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Tubbs Wilderness - Women's Review

With its outstandingly comfortable binding system, decent floatation, and stellar traction, this snowshoe is perfect for casual use
Tubbs Wilderness - Women's
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Price:  $200 List | $169.96 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Comfortable and simple binding system, carbon steel crampons, uniquely placed heel crampons, inclusive sizing, quiet
Cons:  Extra rotation causes shin impact, mediocre flotation on fresh snow
Manufacturer:   Tubbs
By Hayley Thomas ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 9, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
80
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 9
  • Flotation - 30% 7.0
  • Traction - 25% 8.0
  • Stride Ergonomics - 15% 8.0
  • Ease of Use - 15% 8.0
  • Bindings - 15% 10.0

Our Verdict

The comfortable Tubbs Wilderness is perfect for everyday use. The carbon steel toe crampon and uniquely placed heel crampon offer stellar traction on ice, snow, and other obstacles. The binding system's inclusive sizing and versatile fit offer a pinch-less experience, and the plentiful rotation allows snow to fall off the shoe effortlessly — though it sometimes rotates so much that it collides with the shin. The decking is lightweight and offers decent float but works better on packed snow and ice than fresh fluffy powder. If you are looking for a casual, everyday snowshoe that won't completely break the bank, this is a great choice.

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Pros Comfortable and simple binding system, carbon steel crampons, uniquely placed heel crampons, inclusive sizing, quietEasy and natural stride, unique 3-crampon traction system, easy binding systemGood traction and flotation, excellent binding system, heel liftAffordable, stellar traction, easy to use, versatile bindingsEasy binding adjustments, excellent traction, flexible, budget-friendly, good for packed snow, lightweight
Cons Extra rotation causes shin impact, mediocre flotation on fresh snowSubpar float on unpacked snow, only supports 200 pounds, bulky heel liftTail flips up a lot of snow, toe shape feels a little wideLoud 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 With its outstandingly comfortable binding system, decent floatation, and stellar traction, this snowshoe is perfect for casual useA snowshoe with an extreme teardrop shape and three hefty crampons for a natural stride and extra tractionThis is a well-rounded and solidly performing snowshoe for all kinds of terrain and objectivesThis 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 Tubbs Wilderness -... Crescent Moon Gold 15 Atlas Montane - Wom... MSR Evo Trail Snows... Atlas Helium Trail...
Flotation (30%)
7.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
Traction (25%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
Stride Ergonomics (15%)
8.0
10.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
Ease of Use (15%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
Bindings (15%)
10.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
Specs Tubbs Wilderness -... Crescent Moon Gold 15 Atlas Montane - Wom... MSR Evo Trail Snows... Atlas Helium Trail...
Uses Day hiking Technical mountain terrain and packed snow All terrain Flat and variable rolling terrain Trail walking
Optimum Weight Load (per size) 21": 80-150 lbs
25": 120-200 lbs
30": 170-250 lbs
Up to 200 lbs 23": 80-160 lbs
27": 120-200+ lbs
180 lbs 23": 80-160 lbs
26": 150-220 lbs
30": 200-270+ lbs
Weight (per pair) 4 lbs 4.2 lbs 4.1 lbs 3.5 lbs without tails
4.4 lbs with tails
3.3 lbs
Binding Mount Full Full Full Full Full
Binding System 180 EZ Pro Binding Cam buckle quick pull loop and ratchet heel strap Wrapp Swift Binding DuoFit WrapTrail
Crampon Cobra Toe Crampon
Tubbs Heel Crampon
3 stainless steel crampon system featuring the climbing "toe" claw design All-Trac Toe Crampon Steel traction rails and brake bars Toe crampon
Frame Material Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum Martensitic steel Composite
Deck Material SoftTec, Composite Nylon Nytex Polypropylene Composite
Surface Area (for tested size) 225 in² 192.5 in² 182.25 in² 174 in² without tails, 220 in² with 190 in²
Dimensions 9" x 30" 9.5" x 29" 8" x 27" 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 No, women's specific Unisex Unisex
Sizes Available 21", 25", 30" 29" 23", 27" 22" 23", 26", 30"
Size Tested 30" 29" 27" 22" plus 6" add-on tails 30"

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.

