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PostPosted: February 11th, 2014, 4:02 pm 
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I've decided that I'm going to get a pair of traditional snowshoes and need some opinions on what to get. I am currently using a pair of 12x42 Faber "Winter Hikers", pretty much a standard Huron style frame with plastic decking. Although I am far happier with them than the Powder Ridge snowshoes I've been using for the last couple years I don't like how much noise the plastic decking makes when the snow is crunchy so I am currently trying to decide between a pair of large Huron style or modified bear paws.

I'm 220 lbs, sometimes I might follow a skidoo track if I can but much of my snowshoeing is in fairly soft snow. About half the time I'm following a creek or other makeshift path and the other half I'm bushwhacking through dense forest, while not mountain conditions I do some fairly steep climbs on a regular basis. I generally get out and do a couple kilometers once or twice a week and also use the snowshoes for ice fishing and hunting.

Given my needs should I sacrifice some floatation for the better manoverability and possibly better climbing attributes of a modified bear paw or not?


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PostPosted: February 11th, 2014, 4:33 pm 
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Location: Saskatoon
A few years ago I purchased 12 x 60 "Continental" snowshoes from Snowshoe Sales and Repairs in Timmins via mail order. http://www.snowshoesalesandrepairs.com/ I love them. Mine are woven with the 400lb fishing line (Monoline 400) which shows zero wear and tear to date. It's a great combination of maintenance free materials and traditional design, and they are silent.

Mine are 60" long and offer my 210 lbs (plus gear) a lot of floatation. However, they're not ideal in the confines of the bush. Given your desire to bushwhack through dense forest, I would consider the shorter shoes and go with something like the 16x48 Huron style shoes, or the 16x30 bearpaws. These bearpaws would be similar to the Hurons in main shoe area and dimensions, but lack the tail that helps them track straight.

If you feel you are getting enough floatation from your current shoes, go with similar dimensions in the new shoes.

Since you want traction for the steep climbs, go with a binding that includes a crampon, such as the "Double Racheting Pivoting Harness with Claw" that they sell at the above website. For my shoes I got the much-loved "work binding" from Faber, though it does nothing for traction. https://www.fabersnowshoes.com/snowshoe ... rk-binding

When camping I often bring 2 pair - the 60" shoes for the trail and some smaller bearpaws for working around camp in the bush.

Cheers,
Bryan

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PostPosted: February 11th, 2014, 11:14 pm 
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Location: Edmonton area
Just another option for consideration; surplus (some never used, still in the shrink-wrap) military snowshoes can be found in military surplus stores, and even in Princess Auto sometimes.

Magnesium "I" beam frames, traction cleats, polymer wrapped very thin aircraft cable for the webbing. Probably a bit heavier than modern space-age types, but definitely bomb-proof. They come with heavy canvas adjustable bindings.

They are trail type, longer or maybe what you're calling "Huron" types, not like bear-paws, which in my experience are not designed for walking in the bush but rather on open flats.

They run anywhere from about $60 to $100/pr, one size fits all, but I'm 6'3", 210 lbs, and I carried near 100lb rucks wearing them for decades.

Anyway, good hunting, a good set of snowshoes can make all the difference in the world on a winter trek.
Cheers.

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PostPosted: February 12th, 2014, 8:37 am 
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I'll second the recommendation for the 16 x 48 Hurons from Timmins. These shoes have changed my snowshoeing life! Size is everything with snowshoes and these enable me to break trail under conditions that would have quickly exhausted me with smaller shoes. Good quality and the Timmins company gives great service.

Kinguq


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PostPosted: February 12th, 2014, 10:06 am 
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I mentioned that the tails help the shoes track straight, but that's not quite right, or not the whole story. They also help balance the shoe to tip the toe up, which is helpful for clearing whatever lies in front of you.

With any shoe be cautious in the bush of bridging as between two fallen logs or a log and the ground, where tip and tail are supported, but not the main foot - that's likely to result in a break.

Bryan

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PostPosted: February 12th, 2014, 12:06 pm 
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kinguq wrote:
I'll second the recommendation for the 16 x 48 Hurons from Timmins. These shoes have changed my snowshoeing life! Size is everything with snowshoes and these enable me to break trail under conditions that would have quickly exhausted me with smaller shoes. Good quality and the Timmins company gives great service.

Kinguq


I think I'm going to go with rawhide lacing, any idea how those Timmons shoes are compare to Faber shoes as far as quality and how tight the lacing is? As well has anyone ever used the ratchet binding that was mentioned? They've always looked interesting but I wonder how big of a boot they can hold?


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PostPosted: February 12th, 2014, 12:12 pm 
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I'd strongly recommend the monoline lacing but maybe you are a traditionalist, and that's fine too.

I got the the ratchet binding with the claw. The binding is fine and fits a large boot. However after using them for 3 years, I have removed the claw. I really only use these shoes in deep soft snow, so the claw doesn't do any good. It also adds weight where it isn't needed and tends to ice up under some conditions.

Kinguq.


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PostPosted: February 12th, 2014, 1:34 pm 
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Not really a traditionalist but something of a minimalist, I hate owning stuff I don't use. Despite knowing that I wanted a traditional shoe I cut corners and went with the plastic decking on my last pair. As a result I am not happy with the shoes and will be buying another pair of snowshoes, now I have a pair of snowshoes which will just sit in my shed until something heavy gets placed on them or I get sick of looking at them and give them away. So THIS time I'm just going to get exactly what I want, before I end up with a whole herd of snowshoes that aren't "quite right" multiplying in my shed.

Thanks for the input on the ratchet binding, they sound like they might be just the ticket for some of these climbs. I had thought that with a narrower bear paw design I might be able to dig in the edges like I can do with the modern style shoes to aid in climbing but at my weight I should probably just get the biggest shoes I should find.


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PostPosted: February 12th, 2014, 2:30 pm 
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Keep in mind that it never hurts to have 2 or more pairs of snowshoes! I have a smaller pair of alu-frame snowshoes that I use when conditions are crusty or the snow not so deep. The big shoes aren't needed under such conditions. Also crusty snow really wears on wooden frames and rawhide lacing.

When camping I sometimes bring both pairs because the smaller shoes are more convenient for walking on broken trails or collecting firewood. One thing about the big shoes, they are not great for following the tracks of someone wearing narrower shoes! They tend to tip into the centre of the trail and your ankles get sore after a while.

Kinguq.


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PostPosted: March 28th, 2014, 10:36 pm 
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There are differences in performance between the 400 lb mono and traditional rawhide babiche. Mono is a lot lighter, which makes picking up your feet a lot easier. It sheds wet snow and slush a lot better, which makes life a lot easier. And it doesn't sag if you're wearing your snowshoes in wet snow.


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PostPosted: September 25th, 2014, 8:43 pm 
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Location: Barrie, Ontario Canada
Over many years, I've settled on taking 2 pairs on trips; one is used for breaking trail, the other for camp work.

For breaking trail these are best. The pointy fronts part the scrub or crust like a ski.

Image

But they're no good making camp. So for that purpose I use a set of bearpaws.

As for harness, I use a leather unit that no one makes anymore. I'll take a photo. They're not hard to make yourself.

Dave


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