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By Diane Spicer
This MSR snowshoe review kicks around the merits of putting a pair of Revo Ascents on your feet.
What's that you say?
You're just getting started with snowshoeing?
You're going to need warm, durable winter boots before you look at the best snowshoes for your winter hiking plans.
No one asked for, or paid for, this review.
My own money was used to purchase these snowshoes, and all comments and photos are my own.
One more disclosure in this MSR snowshoe review:
I wore a men's pair of MSR shoes for 8 seasons of snowshoeing, and was delighted when women specific designs for narrow(er) strides and smaller boots finally hit the market.
These little beauties, the MSR Revo Ascent, available in several places:
Every woman knows that a shoe wardrobe makes sense.
You wear sandals to the beach, you wear flats to the grocery store... form follows function, right?
Same idea with snowshoes.
If you're just now starting to think about snowshoeing, read about snowshoe designs.
Otherwise, these specifications won't make sense.
MSR Revo Ascent 22 inch women's snowshoes:
These are similar to the MSR Lightning Ascent snowshoes, which cost ~$60 US more, but are 4 ounces lighter (frame is aluminum) and probably hold up better against rock gouges due to a TPU-coated nylon deck.
Be sure to choose the right shoes for the terrain you plan to enjoy.
No need to figure out which snowshoe is left, which is right.
Also notice the straightforward "metal tooth goes in the hole" binding approach.
Simply pull the rubber strap toward the metal, select the hole which feels snug but not death grip-like, and you're done!
A total of four times does the job:
See the four straps?
It's important to position your boot far enough forward from the heel lift, but not so far forward as to bump the plastic decking.
Remember, your foot will be carrying the weight of the snowshoe but also has to move as your stride adapts to the changing terrain.
This isn't a hard and fast rule, but for me, strapping my heel in first allows me to feel confident that my foot is in the correct position.
It's also the only strap to lock into place on the inside of my leg, and feels just a tad harder to do if I'm using my non dominant hand.
Pull each strap to a snug position
Lock everything down.
Pick up your leg and be sure the snowshoe is attached to it!
Then give it a good shake to check your bindings.
Off you go!
When tackling a long upslope, you want an easy way to get your heel lifts deployed.
If you're using poles (and really, for stability's sake why aren't you?), reach back with the grip end of your pole and pull the heel lift up.
It's easy to snap it back into place once you've conquered the elevation gain.
Note the crampons, with an abundance of metal external traction teeth.
That's what gives you a solid grip on steep slopes or icy patches - which have been known to occur simultaneously!
The bindings are as comfortable as it's possible to be with boots and snowshoes on your feet.
I must admit that I love MSR bindings because they stay put, don't get all iced up and frozen shut, and can be adjusted easily to much smaller or bigger boot sizes when someone borrows my shoes.
They stay pliable even in cold temperatures (MSR rates them to -20F).
They're simple to operate, even with the diminished dexterity of gloved hands.
And so easy to release at the end of the day, when I'm tired and just want to get out of my boots.
This particular model of MSR snowshoes is designed for harsher conditions and challenging terrain.
If you don't mind (or actively seek out) steep slopes, intermittent corrugated cardboard versus deep snow conditions, icy patches, or all of these, putting these snowshoes on your feet will absolutely help you keep your grip without undue leg fatigue.
If you prefer to stick to level terrain, or groomed trails used by cross country skiers or snowmobiles (walking off to the side of the track, of course), these snowshoes are overkill for you.
Take a look at these instead.
Lower price point.
Less aggressive traction.
One less binding strap, so quicker on and off.
But just as durable.
Great snowshoes, good durability, great for those of us with narrower strides, these are the best equipment for snow travel on a winter hike.
Available at these trusted outdoor gear stores: (affiliate links)
Snowshoeing might seem straightforward, but it takes some planning and the right gear to stay safe and comfortable.
These are the best snowshoeing tips for intrepid women looking to get started with this fantastic sport:
MSR Snowshoe Review