Performance Comparison


The Wilderness is a well rounded snowshoe with a comfortable binding...
The Wilderness is a well rounded snowshoe with a comfortable binding system.
Credit: Matthew Blake

Flotation


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 great job in this department even with a smaller surface area.

Here is the Wilderness keeping us afloat on crusty deep snow.
Here is the Wilderness keeping us afloat on crusty deep snow.
Credit: Matthew Blake

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.

The Wilderness sinks a little further when the snow is fresh, but...
The Wilderness sinks a little further when the snow is fresh, but still offers a good amount of float.
Credit: Matthew Blake

Traction


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 crampons are minimal but the placement and direction of their...
The crampons are minimal but the placement and direction of their teeth make them very effective.
Credit: Matthew Blake

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 toe crampon on the Wilderness has both forward and backward...
The toe crampon on the Wilderness has both forward and backward facing teeth that pivot at the ball of the foot.
Credit: Matthew Blake

The heel crampon features two bars that run parallel to the foot. Teeth angle backward, which helps propel you forward but doesn't do much for 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.

The heel crampon, or traction rails, work great for ascending...
The heel crampon, or traction rails, work great for ascending, descending, and mixed terrain.
Credit: Matthew Blake

Stride Ergonomics


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, the 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 and the angle at which the snowshoe can pivot from the foot.

The Wilderness tapers enough from the front to the back to help you...
The Wilderness tapers enough from the front to the back to help you avoid tripping on your own feet.
Credit: Matthew Blake

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.

While extra rotation is generally a good thing, the Wilderness offers so much rotation that the front of the snowshoe hits the shin when hiking uphill. It goes mostly unnoticed if you are wearing puffy snow pants, but the continued impact may leave you with a little bruise if tackling long uphill ascents.

Our shins were not very happy with the level of rotation the...
Our shins were not very happy with the level of rotation the Wilderness binding provided.
Credit: Matthew Blake

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. The ratchet strap binding system is very easy to adjust, and the shoes are labeled left and right, which may seem like a small detail, but helps avoid confusion. The strap keepers work very well, preventing flapping or, worse, unhinging of the binding system. Overall the Wilderness is well thought out and easy to use.

The ratchet-synch strap combo of the Wilderness is easy to use.
The ratchet-synch strap combo of the Wilderness is easy to use.
Credit: Matthew Blake

Bindings


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 take into account how convenient the binding system is to use.

If the Wilderness has a claim to fame, it's how innovative yet simple the binding system is. The 180 Pro Series Binding features rigid control wings, a locking heel strap, and padded upper foot straps. It operates similarly to snowboard bindings but with much more flexibility. The ratchet system is super easy to use with or without gloves on, and the padded upper wings offer an even spread of pressure across the top of the foot with zero pinching. 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.

The forefoot coverage evenly distributes pressure and feels very...
The forefoot coverage evenly distributes pressure and feels very secure.
Credit: Matthew Blake

Value


The Tubbs Wilderness is an excellent value if you are looking for a versatile everyday snowshoe. It falls somewhere in the middle, price-wise, but offers decent float and great traction. These snowshoes are easy to walk in for anyone with a small to average gait, easy to use, and the bindings are versatile and supportive.

Conclusion


The Wilderness offers extreme comfort. The binding system is easy to use and spreads the shoe's weight nicely across the entire foot. The float is good enough for most terrain, but you will experience a little post-holing in deep fresh snow. The traction is also excellent for most terrain, and the easy-to-use nature of the design makes it a good choice for everyday use. If you're looking for a versatile snowshoe at a fair price, then this is a contender.

The Wilderness is great on mixed terrain.
The Wilderness is great on mixed terrain.
Credit: Matthew Blake

Hayley Thomas
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