Reviews You Can Rely On

Tubbs Mountaineer Review

This comfortable and easy to use snowshoe is nothing special but gets the job done
tubbs mountaineer snowshoes review
A good snowshoe for a stormy day.
Credit: Jessica Haist
Price:  $280 List
Manufacturer:   Tubbs
By Ian McEleney ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 20, 2022
61
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 12
  • Flotation - 30% 6.0
  • Traction - 25% 5.0
  • Stride Ergonomics - 15% 5.0
  • Ease of Use - 15% 7.0
  • Bindings - 15% 8.0

Our Verdict

The Tubbs Mountaineer typifies the modern snowshoe. Its tubular frame and deck construction are precisely what you'd expect, and they offer good flotation. The hybrid deck-to-binding attachment is fairly unique, and hikers benefit from both attachment types with no added drawbacks. This model is very easy to put on and especially to take off. The binding is secure enough and fairly comfortable, thanks to how pressure is distributed across the top of the foot. Without a lot of augmentation, tubular frame snowshoes have less traction than other types, and that's the case here. Overall, the Mountaineer ticks all the boxes without wowing us in any one way.
REASONS TO BUY
Comfortable
Easy to use
REASONS TO AVOID
Expensive
Not the best traction
Editor's Note: This review was updated on December 20, 2022, to reflect new products in our lineup and a fresh look at the Moutaineer.

Compare to Similar Products

 
tubbs mountaineer snowshoes review
This Product
Tubbs Mountaineer
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award 
Price $199.99 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$350 List
$349.95 at REI
$150 List
$149.95 at REI
$240 List$100 List
$111.68 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
61
77
67
60
43
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Comfortable, easy to useRigid, precise, excellent binding security, impressive tractionInexpensive, easy to use, versatileLarge, easy stride, great flotationGood flotation, inexpensive
Cons Expensive, not the best tractionNew binding trades ease-of-use for comfortUnimpressive tractionHeavy, heel lifter is clunkyLess reliable binding technology, poor traction
Bottom Line This comfortable and easy to use snowshoe is nothing special but gets the job doneThe best snowshoes in our test, complete with high end features and simple engineeringThis snowshoe does everything well and at a low price, making it a great valueAn all-around snowshoe that tilts its preferences to the wild and deep environmentsIf you're not getting out much or going far, these budget snowshoes could be right for you
Rating Categories Tubbs Mountaineer MSR Lightning Ascent Atlas Helium Trail Crescent Moon Big S... Chinook Trekker
Flotation (30%)
6.0
5.0
7.0
9.0
7.0
Traction (25%)
5.0
9.0
5.0
4.0
2.0
Stride Ergonomics (15%)
5.0
8.0
7.0
4.0
4.0
Ease of Use (15%)
7.0
9.0
9.0
5.0
3.0
Bindings (15%)
8.0
9.0
6.0
6.0
4.0
Specs Tubbs Mountaineer MSR Lightning Ascent Atlas Helium Trail Crescent Moon Big S... Chinook Trekker
Uses Spring snow and moderate terrain Spring snow and steep terrain Spring snow and moderate terrain Deep snow Spring snow and groomed trails
Optimum Weight Load (per manufacturer) 25": 120-200 lbs;
30": 170-250 lbs;
36": 220-300 lbs
22": up to 180 lbs;
25": 120-220 lbs;
30": 150-280 lbs
23": 80-160 lbs;
26": 150-220 lbs;
30": 200-270+ lbs
up to 225 lbs 22": 90-130 lbs;
25": 130-210 lbs;
30":180-250 lbs;
36": 250-300 lbs
Weight (per pair) 4 lbs 14oz 4 lbs 0 oz 3 lbs 7 oz 5 lbs 2 oz 4 lbs 4oz
Surface Area 197 in² 188 in² 207 in² 256 in² 205 in²
Dimensions 25 x 8" 25 x 8" 27 x 9" 32 x 10" 25 x 8"
Crampon/Traction Aids Steel crampons, rails, and teeth Steel crampons, rails, and teeth Steel crampons and rails Steel crampons Aluminum crampons and teeth
Frame Material Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum
Deck Material Plastic and fabric Fabric Nytex nylon Polyurethane fabric Polyethylene fabric
Heel Lift Yes Yes Yes Optional No
Binding/Deck Connection Hybrid Hinged and Strapped Hinged Hinged Strapped Strapped
Binding System Rubber straps with plastic buckles Rubber net and straps with pin-in-hole Nylon straps with plastic buckles, rubber strap with pin-in-hole Rubber straps with plastic buckles Ratchet straps with plastic buckles, nylon strap with ladder-lock buckle
Flotation Tails Sold Separately? No Yes No No No
Men's and Women's Versions? Yes Yes Unisex Yes Unisex
Sizes Available 25", 30", 36" 22", 25", 30" 23", 26", 30" One size (32") 22", 25", 30", 36"
Tested Size 25" 25" 26" 32" 25"

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Mountaineer is everything the modern winter traveler has come to expect from a snowshoe, with nothing extra or special.

