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Reviews > Snow Gear > Snowshoes > Tubbs Mountaineer Snowshoes > Test Report by Leesa Joiner

Tubbs
Mountaineer Snowshoes
Test Series by Leesa Joiner


Initial Report
January 25, 2008

Field Report
April 28, 2008


Long Term Report
June 10, 2008


Personal Information:
Leesa Joiner 
leesaj@gmail.com
Southwestern Maine
46 yrs                                                                    
Female
5'7" (1.7 m)
160 lb (73 kg)


Background:
     My outdoor experiences include trips varying in length from one-day hikes to two-week trips.  Most involve my three children. While my style isn't as 'high adventure' as some, I do enjoy the time we spend outdoors.   My load used to be HEAVY - think pack mule.  Now that the kids carry their own gear, plus the two oldest help carry the food, etc, my load is lighter.  I go for durability over weight when selecting gear.
    While outdoors, I spend time hiking, geocaching, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and camping. I spend almost as much time outdoors during the winter as I do during the summer.  

INITIAL REPORT

Product Information:
Manufacturer: Tubbs Snowshoe Company
Product: Mountaineer Snowshoe (Women's Size 25)
URL: http://www.tubbssnowshoes.com/
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Advertised Size: 8 in x 25 in (20x 64 cm)
Advertised Weight: 4.4 lb (2 kg)
Measured Size: 8 in x 25 in (20x 64 cm)
Advertised Weight: 4.8 lb (3 kg)
MSRP: $249.99 (US)

Product Description:
My initial impression of these snowshoes is: Wow, they are light!  The bindings are asymmetric, and are marked for left and right foot.   The bindings straps start at the front toe area of the snowsTubbs labeledhoe, with one piece on the right, and a separate piece on the left, both straps are riveted to a plastic piece that is attached to the base of the snowshoe.  The straps wrap down and then back up to meet together at the top of the foot, where they can be adjusted for a custom fit.  The heal strap, which is a urethane material, also adjusts.  The decking is attached to the frame with rivets.  The frame itself appears to be well constructed.  


   
From the manufacturer:
The Mountaineers are a very light, deep powder snowshoe.  They feature a 'Superlite 7000' frame, steel teeth crampons for superior traction, and a Cinch Pull for ease of entry and exit.

FRAME/DECK
Strong and lightweight, the women's specific Momentum SuperLite 7000TM frame has a narrower nose and tapered tail for medial clearance and ease of use.

ARTICULATION
NEW! RII pivot system absorbs shock and enables crampons to grip deeply.

BINDING
ActiveFit+TM binding fits any women's boot to size 11. Asymmetric (L/R) design with enhanced Cinch Pull for ease of entry/exit. New ActiveLiftTM heel lift for climbing.

CRAMPON
Deep-biting, stainless steel teeth in the ViperTM/PythonTM crampon system provide unsurpassed traction in ascent, descent and sidehill traverse.

Planned Use:
Upcoming outings will involve a lot of snowshoeing - both day trips, and at least two long weekend trips.   I will be heading out for a three day trip to New Hampshire in early February.  The temperature during the day is expected to be in the freezing range, with night temperatures well below freezing.   Most of the terrain we snowshoe on is hilly, but not overly steep or mountainous.  I can't predict the type of snow cover, but they have had quite a bit of new snow, so I am not expecting too many snow packed trails.   Before this trip, I plan on using the snowshoes on a day trip or two.

My day trips consist of using the local area to put in a few miles (km).   Most weekends I can get out at least 3-5 hours.  My typical trips are either on designated trails, or unmarked areas.   One of my favorites is going with my family ice fishing. While some fish, others put on the snowshoes and go exploring.  Most of the lakes we use for ice fishing are surrounded by woods and trails.  We meet back for lunch and then set out again to snowshoe some more.   We have had some very good snowfall this year - total so far is 68 in (1.5 m) with very little melt off.

During the next few months, I plan on using the snowshoes as much as possible - snowshoeing is my favorite winter exercise. Great for keeping my weight in check, and keeping the cobwebs from forming in my head.  I am curious to see how they hold up - the weight is very surprising.  When I picked up the box, I never thought there were two snowshoes in the box.  They appear well made, and the bindings are all securely attached.  The crampons are rugged and have a sharp edge.

While snowshoeing,  I will be watching for structural durability and signs of wear.   In particular, I am interested in how the bindings hold up, and if the rivets come out of the bindings or decking.   One of the other areas I will watch are the crampons - will they hold snow?  Will they remain sharp and prevent slippage on icy spots?

Performance will be my primary area of interest though - how much grip do I have on inclines?  What is the flotation like? These snowshoes have a smaller footprint than some I have used.  How do they perform on different types of snow?  Are they easy on the legs, or do I become fatigued easily?   I wonder about snow being thrown by the tail onto the backs of my legs.  I am interested in how they work climbing, and also descending.  Can I walk downhill without sliding?    Only testing will answer these questions, and reveal any other areas that might be a concern.  I will be interested in seeing how the pivot system works - and if it truly absorbs shock.  

