Crescent Moon Gold 10 Review
Cons: Heavy, heel lifter is clunky
Manufacturer: Crescent Moon
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Crescent Moon Gold 10
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|Pros||Large, easy stride, great flotation||Good traction, easy-to-use and comfortable binding||Fully featured for steep and technical use||Inexpensive, easy to use, versatile||Inexpensive, simple, reliable|
|Cons||Heavy, heel lifter is clunky||Mediocre flotation for the length, strapped binding attachment isn't ideal||Loud decking and bulky harness||Unimpressive traction||Loud decking on crusty snow|
|Bottom Line||An all-around snowshoe that tilts its preferences to the wild and deep environments||This is a great traditional snowshoe that's outshone in a few areas by newer designs||This contender provides excellent traction, heel lifts, a comfortable binding, and moderate weight||This snowshoe does everything well and has a low price, making it a great value||This 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|
|Stride Ergonomics (15%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
— Ian McEleney
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