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Atlas Montane Review

This is a great traditional snowshoe that's outshone in a few areas by newer designs
Atlas Montane
Credit: Atlas
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Price:  $230 List | Check Price at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Good traction, easy-to-use and comfortable binding
Cons:  Mediocre flotation for the length, strapped binding attachment isn't ideal
Manufacturer:   Atlas Snowshoes
By Ian McEleney ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 12, 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
73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 11
  • Flotation - 30% 5.0
  • Traction - 25% 8.0
  • Stride Ergonomics - 15% 7.0
  • Ease of Use - 15% 9.0
  • Bindings - 15% 9.0

Our Verdict

The Atlas Montane features a traditional tubular frame design and is probably one of the best snowshoes of this type ever made. It provides reliable traction and features a great binding system that's fast and easy to use and doesn't pinch or otherwise compromise the circulation in your feet. However, this snowshoe doesn't offer as much flotation as comparable models — indeed, some shorter snowshoes provide more surface area. Still, they will get the job done for most hikers looking to get out in the winter, especially those who know they want a strapped and flexible deck/binding interface.

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Atlas Montane
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Atlas Montane
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Star Rating
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Pros Good traction, easy-to-use and comfortable bindingFully featured for steep and technical useInexpensive, easy to use, versatileLarge, easy stride, great flotationInexpensive, simple, reliable
Cons Mediocre flotation for the length, strapped binding attachment isn't idealLoud decking and bulky harnessUnimpressive tractionHeavy, heel lifter is clunkyLoud decking on crusty snow
Bottom Line This is a great traditional snowshoe that's outshone in a few areas by newer designsThis contender provides excellent traction, heel lifts, a comfortable binding, and moderate weightThis snowshoe does everything well and has a low price, making it a great valueAn all-around snowshoe that tilts its preferences to the wild and deep environmentsThis molded snowshoe is reliable, inexpensive, offers widespread appeal, and is compatible with add-on tails for improved flotation
Rating Categories Atlas Montane Tubbs Flex VRT Atlas Helium Trail Crescent Moon Gold 10 MSR Evo
Flotation (30%)
5.0
5.0
6.0
9.0
5.0
Traction (25%)
8.0
8.0
6.0
5.0
7.0
Stride Ergonomics (15%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
4.0
8.0
Ease of Use (15%)
9.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
6.0
Bindings (15%)
9.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
Specs Atlas Montane Tubbs Flex VRT Atlas Helium Trail Crescent Moon Gold 10 MSR Evo
Uses Spring snow and moderate terrain Spring snow and steep terrain Spring snow and moderate terrain Deep snow Spring snow and moderate terrain
Optimum Weight Load (per manufacturer) 25": 120-200 lbs;
30": 150-250 lbs;
35": 180-300+ lbs
24": 120-200 lbs;
28": 190+ lbs
23": 80-160 lbs;
26": 150-220 lbs;
30": 200-270+ lbs
up to 225 lbs up to 180 lbs (up to 250 lbs with tails)
Weight (per pair) 4 lbs 7 oz 4 lbs 9 oz 3 lbs 9 oz 5 lbs 2 oz 3 lbs 9 oz
Surface Area 176 in² 179 in² 191 in² 256 in² 173 in²
Dimensions 25 x 8" 24 x 8" 26" x 8" 32 x 10" 22 x 8"
Crampon/Traction Aids Steel crampon augmented with traction rails Steel crampon augmented with traction rails Tempered steel Steel crampon Steel crampon augmented with traction rails
Frame Material Aluminum Steel traction rails Aluminum Aluminum Steel traction rails
Deck Material Nytex fabric Molded plastic Plastic Polyurethane fabric Molded plastic
Heel Lift Yes Yes Yes Optional add-on Yes
Binding/Deck Connection Strapped Hinged Hinged Strapped Hinged
Binding System Nylon straps with cam buckles, rubber strap with plastic buckle Boa Nylon straps with plastic buckles, rubber strap with pin-in-hole Rubber straps with plastic buckles Rubber Straps with pin-in-hole
Flotation Tails Sold Separately? No No No No Yes
Men's and Women's versions? Yes Yes Unisex Yes Unisex
Sizes Available 25", 30", 35" 24", 28" 23", 26", 30" One size One size (22")
Tested Size 25" 24" 26" One Size 22"

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Atlas Montane is a great snowshoe, but there are a few performance differences between it and our top models. The major one is the strapped deck-to-binding attachment. While our testing team generally prefers the more rigid hinged attachment, the strapped attachment does have benefits that some users might prefer.