Performance Comparison


tubbs mountaineer snowshoes review - the tubbs mountaineer in action.
The Tubbs Mountaineer in action.
Credit: Jessica Haist

Flotation


The driving factor of flotation is the surface area of the snowshoe, and the Mountaineer delivers what you expect in this department. There could be more flotation if the tail was less tapered, but we think it's a worthy trade-off for walking comfort. Tubular frames tend to be pretty rigid, which makes the most out of the surface area that this snowshoe does have.

tubbs mountaineer snowshoes review - breaking trail is how we test flotation.
Breaking trail is how we test flotation.
Credit: Jessica Haist

Traction


The Mountaineer is nothing special in the traction department. Tubular frames do nothing traction-wise, so this model starts with a disadvantage. It has the standard underfoot and under-heel spikes, though they are slightly larger and more fearsome looking than on other models.

tubbs mountaineer snowshoes review - scary looking spikes under the forefoot and heel.
Scary looking spikes under the forefoot and heel.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Stride Ergonomics


This metric is directly impacted by design choices. In the case of the Mountaineer, it's the hybrid strapped/hinged binding attachment that makes a noticeable difference. Unlike some hybrids, this design is actually the best of both worlds. It sports the precision of a hinged design and the shock absorption for firmer snow and packed trails that strapped models offer. The main difference between this and a pure strap attachment is that — like hinged models — the tail tends to drag in the snow. Our testers generally didn't have a problem with this.

tubbs mountaineer snowshoes review - the unique binding attachment on display: the shiny rubber straps at...
The unique binding attachment on display: the shiny rubber straps at the top and bottom edges of the photo connect to the metal hinge pin that runs under the forefoot.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Ease Of Use


The Mountaineer is pretty easy to get into; slide your foot in, pull the heel strap tight and push the buckle down, pull the two forefoot straps tight, and away you go. Getting out is even easier: pull up on the forefoot release strap, pull forward on the heel strap, and you're out. Pretty much everyone who used these snowshoes for the first time had no trouble with the bindings-- ease of use is one of this model's strong suits. Additionally, some heel risers have a frustrating amount of resistance for locking the risers in place and for lowering them, but we did not find that with this model — they are easy to raise and lower in all but the bulkiest of gloves.

tubbs mountaineer snowshoes review - tugging on this green tab releases both of the forefoot buckles...
Tugging on this green tab releases both of the forefoot buckles simultaneously.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Bindings


The bindings on the Mountaineer are all rubber pin-in-hole straps, a favorite type of our testing team for their security. The heel strap has a fairly standard latching buckle, and the two forefoot straps pull a piece of padded plastic down onto the top of your foot. These snowshoes were really secure — especially on the downhills. In addition, the padded plastic distributes the load in a fairly comfortable way.

tubbs mountaineer snowshoes review - foam padding in the forefoot area of the binding adds comfort.
Foam padding in the forefoot area of the binding adds comfort.
Credit: Ian McEleney

Should You Buy the Tubbs Mountaineer?


This snowshoe puts in an above-average performance in all of our metrics. In particular, the deck-to-binding attachment is unique. Hikers who know they want that connection paired with above-average traction should consider this model, especially if it's on sale, but most winter travelers could get more snowshoe for their dollar.

tubbs mountaineer snowshoes review - testing flotation with the mountaineer.
Testing flotation with the Mountaineer.
Credit: Jessica Haist

What Other Snowshoes Should You Consider?


If you want to venture into mountainous terrain in the winter, consider the Tubbs Flex VRT. This model has more traction, the bindings are a bit easier to use, and they weigh less. Also worth consideration is the MSR Evo Ascent. This time-tested snowshoe is a bit more nimble due to its smaller deck.

Ian McEleney
 
You Might Also Like

Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.

GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.

Learn More