The above photo is taken from the Tubbs website.

Field Report
April 28, 2008

Since receiving the Tubbs snowshoes, I have used them on more than 10 occasions.  Most were local trips that were between 3 and 10 miles (5 - 16 km) in length.  I also had the chance to use them in Utah for a very short trip.  

The area of Maine where I live received quite a bit of snow this year - over 120 in (3 m).  While that is not a record, the fact that it didn't melt off very quickly made it a very snowy winter. There is still enough snow in the woods to snowshoe.   I was able to get out quite a bit this past season and get some exercise.  Which is good, because it kept cabin fever from setting in too quickly.   My snowshoeing trips within New England were all at temperatures between 7 and 25 degrees F (14 - 4 C), with varying amounts of wind.  Two of the days were very windy and bitterly cold, on the other days there wasn't much more than  a slight breeze.  The elevation level at all times was below 2000  F.    

For most of my snowshoeing adventures, I found the snowshoes very comfortable and easy to wear.  They slide on easily, and on snow that is packed at all they allow easy movement.  When walking on powdery snow, they are 'ok' at maintaining flotation.  I found that I would sink in occasionally, but not excessively.  One feature that I particularly liked is how easy it is to adjust the bindings.  The heal strap holds my foot securely in place, and the binding adjustment on the top of the foot area is easy to adjust to hold my foot comfortably.  

Using the snowshoes on hard packed, icy areas worked out well.  The crampons worked very well.  I didn't slip or slide, and felt comfortable that I could move at an adequate pace.    
While doing some light climbing I was able to try out the 'Active Lift' heel elevator.  It worked fine once in place, but was awkward for me to engage and disengage.  Not something I could do with gloves on, and even barehanded it was tough.  I did try it while the shoes were off and had no problem maneuvering it.   I did find that using the Active Lift allowed me to climb without feeling much leg strain.  

I also felt that the smaller footprint and lighter weight of these snowshoes helped me be able to go further without tiring as quickly.   I am used to much larger, heavier snowshoes and definitely noticed a positive difference.  

I am impressed with how well the snowshoes have held up.  They have very few visible signs of wear, even after quite a bit of use, and going through the airlines baggage process twice.  They actually packed fairly easily in my suitcase.  I just used the two little plastic clips they provided, and hooked them together with the bottoms facing each other.  They fit in my bag crossway, and I stuffed socks and other small items underneath.  

Most of my snowshoeing was done in temperatures below freezing, except for the trip to Utah. That trip the temperatures were about 50 F (10 C), with clear, sunny skies and no wind.  The elevation was over 8000 F (2438 M) It was absolutely beautiful.  Unfortunately, it was a very short trip.  I never realized how quickly elevation can get to a person.  I kept blaming the snowshoes for my lack of coordination, and repeatedly tried to adjust them.  Next time I have the chance for an adventure out there, I will be sure I am there for more than an hour before I try doing anything.

On my trips within Maine and New Hampshire, I found the snowshoes preformed very well in temperatures that were cold and at times very windy.  Most of the snow was pretty granular due to the cold.  I was able to use them on some light, fluffy snow early in the season, and found they worked well, although they didn't 'float' as well on the fluff.    


Overall, the Tubbs Mountaineers have preformed very well.  I like that they are easy to put on and take off and how lightweight they are.  The traction they provide is reassuring when moving across frozen patches.    I am not as thrilled with the Active Lift.  Once engaged it works well, but I find moving the bar into place is awkward while the snowshoes are on my feet.  

Long Term Report

Summary

Unfortunately, I have not had the opportunity to wear the Tubbs since the end of April, when I submitted my Field Report. The last of our snow melted at that time. We had a great winter for snow this year, and I was able to use my snowshoes on more than 10 occasions, in a wide variety of conditions as explained in my Field Report.  Besides snowshoeing in Maine and New Hampshire, I got to use them for a very quick trip in Utah.  

The Tubbs are very well made, and show very little wear.  The little wear that is evident is mostly confined to scratches on the aluminum frames.  These are just surface marks though.   I did find that the bindings were easier to adjust as they had more use.  I still found the Active Lift to be difficult to use - but that could be due to my lack of coordination more than a problem with the lifts.

Overall, I am very pleased with the Mountaineers.   I plan on continuing to use the Tubbs next winter and hope to report more on their long term use then.  

Strengths:
Lightweight - causes less leg fatigue
Easy to put on and take off - even with cold or gloved hands
Durable - little wear to the snowshoes

Weakness:
Active Lift - difficult to engage and release while wearing the shoes

My thanks to Tubbs and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test these great snowshoes.



Read more reviews of Tubbs gear
Read more gear reviews by Leesa Joiner

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