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Crescent Moon Gold 10 Review

An all-around snowshoe that tilts its preferences to the wild and deep environments
Crescent Moon Gold 10
Credit: Crescent Moon
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $230 List | Check Price at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Large, easy stride, great flotation
Cons:  Heavy, heel lifter is clunky
Manufacturer:   Crescent Moon
By Ian McEleney ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 12, 2022
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68
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 11
  • Flotation - 30% 9.0
  • Traction - 25% 5.0
  • Stride Ergonomics - 15% 4.0
  • Ease of Use - 15% 7.0
  • Bindings - 15% 8.0

Our Verdict

The Crescent Moon Gold 10is a good all-around snowshoe with a size and feature set that leans toward serving those that get off-trail into softer snow much of the time. They don't grip as well as the techier products, but they stride nicely and float nicely in the fresh. If you will venture onto the windswept and hard snow above treeline, and the sometimes icy conditions of the US Northeast, something with more crampon bite and rigid hinged bindings is a better choice. But for the forests, trails, and open meadows of the US Mountain West, and for users who prefer an American-made product, the Gold 10 is perfect.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Crescent Moon Gold 10
Awards Top Pick Award   Best Buy Award  
Price Check Price at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$260 List
$259.95 at Amazon
Check Price at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$150 List
$149.95 at REI
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Large, easy stride, great flotationGood traction, easy-to-use and comfortable bindingFully featured for steep and technical useInexpensive, easy to use, versatileInexpensive, simple, reliable
Cons Heavy, heel lifter is clunkyMediocre flotation for the length, strapped binding attachment isn't idealLoud decking and bulky harnessUnimpressive tractionLoud decking on crusty snow
Bottom Line An all-around snowshoe that tilts its preferences to the wild and deep environmentsThis 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 valueThis molded snowshoe is reliable, inexpensive, offers widespread appeal, and is compatible with add-on tails for improved flotation
Rating Categories Crescent Moon Gold 10 Atlas Montane Tubbs Flex VRT Atlas Helium Trail MSR Evo
Flotation (30%)
9.0
5.0
5.0
6.0
5.0
Traction (25%)
5.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
Stride Ergonomics (15%)
4.0
7.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Ease of Use (15%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
Bindings (15%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Specs Crescent Moon Gold 10 Atlas Montane Tubbs Flex VRT Atlas Helium Trail MSR Evo
Uses Deep snow Spring snow and moderate terrain Spring snow and steep terrain Spring snow and moderate terrain Spring snow and moderate terrain
Optimum Weight Load (per manufacturer) up to 225 lbs 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 180 lbs (up to 250 lbs with tails)
Weight (per pair) 5 lbs 2 oz 4 lbs 7 oz 4 lbs 9 oz 3 lbs 9 oz 3 lbs 9 oz
Surface Area 256 in² 176 in² 179 in² 191 in² 173 in²
Dimensions 32 x 10" 25 x 8" 24 x 8" 26" x 8" 22 x 8"
Crampon/Traction Aids Steel crampon Steel crampon augmented with traction rails Steel crampon augmented with traction rails Tempered steel Steel crampon augmented with traction rails
Frame Material Aluminum Aluminum Steel traction rails Aluminum Steel traction rails
Deck Material Polyurethane fabric Nytex fabric Molded plastic Plastic Molded plastic
Heel Lift Optional add-on Yes Yes Yes Yes
Binding/Deck Connection Strapped Strapped Hinged Hinged Hinged
Binding System Rubber straps with plastic buckles 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 pin-in-hole
Flotation Tails Sold Separately? No No No No Yes
Men's and Women's versions? Yes Yes Yes Unisex Unisex
Sizes Available One size 25", 30", 35" 24", 28" 23", 26", 30" One size (22")
Tested Size One Size 25" 24" 26" 22"

Our Analysis and Test Results

Crescent Moon has been making snowshoes in Colorado since 1997. The company is all about snowshoes and makes several all-foam models in addition to the more standard frame and deck construction reviewed here. As a completely domestic company, from design to manufacturing, they have a unique appeal for some customers.

Performance Comparison


Crescent Moon Gold 10 snowshoes - deep untracked snow is what this model is all about.
Deep untracked snow is what this model is all about.
Credit: Jessica Haist

Flotation


In our review, a review for which the product selection largely focuses on the all-around, the Gold 10 is among the larger snowshoes we tested. There are much larger snowshoes available, including Crescent Moon's super-sized Powder Ski Gold 17 model, but for the all-around types, the Gold 10 is among the largest.


The tapered shape puts the bulk of its surface area under the user's center of gravity, leaving the tails and tips narrower for better stride ergonomics. The tubular frame is completely rigid fore-to-aft, so every one of the measured 256 square inches is put to maximum use. In short, the Gold 10 tops our charts for flotation. You won't find a better floating snowshoe that is also suitable for packed trails.

