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Tubbs Wilderness - Women's
$219.95 at REI
|$259.95 at Amazon|
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$239.99 at Amazon
|Check Price at Amazon||$150 List|
$149.95 at REI
|Pros||Comfortable and simple binding system, carbon steel crampons, uniquely placed heel crampons, quiet||Comfortable and secure binding, wide weight range, natural stride, large crampons, heel crampon for descending||Easy and natural stride, unique 3-crampon traction system, easy binding system||Affordable, stellar traction, wide fit bindings||Easy binding adjustments, excellent traction, flexible, budget-friendly, good for packed snow, lightweight|
|Cons||Extra rotation causes shin impact, mediocre flotation on fresh snow||Traction suffers on ice, a little expensive||Subpar float on unpacked snow, only supports 200 pounds, bulky heel lift||Loud on packed snow, duck waddle for those with a narrower gait, straps can flow around a little||Loud, below average float on fresh snow, straps flop around|
|Bottom Line||With its outstandingly comfortable binding system, decent floatation, and stellar traction, this snowshoe is perfect for casual use||A snowshoe with a comfortable binding that cinches evenly and easily around the foot, with great traction in deep or packed snow||A snowshoe with an extreme teardrop shape and three hefty crampons for a natural stride and extra traction||This affordable shoe is equipped with stellar traction and versatile bindings, making it a wonderful pick for varied terrain levels and snow types||A lightweight snowshoe perfect for beginner terrain with easy-to-adjust bindings, great traction, and flexible decking|
|Rating Categories||Tubbs Wilderness -...||Tubbs Mountaineer -...||Crescent Moon Leadv...||MSR Evo Trail Snows...||Atlas Helium Trail...|
|Stride Ergonomics (15%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Tubbs Wilderness -...||Tubbs Mountaineer -...||Crescent Moon Leadv...||MSR Evo Trail Snows...||Atlas Helium Trail...|
|Uses||Day hiking||Mountain terrain||Technical mountain terrain and packed snow||Flat and variable rolling terrain||Trail walking|
|Optimum Weight Load (per size)||21": 80-150 lbs
25": 120-200 lbs
30": 170-250 lbs
|21": 80-150 lbs
25" 120-200 lbs
30": 170-250 lbs
|Up to 200 lbs||180 lbs||23": 80-160 lbs
26": 150-220 lbs
30": 200-270+ lbs
|Weight (per pair)||4.1 lbs||4.7 lbs||4.2 lbs||4.0 lbs||3.0 lbs|
|Binding System||Quick-Fit Binding||Active Fit 2.0||Cam buckle quick pull loop and ratchet heel strap||Paraglide||Wrapp Stretch|
|Crampon||Cobra Toe Crampon
Tubbs Heel Crampon
|Anaconda toe crampon
Python heel crampon
|3 stainless steel crampon system featuring the climbing "toe" claw design||Steel traction rails||Toe crampon|
|Frame Material||Aluminum||Aluminum||Aluminum||Martensitic steel||Aluminum|
|Deck Material||Nylon||Nytex nylon||Nylon||Polypropylene||Nytex nylon|
|Surface Area (for tested size)||228.0 in²||164.6 in²||192.9 in²||174.5 in² without tails, 220 in² with||205 in²|
|Dimensions||9" x 30"||25" x 8.25"||9.5" x 29"||8" x 22"||8" x 30"|
|Flotation Tails Available?||No||No||No||Yes, 6"||No|
|Load with Tails (per size)||N/A||N/A||N/A||Up to 250 lbs||N/A|
|Men's and Women's Versions?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Unisex||Unisex|
|Sizes Available||21", 25", 30"||21", 25", 30"||29"||22"||23", 26", 30"|
|Size Tested||25"||25"||29"||22" plus 6" add-on tails||26"|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Wilderness is an extremely comfortable snowshoe with a unique yet simple binding system. The decent float paired with great traction makes it a good casual option.
The main reason we wear snowshoes is to avoid post-holing when we step into fresh, deep snow, and that is why flotation is of such high importance. We test how each snowshoe in our lineup does on fresh powder, deep-packed snow, and shallow-packed trails. The Wilderness does a good job in this department.
The SoftTec decking and hollow aluminum frame offer lightweight flotation, although the shoe itself weighs around four pounds. Unlike many other casual snowshoes, the Wilderness is almost completely covered by decking, ensuring a good amount of surface area to float on top of the snow. The smooth and stretchy texture of the decking also gives a little pep in your step while walking on harder-packed terrain. The tendency to posthole in fresh deep snow is a little higher, but overall we were happy with the level of flotation this pair of snowshoes offered on most terrain.
