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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 for women snowshoes review
The QuickFit Binding is secure, comfortable and easy to adjust, which is a trifecta you usually have to pay the big bucks for.
Credit: Matthew Blake
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $220 List
Manufacturer:   Tubbs
By Hayley Thomas ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 23, 2022
82
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 13
  • Flotation - 30% 8.0
  • Traction - 25% 8.0
  • Stride Ergonomics - 15% 8.0
  • Ease of Use - 15% 8.0
  • Bindings - 15% 9.0

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. This is a great choice if you are looking for a casual, everyday snowshoe with an especially comfortable and easy-to-use binding.
REASONS TO BUY
Comfortable and simple binding system
Carbon steel crampons
Uniquely placed heel crampons
Quiet
REASONS TO AVOID
Extra rotation causes shin impact
Mediocre flotation on fresh snow
Editor's Note: We updated this review on December 23, 2022, after testing the newest iteration of the Tubbs Wilderness.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Comfortable and simple binding system, carbon steel crampons, uniquely placed heel crampons, quietComfortable and secure binding, wide weight range, natural stride, large crampons, heel crampon for descendingEasy and natural stride, unique 3-crampon traction system, easy binding systemAffordable, stellar traction, wide fit bindingsEasy binding adjustments, excellent traction, flexible, budget-friendly, good for packed snow, lightweight
Cons Extra rotation causes shin impact, mediocre flotation on fresh snowTraction suffers on ice, a little expensiveSubpar float on unpacked snow, only supports 200 pounds, bulky heel liftLoud on packed snow, duck waddle for those with a narrower gait, straps can flow around a littleLoud, 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 a comfortable binding that cinches evenly and easily around the foot, with great traction in deep or packed snowA snowshoe with an extreme teardrop shape and three hefty crampons for a natural stride and extra tractionThis 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 -... Tubbs Mountaineer -... Crescent Moon Leadv... MSR Evo Trail Snows... Atlas Helium Trail...
Flotation (30%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Traction (25%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Stride Ergonomics (15%)
8.0
8.0
10.0
7.0
6.0
Ease of Use (15%)
8.0
9.0
7.0
7.0
5.0
Bindings (15%)
9.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
5.0
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 Mount Full Full Full Full Full
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.

Performance Comparison


tubbs wilderness for women snowshoes review - the wilderness is a well rounded snowshoe with a super comfy binding.
The Wilderness is a well rounded snowshoe with a super comfy binding.
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 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.

The Wilderness post holes a little in deep fresh snow, but here we...
The Wilderness post holes a little in deep fresh snow, but here we are able to keep our ankles above the snow.
Here's the Wilderness keeping us afloat on some slightly packed snow.
Here's the Wilderness keeping us afloat on some slightly packed snow.

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.

tubbs wilderness for women snowshoes review - the hefty cobra toe crampon bites the snow through your entire...
The hefty COBRA toe crampon bites the snow through your entire natural stride.
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.

tubbs wilderness for women snowshoes review - the heel crampon rails dig into the snow when walking heel to toe...
The heel crampon rails dig into the snow when walking heel to toe. This helps with steep descents.
Credit: Matthew Blake

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.

tubbs wilderness for women snowshoes review - the toe crampons help with uphill traction, in deep or packed snow.
The toe crampons help with uphill traction, in deep or packed snow.
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, 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.

tubbs wilderness for women snowshoes review - we can barely feel the impact between the toe of the snowshoe and...
We can barely feel the impact between the toe of the snowshoe and our lower shins, but it is still worth noting.
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. 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.

tubbs wilderness for women snowshoes review - simply pull the loop and slip your foot out of the wilderness to end...
Simply pull the loop and slip your foot out of the Wilderness to end your day without a fuss.
Credit: Matthew Blake

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.

tubbs wilderness for women snowshoes review - activating the heel lift is very simple and it offers a 16 degree...
Activating the heel lift is very simple and it offers a 16 degree lift for casual terrain.
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 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.

tubbs wilderness for women snowshoes review - pulling the quickfit binding tabs simultaneously ensures even...
Pulling the QuickFit Binding tabs simultaneously ensures even tension across the forefoot.
Credit: Matthew Blake

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.

tubbs wilderness for women snowshoes review - from the stretchy heel strap to the convenient toe cage, the...
From the stretchy heel strap to the convenient toe cage, the Wilderness offers a very secure binding at a more-than-fair price.
Credit: Matthew Blake

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.

tubbs wilderness for women snowshoes review - the wilderness is a great every day snowshoe at a friendly price.
The Wilderness is a great every day snowshoe at a friendly price.
Credit: Matthew Blake

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.

Hayley Thomas
 
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