Tubbs Panoramic Review
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|Pros||Easy on/off, versatile||Rigid, precise, excellent binding security, impressive traction||Inexpensive, easy to use, versatile||Large, easy stride, great flotation||Good flotation, inexpensive|
|Cons||Can fall off when paired with bigger boots and feet, a bit pricey||New binding trades ease-of-use for comfort||Unimpressive traction||Heavy, heel lifter is clunky||Less reliable binding technology, poor traction|
|Bottom Line||A well-rounded snowshoe for most winter hikers as long as your feet aren't too big||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 Panoramic||MSR Lightning Ascent||Atlas Helium Trail||Crescent Moon Big S...||Chinook Trekker|
|Stride Ergonomics (15%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Tubbs Panoramic||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 8 oz||4 lbs 0 oz||3 lbs 7 oz||5 lbs 2 oz||4 lbs 4oz|
|Surface Area||200 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 and rails||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||Boa and rubber strap||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
Tubbs markets the Panoramic as a snowshoe for day hiking. Our team thinks it excels at that, with its easy on/off and its 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, and its gentle taper is a good compromise between walking comfort and flotation. The traditional tubular frame adds rigidity to the snowshoe, enhancing 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 so 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, giving 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 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.
Ease Of Use
Though we don't time our testers while 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.
In the comfort consideration of bindings, the Panoramic falls in the middle of the pack. The forefoot is secured by a Boa lacing system mounted on a plate. The Boa knob 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.
Security was a different matter. 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 it's quite reliable. The Boa system, however, gives us some issues.
While most of our testers found the Boa to be 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.
Should You Buy the Tubbs Panoramic?
The Panoramic is a decent all-around model. It doesn't excel at anything but is well-rounded enough to be of good service in any situation you would want a snowshoe. However, it is pretty expensive. Hikers considering this snowshoe should also be aware that larger or bulkier boots can conflict with the binding.
What Other Snowshoes Should You Consider?
Hikers looking for a good general-purpose snowshoe should check out the MSR Evo Trail. Its binding is more durable and plays well with all boots. Our testers have found its feature set useful for all sorts of winter travel, including moderate mountaineering, and you can add supplemental tails to increase the flotation. Also worth considering is our overall favorite, The MSR Lightning Ascent. It can handle anything the Panoramic can and then some.
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