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Snow Shoes

Boxer Crew

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Rather than hijack Keiths thread,


I am considering buying snow shoes this year, but are they worth it. I did several caches last winter and never saw anyone with snow shoes on. When do they become an advantage over normal boots. I seem to stick with caches on the bruce trial type terrain.


Thanks for any advice.

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Depending on how technical the terrain is, and the snow depth, snow shoes can still be useful on the Bruce. Though if you're climbing through Limehouse, I'd probably switch to some crampons! Most sections of the bruce are fairly well travelled in winter, so unless you go out right after a snowfall, you'll likely have a trail to follow. If you are hiking in the snowbelt areas, or along untravelled trails, snow shoes are amazing. I found that I was able to hike along at almost a normal (summer) speed not worrying about traction or where I step. When you venture into the bush to locate a cache, you tend to float on top of the snow (more of less) so no more "postholing"! Though, from what I hear... :lol: Fizbot can still make a nice posthole with snow shoes on! :lol:



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Depends mostly on snow depth where you cache. With 3 feet of snow on the ground, going off-trail in boots usually means sinking up to your hips and having much "fun" freeing yourself.


In those conditions, boots are ok for well packed trails, but in the woods you'll need snowshoes or off-trail cross country skis (my personal favorites).


Of course, if there is only a foot of snow where you cache (or if there is a thick crust on the snow), snowshoes are really not needed.

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If you don't already know, snowshoes are sized by weight. Remember to account for your weight, you winter wear AND your normal pack with water etc. I use a pair of the Atlas aluminum shoes and I love them! I recently crossed a beaver dam while wearing them and I didn't go thru any of the openings like I saw some others had. Still can't walk on water with them though :lol:



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I use Atlas Snowshoes also (830) and really like them. The built-in crampons make it easier to climb slopes too. I find that I usually don't need them, but I have them in the van just in case. In the past 2 years of winter caching, I've only really needed them about 4 times - but that was around here in Southern Ont. For caching further north, I'm sure you'd get a lot more use out of them. I just bought a pair of Petzl Spikys for when the trail gets icy, but have yet to try them out.

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I use MSR Denali snowshoes (details here.)


When I am actually blazing trails in the deep snow, I have tail extensions on them. Otherwise, I use them short. They are very useful, even on packed trails, because they make the walking very stable. Without them, your feet slide around and it can be tough on the ankles.


Their next advantage is the rows of steel teeth running the length and the big teeth in the hinged foot area. No more problems on ice, and you can climb a very steep hill in them. (Steep enough that you climb with your hands on the ground in front of you.)


Here's the BEST part: You know that little thing about staying on the trail? With snowshoes, you can explore areas where you should not go the other four seasons. This is the real reason, in my mind, to pack a pair of snowshoes.

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My prior experiences with snowshoes were when I lived out West and I used old wooden 'beavertails' while tromping around the mountains.


After a couple of times losing my boot in a snowbank or two I finally broke down and last year I bought a pair of Faber Snowshoes and I can't say enough about them!


I don't use them every trip but they sure saved me on the few times I used them - especially on a 4 hr. hike in the deep snow to a final. Of course if you don't do a lot of caches in areas that aren't groomed then maybe you could find a place that rents them just to test them out. I know that last year at the end of the season Walmart was selling them off at something like $12.


For those icy days I'd suggest checking out Yaktrak Walkers. They slip over your boots and you can dance on ice and laugh at your companions while they slip and slide down the trail. I can't find their webpage but you'll find them in hiking and also in running stores.

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Definately get a pair! I did 2 years ago in Ottawa after wading waste-deep in a farmer's field to get to a cache. Movement is slowed a little with them but it beats the movement of arms and legs trying to dig yourself out and movement of the vocal cords letting everyone within a mile or so know your plight. :huh:

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For those icy days I'd suggest checking out Yaktrak Walkers. They slip over your boots and you can dance on ice and laugh at your companions while they slip and slide down the trail. I can't find their webpage but you'll find them in hiking and also in running stores.

You know, we tried to get those last winter (Kitten on the Hunt and I). We found them advertised, high tailed it out to the local retailer listed... and they were out of stock. Waited a week or so for the next shipment... and the retailer went out of business!


So needless to say, if anyone finds them somewhere near Halton region, I'd be interested in hearing where.

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I've heard that YAK-TRAX or however it's spelled, are available at Outdoors Oriented


I have no proof, but they are on my Christmas Wish-List.


I enjoyed watching Logger's "Ice Capades" while Geo Dog, Jabba and I did the accompanying "Slip and Slide Shuffle"


He was graceful, us... not as much.


Okay... actually when we did Jack Rabbit's "Along the Forty", Geo Dog and I each borrowed one of Logger's YAK-TRAX and they were AMAZING.


And to be able to compare having them on one foot and not the other... I was sold.


:unsure: The Blue Quasar

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Hey NorthernPenguin,

I bought mine last year at Hiker's Haven in Oakville.

They have no site to speak of but this is the closest: European Bound/Hiker's Haven


There are 2 types and I would suggest going with the "Pro" which have an added velcro strip that goes over the boot and reduces loss of trax.


Actually I found a pair in Value Village (not the Pro's) for $3.00 ! Yahoo! They're about $40-$50 new.


