10 Finest Snowshoes for Winter Climbing in 2023

10 best snowshoes for winter hiking

For winter snowshoeing on mountain climbing trails and within the backcountry, you desire a winter mountain climbing snowshoe that’s sturdy, with aggressive crampons for traction and a safe binding system that locks your boots to the snowshoes. Should you’re focused on getting off the grid and snowshoeing via backcountry terrain, these are the ten finest snowshoes we advocate. For extra data, see our purchasing recommendation beneath.

1. MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoes

MSR Lightning Ascent Paragon Binding
The MSR Lightning Ascents revolutionized snowshoeing once they have been first launched and MSR has continued to refine them since. They characteristic a novel 360 diploma toothed crampon that’s constructed into the body for traction whenever you’re strolling uphill, downhill, or side-hilling throughout a slope. A flip-up heel bar makes it simpler to climb hills, whereas the mesh-net Paragon binding lays flat, and makes them simple to pack or strap to a backpack.  A girls’s mannequin is offered.  Learn the SectionHiker Overview. 

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2. Atlas Helium MTN Snowshoes

Atlas Helium Mtn Snowshoe
The Atlas Helium MTN  is a light-weight, tear-drop-shaped snowshoe that has a wrap-around binding, aggressive traction, and a heel bar that makes it simpler to climb hills. A Boa binding locks the entrance of your winter boots in place and whereas a rear strap retains them correctly positioned. A spring-loaded suspension system lets your foot rotate naturally with slope adjustments for max effectivity. An aggressive toe crampon and twin side-traction rails present glorious traction on snow and ice. However the most effective characteristic of those snowshoes is the load, which is surprisingly low for such a full-featured snowshoe.

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3. Tubbs Flex ALP Snowshoes

Tubbs Flex ALP Snowshoe
The Tubbs Flex ALP has a simplified binding that’s simple to make use of, snug, and appropriate with all types of trainers. The Flex Alp has carbon metal toe crampons that maximize traction whereas lengthy, toothed facet rails (just like the MSR Evo Ascent and Atlas Serrate) present enhanced grip on onerous snow and icy situations. The plastic decking supplies good flotation and has some flex to it which helps with steadiness when mountain climbing throughout blended surfaces and side-hilling. A heel bar is included. A girls’s Flex ALP can also be out there.

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Backcountry| Amazon

4. TSL Symbioz Elite Snowshoes

TSL Symbioz Elite Snowshoes
The TSL Symbioz Elite is a favourite with mountain hikers as a result of it has a versatile plastic footbed that adapts to diverse terrain and a snug ratchet-style binding that remembers your boot dimension for simple on and off. They’ve a big horizontal entrance crampon, good for digging into slopes, with eight very aggressive stainless-steel cleats, diagonally oriented down the perimeters to stop facet slipping. This snowshoe is finest for climbing steep and icy terrain. A heel bar is included. Unisex. Learn our Symbioz Elite Overview. 

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REI | BackcountryAmazon

5. MSR Evo Ascent Snowshoes

MSR Evo Ascent Snowshoes
MSR’s Evo Ascent Snowshoes are made with a tough plastic body as a substitute of the versatile decking utilized by many snowshoes. This makes them additional powerful and sturdy, and preferrred for off-trail backcountry use. They use a strap-based, lay-flat binding that makes them simple to strap to the surface of a backpack and gained’t freeze up. There are two lengthy crampon rails alongside the perimeters of the Evo Ascent that present glorious traction, along with a metal crampon below your foot, and rear braking bars. A heel bar can also be included for hill climbing. Unisex. Learn our Evo Ascent Overview.

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MSR |  Amazon

6. Tubbs Mountaineer Snowshoes

Tubbs Mountaineer Snowshoes have a teardrop design that gives glorious flotation, together with an aggressive entrance crampon, and specifically designed heel crampons which might be angled to assist with braking down steep slopes.  They’ve a ratchet-strap managed step-in binding system w/ a rear heel strap to carry your boots in place. The Mountaineers are additionally out there in a really giant 36″ dimension, appropriate for bigger people, or if you have to carry heavy masses and wish extra floatation in deep powder. A heel bar is included. A girls’s mannequin is offered. 

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REI | Backcountry |  Amazon

7. Atlas Montane Snowshoes

Atlas Montane Snowshoes
The Atlas Montane Snowshoe is a backcountry snowshoe with aggressive toe, heel, and facet rail crampons with a heel bar to alleviate calf stress on hill and mountain climbs.  The Montane has a easy pull strap binding with an easy-to-adjust rear strap and is properly padded for elevated consolation. This snowshoe can also be out there in very giant sizes for bigger people or individuals who want to hold heavy backpacks or want extra flotation in deep and powdery snow. A girls’s mannequin can also be out there.

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REI | Backcountry 

8. MSR Revo Discover Snowshoes

MSR Revo Explore Snowshoes
The MSR Revo Discover Snowshoe has a ratchet-strap type binding system that makes them simple to make use of with all sorts of footwear (contact MSR for longer alternative entrance straps to accommodate very giant boots). They’ve an aggressive toe crampon, a toothed crossbar member, and a serrated body that gives glorious traction on snow and ice. Plastic decking retains them light-weight, whereas a heel bar can also be included to cut back calf fatigue when climbing slopes. A girls’s mannequin is offered. Learn our Revo Discover Overview.

