Tubbs Panoramic Review
Cons: Can fall off when paired with bigger boots and feet, pricey
Manufacturer: Tubbs Snowshoes
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|Pros||Easy on/off, versatile||Rigid, precise, excellent binding security, traction, flotation||Inexpensive, simple, reliable||Compact, with uniquely excellent stride ergonomics||Good flotation, inexpensive|
|Cons||Can fall off when paired with bigger boots and feet, pricey||New binding trades ease-of-use for comfort||Loud decking on crusty snow||Small footprint and flexible deck creates limited flotation||Less reliable binding technology, poor traction|
|Bottom Line||A well-rounded snowshoe for most winter hikers||The best snowshoes in our test, complete with high end features and simple engineering||This molded snowshoe is reliable, inexpensive, and offers widespread appeal||Excellent snowshoes for packed trail and firmer snow use||These unimpressive snowshoes can be a great value for hikers who won't be asking much of them|
|Rating Categories||Tubbs Panoramic||MSR Lightning Ascent||MSR Evo||TSL Symbioz Elite||Chinook Trekker|
|Stride Ergonomics (20%)|
|Binding Comfort (10%)|
|Ease Of Use (10%)|
|Binding Security (10%)|
|Specs||Tubbs Panoramic||MSR Lightning Ascent||MSR Evo||TSL Symbioz Elite||Chinook Trekker|
|Uses||Spring snow and moderate terrain||Spring snow and steep terrain||Spring snow and moderate terrain||Groomed trails||Spring snow and groomed trails|
|Optimum weight load per tested size (per manufacturer)||25: 120-200 lbs, 30: 170-250 lbs, 36: 220-300 lbs||120-220 lbs||up to 180 lbs||S: 65-180 M: 110-260 L: 150-300 lbs||19: 50-90 lbs, 22: 90-130 lbs, 25: 130-210 lbs, 30: 180-250 lbs, 36: 250-300 lbs|
|Weight (per pair)||4 lbs 8 oz||4 lbs 0 oz||3 lbs 9 oz||4 lbs 9 oz||4 lbs 4 oz|
|Surface Area||200 in²||188 in²||173 in²||162 in²||205 in²|
|Dimensions||25 x 8"||25 x 8"||22 x 8"||25 x 8"|
|Crampon/Traction aids||Steel crampon augmented with traction rails||Steel crampon augmented with rail and frame teeth||Steel crampon augmented with traction rails||Steel spikes throughout bottom of deck||Aluminum crampons with heel bindings|
|Frame material||Fit-Step||Aluminum||Steel traction rails||Composite||Aluminum|
|Deck material||Fabric and molded plastic||Fabric||Molded plastic||Composite||Polyethelene|
|Binding/Deck Connection||Hybrid Hinged and Strapped||Hinged||Hinged||Hinged||Strapped|
|Binding system||Boa with rubber strap||Rubber Straps with pin-in-hole||Rubber Straps with pin-in-hole||Combination of rigid plastic, nylon straps, cam locks, and ratchet style straps||Ratchet straps with plastic buckles, nylon strap with ladder-lock buckle|
|Flotation tails sold separately?||No||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Men's and Women's versions?||Yes||Yes||Unisex||Unisex||Unisex|
|Sizes Available||25, 30, 36||22, 25, 30||One Size||S, M and L||19, 22, 25, 30, 36|
|Tested Size||25||25||One Size||M||25|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Tubbs markets the Panoramic as a snowshoe for day hiking. Our team thinks it excels at that, what with its easy on/off and it's hybrid hinged and strapped deck/binding attachment.
Along with traction, flotation is one of the main reasons hikers wear snowshoes. The Panoramic puts a respectable amount of square inches underfoot. Its gentle taper is a good compromise between walking comfort and flotation. The traditional tubular frame adds rigidity to the snowshoe, which enhances its above-average number of square inches.
Enhanced traction is the other major benefit winter travelers get from strapping on snowshoes. The Panoramic has good traction and is surpassed in this metric only by snowshoes intended more for mountaineering. A generous amount of steel teeth under the forefoot bite into the snow, and these are supplemented by two lateral traction rails under the heel.
Several factors contribute to stride ergonomics, but none as much as how the binding is connected to the deck. Some snowshoes have a rigid connection made of metal hardware, and some use strong, flexible straps. The Panoramic is unique in that it uses a combination of the two that gives some advantages from each.
The hybrid design isn't quite as rigid as the connection found on models designed for mountaineering, but it is still quite a bit more stable than just straps. While it doesn't provide quite the same cush as a strapped connection, it still provides some shock absorption. Our testers found this middle-of-the-road design to be decent all of the time while not excelling at anything in particular.
The Panoramic falls about in the middle of our testing pack for comfort. Your forefoot is secured by a Boa lacing system mounted on a plate. The Boa knob itself allows hikers to really dial in and adjust lace tension with precision. The plate distributes the force of the Boa and has a bit of foam on it for extra cushion. This worked well with most of our testers' boots, but some boots (noticeably mountaineering boots) with prominent metal hardware did produce a few pressure points. This wasn't painful, but it was noticeable.
Ease Of Use
Though we don't time our testers while they are putting on and taking off snowshoes, our team unanimously felt that the Panoramic provided a quick and easy experience. It was basically a one-handed process. To put them on, we just stepped in, pulled the strap tight around our heels, and turned the Boa knob to the desired tension.
This was one category where we got mixed results from the Panoramic. The binding is composed of the aforementioned Boa for the forefoot and a rubber pin-in-hole strap for the heel. Many winter hikers will be familiar with this type of heel strap, and its lever is quite secure. The Boa system, however, give us some issues.
While most of our testers found the Boa to be quite secure, our lead tester (who wears a men's size 10 boot) found a unique design flaw when using this snowshoe with a bulky winter mountaineering boot. In this specific situation, when the front of the binding passes through its cutout in the front of the snowshoe, the Boa knob catches on the deck and is pulled into the "open" position, which lets the snowshoe fall off. This happened over a dozen times on a hike of 90 minutes. While this won't happen with all hikers and all boots, we think this snowshoe should be tried on with the boots you plan to wear before committing to a purchase.
The Tubbs Panoramic is among the more expensive snowshoes in our review. It's also one of the better all-around models we tested. It doesn't excel at anything but is well rounded enough to be of good service in any situation you would want a snowshoe. We think it offers a slightly below-average value.
The Panoramic is a good all-purpose snowshoe. While it's not designed specifically for mountaineering, it's good traction and heel lift means it can be pressed into service on trips to the alpine. The hybrid deck/binding connection also gives it a bit more comfort for civilized jaunts on groomed or hard-packed trails. The easy to use binding makes on and off quick for shoulder season trips where you only need snowshoes some of the time. As long as the binding works well with your boots (see the "Binding Security" metric above), this is a decent snowshoe for most winter trips.
— Ian McEleney