Crescent Moon Gold 10 snowshoes - a foot of new snow and more on the way? flotation is where this...
A foot of new snow and more on the way? Flotation is where this model shines.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Traction


The Gold 10 has a tubular frame, and it is clearly designed for flotation in deep snow. In our experience, models with those two qualities often fall short in the traction metric. While previous versions were underwhelming, Crescent Moon has updated the traction on the current Gold 10.


In addition to metal teeth under the forefoot, there is a generous set of spikes under the heel. Smaller teeth adorn the toes and the binding mounting strap. While this still wouldn't be our first choice on traction alone, grip is no longer the Achilles heel of this model. We think this current version has a suitable amount of traction for a snowshoe that's designed for deep days.

Crescent Moon Gold 10 snowshoes - updated traction on the gold 10. note the additional teeth near the...
Updated traction on the Gold 10. Note the additional teeth near the frame and on the toes.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Stride Ergonomics


As a general rule, flotation and stride ergonomics are in opposition — bigger snowshoes are less fun to walk in. With the Gold 10, the highly tapered shape makes for a stride and ergonomic experience that isn't as cumbersome as you might think. There's no way you'll forget you have snowshoes on — the frame is wide right under the forefoot, and the tapered tail nestles next to the somewhat narrowed tip with each step - -but this allows for a great "gait to flotation" ratio.


Many of our testers prefer a hinged binding-to-deck attachment over a strapped one. However, considering this snowshoes use case, we think the strapped connection makes more sense. Not only does it allow for a little extra cushioning, but it also keeps the tails of the snowshoe from dragging in the snow as much as they might. This is because the strap stops the snowshoe from completely rotating around your foot. On a model that's designed for soft snow use, when we're often working hard anyway, it's a good choice.

Crescent Moon Gold 10 snowshoes - a strapped binding to deck connection makes sense here.
A strapped binding to deck connection makes sense here.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Ease of Use


With one-handed on and off, the bindings of the Gold 10 are fairly easy to use. The forefoot has a fairly common single-pull design. Pull one strap to tighten the whole forefoot cage, and pull a different one to loosen it. It would be a nice touch if the "loosen" webbing was a different color, but this is a minor complaint.


The heel strap has two buckles, which seemed like overkill to us, but they are fairly intuitive. One ladder-lock buckle lets you adjust the strap's overall length, this is useful if you're mostly using the same pair of boots most of the time. Then a ratcheting buckle gets you in and out with ease. We are 100 percent confident they will not ice up for you.

Crescent Moon Gold 10 snowshoes - one of the two buckles that adjust the heel strap.
One of the two buckles that adjust the heel strap.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Included with this model is a removable plastic heel lifter. On other models, the heel lifter is a metal wire that flips up for use or down for storage. On the Gold 10, it's a piece of plastic that keys into the heel piece of the deck and then swivels into place when needed. While this did the trick on steeper slopes, we prefer the wire system. It's a bit easier to use and doesn't give us another doodad to keep track of.

Bindings


We had no problems with the binding of the Gold 10 staying on, as long as we stuck to gentler terrain. When things got rowdy or technical, we did notice our boots moving around a bit in the binding, though there was no fear of them coming off. Looking at other design elements, like the average traction and the strapped binding/deck interface, it is clear these aren't designed for super-technical terrain. Considering that, the binding is as secure as it ought to be.


The wide straps of the Gold 10 spread the force of retention over even the softest of winter footwear. As long as you use even slightly insulated shoes, which you'll want for winter use anyway, the straps won't cut or compress your foot or boots. Mechanical buckles maintain the tension in the bindings, and we think this can sometimes be a more comfortable arrangement than rubber straps. Stretchy rubbery straps are slightly more secure, but it takes some experience to figure out how to not overtighten them.

The plastic forefoot cage on this model is oddly roomy. Our lead tester wears a men's size 10, and even in bulky mountaineering boots, there was plenty of room to spare. This could be why we experienced some wiggling in the binding. Take note if you have smaller feet or svelte boots.

Crescent Moon Gold 10 snowshoes - the plastic cage on the binding adds some comfort.
The plastic cage on the binding adds some comfort.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Value


The suggested retail price of the Gold 10 is above average but still below that of the most technical products in our test. It is certainly not a bad value for an American-made product that has inspired durability and confidence in our testing team, especially if your snowshoe plans have you heading out into lots of deep snow.

Conclusion


We like the Crescent Moon Gold 10. No product can be all things to all users, and that's true here too. Though this snowshoe could handle most situations we threw at it, its focus is clearly on the deeper stuff. It has some great flotation, and the shape of the deck doesn't compromise walking comfort. The binding is fairly straightforward, and it's comfortable, especially for folks with bigger feet or bulkier boots. While other models boast more traction, they don't have the flotation the Gold 10 offers. If your snowshoe plans involve lots of new snow and few other people, this could be the model for you.

Crescent Moon Gold 10 snowshoes - we perform head-to-head testing on all the models in our review.
We perform head-to-head testing on all the models in our review.
Credit: Jessica Haist

Ian McEleney
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