MSR REVO ASCENT SNOWSHOES
TEST SERIES BY MIKE PEARL
INITIAL REPORT - November 13, 2017
FIELD REPORT - January 23, 2018
LONG TERM REPORT - March 20, 2018
Hanover, New Hampshire, USA
5' 9" (1.75 m)
155 lb (70.30 kg)
I have a great appreciation for the outdoors and get out at every opportunity. I am a three-season, learning to be a four-season backpacker and year-round hiker. Currently, my trips are two to three days long as well as an annual week-long trip. I utilize the abundant trail shelters in my locale and pack a backup tarp-tent. I like to cover big distances while still taking in the views. I have lightweight leanings but function and reliability are the priority. I mostly travel woodland mountain terrain but enjoy hiking beautiful trails anywhere.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Cascade Designs, Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2017
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.cascadedesigns.com
Made in the USA of US and imported parts
MSRP: US$ 239.95
Size Available: Length 22 and 25 in (56 and 63.5 cm) / Width: 8 in (20 cm)
Size Tested: 25 in (63.5 cm) Length
Specs for Tested Size:
Listed Weight: 4 lbs 9 oz (2.04 kg) per pair
Measured Weight: 4 lbs 9 oz (2.04 kg) per pair
Footwear Size Range: US 4.5 W - 14 W (EU 35 - 36)
My Shoe Size: US Men's 9
Load Capacity: 120 - 220 lbs (54 - 100 kg)
*with addition of optional separately sold tails an extra 60 lbs (27 kg) of capacity is possible
The company website list the "gait" and unisex / average width
Revo Ascent Features
PossiLock AT Bindings
Ergo Televators heel lifts
The PosiLock AT bindings are MSR's ultimate foot security two-piece, independently conforming bindings providing a secure and freeze-resistant attachment to any footwear.
Ergo Televators flip up with a pull of a pole grip and aid in uphill efficiency by reducing fatigue and increase traction on the steeps with an ergonomic design.
The durable injection-molded plastic ExoTract deck withstands abusive conditions, plus adds unique torsional flex.
DTX crampons made of durable steel offer advanced traction, especially on traverses in junction with aggressive perimeter teeth.
The Revo Ascents allow all-condition adaptability with add-on modular floatation tails provide the maneuverability of a smaller, primary snowshoe with the added, on-demand floatation of optional, 5 in (13 cm) tails. Please note the floatation tails are sold separately and not part of this test series.
The Revo Ascent snowshoes arrived secured together with two large elastic bands. The bottoms facing together and straps of the bindings fastened the snowshoes look rather streamline. One of the shoes had an informational card attached to it. Separating the shoes the first thing I notice is their color pattern. The green deck, gray metal side, black tips and red crampons looks sharp with a nice complement and contrast.
The Ascents are made of a combination of steel and plastics. The deck is made of injection-molded plastic. The underside of the deck has ridges for both traction and directional control. The deck is attached with rivets to a steel frame running along the side of the deck. The frame has various shaped teeth to provide traction. The crampon is made of steel and attaches to the frame with two cotter pins. The crampon is attached to the binding with rivets. The binding is made of a few different flexible plastics. At the top, center of each binding is a circle labeled with an "L" or "R" and both indicate positioning of the foot with "ball of foot here". When the snowshoe is under the correct foot the binding straps are on the outer side of the foot. The binding hooks with a unique shape are on the inner side. There is also a clip on the strap to secure excess strap after fastening. The heel lift is a thin piece of steel that hinges through the frame. There is a small notch cut into the frame to hold the heel lift in place when in the up position.
All components and materials look robust and of good quality. The construction and assembly looks well executed and sturdy. There are no defects, scratches or rough edges. All parts have a nice finish and coordinated look.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
The informational card was attached to the snowshoe with a small piece of hook and loop tape. The front of the card lists the model, size and intended user's gender. The four main features (previously mentioned) of the snowshoe are briefly described as well. Pulling down on the front of the card unfolds origami style revealing more information. Inside are recommended sizing and load capacities, further feature descriptions and snowshoe weights. On the back of the card are basic winter safety tips, web address for avalanche information and MSR company contact information. Glued to the back of the card is a piece of paper with instructions for use of the bindings and heel lift. The photo to the right shows the Televator heel lift in the up, in use position.
All the information and instructions provided are clear, easy to read and understand.
TRYING IT OUT
Although I am eagerly awaiting it, it is just a little too early here for snow. So the best I could do was strap up the bindings and stand in the Revo Ascents on the bare grass. The bindings fasten easily and feel secure on my boots. I took a few standing in place steps. The hinge of the snowshoe moves smoothly and my feet feel comfortable in the bindings. Removing the snowshoes is just as easy as getting them on. The strap and hook system is simple and secure. The Ascents feel solid under my feet.