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REI | Backcountry 

9. Northern Lites Backcountry Snowshoes

Northern Lites Backcountry Snowshoes
Northern Lites Backcountry Snowshoes are 30″ ultralight snowshoes that solely weigh 43 oz per pair. They’re lighter weight and fewer fatiguing to hold as a result of they’re made with lighter weight aluminum framing, they’ve aluminum crampons, and plastic decking. They’ve easy bindings with three plastic straps and one heel strap which might be appropriate with all sorts of footwear. The Backcountry mannequin is optimized to be used in deep powder for customers as much as 250lbs in weight, together with gear. We don’t advocate them for climbing mountains as a result of they don’t have a heel bar. Learn our Northern Lites Gear Overview. Unisex.

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Storage Grown Gear

10. Crescent Moon Gold 10

Crescent Moon Gold 10 Snowshoe
Crescent Moon’s Backcountry Snowshoes even have a excessive flotation teardrop design. Loaded with traction, the Gold 10 has 4 crampons below the toe, forefoot, and heel, in addition to facet crampons for traversing sloped terrain. They’ve a step-in binding system tightened on prime with a single strap w/ a ratchet-style rear strap to lock your boot in place. Sizing runs giant, becoming males’s boot sizes 10-15, together with large-volume boots like snowboard or hardshell tele boots. For smaller sizes, see the Crescent Moon All-terrain Snowshoes.  A heel bar is included.

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Crescent Moon 

Purchase Winter Snowshoes

Winter mountain climbing snowshoes serve two key features: they supply traction on icy trails and when climbing steep terrain, and so they present flotation over snow, so that you don’t sink or posthole, which might be fairly exhausting. Whereas the entire winter mountain climbing snowshoes listed above fulfill each of those necessities, some excel within the traction division, just like the MSR Lightning Ascents, MSR Evo Ascents, Tubbs Flex VRTs, and TSL Symbioz Elites, whereas others emphasize flotation, just like the Tubbs Mountaineers and the Northern Lites.

As a rule of thumb, tear-drop formed snowshoes with artificial riveted decks have a tendency to emphasise flotation, whereas rectangular-shaped snowshoes are extra traction-focused. Should you’re going to be climbing ice-covered mountains predominantly, you’ll in all probability desire a snowshoe that emphasizes traction, whereas snowshoes that concentrate on flotation, will likely be a greater match for areas the place deep, powdery snow is the norm.

Snowshoes are bulky and can be difficult to pack
Snowshoes are cumbersome and might be tough to pack

Should you’re attempting to decide on between totally different snowshoes, there are 4 key properties that ought to information your decision-making:

  1. Packability
  2. Weight
  3. Bindings
  4. Sizing


Most winter hikers carry a number of traction units and swap between them throughout the day. Should you’re mountain climbing a packed path, you would possibly begin out in naked boots, relying in your boot treads for traction as a result of the much less weight you’ve in your toes, the slower you’ll fatigue. Should you encounter slick or icy terrain you would possibly swap to microspikes, after which snowshoes, if you happen to encounter recent snow that hasn’t been packed down or is blended up with slush.

As a way to have these traction aids whenever you want them, you have to carry them. Whereas microspikes are fairly simple to pack, snowshoes aren’t as a result of they’re huge and hulking. The majority comes from their size, width, and thickness, which is primarily a perform of the type of binding they use. Lay flat bindings like the easy straps on the MSR Lightning Ascent and the MSR Evo Ascent are the best snowshoes to connect or carry in a backpack, whereas snowshoes with Boa binding methods are typically the bulkiest and most tough to pack.


Weight can also be a key issue when selecting which snowshoe to purchase. Most snowshoes weigh 4 to 5 kilos, and so they’re in all probability going to be the heaviest factor in your backpack, after water. That weight provides up throughout the course of a day, no matter whether or not it’s in your backpack or in your toes.


We’ve already thought-about the packability of snowshoe bindings, however there are different elements it’s best to think about when making a variety, akin to consolation, safety, ease of use whereas carrying gloves, whether or not the binding can freeze and grow to be inoperative, and the way simple it’s to restore if it does break. For instance, some individuals fear that Boa closure methods can freeze up in the event that they get moist and can stop to function till they are often defrosted. It’s a legitimate concern. Considered one of their benefits, nevertheless, is that they’re simple to make use of whereas carrying gloves and supply a safe grip that’s unlikely to come back undone as soon as set. Distinction that to the flat straps used on MSR snowshoes. They’ll by no means freeze up, they’re simple to interchange if torn or misplaced, however they are often onerous to connect when carrying gloves, and so they are inclined to pop open a couple of times throughout a hike.


Snowshoes are available in all kinds of sizes. These are decided by the whole weight you need to carry (body weight + pack weight) and the quantity of flotation you require. Males’s sizes are normally bigger than girls’s sizes, as a result of males are taller and heavier, whereas girls’s snowshoes are typically narrower than males’s as a result of their gait isn’t as extensive.

Should you’re shopping for a snowshoe that’s extra traction oriented, you’ll be able to generally drop a dimension beneath the producer’s advisable sizing, particularly if you happen to’re mountain climbing in an space that doesn’t get a variety of snow otherwise you’re mountain climbing on trails which have been damaged out by different hikers. Sizing is straight correlated to gear weight and this can be a tactic you should use to lighten your load. If flotation is a precedence, you’ll be able to generally purchase tails, that are add-on snowshoe extensions that make them longer and enhance their floor space. That is one other strategy to minimize down on the load of a snowshoe as a result of you’ll be able to carry your tails whenever you want extra flotation, however carry a lighter weight snowshoe in much less difficult situations.

SectionHiker is reader-supported. We independently analysis, take a look at, and price the most effective merchandise. We solely earn cash if you are going to buy a product via our affiliate hyperlinks. Assist us proceed to check and write unsponsored and unbiased gear opinions, newbie FAQs, and free mountain climbing guides.

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