MSR Lightning Tail

1 review
5-star:   0
4-star:   0
3-star:   1
2-star:   0
1-star:   0


Weight 9 ounces (257 grams)
Length 5 inches (12 centimeters)



It took a few times to figure out how to attach these…

Rating: rated 3.5 of 5 stars
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.


  • Lightweight
  • Easy to attach once you know what you're doing
  • Durable
  • Packable


  • Rubber strap is difficult to stretch when cold
  • Not intuitive and came without instructions
  • Expensive

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!

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Manufacturer's Description

Optional tails make the snowshoe longer, providing more flotation in conditions that require it, such as breaking trail or deep powder. In the new MSR snowshoe line, modular flotation tails are now an option for all new lightning model snowshoes, making them more versatile than ever before.

Lightning Tails are sold separately and are not compatible with Lightning-frame snowshoes released before the 2010-2011 season.

Visit MSR's Lightning Tail page.

Retailers' Descriptions

Here's what other sites are saying:

The MSR Lightning snowshoes flotation tails add extra performance for your Lightning snowshoes, especially in soft snow conditions and when carrying heavy loads.


MSR Flotation Tails For Lightning SnowshoeThe MSR Flotation Tails For Lightning Snowshoe is an excellent companion for a fun hike through the snow. This product works universally as it is compatible with all 2011 Lightning snowshoe models and lengths. It is highly versatile to use, since it allows you to move equally adeptly in either deep snow, or during packed conditions, by allowing an appropriately sized primary shoe to be strapped on. An additional 5 in. of flotation is easily added, thanks to this flotation equipment, which comes in handy when you are carrying heavier packs. The easy attachment design lets you strap it on and off with ease. Fairly lightweight at just under 0.7 lbs., it is easy to store and carry. With the MSR Flotation Tails For Lightning Snowshoe, you are well-equipped to handle a challenging walk in the snow!

- SunnySports

Bring the MSR Lightning Tail Snowshoe Flotation Tail along on your next backcountry excursion in case the fresh snow is just too soft to support your MSR 360 Degree Traction Frame Snowshoes.


When you're out in the snow it doesn't make sense to take multiple pairs of snowshoes with you for varying conditions. With the Lightning Modular Flotation Tails you won't need to. These lightweight tails clip on to your Lightning Ascent snowshoes adding 5-inches of flotation for deeper snow, or the instance where you're carrying more than expected.Lightweight, packable, incredibly versatile

- Mountains Plus