The MSR Revo Ascent snowshoes look like well-designed and made snowshoes. They have an appealing style and color scheme while maintaining an aggressive snow traction appearance. They fit my boots nicely, are easy to get on and off and feel comfortable when the bindings are secured. I like that the bottoms fit together closely and the bindings flatten out. I check for this when thinking of attaching snowshoes to my pack. The Ascents look like they will attach with a slim profile, although I hope they will be on my feet more than on my back. As I write this the temperature is steadily falling below freezing, so I am looking forward to getting the Revo Ascents out on some fresh snow very soon.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Mt. Hancock Loop - Lincoln, New Hampshire
Elevation - 2200 to 4420 ft (670 to 1347 m)
Pack Weight - 30 lb (14 kg)
Distance and Conditions - 9.8 mi (15.8 km) at 10 F (-12C) and very windy higher up
Greeley Pond - Lincoln, New Hampshire
Elevation - 1940 to 2245 (591 to 684 m)
Pack Weight - 20 lb (9 kg)
Distance and Conditions - 4.5 mi (7.2 km) at 20 F (-7 C) with 10 in (25 cm) of fresh snow and falling heavily
Storrs Pond - Hanover, New Hampshire,
Elevation - 525 to 400 ft (160 to 120 m)
Pack Weight - 15 lb (7 kg)
Distance and Conditions - 4 mi (6.4 km) at 0 F (-18 C) with 6 in (15 cm) of fresh, powdery snow
Girl Brook - Hanover, New Hampshire
Elevation - 530 to 390 ft (162 to 120 m)
Pack weight 10 lbs (4.5 kg).
Distance and Conditions - 6 mi (9.5 km) at -10 F (-23 C) clear and calm under a full moon with 18 in (45 cm) of old snow
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
So far this test series the Revos and I have seen great hikes, plentiful snow, negative degree temps and an amazing full moon. I learned something new about the Revos on each hike as the conditions and terrain provide new experiences and challenges. The purpose of a snowshoe seems simple enough, walking through snow. However I find just as each snowfall is different the little details in the snowshoe make a difference too.
After the first big snowfall of the season I was stoked. So I headed north to the higher mountains where higher snow totals were forecasted. Unfortunately the storm didn't fully make it over to the hike I chose. There was a light cover of snow until reaching the ridgeline where there was about 8 in (20.3 cm) of snow. The Revos saw about 2 mi (3.2 km) of action otherwise they remained strapped to the sides of my pack. But this is one of the little details I noticed, their low profile and flexible bindings made lashing the Revos easy and secure.
The next snow storm more than made up for the first. There was a good 10 in (25 cm) of fluffy stuff on the ground. There was enough snow falling that our incoming tracks were completely covered on our way back out. Here I found the Revos provided good flotation and maneuverablity. After about an hour or two a couple of the straps must have stretched as they felt loose. One pull to each strap tightened them up by one hole in the strap and we were off again. There were several frozen and open streams to cross as well as downed trees and partially covered puncheons. I was able to make it over, down, up or around all obstacles without getting a snowshoe tangled. Moving through these spots required some unusual foot positioning. Throughout the hike the bindings remained comfortable and secure.
It's also interesting where I came to learn about certain features. After hiking a remote wilderness pond and a decent size mountain I first used the Revo Televators hiking basically in my backyard. But that's part of what makes adventure for me, not necessarily where it is but what it is. The area is a big drainage for a nearby river. There are many fingerlike ridges with steep gullies in between. I detoured off the trails and bushwhacked through this up and down twisting area over fresh snow. Traveling up, down and across these steep sections the Revos provide excellent traction. The perimeter teeth and crampons aggressively bite into the snow and allow for very stable footing. The Televators easily move to the up position with the flick of a hiking pole. The Televators look like a thin piece of metal that would cut into the bottom of a boot. However they are very well positioned under the heel and are very comfortable. The Televators drastically decrease the effort of moving up steep terrain. They then just as easily flip back down with the assistance of a hiking pole. In lieu of poles the televators can be moved by bending down and using my hand as well.
Then there was the full moon hike that didn't see great snow conditions but instead very cold temperature. No headlamp was needed as the sky was clear and the moon made the snow almost glow. The Revos handle the snow and terrain just fine. But the combination of eight straps and -10 F (-23 C) were a challenge to my fingers. The straps where still workable but rather rigid. I could not manipulate the straps in my thick mitten. I swapped them out for midwieght gloves that I had no problems with previously. I was able to properly strap the bindings this time as well but it took more effort and my fingers became rather cold. Once the snowshoes where secure and I put my extreme weather mitts back on, I got a move on and warmed up. The Revos and bindings performed nicely the rest of the hike and the landscape was well worth the nippy fingers!
