MSR Lightning Tail
9 ounces (257 grams)
5 inches (12 centimeters)
It took a few times to figure out how to attach these…
Source: received it as a personal gift
It took a few times to figure out how to attach these tails without taking my snowshoes off, but once I did, they're the easiest, fastest things on the market. They weigh next to nothing so there's no reason not to take them, especially if you're going off-trail into deep snow. There's a heavy duty rubber strap that holds them on and the drawback is that in cold weather, the rubber is stiff and takes some effort to stretch enough to go over the back of the snowshoe.
- Easy to attach once you know what you're doing
- Rubber strap is difficult to stretch when cold
- Not intuitive and came without instructions
I'm a big fan of MSR snowshoes and own both the Evo and Lightning models. While the tails on the Evos were simple to figure out, the Lightning tails came with no instructions and took me several tries before I finally got it.
Once I did, the process to attach them is so simple and user friendly, I was surprised it took me so long. You basically step onto them, grab the rubber loop and pull the strap up and over the back of the snowshoe. So easy and convenient since you don't have to remove your shoes to attach them.
At first glance, they they look like they couldn't possibly hold up to any type of abuse, especially the kind the Lightning snowshoes are designed for. I was SO wrong! They are extremely durable — the deck is heavy duty plastic and neither it nor the rubber strap which holds them on have cracked in 3 years of regular use. The frame is made of aircraft grade aluminum which is flexible and super tough.
These tails are very lightweight, unlike the Evo tails which are made from solid, injection molded, high-impact plastic. The Lightning tails weigh in at about 9 oz. and aren't bulky so they're easy to pack for off trail adventures. They add an extra 5" of length to the snowshoes giving them the extra surface area needed for deep snow and/or heavy packs.
At $50, they're a bit expensive but if you're willing to shell out nearly $300 on the Lightning snowshoes, the added cost for the tails is totally worth it. Obviously, both the shoes and the tails are designed for die-hard backcountry snowshoers so if you fit the bill, get 'em!