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Snowshoes

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  • #64887
    Profile photo of First Sergeant
    First Sergeant
    Moderator

    Some of you may have seen my IG post last week wearing snowshoes.

    @Socks asked me for some info on snowshoes. I told him I would do a post as it was to much info for an IG post.

    I have experience with two different types of snowshoes. The type that I have the most time on are these.

    https://www.sportsmansguide.com/product/index/us-military-surplus-magnesium-snowshoes-with-bindings-new?a=771260

    These were Army issue for several different units for years. To include SF, LRS, 10th Mountain and units in Alaska. They are very lightweight. The frames are made of magnesium and the webbing is nylon coated steel cables. They are made in the Huron style. They work great for long movements. They are not very good in real thick forest terrain due to their length.

    Being made of magnesium the shoes can be used to start a fire in a survival situation.

    The one thing that we all hated was the bindings. There were an absolute pain in the ass to get adjusted and stay tight.

    The bindings that I use are much easier to use and I have never had them loosen up. They are easier to put on and take off. They are sold by boot size and will fit any type of boot.

    http://snowshoe-bindings.com/welcome.html

    The other style that I have used is made by MSR. They were contracted by the military for a snowshoe. I used these in Afghanistan. I don’t have much time on them.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/MSR-Military-Denali-Snowshoes-Mountain-Safety-Research/273615084163?hash=item3fb4bada83:g:qigAAOSwhQhYzDDS

    They are made of modern materials and are smaller. They have a removable tail in case you don’t need as much flotation.

    There is one big thing that people screw up when doing anything in snow and cold. They have a tendency to try and do everything with the same speed as they do in the summertime. You can’t. Things have to be more deliberate and thought out. Whether it be a patrol, patrol base, keeping warm or eating.

    Snowshoes make breaking trail in snow so much easier than having to do it just walking. They can still wear your ass out. They will absolutely destroy you calf muscles until you get used to using them.

    You have to have a way to strap snowshoes to your pack securely. You will get to terrain or forest that you can’t wear them. That was the one complaint that we had with the magnesium shoes because of their size. Especially jumping with them.

    There is one other piece of gear that I think is essential when wearing snowshoes, gaiters. They make moving around in the snow more comfortable.

    Using snowshoes is not just getting a set strapping them on and go. You have to spend some time learning how to walk with them, learning how to turn around and how to get up when you fall.

    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BxtqTb6j-rejbjRoOG9nVkFzUE0/edit?pli=1

    FILO
    Signal out, can you identify.
    Je ne regrette rien...
    Klagt Nicht, Kämpft

    #64888
    Profile photo of
    Anonymous

    There is one other piece of gear that I think is essential when wearing snowshoes, gaiters. They make moving around in the snow more comfortable.

    We wore our gaiters on the wet days at CLC, and agree they are a nice piece of kit to have in the snow. The Mrs. and I have done many 10th Mountain Division hut to hut ski trips and always use them.

    Here is a nice Multicam set we have as part of our gear…

    OTTE GearMulticam Gaiters

    #64890
    Profile photo of Socks
    Socks
    Participant

    Thanks for the info! Seriously need to get into this since I live in a Snowmaggedon state 👍

    The price of freedom is the willingness to do sudden battle anywhere, any time and with utter recklessness.

    Robert A. Heinlein

    #64891
    Profile photo of
    Anonymous

    Backcountry has a massive selection of snowshoes, poles, gaiters, probes, shovels, etc.

    Backcountry Snow Shoe Gear

    However, I admit that I much prefer skis over snowshoes, as one can cover 2-3 times the distance in the same amount of time, with equivalent or even less energy expenditure, if you are experienced.

    #64892
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    Using snowshoes is not just getting a set strapping them on and go. You have to spend some time learning how to walk with them, learning how to turn around and how to get up when you fall.

    Can’t be emphasized enough!

    The “…how to get up when you fall.” sounds funny right, but imagine sunk up to your waist while head down (upside down) in deep snow. Now add that your under fire, get the point.

    However, I admit that I much prefer skis over snowshoes…

    Terrain and situation! For those in snow country I recommend both, but both have strengths and weaknesses too.

    I have many years of experience in military environments and civilian use. From way above the Arctic Circle to other parts of the World, much of it living in primitive conditions in temps down to -65 degrees Fahrenheit (my personal record).

    I’ll make a list of gear I’ve used.

    #64893
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    The U.S. Military Magnesium Snowshoes are pretty bombproof for the money, but aftermarket bindings are a much better choice as First Sergeant points out.

    They also are a great shoe to start with or if you normally need snowshoes only on occaision. Remember like many military things, they are a compromise between flotation and mobility.

    Coleman’s has the best deal I know of right now.

    The MSR’s represent the new generation of snowshoes and are excellent quality.

    I would stay away from the old school “Traditional snowshoes” unless you need/want a hobby of building them.

    Speaking of building them, learning how to at least build expedient ones is highly recommended. You never know what can happen.

    #64911
    Profile photo of First Sergeant
    First Sergeant
    Moderator

    However, I admit that I much prefer skis over snowshoes, as one can cover 2-3 times the distance in the same amount of time, with equivalent or even less energy expenditure, if you are experienced.

    Situation dictates. I have used both.

    Cross country skis take a lot more time to master than snowshoes. Snowshoes are cheaper and don’t require a dedicated boot, depending on the type of bindings you use. Which increases the cost.

    One of the downsides of using the skis we were issued was using the boots. You would have to stop and change boots to be able to do anything. With snowshoes all you have to do is take them off and you are ready to go.

    There is nothing funnier than having someone that has never been on skis trying to cross country with 100 lb plus ruck on their back. Plus all their other gear.

    As Joe said, the military magnesium shoes are a compromise. They are a good basic shoe that you can get cheaply and are easy to learn on.

    The thing to remember about the newer shoes like the MSR is they are narrower. You don’t get the same flotation as you do with the magnesium shoes, which are wider. The newer shoes aren’t as bombproof either.

    It’s all a trade off.

    FILO
    Signal out, can you identify.
    Je ne regrette rien...
    Klagt Nicht, Kämpft

    #64915
    Profile photo of
    Anonymous

    Cross country skis take a lot more time to master than snowshoes.

    It is a little bit more challenging, but so much more fun to ski! Snow shoes are hard work, slow, and boring. Skiing is fun, fast, and exciting…and then you add guns! Whoop!!!!

    Youtube video: How ski warfare created biathlon.

    One of the downsides of using the skis we were issued was using the boots. You would have to stop and change boots to be able to do anything.

    There are options like Silvretta bindings to consider, which can be used with regular mountaineering boots, just like crampons. You can still find them on EBay and ski swaps.

    I think that Bald Dan probably has more experience than me with the newer equipment.

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