Snowshoeing is a great way to get outdoors in the winter. It doesn’t require a ton of equipment or years of practice. If you can walk, you can snowshoe. That being said, there are a few things to consider to make your first snowshoe outing an enjoyable and successful one.
There are two important pieces of equipment you’ll need to go snowshoeing: snowshoes and poles. Snowshoes provide traction and flotation so you can walk more easily in the snow. In order to choose the right snowshoes, you’ll need to know two things: what kinds of terrain you want to cover and your weight. The type of terrain (flat, mountainous) will determine the specific model of snowshoe to buy to provide adequate traction. Your weight will determine the size of snowshoe to buy to provide adequate flotation.
If you’re a beginner and you plan on covering beginner terrain you can get away with using any kind of snowshoe. Choose a basic, budget model for casual snowshoe trips. Costco carries snowshoes that cost about $60. Basic snowshoes have simple binding systems and just enough traction to help you walk across flat, icy snow and gentle rolling hills.
If you intend to go on more advanced outings, such as climbing mountains, going into rugged backcountry areas or managing icy hills, you’ll need a beefier snowshoe. Look for keywords like “aggressive crampons” and “durability” so you can select a model that will withstand a range of challenging conditions. Mountain snowshoes also have a built in heel-lift that will help your calves ascend steep slopes. These snowshoes will be more expensive than Costco’s budget version but you’ll have the flexibility to tackle steeper and icier terrain with confidence.