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|Pros||Comfortable, easy to use||Rigid, precise, excellent binding security, impressive traction||Inexpensive, easy to use, versatile||Large, easy stride, great flotation||Good flotation, inexpensive|
|Cons||Expensive, not the best traction||New binding trades ease-of-use for comfort||Unimpressive traction||Heavy, heel lifter is clunky||Less reliable binding technology, poor traction|
|Bottom Line||This comfortable and easy to use snowshoe is nothing special but gets the job done||The best snowshoes in our test, complete with high end features and simple engineering||This snowshoe does everything well and at a low price, making it a great value||An all-around snowshoe that tilts its preferences to the wild and deep environments||If 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|
|Stride Ergonomics (15%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|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;
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|
|Deck Material||Plastic and fabric||Fabric||Nytex nylon||Polyurethane fabric||Polyethylene fabric|
|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"|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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