Review MSR Snowshoes

For Christmas 2015 we decided to get the whole family snowshoes. L (our current youngest for a few more weeks) is below what we consider good skiing age despite the videos on Youtube of other 2 year olds skiing. Thus with snowshoes we can get some tobagganing in and some snowshoeing (which is just hiking with stuff strapped to your feet) which all equates to family fun outside. We also figured that as we visited Ontario for Christmas and had lots of snow in the Meaford area it would make a great family present.

Well my friends, nature didn’t agree with us and Christmas day dawned in Meaford with around 10C and rain which made opening the big exciting box pretty lame. I believe our older daughter E and I had a conversation something like:

E: These are snowshoes daddy.

Me: Yup.

E: But there is no snow it’s raining.

Me: Yup.

E: These are lame Christmas present we can’t even use them. This is the worst present ever!

Me: Yup.

Now we did get to use them eventually in Ontario, in fact the picture at the top of the post is from just beside my in-laws house in a nice park on a day of snowshoeing. It was a great cool (but not freezing) day where we walked around in fresh snow with no tracks and ended with some tobaggan time. Even with some fun had, snowshoeing has been the hardest outdoor activity for us to help E enjoy. As I wrote about from our Cambie Creek day, she mostly just asked to get pulled on a toboggan within site of the car (as we’re just heading out) and complains. Despite that, we still think the snowshoes were a great purchase to help get our family outside more often.

Here is my snowshoes after a few hours in the backcountry on Thurston Ridge. The snow ended and I finished the hike back to Elk mostly on dirt.

My snowshoes after a few hours in the backcountry on Thurston Ridge over to Mercer in Chilliwack. The snow ended and I finished the hike back to Elk mostly on dirt.

Snow Shoe Sizing

We ended up with 3 sizes of snowshoes to fit our family. E is wearing a the MSR Shift. I ended up with the MSR Revo Trail. Cynthia got a pair of MSR Evo Snowshoes. For E the size was an easy pick. We just got the only size that would fit her but it got a bit harder for the adults as we looked at what we hoped to pay and how heavy we are. Actually how heavy I am.

I currently weigh in around 206lbs. This winter Cynthia is carrying our 3rd child (expected June 2016) so she’s not wearing a backpack of any weight. That leaves me with L in our Osprey Poco Premium, with all our stuff for the day in it as well. That means I weigh in around 230lbs or maybe 240lbs if we’ve really loaded the pack up for the day. This means that I actually weigh above the recommended weight for the Revo Trail 25″ (which is what I have) unless I put on the tails (which I don’t have). The Evo which was a less expensive snowshoe didn’t even cover my basic weight let along having a toddler on my back. Really our least expensive choice was the 25″ Revo Trail if we wanted a snowshoe I could actually use. Cynthia would have liked the same ones in the 22″ version, but the price was more than we could afford this year.

Here I am carrying L at Manning Park

Here I am carrying L at Manning Park. It’s a light load day so I’m probably only 220lbs on the snow

Snowshoe Fit

All our MSR snowshoes have a fairly easy closure system. Our oldest (5) can even handle much of the process of getting her snowshoes on herself. Simply step in to the snowshoes and then pull the big rubbery ties across and catch them on the large latch. I can easily handle E’s slightly smaller straps even with my bulky gloves on.

For fit look at your weight and get a snowshoe that’s appropriate. I’ve found my Revo Trails fit best with my hiking boots, but are still fine with my trail running shoes. I wouldn’t want to do  more than a day hike with the trail running shoes because my toes get pinched, but they’ve been fine for a few 20k days with 60% snowshoeing.

Cynthia towing the sled at Manning Park

Cynthia towing the sled at Manning Park with E in the background

Recommendation?

Yes, we do like our snowshoes. Despite the whining from our oldest we’ve had a bunch of fun in the snow and made an effort to see snow much more often because we have the snowshoes. The MSR snowshoes have performed for us well and I have no complaints at all.

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One Comment

  1. We did the same 3-4 years ago and outfitted the family. We’ve got 5 pairs of MSRs now and they’ve been great. I’ve got the tails for mine. I don’t hit the weight limit when carrying small ones in a pack, but being 6’4 with extra weight up high they’ve been nice for stability, especially when on soft snow.

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