Backcountry snowshoes are designed for more challenging adventures that involve icy, steep terrain and deep snow. In contrast to recreational styles, they often include more advanced features like aggressive crampons and better bindings that are sized to fit hefty winter or snowboard boots. While they tend to be more expensive, they’re crucial for safety and performance if you’re a technical showshoer. Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best backcountry snowshoes on the market. They’re all are designed to offer great flotation. Plus, some are quite affordable if you’re looking to fulfill your off the beaten track yearnings on a budget.
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1. MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoes
These snowshoes include sturdy yet lightweight decking to ensure your shoes don’t sink. They also boast 360-degree traction frames for edge-to-edge grip, as well as one-piece steel crampons for excellent traction on traverses and steep slopes.
Pros: What’s more, an Ergo Televator heel lift bar helps reduce fatigue and increase traction on steep uphill climbs. The PosiLock bindings are freeze-resistant and offer security with all types of footwear. These are available in three different lengths, 22, 25 and 30 inches.
Cons: While simple to secure, some users may find the strap system uncomfortable.
2. G2 GO2GETHER Backcountry Snowshoes
G2 GO2GETHER’s snowshoes come in three variations to hold up to 250 pounds of gear without sinking. They feature sturdy steel crampons and a heel lift system for great uphill traction.
Pros: The lightweight aluminum frame is designed to offer flexible support in temperatures as cold as -40 degrees Fahrenheit. They also come with tough steel cramps for enhanced grip.
Cons: The double cord ribbon fastener may not be as sturdy as other strapping systems.
3. MSR Evo Ascent
The Evo Ascent features steel traction rails and brake bars molded directly into the snowshoe deck for ultimate grip. Meanwhile, the tri-fit bindings are freeze-resistant, super secure and able to accomodate a range of footwear.
Pros: The style also features a Televator heel lift to reduce calf fatigue and save energy on steep uphill journeys. Plus, it’s easily engaged via a glove-friendly pull tab. These snowshoes are designed to carry up to 180 pounds of gear, but are compatible with modular flotation tails to carry heavier loads if needed.
Cons: Some users may find the straps tricky to lock in place.