After each hike with the Revo snowshoes I came away with an appreciation of a new feature. These snowshoes worked well for me in all conditions and terrain encountered. The super low temperatures gave my fingers and binding straps minor trouble but almost everything becomes more difficult at such temps. The Revos are easy to carry externally on my pack. They maintain excellent traction and flotation. The bindings are easy and comfortable. The Televators are simple yet extremely functional. All these things come together to make for a highly capable snowshoe. I am excited to seek out the best (or worse depending on one's opinion) of the winter conditions to come with the Revo snowshoes.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Day Hike at Velvet Rocks - Hanover, New Hampshire
Distance and Elevation - 8 mi (13 km) from 525 to 1100 ft (160 to 335 m)
Pack Weight - 30 lb (13.5 kg)
Temperature and Conditions - 34 F (1 C) with 10 in (25 cm) of soft, mash potato snow
Day Hike at Balch Hill - Hanover, New Hampshire
Distance and Elevation - 6 mi (9 km) from 525 to 950 ft (160 to 290 m)
Pack Weight - 30 lb (13.5 kg)
Temperature and Conditions - 20 F (-6 C) clear and calm with 18 in (46 cm) of fresh powdery snow
Overnight Hike at Smarts Mountain - Lyme, New Hampshire
Distance and Elevation - 8 mi (13 km) from 1100 to 3238 ft (335 to 987 m)
Pack Weight - 25 lb (11 kg)
Temperature and Conditions - 15 to 2 F (-9 to -16C) clear with light breeze, soft snow and broken trail atop fresh snow
Overnight Hike at Zealand Hut via Mt Hale - Bethlehem, New Hampshire
Distance and Elevation - 15 mi (24 km) from 1450 to 4055 ft (442 to 1236 m)
Pack Weight - 30 lb (13.5 kg)
Temperature and Conditions - 18 to 5 F (-8 to -15 C) with light snow and gusty winds, variable snow pack
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
Well the worst conditions for the balance of winter in my area meant moderate temperatures and three substantial snowstorms in three weeks time. This made for very amazing winter conditions and snowshoeing! I was able to get out on four more hikes. Two "practice" hikes, day hikes where I carried my full winter overnight pack weight and two overnight hikes. While pack weights were similar the snow conditions varied. We had a "dry" spell, and warm up/thaw and then normal temperatures and back to back snowstorms. Each storm delivered a different type of snow from fluffy, powder to heavy, wet to perfect soft snow.
The Revos proved to be capable in all conditions. They continued to provided great traction, flotation and comfort on all hikes. Even on a section of trail that cut across the grade of the hill they did well. I was able to cut and hold each step I made into the snow. The Revos were most impressive on steep uphill sections. Applying all my weight to a shoe would lock it there without sliding back. Additionally on the few spots of ice and very hard snow I was able to kick in the toe points of the crampons and step up confidently. The last two hikes saw several long uphill sections. The Televators were great here and switching them up and down was an easy flick with a hiking pole. On downhill sections I found the Revos just as capable. Depending on the pitch and length of the downhill section I could either apply pressure to the front to dig in and grip or I could lean back on the tails and slide. The downhill slide feels almost like a cross country ski stride. This made for a smooth and fast movement downhill. The tails are long enough and strong enough to allow a glissade like maneuver.
The only mild negative I have for the Revos which my hiking partners agreed with is that they make a "clapping" noise on flat, packed snow. Not sure if this was due to my stride or the snowshoes. Either way the repetitive "thwonk" sound on a 6 mi (9 km) snow covered road walk grated on me.
As for wear and tear I have only two things to report. One is minor scratches to the underside of the plastic decking from stepping on rocks hidden under snow or at water crossings. The other is scratches to the front instep of both shoes on the metal frame and plastic decking. My guess here is that I don't walk with a wide enough stance and stepped on the trailing shoe with the leading one. I noticed this a few times on more difficult sections with turns around rocks and tree or steps over waterways and stomping out a spot for my tent. But contact between the shoes in these instances didn't feel like what the tips of the shoes look like. Either way this is a cosmetic thing and the Revos still performed just as well as always.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.
The MSR Revo Ascent snowshoes are well made, comfortable, durable and aggressive. They provided very good traction in all conditions encountered. I found only two minor issues that presented in very specific situations. All in all I am nothing but happy with my experience with the Revos. Further they played a major role in making this winter hiking season very enjoyable. At the time of writing this report yet another nor'easter is forecasted for my region. While many are bemoaning the forecast I am gladly awaiting it with the Revos at the ready. If the storm doesn't materialize I will be reaching for the Revos when the snow comes again next winter.
This concludes my Long-Term Report. I would like to send my thanks to Cascade Designs, Inc. and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the MSR Revo Ascent snowshoes.
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