Performance Comparison


Atlas Montane snowshoes - the montane in action breaking trail.
The Montane in action breaking trail.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Floatation


The 25" Montane registers about 176 square inches of floatation. This is a little on the low side for a snowshoe of this length and a reflection of the tapered shape that helps its stride ergonomics. Other similarly-sized models feature more surface area.

Atlas Montane snowshoes - the heel riser helps keep your foot level on the uphills, which...
The heel riser helps keep your foot level on the uphills, which makes them easier to climb.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Traction


The Montane has the most traction of all the standard tubular frame snowshoes in our review. Our reviewers rarely noticed slipping or sliding while in the mountains. Prominent steel teeth under the binding are augmented with toothed steel rails under the heel.

Atlas Montane snowshoes - these traction rails are highly effective.
These traction rails are highly effective.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Stride Ergonomics


This is one of the key areas of difference between top performers and the Montane. With the Montane, the deck is attached to the binding with a beefy strap. This provides some cushioning on hard snow or groomed trails and can allow you to walk with a slightly more natural gait. However, as the terrain becomes more technical and challenging, we prefer a hinged attachment.

Atlas Montane snowshoes - the rubber strap linking binding and deck. it provides some shock...
The rubber strap linking binding and deck. It provides some shock absorption on groomed trails, but at the cost of precision on technical ground.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Ease of Use


The Montane is very easy to put on. Only two actions are required when donning this snowshoe. First, pull the yellow nylon strap tight across the forefoot. Second, pull the rubber strap tight around the heel. That's it. The buckles on both straps do the rest of the work. For faster removal, the front two straps are linked by a bit of webbing that allows the hiker to open both at once.

Atlas Montane snowshoes - the two buckles that control the forefoot strap are linked. simply...
The two buckles that control the forefoot strap are linked. Simply pull the yellow webbing to tighten, and the black webbing to loosen.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Bindings


The bindings on the Montane are more than secure enough for wherever you want to go snowshoeing. While the rubber strap binding system found on other models lets hikers crank the binding down as tight as a tourniquet, we think that's usually overkill. The Montane binding, when properly tensioned, will keep this snowshoe on your foot.

Atlas Montane snowshoes - the "wrapping" design distributes the pressure of the binding...
The "wrapping" design distributes the pressure of the binding, making this a very comfortable snowshoe, even with thin boots.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Thankfully, that security does not come at the expense of comfort. The nylon binding strap is woven through several wide plastic parts, which effectively distribute the load and minimize pressure points. Additionally, two small pieces of foam padding add to the cush.

Atlas Montane snowshoes - thin foam padding inside the binding adds to the comfort.
Thin foam padding inside the binding adds to the comfort.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Value


While this offering from Atlas does well in some ways, our testers aren't convinced that it is a lot better than some cheaper models. That is unless you know you want the strapped deck-to-binding connection.

Conclusion


The Atlas Montane represents the pinnacle of the tubular frame snowshoe design. As such, it is a very capable snowshoe that should keep all but the most demanding users happy. Our testers rarely worried about traction with these snowshoes. While we would like a little more floatation for the length, it is reasonably comfortable to hike with these strapped to your feet. Speaking of strapping them to your feet, that process is easy and secure. Every model that outscores the Montane has some other frame or deck arrangement, which represents the innovative direction these products are heading.

Atlas Montane snowshoes - the montane was the easiest and fastest snowshoe to take off.
The Montane was the easiest and fastest snowshoe to take off.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Ian McEleney
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