recommending this snowshoe for trips that stay close to your car or other people, we can't give the green light to these shoes for remote or solo backcountry outings. The entire binding system is dependent on those thin wire cables, and if one were to snap, there is no way to repair the shoe on the fly.

Our one major concern with the design of the Flex RDG is the fact that it leaves the thin wire cables of the Boa binding system exposed to the elements. If one of these wires breaks  the entire system is rendered completely useless.
Our one major concern with the design of the Flex RDG is the fact that it leaves the thin wire cables of the Boa binding system exposed to the elements. If one of these wires breaks, the entire system is rendered completely useless.

Value


This snowshoe is a little spendy but remains a very fair price for all you get. Heel lifts, brake bars, burly traction rails, carbon steel crampons, and a Boa binding system? All in all, it's a pretty sweet deal.

Conclusion


The Flex RDG is a great snowshoe for exploring packed trails and steep terrain. The bindings are easy to use and very comfortable, and traction is among the best we tested. We have concerns about the long-term durability of the Boa binding due to its thin wire cables being exposed, and this shoe isn't the best for flotation, so we don't recommend it for deep backcountry travel. But for trips closer to friends and cars, this is a great snowshoe.

The Flex RDG is a fun and innovative snowshoe that feels great and allows for easy natural walking on trails and in light powder. We love the burly traction features and the addition of a heel lift for navigating icy slopes with ease.
The Flex RDG is a fun and innovative snowshoe that feels great and allows for easy natural walking on trails and in light powder. We love the burly traction features and the addition of a heel lift for navigating icy slopes with ease.


Penney Garrett