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Gear Review

5 5

Without a doubt THE best snowshoes

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

The general MSR snowshoe design which essential makes it a huge floating crampon is light-years better than the typical design. The Lightning Ascent is the gold standard Backcountry Guide Snowshoe. The televator is amazing, perfectly designed in its simplicity and how well it functions. It makes a world of difference. The bindings are amazing, with big mittens they are easy to adjust, and provide a solid complete connection. They are easy on easy off one handed, but they will stay secure all day. The binding adjustment is easy to tweak so it accommodates your unique stride perfectly. They are bombproof. Bombproof! The fact that the entire perimeter is a sheet of spikey metal crampon means you can maneuver in gnarly terrain far better, climbing over down trees or trudging through underbrush, or just going up icy terrain; all without worrying about bending dainty tubing. You can do stuff with these you just can't with others. Also, the MSR tails are awesome, so if you don't usually have deep snow or carry lots of gear you can size down, just get the tails for the occasions you need more surface area. The tails go on real easy and make a huge difference.
That said, you might not need this much. If you live somewhere flat you can just get the lightning flash, and if you live on varying terrain, but don't need the high performance bindings the lightning axis are just as good (the same minus the bindings)
If you don't anticipate much more than the occasional quick jaunt, or are new to snowshoes, the MSR Evo series share some of the great design elements are light and inexpensive.
If you were originally planing on spending $200 on snowshoes, spend a little more and get these, they make difficult terrain more pleasant, and they will far outlast any others on the market. These seriously deserve twenty stars. I know I won't have to replace them for a very long time, and I won't let my friends get anything else.

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I have heard of people using ski boots in these, and my snow boots are about as big as snowboard boots with room to spare in the bindings, so I would image they'd fit fine.

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Snowboarding boots work pretty well.

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What size did you get? I'm 160 + may carry up to 50 in gear at any time so planning on getting the 25". Would you say that matches up ok with your experience? I've only borrowed the plastic MSR's and had great experience in some extremely steep and deep-powdered terrain, but want a pair that'll last for at least a decade of heavy (weekly) use. Those were solid for me carrying 20 lbs, but seemed extremely flimsy, as if they could break.

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cyclist greg, I'm 150 and with a 65 pound pack the 25 inchers are great in 6 inches of fresh snow. GET THE TAILS. With the 25 inchers and tails I can handle that same gear in 2 feet of untracked New Mexico fluff on steep slopes. The plastics MSRs are great, but everything good about them is even better with these. The recommended user weight specs are spot on. The lateral support is amazing, have never ever rolled. Unbreakable, plus MSR warrantee.

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Based on your weight and load you'll be carrying I'd opt for the 25" as mentioned about with the 6" tails. I personally use the 30" but am a bit heavier than you.

The plastic MSR Evo's are great, a family member of mine has them but the trade off with those is that once we got on to some ice near the summit, he was skating all over the place while my Ascent 30"s were getting the best traction.

The design and engineering of these is bullet proof and if you buy them, plan on them lasting for the next decade plus.