TUBBS ALTITUDE SNOWSHOES
BY NANCY GRIFFITH
October 21, 2008
5' 6" (1.68 m)
132 lb (60.00 kg)
Women's 8 (US)
My outdoor experience began in high school with involvement in a local canoeing/camping group called Canoe Trails. The culmination was a 10-day canoe voyage through the Quebec wilds. I've been backpacking since my college days in Pennsylvania, then for years in Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and now mostly in the Sierra Nevada of California. Most of my trips are section hikes or loops from a few days to a week. I mostly backpack in the summer and fall and carry a light to mid-weight load.
Photo courtesy of Tubbs
Year of Manufacture: 2006
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.tubbssnowshoes.com
Listed Weight: 3.1 lb (1.4 kg)
Measured Weight: 4 lb 3 oz (1.9 kg)
Model/Size: Altitude 21W (W indicates Women's)
Capacity: 80 - 150 lb (36 - 68 kg)
Dimensions: 8 in x 21 in (20 cm x 53 cm)
Other model/sizes available: 25W, 25, 30, 36
Women's binding fits shoe/boot sizes 5-10
Men's binding fits shoe/boot sizes 7-13
The Tubbs Altitude 21 snowshoes have a frame of 6063 Easton aluminum with NexTec/DuraTec deck material which is a nylon copolymer with PVC coating. The decking is wrapped over the frame and riveted to itself in 12 locations. There is a plastic wear plate on top at the heel location.
The foot plate pivots through the decking on a fully-rotating pivot. The SureTrac crampons are stainless steel. The front crampons are on the articulating foot plate and have a split claw design with four teeth toward the front and four toward the back. The rear crampons are at the heel location with three teeth on either side.
Photo courtesy of Tubbs
The bindings combine a soft inner padding with a supportive outer shell in what they call the 'Bear Hug' binding system. This means that they wrap around the boot and the padding is supposed to reduce any pressure points on the foot. The beauty of the system is that once it is adjusted correctly, it only takes a simple lifting and sliding of the buckle to loosen the strap and get my foot out. The adjustment is never disturbed. So, it makes them really easy to put on and take off even in frozen conditions even while wearing gloves. The photos show the steps of hooking and locking the buckle in place without touching the ratcheting adjustment.
The product tag includes information on how to properly customize the fit. I won't copy it here, but I will explain what I do. First of all, at home, I position my foot such that the ball of my foot is over the pivot point. Then I wrap the binding over the front of my foot, adjust the front strap and lock the cam buckle by pressing it down until it clicks into place. Then I tighten the heel strap by simply pushing it in evenly on both sides keeping the oval centered on the heel.
I have used the Tubbs Altitude 21 snowshoes on 8 day trips in the Sierra Nevada (California) from 4,000 to 9,000 ft (1,220 to 2,740 m) elevation at temperatures from 25 to 40 F (-4 to 4 C). Conditions were usually deep snow but there were times in the early season where snow thinned to barely covering the ground in spots. One trip was on groomed trails in Yosemite National Park, but all others were either on forest roads or cross-country. Most hikes were 2 - 4 miles (3 - 6 km) in length. I wore my Columbia Bugabootoo winter boots with these snowshoes on every trip.
Multiple times, I attempted to traverse steep slopes both uphill, downhill and on sidehills and found the traction to be superior. Although I occasionally felt nervous, the snowshoes held well and did not let me down (no pun intended).
The Sierra Nevada are known for heavy wet snow (referred to as Sierra Cement) and occasionally the crampons get packed with snow that does not slip off with each step. It feels as if I'm walking with softballs below the balls of my feet. When this happens, I stop and knock off the packed snow. I have been able to knock off the snow by hitting the edge of the snowshoe on something hard or by pushing the snow with the end of my pole. It seems reasonable for this to happen in this type of snow and I haven't found it to be a huge problem since I can remove it fairly easily.
The durability of these snowshoes seems great. They show very little sign of wear other than where I have scratched them slightly on rocks. I particularly like that the aluminum frame is not coated so that any scratches can't be seen very easily.
With a full day pack of 10 - 15 lb (4.5 - 6.8 kg), I am approaching the upper end of the weight capacity for the 21W size. However, I have been very satisfied with the flotation. I rarely feel that I am sinking in too much. Plus I love the smaller size and lighter weight of the 21W. The light weight makes long treks more enjoyable. My gait isn't awkwardly changed due to the width of the shoe.
I am completely satisfied with the Tubbs Altitude 21W showshoes. The light weight makes them comfortable to hike in. My favorite feature is the binding system which allows me to make a perfect adjustment once and then not have to disturb that adjustment to remove the snowshoes. They provide super traction even on steep slopes.
I also liked Tubbs' website because it helped walk through finding the best snowshoe for me. I wasn't an expert when I bought them, so I was happy that it asks the pertinent questions to lead to making the right choice.
THINGS I LIKE
Set-it-once binding system
THINGS I DON'T LIKE
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
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