Snowshoe Gear – Equipment and Apparel

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 16,570
    Kevin Hinds, a Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing Instructor for L.L. Bean, discusses the gear and equipment needed for snowshoeing.

    Kevin Hinds: Hello! I'm Kevin Hinds; I am a Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing Instructor for L.

    L. Bean here in Freeport, Maine. Today we're going to talk about the basic equipment for snowshoeing. First thing we're going to talk about is the snowshoes themselves. Around the snowshoe is the frame. This is the tip, this is the tail. This surface is called the decking, and this is the binding where you put your foot and attach it to the snowshoe. Now, on the backside this is the crampon, which gives you sort of traction that bites into the snow and the ice.

    This is a great entry level shoe, because it's a great price point, makes it affordable to get into and easy to use binding and just an all-around good snowshoe when you're starting out. When you're selecting a snowshoe, you need to think about where you're going to be using it. Do you have light powdery snow where you live, or is it sort of icy and packed down? Because that will depend on how much flotation you need. You need less flotation if it's packed down or a lot more flotation if it's light and powdery. There is different size snowshoes and they are based on a weight range. You also want to think about if you're carrying a backpack to put that in when you're thinking about the weight range and which snowshoe to select.

    One of the things that's very common for a lot of people when they start snowshoeing is to believe that they'll stay right on the surface of the snow. But, a lot of times you'll sink down 6 to 8 inches, even 10 inches depending on how light or how heavier the snow is. And that's common, that's fine. But if you have a really deep snowfall 2 or 3 feet, maybe you're going down to 8 inches, but you're not going down to 3 feet.

    Next, we're going to talk about snowshoeing poles. They are a great piece of equipment that can really help out. They're good for balance, for also testing the snow in front of you. They're just great for exercise too, and just really increase your enjoyment of the activity. Most of the poles have a few pieces to them; one is the strap, the grip, the part of a pole or the shaft, and then you're going to have the basket at the end here.

    You can see it's a nice short pole length right here, that's for when you travel to make it a lot easier. It's right to tighten, left to loosen, and then you can telescope the pull out to whatever size you need. The sizes are in centimeters for the length you want. Once you find your length, you can right, and put it, turn it to the right to tighten and you're all set, and then can set the other pole the same.

    Next, we want to talk about a great winter boot. What makes this a great winter boot is the fact that you have a waterproof layer, it's insulated and also has nice ankle support that is really good for snowshoeing. These are a few things you want to bring along with you when you go outside in the winter to make your trip more enjoyable. The first thing you want to bring is a backpack. In winter because of the temperatures, it's a great idea to put some hand-warmers in. Also because of the sun reflecting off the snow, sunglasses are a must.

    I also like to carry an insulated thermos. When you're outside too you want to make sure to bring a lot of extra water. It's a great idea to also carry some extra food, some quick food, a cell phone is also a great thing to carry in case of emergencies. I love to carry an extra pair of mittens, and one of the last things I usually bring is nice jacket, a nice warm jacket.

    There are three layers you want to think about; wicking, warming, and weather layers. Over here is a wicking layer. It's a synthetic material that's designed to pull moisture away from your skin to keep you nice and dry. The next layer is a warming layer for insulation. Right here we have a freeze vest. The final layer is the weather layer. Right here we have a soft shell jacket that's sort of windproof, summer, and waterproof and breathable is very important.

    Then, right here we have just sort of a lighter windbreaker for the weather layer that's windproof and waterproof. It's also important for your lower half to use the same type of system with the wicking, warming, and weather layer. This is the weather layer that's somewhat breathable and windproof. So that's the basic gear, apparel, and accessories that will make snowshoeing that much more enjoyable.

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