Tubbs Mountaineer Series
Where to Buy
The Tubbs Moutaineer 36s are lightweight snowshoes…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $234
The Tubbs Moutaineer 36s are lightweight snowshoes that have incredible traction on steep hills and packed snow, while also excelling in softer snow due to their surface area. The bindings are comfortable, secure, and offer quick entry and exit.
- Deck graphics, I'd prefer plain
- Could have better downhill traction
- Front straps could have longer tag ends for use with gloves
Last winter when I broke my Tubbs Wilderness 36 snowshoes, I needed to get another pair within a week in order to be ready for a weekend of snowshoeing I'd planned with some friends. I decided on the Tubbs Mountaineer 36s because I wanted to get further out in the backcountry during the winter of 2014-15. But, nobody had them locally, and none of the online retailers that did have them could guarantee I'd get them in time.
I finally found them on the website of a small outdoor gear and farm store in VT, and for a very reasonable price was able to get them shipped 2nd day. (I'd also ordered a different brand of backcountry/mountaineering snowshoes from amazon.com, just in case — no way was I missing this trip! They both arrived in time.)
My first time on the Mountaineers was the day I got them — I quickly changed out of my street clothes and into my snowshoeing gear. I'm lucky to live where I can put them on in my yard and in 5 minutes be in the woods, or on the power lines and snowmobile trails. I headed for the woods to try them out on the steep streambeds and huge glacial erratics before hitting the power lines.
I couldn't believe the traction of the toe crampons — I could basically walk right up inclines that would have required heavy use of my poles with my Wilderness 36s. And just like the Wilderness 36s, the Mountaineers 36s were surprisingly maneuverable in the woods considering their size. I think it's because both bindings are very secure and allow for excellent control of the 'shoes.
Once I got out on the open ground of the power lines and snowmobile trails, travel was easy because of the excellent flotation provided by the wide, long snowshoes. They're not so wide that you have to walk with an exaggerated stance or end up stepping on them, though.
The power lines run over rolling hills, and some of them are steep enough that I'd flip up the ActiveLift heel lifts on my Wilderness 36s in order to let the toe crampons dig in at a better angle. With the Mountaineer 36s that wasn't necessary, though it did make it easier on my calves.
The ActiveFit bindings deserve their own section — they're that good. The do take a little longer to get into or out of than the 180Pro on the Wilderness models, but they're also more secure. They have the same locking heel strap of the 180Pro bindings, but the forefoot is secured in a kind of socket with 4 straps and a padded top that positions your foot for optimum traction.
You do have to loosen and tighten the heel strap upon exit and entry, though, since your foot has to enter the socket from the rear. Push your boot as far forward as it'll go, tighten the heel strap, then pull down on the 2 front straps. There are small posts on the binding strap pivots to secure the free ends on the straps, and they actually stay on there pretty well.
The padding on the top of the binding does a great job of providing some cushioning over your lace hardware so it doesn't get pressed into your feet. They don't loosen up on you unless you want them to, and the control wings pretty much encapsulate your boots in a rigid enclosure.
Now for the bad. The heel crampons don't provide the best traction on downhills in wet snow, and if you're not careful you might find yourself on an unplanned gliss. I prefer the heel crampons from the Tubbs Xpeditions, they're a lot better for downhill braking. The Xpeditions are on the left, Mountaineers on the right.
But you should be careful on descents anyway, and I've only noticed it on late-season wet snow. A slight weight transfer forward to load the toe crampons and taking some of your weight with the poles are all it takes to stay on your feet in any case.
These snowshoes can do it all, they're equally at home in the backcountry or on groomed trails where you're taking a new convert to the sport on their first trip. It's better to have awesome traction and not need it, than to need it and not have it!
All Mountaineer Series versions
In addition to the 1 men's review above, there is 1 review for another version of the Mountaineer Series. Read all reviews »