Ambassador Review — Wilderness

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Stephen, Day Hiking Ambassador

When my order of Tubbs Wilderness snowshoes arrived, I was very excited! They looked technically advanced and decently built right out of the box. After using them on the trail for the first time, I was even more excited! I’d had different snowshoes from other brands over the last few years, but those snowshoes were nothing like my Tubbs!

I’ve used these snowshoes for an entire season now, starting early in November and I’m still getting getting out 1 or 2 times a week. Other than where I’ve mis-stepped and slightly marred the finish on the tubular frame, they are still looking good! The snowshoes have a modern color scheme and decking pattern. Even the rivets have that extra detailed touch with the Tubbs logo imprinted on the head of each one! They feel like quality and they are light enough that you can go all day. I’ve used the Wilderness snowshoes in everything from dry powder to late season deep, wet snow. I’ve gone up steep hills and down into narrow ravines. These shoes can handle just about anything! So far, they’ve been bullet-proof.

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Looking at these modern recreational snowshoes from the side, you see the upturned toe and the slightly upturned tail. This “Fitstep” aluminum tubular frame is very strong, very lightweight and highly engineered to reduce impact on your joints and reduce fatigue. The “SoftTec” decking material is also durable, but lightweight, offering excellent flotation. I like the decking as it is whisper quiet in all but the iciest of conditions. The 25″ length has been great for this stocky, but shorter man, even with 20lbs of gear in my pack. They also come in 30″ and 36″ lengths for bigger men.  

The “180 Pro” step-in bindings fit my feet perfectly, and my feet are in the smaller range. The snowshoes were so easy to put on and take off, even with gloves on. Adjust the length of the toe strap once, and then never again. Click it in and you’re done. The heal strap is equally as easy with a single pull to size it correctly. Getting out of them is just as simple, one push of the front release and you’re out! So little effort which means a lot when you’re tired from a long hike. And, so much easier than many of the snowshoes I’ve had in the past. The extended “Control Wings” keep your feet secure and always in line with the rest of the shoe. The bindings have soft material that eliminates pressure points, and even help keep your feet warm! Also, on both the heal strap and the toe strap, there are extra strap retainers so the straps ends are not flapping around as you travel.

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The Rotating Toe Cord and Limiter work perfectly. When you lift your foot, snow is shed off the back of the shoe, for less fatigue and dryer pants (or gaiters), and there’s no shin bang, ever. When you put your foot down, the angles are just right for maximum traction. Speaking of traction, the carbon steel “Cobra” toe crampon is incredible in all snow conditions, biting hard on compact snow and ice. I’ve never slipped, even when heading almost vertical downhill on hard pack.

The heel end of this snowshoes is well thought out, where competitors often overlook this area. For heading uphill, there is a heel bar that you can lift up, significantly lowering your calf angle, and making vertical ascents much less fatiguing. The bar is easy to put up and down again when not needed. On top of the decking, there is a heal pad where the heel of your boot comes to rest. Not only does this protect the decking, but it provides good traction for your boot on the shoe, further eliminating sideways movement of your heel.  Underneath the deck at the heel, are crampons that offer basic traction, like the toe crampon, but also lateral traction for side slopes.

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My experience with Tubbs Snowshoes has been fantastic. They are a company that supports it’s products and the people that use them. Of the few warranty stories I have heard, there is only positive feedback and nothing but happy outcomes. Tubbs does snowshoes and nothing else, they’ve been doing it since 1906, and you can tell they care about what they do.  They are involved in multiple goodwill programs and charities. They are leaders in both quality craftsmanship and corporate responsibility. I have a very great respect for this company and their respect of the global community and the environment.

Tubbs also makes a women’s version of the Wilderness snowshoes which we got for my wife. They are specially built for the female body with a molded binding to match a women’s boot better and a narrower frame shape to match the differences in a woman’s narrower stance. My wife really appreciates that her snowshoes are specially made for her gender, they are more comfortable and easier to use than her old uni-sex snowshoes.

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As you can probably tell, I think the Tubbs Wilderness snowshoes are just about perfect for any and all conditions you’d encounter as a recreational snowshoer, even approaching back-country or mountaineering use. I really can’t say enough about them these shoes.  They look good, they feel great, and I feel confident and sure-footed when I’m out on the trail, or when I’m making my own.  I would highly recommend the Tubbs Wilderness snowshoe to those who are looking for an incredibly versatile snowshoe, made by a company that really knows snowshoes!

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