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Reviews > Snow Gear > Snowshoes > MSR Revo Explore Snowshoes > Test Report by Bob Sanders

MSR Revo Snowshoes

MSR Revo Explore Snowshoes

Test Series by Bob Sanders
Initial Report: December 4, 2015
Field Report: February16, 2016
Long Term Report: April 19, 2016

PERSONAL INFORMATION
Name: Bob Sanders BobBackpacking Background: I went on my first backpacking trip as a Boy Scout at the age of 16. Over the years I have hiked the Wonderland Trail in Washington and section hiked parts of the Florida Trail, Appalachian Trail, Colorado Trail and 740 mi (1191 km) of the Pacific Crest Trail. I continue to backpack and hike year round in the Colorado mountains. I have evolved from a heavyweight backpacker to a lightweight backpacker and sometimes reach ultralight weights. My three day winter/spring solo adventures (using a tent) have me hovering around a 15 lb (6.8 kg) base weight.
Age: 58
Gender: Male
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight: 210 lb (95 kg)
Email: sherpabob(at)mac(dot)com
Location: Rollinsville, Colorado USA

INITIAL REPORT

December 4, 2015

PRODUCT INFORMATION
Manufacturer: Cascade Designs, Inc.
Manufacturer's URL:
www.cascadedesigns.com
Year of Manufacture:
2015
Made in:
USA
MSRP:
$199.95 US
Listed Weight per pair from Website:
4 lbs 2 oz (1.88 kg)
Measured Weight: 4 lbs 4 oz (1.92 kg)
Sizes available:
22 in (56 cm) and 25 in (64 cm)
Size Tested:
25 in (64 cm)
Colors available: Black and orange
Color Tested:
Orange

MSR Revo Snowshoes showing packaging


Product Description:

The retail packaging for the MSR Revo Explore Snowshoes (moving forward will be referred to as Revo's) is really quite nice. The Revo's are stacked compactly and are secured with 2 wide thick rubber bands. I will be using these to store the Revo's after the test. Included were backcountry safety tips and instructions. An extra set of longer heal straps were attached to the frame.

Unlike many snowshoes on the market the Revo's are constructed from a rigid, flat, toothed, vertical metal frame riveted to a molded plastic decking. The underside of the decking has ridges both horizontally and vertically molded into the plastic for traction moving forward and for keeping the snowshoe from moving sideways or downhill while traversing. The metal frame has traction teeth cut into the side rails. Under the ball of the foot is a cross rail attached to the side rails with rivets. It too has substantial traction teeth cut into it. The foot plate and HyperLink Binding is attached to and pivots on this cross rail.

Revo Snowshoe
MSR Revo Explore Snowshoe with two strap Hyperlink Binding

The HyperLink Binding system consists of two straps, one for the toe and one for the heal, a plastic cradle that wraps up each side of the boot all riveted to a metal base plate with an aggressive toe crampon. The two straps are secured and adjusted with a ratchet system. The system seems quite simple. Insert strap, pull up on the silver ratchet bar to tighten, push down on the two red release levers to loosen or remove strap.

Hyperlink Binding System
Hyperlink Binding System


Closeup of HyperLink Ratchet system
Closeup of HyperLink ratchet system on heal strap

Also included on the deck are Ergo Televator heal lifts. These simple bars can be pulled up and engaged with the grip end of a hiking or ski pole. These heal lifts are used when going up a steep incline. By elevating your heal they keep your foot more level and reduce calf fatigue on extended climbs.

Ergo Televator heal lifts
Ergo Televator heal lifts

Initial Impressions:

First I placed the ball of my foot on the toe plate, attached and adjusted the toe strap. I just snugged up the strap with the silver lever without over tightening. I figured I could readjust later after walking around a bit. I then tightened the heal strap using the silver lever. This whole process was faster and a lot simpler than any other snowshoe binding I have ever used. The entire binding and cradle seemed quite sturdy and robust. I walked around for 20 minutes and I never felt the bindings slip or felt the need to tighten or readjust the straps. Upon taking off the snowshoes I can leave the back strap attached and only loosen and remove the front strap. I was wearing thin liner gloves and pressing the two red levers was easy and with a little tension on the strap with my other hand the strap slid right out.

While walking around I never felt the binding loosen or my foot slide within the binding. The snow was not very deep so flotation was adequate and the Revo's tracked well and the traction was excellent. I am looking forward to giving these a good workout on deeper snow and steeper slopes.

Summary:

The Revo snowshoes are well made, sturdy with excellent traction and the simplest and fastest bindings I have ever used.



FIELD REPORT

February 16, 2016


Testing locations and conditions:

Day Hikes (10): Hikes are 4 mi (6.4 km) in the surrounding foothills near my home. I pretty much take the same route every trip. Elevation ranged between 7500 to 9500 ft (2286 to 2896 m) Temperatures ran between 25 and 45 F (-4 and 7 C) during the day of the hike. Snow fall has ranged between 18 in (46 cm) of fresh powder and hard packed/icy trails.

