MSR Lightning Tail
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!
Where to Buy
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.
Here's what other sites are saying:
MSR's new Lightning Modular Flotation Tails bring the advantage of our proprietary, adaptable flotation to our elite 360 Traction frames. Small and light enough to bring on any trip, you can take advantage of the agility of a smaller, primary snowshoe in packed conditions, while adding 5-inches (13cm) of flotation on-demand for deeper snow, or when carrying heavier packs.
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
The Lightning Modular Flotation Tails bring the advantage of MSR's proprietary, adaptable flotation to their elite 360 Traction frames. Small and light enough to bring on any trip, you can take advantage of the agility of a smaller, primary snowshoe in packed conditions, while adding 5-inches (13cm) of flotation on-demand for deeper snow, or when carrying heavier packs. On-demand flotation allows you to select a smaller primary shoe for added agility in packed conditions Packable, light and low-profile for easy packing on any trip EasySimple attachment system with no moving parts lets you attach and remove tails without removing shoes Note - For Fall 2010 Lightning snowshoes; will not fit older models