Try any local running shop. Most of the trax tracks I've seen lately were from joggers/runners on the trails.



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We use ours often but even in the snowbelt where we live the terrain we are travelling usually determines the need. Even on snowmobile trails and rail trails you can end up needing them at the end if the cache is off to the side in the deep stuff. Topo maps and local knowledge help make the decision.


One other thing, get gators. They are an absolute essential as you will discover if you snowshoe without them. You will be kicking snow up the back of your legs and the gators will keep your pants from getting covered and you getting cold and wet.


JD of JDandDD

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The only problem with a day of caching avec snowshoes is all the on and off at each stop. My pair has so many straps ya gotta be an engineer to figure it all out and trying to do it properly with very cold fingers is another adventure.


Someone should invent:

  • step-in bindings like ski's
  • multiple hinges so that you can drive your car with them still on
  • larger, bold markings to indicate Left or Right
  • automatic electrical shock for the guy who steps on your snowshoe heels



Cheers, Olar

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I guess you haven't seen my snowshoes...


They have a step-in type binding with a single strap that can be tightened or loosened while wearing gloves. They also have an L and R molded in. I haven't tried driving with them yet though. I find that holding the poles vertically towards the rear reduces tailgating <_< . For good measure, I also let an occasional branch snap back as well. If it hits them, I tell them they were to close :mad:.


Picture of Snowshoe

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I know exactly what Olar is looking for... The K2 Traverse!




I had a pair of these a few years ago for backcountry snowboarding. Unclick from snowboard binding, click into snowshoe binding. No straps or buckles.... just like a Ski binding, but faster! I never liked the fit of the old "Clicker" compatible snowboard boots though. I wonder if MSR still manufactures these?


Heh, driving in snowshoes? It's hard enough while wearing ski boots! (especially while driving standard!)



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Tomtec. you should try driving in roller blades. thats a fun one.


Now on to the post. I've only had one winter caching, this will be my second. On my few trips out I never used them once. I find it just as easy to put on a pair or gators and just walk. I'm sure if I cached more in the winter I'd use them but I havn't yet. Tho Tomtec's event will change that this year. I've got a pair og GV's. They are great. I do a lot of night hiking on untravelled terrain. I over sized them to accound for a pack and winter clothes. They got a life time warrenty on them, "crampon" style bottoms and a full metal axel as a hinge instead of piece of strap of some sort. They are very easy to put on and off with gloves on. Here's a link to there web site. http://www.gvsnowshoes.com/ They are Canadian made as well which is always nice.


As far as a left and right. I've got a pair of GV's and it doesn't matter what foot you put them on.

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IMHO snowshoes are the canadian geocacher's best friend in winter (well, after the GPSr), especially for the bushwacking part or when you walk on rarely used trails. The Atlas 8xx series is great, mainly because they're easy to put on, even with mittens. They're expensive but it's worth it.

Yup. Just broke out my 830's on the weekend for the very first time. Mind you that was for looking for the expensive radio that now occupies a snow drift somewhere [ *sob* ].


The snowshoes were super for wandering around in the snow, no more roots catching my boots and we moved a LOT quicker when we had the shoes on. Every once in a while one person would get lazy and leave their shoes off at a break point and very quickly decided to put them back on before they lost sight of the rest of us.


Not sure I'm keen on the three foot wide flat highway leading right to the cache that three cachers wearing snowshoes tends to produce but my legs were a lot happier with me than they were last time I trudged through that snow without the shoes on. The bindings on the 800 series are amazing - a snap for a beginner like me to pop in and out of when needed. And they handle my Sorel -40C boots too.

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I was looking for a FTF today at the new "8th Wander" cache in the Oro Medonte hills (right smack in the middle of the snow belt, although the 7th Con. is worse) when I jumped over the snow bank and landed in heavy powder snow up to my shins. The cache is going to have to wait cause I'm not gonna walk 1/4 mile in this stuff without my Fabers. I could have slogged it but I coulda (and shoulda) stuck my snowshoes in the car today, where they will stay till the spring. Congrats to Vaughn Firefighter who was wise enough to be prepared with his snowshoes for an easy FTF. And I call myself a scout leader!


Yes, snowshoes are a necessary part of winter caching. I think the best part. A good pair of Hybrid Fabers will cost you arround $100 new when they're on sale a CT or you can order from their web site. The Hybrid Winter Hiker is what I use; they are basic recreational shoes that are easy to put on and are a nice blend of old and new technology. The Faber site also has lots of helpful tips on how to use snowshoes.


Faber Snowshoes


BTW, I would prefer to be the FTF but I do not mind following in a trail laid by another snowshoer because I know that someone else is having as much fun as I am.


Cheers de KSAcat

Edited by KSAcat
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For those that are interested in Ontario - around the Halton area (now that we have our snow back) there are "Snow Shoe Hikes" @ Crawford Lake Conservation area on Sundays in January. There is a charge for the event but "Includes park admission, snowshoe use, instruction and GST. "


and on Saturday January 21st there is a "Moonlight Snowshoe Hike" with Multimedia presentation, guided snowshoe hike, fireside storytelling and a steaming cup of hot chocolate.


I have no affiliation with Halton Conservation area, just thought I'd point these out. (and there are a couple of caches in there too!)


Edit: Added Web Link Crawford Lake Events

Edited by Amazon Annie
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