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Reviews > Snow Gear > Snowshoes > Tubbs Venture Series Snowshoes > Owner Review by Kurt Papke

Tubbs Venture Snowshoes - Owner Review

Boots

Review date: February 24, 2009

Tester Biographical Information

Name
Kurt Papke
Age
55
Gender
Male
Height
6' 4" (193 cm)
Weight
220 lbs (100 kg)
Shoe size
US 12 to 12 1/2, though I sometimes wear a size 13 Winter boot to accommodate heavy socks
Email address
kwpapke at gmail dot com
City, State, Country Minneapolis, Minnesota USA

Backpacking Background: mostly in Minnesota and Oregon - all of the Superior Hiking Trail and Border Route, Isle Royale, dayhiking and backpacking in the Columbia River gorge.  Extensive dayhiking in Utah, Colorado and Oregon.  Mostly Spring/Fall season hiker, but easing into more cold-weather/Winter snowshoe backpacking the last few years.

Product Description

label

Product Information
Manufacturer
Tubbs Snowshoes
Manufacturer website
http://www.tubbssnowshoes.com/
Year Manufactured
2007
Size tested/used
Men's 30
Available in sizes 25, 30, 36
Color tested/used
Black/gray (only one color available)
MSRP
N/A
Weight (listed)
5.1 lbs (2.3 kg)
Weight (measured)
4.7 lbs (2.13 kg)

The Tubbs Venture series of snowshoes are a member of their "Snow and Terrain" line, designed for "Packed and powder snow, moderate to steep slopes".  They have an aluminum tubing frame with plastic/vinyl decking.
hinge
The foot bed binding has a rotating hinge as shown in the above photo.  This is one of the main reasons I selected these shoes, as I wanted something more reliable than a twisting strap that could fatigue and break in the field.  This design is reputed by the manufacturer to minimize energy expenditure.  The foot bed moves effortlessly on the hinge: when I step over obstacles, the snowshoe always drops its tail immediately which prevents the toe from catching on the obstacle.

Binding
The binding has a nice "Control Wing" design as shown in the above photo.  To tighten the binding I pull with two hands on the gray straps.  To loosen for exit, I pull with one hand on the yellow "Cinch Pull".  This system has worked well for me.  The binding design is asymmetrical, in that there is a show for right and left foot.  The small "L" in a circle can just barely be seen in the above photo of the left shoe.  One of my few complaints about these shoes is that this labeling is very hard to see, especially when that small L or R is covered up with packed snow.  I wish they had made that label larger.  It took me a while to figure out that the heel binding is always on the outside, so now I don't bother with the label.

The heel strap can be seen in the first photo above.  To tighten, once I have stepped into the binding, I pull on the strap until the metal tooth has engaged a strap hole.  Any excess strap can be tucked into the yellow heel strap clip.  To exit, I grab the heel strap, give a quick tug, and it pops out of the retaining tooth.

toe cramponHeel cramponThe Ventures have dual crampons, one for the toe, for ascents as shown in the photo at left, and one for the heel for descents as shown in the photo at right.

The toe crampon is called a "Split Claw" by Tubbs, and the photo suggests that a "claw" is perhaps an appropriate moniker.

The heel crampon has a "V" shape to trap the snow to maximize traction.

Field Information

These snowshoes have been used in three principal locales the last two Winters:
Field Usage
Location
Chanhassen, MN - near my home
Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) in Northern Minnesota
Porcupine Mountains in Michigan's Upper Peninsula
Altitude
725 to 925 ft (220 to 280 m)
625 to 1150 ft (190 to 350 m)
778 ft to 1600 ft (237 m to 490 m)
Temperature range
-5 to 25 F (-21 to -4 C)
-27 to 15 F (-33 to -9 C)
Nighttime lows of around 15 F (-9 C), daytime highs of 30 F (-1 C)
Terrain
Wooded hills and valleys, open roads
Wooded forest with some open areas.  Short sections with steep grades.
Forested with lakes and rivers.  Long escarpments with steep grades.
Use
Day hiking
Dayhiking, backpacking
Backpacking
Photo
MN River Valley
SHT
Porkies

Observations

  • Fit: I probably should have bought a size 36.  The Tubbs sizing chart recommends the 30 for hikers up to 250 lbs (114 kg).  I weight about that much when I am fully dressed for winter, but with a typical 50 lb (23 kg) backpack on Winter trips, I am well over the recommended weight.  As a result breaking trail can be a painful exercise, as I sink further than I like into the snow which causes a lot of leg lifting and the result is sore hip flexors.  I am thinking of transitioning to a pulk sled to take the weight off, but have not attempted this yet.
  • Bindings: so far these have been very reliable after two heavy seasons of use.  No broken straps, no slips.  I have become fairly adept at putting them on and taking them off and find them very easy to use.  The foot bed hinge works great.  I have worn shoes, hiking boots, and heavy pac boots in the bindings, and the straps have accommodated all of them with aplomb.
  • Traction: I've been impressed with the performance of the crampons.  On my Porcupine Mountains trip I had a lot of lateral slopes to traverse, and the claw design of the toe crampon held very well.  On the other hand, due to the warmer temperatures on this same trip I experienced some icing up of the crampons, on the "claw" in particular.  I had to stop several times and chip the ice out with my trekking pole tip.  In temperatures near the freezing point, the slushier snow will form ice chunks when compressed, and the design of these crampons traps the snow allowing it to get packed into ice from the force of the descending shoe.
  • Wear and tear: these snowshoes have gone over a lot of roads that were bare of snow, rocky areas, and other abusive situations and held up well.  I am starting to see some fraying of one of the frame straps as shown in the photo below, but with the hundred or so miles (160 km) I have on them I would expect this.
Fraying

Summary

I have been very happy with these snowshoes, though I they do not have quite enough float for me when I am backpacking in deep powder on unbroken trail.  I intend to continue to use these snowshoes until they wear out.  When I replace them it will likely be with a larger size, unless I lose a lot of weight, an event I am sadly not anticipating.

Likes:
  1. Good value
  2. Reliable
  3. Bindings are easy to get in an out of
  4. The bindings fit the oversize boots I wear in very cold temperatures
Areas for improvement:
  1. The crampons have iced up on me.  The "claw" design will grab snow chunks and turn them into ice balls in the right conditions.

Kurt Papke


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Reviews > Snow Gear > Snowshoes > Tubbs Venture Series Snowshoes > Owner Review by Kurt Papke



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