The Tubbs Flex RDG was our Top Pick for Ease of Use thanks to its innovative Boa binding system and a design that accommodates a woman's gait better than any other model we tested. Every tester that tried these snowshoes loved them. The binding system allows for easy precise adjustments on the fly, and features flexible decking, curved traction rails, and heel lifts meant navigating steep icy terrain was easy and safe. While we feel the thin exposed wire cables on the bindings are a potential weak point that may rule out taking these into remote backcountry, for more conservative trips we loved the performance of this shoe.
Tubbs Flex RDG - Women's Review
Cons: Binding system potentially isn't secure, doesn't float well unless you're light weight.
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Flex RDG is a fun snowshoe with impressive traction that really shines on packed trails and icy terrain. The 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, we had to recognize the popularity of this model among our testers.
This wasn't the best model for flotation and unfortunately, Tubbs only offers the Flex RDG in one size with no options for add-on flotation tails. For women that will weigh over 150 pounds fully dressed and loaded up, there are better snowshoes to consider, especially for deeper snow. But for packed trails, shallow powder, and steep terrain, this is a great purchase, even if you're over the weight limit.
However, if you know that you will be out in deep snow regularly, check out our Best Buy winner, the Atlas Elektra Rendezvous for more moderate terrain, and our Editors' Choice winners the MSR Lightning Ascent - Women's for steep backcountry outings.
The Flex RDG was 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 RDG also has heel lifts for climbing high angle hills. The only other model that had heel lifts was our Editors' Choice, the MSR Lightning Ascent - Women's which grabbed a perfect 10 for traction.
The Lighting Ascent was the best shoe we tested for climbing steep hills, but the Flex RDG wasn't far behind. Both the Flex and the MSR Evo - Women's were close runners-up and allowed us to feel super safe when things got slick and icy. We had the most trouble when the going got steep with the Tubbs Xplore, which is an introductory model made for simple packed trails.
This is where the Flex RDG really shined and one of the deciding factors in awarding it our Top Pick for Ease of Use. With all the other models we tested, at least one tester would comment on having to widen their gait, but with the Flex RDG every tester could walk almost completely normally. Combine that with fantastic traction that gave us confidence at every step, and we had a clear winner.
For a less aggressive shoe that is also great to walk in, check out our Best Buy winner, the Atlas Elektra Rendezvous. The one shoe that felt the most awkward and caused our feet to collide a bit while walking was the Tubbs Xplore - Women's.
Ease of Use
Once we figured out a few nuances of the binding system, this snowshoe was incredibly fast and easy to use. Hence our awarding it a Top Pick for Ease of Use. The binding system opens up nice and wide in order to accommodate a large boot, and then tightens down with the simple turn of a dial — that's it! The Boa system cinches the entire foot evenly and uniformly, and the frame design allowed us to walk almost as normally as if we weren't wearing snowshoes at all.
A couple 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 very hard 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 only aspect of this system that was moderately difficult was 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. The other models we loved for ease of use were the Atlas Rendezvous and the Crescent Moon Gold 13. The Atlas was easy to walk in and the Crescent Moon had our absolute favorite binding system for security and comfort.
This was an interesting metric for us with the Flex RDG. On one hand, we loved the Boa binding system — it felt very secure and we had no issues with it in the time we were testing. However, the fact that there are thin wire cables exposed to the elements at all times caused us to raise an eyebrow, and this feeling was confirmed when digging into other online reviews. There is definitely a pattern of people having issues with the durability of this system. Multiple reviews discussed the binding system breaking or coming loose in deep snow. There was a general trend of unreliability that we felt had to be mentioned.
While we feel great about 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. Conversely, if you were to break one, or even two, straps on the Lightning Ascent you would still be able to walk for miles because each strap is independent of the rest of the system. Additionally, if a strap breaks on the Lightning Ascent or the MSR Evo - Women's, you can order replacement parts from MSR and fix it yourself. If the Boa system on the Flex RDG breaks, it's highly doubtful you will be able to fix it yourself, especially while out in the field.
We had worries about the security of the binding on the Flex RDG, but we definitely didn't have any complaints about the comfort. The way the cables tighten the whole system evenly around the entire foot makes for a very comfortable snowshoe. The Boa dial also means that tiny micro-adjustments are possible, something entirely not possible when you have a rudimentary strap and buckle system like on the MSR models.
We saw a couple mentions in other online reviews of the area where the Boa dial is located causing a pinch point, but this was not our personal experience and may have simply been an issue of those users over-tightening the dial. Our tested models were really all quite comfortable, but the one we liked a little bit better than all the rest was the Crescent Moon Gold 13.
The Flex RDG is ideal for light powder and packed trails of all levels. The impressive traction system means you can feel confident on your feet when navigating advanced icy slopes, and the well-thought-out frame design means you will be able to walk on flat trails as easy as if you didn't have snowshoes on your feet at all. If you plan to push into lonely backcountry areas with deep snow drifts, we recommend our Editors' Choice, the Lighting Ascent, but for trails and slopes closer to civilization, this is a great choice.
This snowshoe retails for $190 and we think it's a very fair price for all you get. Heel lifts, brake bars, burly traction rails, carbon steel crampons, and a Boa binding system, all for less than $200? That's a pretty sweet deal. The Lightning Ascent is $110 more and while it's far superior for backcountry travel, the Flex RDG is comparable for traction and for climbing icy steep terrain. If you don't need as feature-heavy a shoe and would like to spend less, check out our Best Buy winner, the Atlas Elektra Rendezvous.
The Flex RDG is a great snowshoe for exploring packed trails and steep terrain. The binding system is easy to use and very comfortable, and the traction system 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, no matter how advanced the terrain, this is a great snowshoe.
— Penney Garrett