Backpacking Trip: Drove up to Lefthand Reservoir for a quick overnighter. Total hiking distance was 4 mi (6.4 km). Elevation was 10,666 feet (3,251 m). Temperatures ran between 20 and 40 F (-7 and 4 C) during the day while I hiked. Snow conditions were 24 in (61 cm) snow pack base with 2 in (5 cm) of powder on top.

Snowshowing

Performance:

The Revo snowshoes have been a joy to use. These snowshoes originally came with a set of longer straps that can be changed out to fit larger boots. I have decided to swap out the front straps. I wear a size 11 boot and being insulated the front toe area is quite large. The back straps are just fine and once set I have left them alone. Only the front straps need to be undone to remove the snowshoes. Makes it real easy when putting the snowshoes on. I just place my boot into the binding, slide my foot back as far as it will go, slide the front strap into the ratchet system, pull up on the chrome lever 3 or 4 times until the binding is snug around my boot. Done! Very simple and secure. Taking them off is just as simple. Push down on the two red levers, pull up on the strap, remove it completely from the ratchet and step out of the snowshoe.

While hiking in 18 in (46 cm) of fresh powder I did sink in about 6-8 in (15-20 cm). This is not bad considering I am at the top end of the load limit for these snowshoes — 120 - 220 lbs (54-100 kg). When you sink that deep the snowshoes pick up quite a bit of snow on top with each step.This only happened with fresh powder. With wet heavy snow I did get some accumulation on the bottom. Mostly under the heal area. Didn't seem to affect traction, just added weight to each step.

Sinking in the snow


The Revo's have great traction and with teeth all the way around the perimeter they get a bite on anything I walk on including iced over dead fall trees. Going uphill the traction was excellent. The front crampon is quite large and feels secure going uphill.

I did have an opportunity to use the Televator heal lifts while climbing uphill on several of my hikes. They help quite a bit to keep your foot level which reduces fatigue in the calf muscles. They were easy to pull up with the grip tip of a hiking pole. Getting the Televator heal lifts to go down was more of a challenge. A couple of times I needed to kneel down and push them down with a gloved hand. I think I just need more practice using my poles.

The bindings seem to fit my boots pretty well with no pressure points from over tightening. I seem to get them nice and snug right at the beginning and don't have to mess with them the rest of the hike.

The flexible cradle has worked well while traversing steep slopes.

Summary:

These are turning out to be the best snowshoes I have ever owned. The other two pair I own (different brands) all have something about them I don't care for.

Pros: Excellent traction and easy to use bindings
Cons: Sink quite a bit in deep powder (Maybe I just need to loose some more weight)


LONG TERM REPORT

April 19, 2016


Testing locations and conditions:

Day Hikes (6): Hikes are 4 mi (6.4 km) in the surrounding foothills near my home. Same route every trip. Elevation ranged between 7500 to 9500 ft (2286 to 2896 m) Temperatures ran between 25 and 45 F (-4 and 7 C) during the day of the hike. Snow fall has ranged between 24 in (61 cm) of fresh powder and hard packed/icy trails.

Flotation
Flotation in 24 in (61 cm) of fresh powder. Sinking 6 to 8 in (15 to 20 cm)

Conclusion:

These snowshoes have been a joy to use. We get quite a bit of snow where I live and just going to the wood pile sometimes needs snowshoes. I have gotten a lot of use from the Revo's and they have never let me down. From short trips around the property to hikes in the surrounding hills.

I have tried them with a wide selection of footwear. Everything from heavy duty, winter pack boots to hiking boots, even a pair of tennis shoes for a quick trip to gather wood. The regular straps worked fine for smaller shoes and boots but I did switch over to the longer straps when I wore the winter pack boots. I have left the longer straps on the front bindings and the extra length doesn't seem to get in the way when I wear smaller footwear.

Using the bindings on different sized shoes has been a breeze. I have set the rear bindings for length and have pretty much left them alone. I lay the shoes on the ground in front of me, step into the binding, push my heal all the way back into the heal cradle, pull up on the rear strap so it sits a little higher on my heal, push the front strap into the HyperLink ratchet, pull up on the chrome lever several times until the front strap is snug across the top of my boot or shoe. Every once in a while if I've been on some rough terrain I will need to loosen the front strap, readjust my boot and retighten the strap.

Removing the snowshoes has been just as easy. Push the two red levers on the ratchet system, the strap will loosen, I stick my finger under the strap, keep pressing the two levers and strap pulls right out and I step out of the snowshoe.

My feeling about the flotation is that it is good but not great. I still sink in quite a bit in fresh powder. I may look into purchasing the extension tails for these Revo's. Should help with better flotation in deep powder. I really like the idea and versatility of adding on a bit of extra length when I need it and removing the tails, saving some weight when I don't need them.

Overall these snowshoes have been great and will continue to be ones I use in the future. My other snowshoes will be retired and saved for when guests need a pair. Best bindings I have ever used.

My pros and cons remain the same as my Field report.


I would like to thank BackpackGearTest.org and Cascade Designs for the opportunity to test these snowshoes.




Read more reviews of MSR gear
Read more gear reviews by Bob Sanders

Reviews > Snow Gear > Snowshoes > MSR Revo Explore Snowshoes > Test Report by Bob Sanders



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