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.Editor's Note: We updated this review on September 26, 2022, with info on an updated version of the Wilderness snowshoe.
Tubbs Wilderness - Women's Review
Compare prices at 3 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
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|Pros||Comfortable and simple binding system, carbon steel crampons, uniquely placed heel crampons, inclusive sizing, quiet||Easy and natural stride, unique 3-crampon traction system, easy binding system||Good traction and flotation, excellent binding system, heel lift||Affordable, stellar traction, easy to use, versatile 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||Subpar float on unpacked snow, only supports 200 pounds, bulky heel lift||Tail flips up a lot of snow, toe shape feels a little wide||Loud on packed snow, duck waddle for those with a narrower gait, straps do not stay in place||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 an extreme teardrop shape and three hefty crampons for a natural stride and extra traction||This is a well-rounded and solidly performing snowshoe for all kinds of terrain and objectives||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 -...||Crescent Moon Leadv...||Atlas Montane - Wom...||MSR Evo Trail Snows...||Atlas Helium Trail...|
|Stride Ergonomics (15%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Tubbs Wilderness -...||Crescent Moon Leadv...||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
|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
Tubbs released a new version of the Wilderness snowshoe. Along with new graphics and colors, there is an updated Quick-Fit binding system designed for added comfort and easy entry and exit from the snowshoe. We've yet to test the updated model to verify these claims, but we are linking to it in this review. The two versions can be compared above; the model we tested is shown first, followed by the updated Wilderness on the right.
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 great job in this department even with a smaller surface area.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
— Hayley Thomas
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