For a snowshoe perfect for novices and winter hikers, look no further than the Tubbs Wilderness. We reviewed the women's-specific version that accommodates a narrower gait, and the men's version has similar features. These snowshoes are ideal for winter backpacking, hut trips, and exploring moderate terrain. The versatility offered in the adventure-ready design is remarkable.
Tubbs Wilderness - Women's Review
Cons: Heavy, stiff heel lift, contact points on decking, noisy plastic.
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Tubbs Wilderness snowshoes are designed for adventure. Whether you prefer a couple of hours on groomed trails or a couple days exploring moderate backcountry terrain, the Wilderness is easy to use and offers excellent stability.
Soft Tec decking and 6000 series aluminum frames are not the lightest in weight relative to the snowshoe size, but they keep you afloat on soft snow. The small frames are built to accommodate a woman's gait and provide flotation on varying snow surfaces. While traveling on groomed trails, flotation is not necessarily a main concern but as soon as we stepped off the beaten path into fresh snow, the Tubbs Wilderness excelled. Between the two women's-specific models in our review, the Wilderness performed well under additional pack weight. For the best flotation in deep snow, consider the MSR Lightning Ascent or the Tubbs Mountaineer.
These snowshoes have a semi-aggressive under-foot crampon paired with lateral crampons along the sides. The traction is sufficient for groomed trails, packed snow, and off-trail travel in moderate terrain. For steep terrain, consider the MSR Lightning Ascent, which has the most aggressive traction system in our review.
Ease of Use
The Wilderness are amont the easiest snowshoes to use. For someone new to snowshoeing, these are the best option. The single buckle bindings with heel straps are simple and easy to adjust. Once the bindings are fit to your boots, little adjustment is necessary. The snowshoes are easy to attach, adjust, and remove as necessary.
Security on Foot
The binding systems are different on each and every model in our review. There are similarities among the different styles, but each binding setup is unique in design. The 180Pro bindings on the Wilderness look like wings that embrace the sides of your boots. The wings wrap up and come together at a closure that secures with a single ratchet buckle. This design accommodates a wide range of boot sizes and types of footwear. However, the security on foot rated lower than all of the other snowshoes in our review with the exception of the Alps Performance Lightweight, which had buckles that were not the appropriate length. The excess binding material does not offer a significant amount of security in comparison to simpler binding designs like the ones found on the MSR Lightning Ascents or MSR Evo.
The Tubbs Wilderness excel on beginner to intermediate trails and moderate terrain. They are our favorite pair of snowshoes for hut trips and winter backpacking because the stability offered under a pack load is unmatched by lighter weight snowshoes. We felt the most comfort in soft, spring snow and shallow to moderately deep fresh snow, but felt stiffness and discomfort on hard packed snow. If you intend to snowshoe in hard packed terrain, consider the MSR Evo, which has a lot of give and flex, or the Tubbs Mountaineer with a more comfortable binding system.
For just under $200, the Wilderness snowshoes by Tubbs are a great value. They are mid-range in price and offer the beginner or intermediate snowshoer durability, ease of use, and stability that lightweight snowshoes do not offer. For a smaller investment at a great value, consider the Best Buy awarded MSR Evo snowshoes. For the next step up in technical features, consider the Tubbs Mountaineer snowshoes, which come in both men's and women's models.
The Tubbs Wilderness women's snowshoes are versatile enough to suit both beginner and the moderate snowshoeing adventures. Like the Tubbs Mountaineer, the Wilderness shoes are not lightweight but offer sturdy construction and ease of use. The unique binding systems are the easiest to step in and out of and are easily adjusted on the trail. Offered in men's and women's-specific models, the Wilderness are our favorite pair for winter backpacking and hut trips. For a snowshoe that will keep you afloat in soft snow through moderate terrain, these snowshoes are designed with just enough technical features yet remain simple.
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Most recent review: November 11, 2014
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