MSR Evo Trail
About the only thing that would hurt these snowshoes is throwing them in a fire! They're made of bomb-proof, injection molded, high impact plastic and can take more abuse than anything I've seen. Best for on-trail hiking but be forewarned — plastic is LOUD, especially on a packed trail.
- Reasonable price
- Outstanding quality
- Great traction on icy trails
- Have to take them off to attach tails
I like getting the cons out of the way first so I can go on and list all the really good stuff. So, here you go...
Con: These snowshoes are heavy. They're made of high impact, injection molded plastic, so once you put the shoe, the deck and the bindings all together, you're looking at over 3.5 pounds. Definitely not the lightest shoes out there...
Con: Being made of plastic, they're also very loud on packed and icy trails — so loud in fact, it's difficult to hear your hiking partner over them.
Con: Unless you're lucky enough to have a hiking partner who's willing to put them on for you, you can't attach the tails without taking the snowshoes off.
Pro: Man, are they tough!!! I've walked across rocks (cringing), hit all kinds of stuff while hiking in powder, and have even run over one of them with my car (kids!). They're scuffed beyond belief but I've never had so much as a single rivet rust out on me. Kind of makes the field repair kit I've never used in 5 years nothing more than extra weight/bulk in my pack.
Pro: Traction rails that run the entire length of the bottom of the shoe, along with the crampon under the ball of your foot, give unbelievable traction on ice. I've climbed a 40°, totally iced-over incline without slipping a single time.
Pro: Great value for the price. The suggested retail is about $140 USD, but I found mine for just under $100 on an after-season sale.
Pro: Accommodates any type of shoe or boot without the heel strap slipping. Rubber binding straps keep your foot totally secured in place without so much tension that your toes go numb.
I'm a big fan of going off-trail and eventually wanted something lighter. I was lucky enough to score 2 pairs of MSR Lightning Ascents for the deal of a lifetime (free). Even then, I still couldn't bring myself to part with these snowshoes (I have 2 pair) so I've hung onto them for those times I get a first-timer to go out with me. At 22", they've also worked great as loaners for kids (even though they've chewed up the toes a bit learning how to walk in them) and even I still throw them on for quick trail jaunts.
One last thing... I also purchased both 4" and 8" tails for these shoes (I think newer models only offer 6" tails). It definitely makes them heavier but the tails greatly improve flotation over rolling, powdery terrain, and allow you to pack extra weight. All in all, I don't know how anyone could be disappointed with these snowshoes...period!
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $92 USD on sale
Love, love, love MSR snowshoes.
- Easy to get on and off — stays on while snowshoeing
After a trail day event to try a few brands of snow shoes and hearing what fellow hikers had to say about their snowshoe experience, I purchased MSR.
Once you figure out which shoe to put on which foot, you are good to go for a day out in the snow. Easy to get on and off. Made well and does not kick up snow onto your back that some other brands can do.
They did not feel like I had anything on my feet. Just walk and go!
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: New about $150
Excellent lightweight STURDY snowshoe. It is essentially a molded deck with metal claws and rails.
I have used these for a number of seasons and could not be happier. You can also put deck extenders/tails on the MSR Evo to help in deeper snow. I have stepped on rocks and uneven logs under the snow and they are still going strong.
Awhile back I picked up some of the cheaper snowshoes with the thin plastic deck and outside aluminum frame and the MSR Evo is in a different class altogether.
Price Paid: $120