While flotation is extremely important for snowshoes, traction comes in a close second. Rarely do we find ourselves on perfectly fluffy snow with no ice, hills, or other obstacles.
During our traction testing, we pay special attention to the presence of crampons, general texture under the decking, and teeth around the perimeter or on the frame. We also test each pair of shoes on steep ascents, descents, ice, and mixed terrain. The Wilderness offers a unique heel crampon for additional traction.
The COBRA Toe Crampon on the Wilderness is made of carbon steel and is located under the ball of the foot. It provides consistent contact with snow and ice regardless of the grade or pack level. The massive jagged teeth help fasten the shoe to the snow beneath it but do not stick in a way that prevents you from taking your next step.
The heel crampon features two bars that run parallel to the foot. Teeth angle backward, which helps with a steep descent. The lack of perimeter teeth goes surprisingly unnoticed — the crampons are strategically placed when your foot is making the most contact with the ground. Overall, the Wilderness has great traction.
Sometimes snowshoes can feel like wearing Ronald McDonald's comically large clown shoes, but it doesn't have to be that way. A curvy or narrow design will allow you to walk with a more natural stride. Unfortunately, lack of surface area may negatively affect the float, so it is important to weigh the pros and cons and consider the type of terrain you plan to tackle. During our stride ergonomics testing, we pay attention to whether or not we can maintain a natural stride without our shoes getting in the way of each other. Another contributing factor to Stride Ergonomics is the angle at which the snowshoe pivots from the foot.
The Fit-Step 2.0 Frame is lightweight and somewhat curvy. The Rotating Toe Cord With Rotation Limiter allows the shoe to fall naturally from the ball of the foot without getting in the way. The upturned tail and nose of the frame help encourage a natural heel-to-toe stride and claim to reduce the musculoskeletal impact on hip, knee, and ankle joints.
The Wilderness offers a Rotating Toe Cord design with a rotation limiter. The limiter seems to work a little better with the newest version of this snowshoe, but we still struggle a little with impact on the lower shin. The Wilderness still offers a little too much rotation, specifically when walking uphill. It goes mostly unnoticed if you are wearing puffy snow pants or taller hiking boots, but the continued impact may leave you with a little bruise when tackling long uphill ascents.
Ease of Use
During our ease-of-use testing, we pay attention to how easy the snowshoes are to put on, adjust, and take off. We also consider the versatility of the fit and how inclusive the sizing is.
The Wilderness offers three sizes that are recommended for 80 to 250 pounds of support. This weight includes the load you are carrying, so it is important to keep that in mind. The Quick-Fit Binding features two straps to tighten to the toe plate and one loop to loosen it.
The heel strap can be tightened one-handed and tucks away neatly as long as you slide the keeper to the end of the tail. The shoes are labeled left and right, which helps avoid confusion, and the heel lift comes in handy for steep ascents. Overall, the Wilderness is well thought out and easy to use.
Bindings can make or break a snowshoe. During our testing, we pay attention to the general comfort level. If the binding pinches or unevenly distributes pressure across the foot, it can quickly become uncomfortable. We also consider how convenient and secure the binding system is to use.
The QuickFit Binding is innovative yet simple. It features two nylon pull straps on the toe plate that tighten around the forefoot effortlessly. The tension is distributed evenly across the foot with zero pinching. It is easy to cinch down on the fly but requires two hands, while some of the other models in our suite can be adjusted single-handed.
The heel plate offers support and stability, and the heel strap is easy to cinch down with one hand. There is plenty of slack for larger feet or hefty boots, and all the straps tuck away neatly, which helps keep the bindings secure on long hikes.
Should you buy the Tubbs Wilderness?
The Wilderness is an excellent value if you are looking for a versatile everyday snowshoe with comfortable, supportive bindings. It falls somewhere in the middle, price-wise, and offers decent float and great traction. The traction is excellent for most terrain, and the easy-to-use nature of the design makes it a good choice for everyday use. Most snowshoes in this price range have binding systems that require a little more elbow grease, but the QuickFit Binding is easy to adjust on the fly, secure, and distributes pressure evenly. The Wilderness is a great deal if you're looking for a casual snowshoe with a comfortable binding.
What other Snowshoes Should You Consider?
If you plan on taking your adventures to the backcountry or on multi-day trips, the MSR Lightning Ascent or Atlas Range-MTN may be more your style, though they are a bit more expensive than the Wilderness. If you have a particularly narrow gait and are primarily concerned with avoiding the dreaded snowshoe waddle, the Crescent Moon Leadville 29 promotes a natural stride thanks to a smaller frame. Maybe you want to pick up the speed and try running on packed winter trails? Then you should check out the Atlas Run.
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