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Watcherofthewoods

Snowshoes

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If you haven't tried snowshoeing I would try it before making a pair, so you can see what type work the best for you. Traditional shoes work very well but take a long time to make for people who are used to making them let allone just starting. Different terrain will call for variation on the style and size of shoes you wear. Also how far you travel and what load you carry and how you carry it will determine the type of shoes for you. A lot of people are well served with the newer neoprene webbed aluminum shoes not so eye pleasing but rugged never the less with the added claws on the sole plate.

Use longer ski poles with shoes as well like the crosscountry poles with large baskets attached, or a slender pole carried horizontaly accross your chest a la tight rope walker style, specialy when crossing water courses.

Layer dress when winter activity smowshoeing will heat up your body, don't sweat layer down na dbe cool.

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Along with the snowshoes, think about pulling a sled with your main supplies to lighten the load on you snowshoes. Keep a small pack on your back with some basic supplies, but the rest on the sled. Use a long lead rope to the sled and don't tie the sled to you tight as you may want to unharness yourself quickly in an emergency.

Don't forget ski poles or a single pole carried on water ways, streams, lakes swamps.

Don't forget to drink and eat along your day.

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Guest Lead Dog

SK, take bob's advice and give it a try first.  There are kits you can buy too.

 

bob, what is this humans pulling sleds business?  Don't ever talk like that around my dogs!  :D

 

I would love to hear about anyone making a pair of snowshoes while out in the bush.  Anyone ever give it a try?

 

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I forgot, get good boots to wear with the snowshoes, not to tight as your feet may swell with exertion, I usually wear shoepacks with leggins and carry extra felt liners to change along the way or during the day. Let the "wet" pair air out TIED to the sled or on your backpack.

Take along spare socks.

So not much info on making snowshoes but try out a pair or two in different styles before trying to make some.

Making shoes is an art and you should apprentise with some one before going into it as it does involve some risk.

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Guest Lead Dog

I remember reading somewhere about making an emergency pair.  Unfortunately, I don't recall where.  Maybe someone else will know.

 

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To make an emergency pair, I would thin down some green spruce saplings then heat them over a fire, with hot water or steam if you have the means, bend the green saplings in a arc securing the ends (overlap) with split spruce roots. Place 2 ridge bars spreader accross where your toes will end and in the tail end. This would look like 2 relaxed recurved bows lashed together for each foot. If you have sinew or hide even rabbit skin split it in strips and start laying the strips cross ways and looping them around the edges of the shoe frame lacing in a web pattern over and under. Its a lot of work, a far more simple field expident shoe would be to cut 2 large tree limbs from a spruce (fir) tree. Tieing them on my feet with rope indexing the treelimb stem towards the front use the limb as a make shift shoe. Might have to use a few for my weight on each foot.

Is this a clear a mud water to you as it came out of my finger tips. Need education sorry

Its clear in my mind.

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LD sorry didn't want to replace your dogs, shame on me, i would bring my dog once in a while. (makes a fine meal when in need,  :naughty: :whistle: did I say that?)

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I have a pair of the new style snowshoes (aluminium with a material stretched between) and I preffer them to any of the "traditional" styles of snowshoes I have tried, and I have tried quiet a few. 

 

The newer models have metal crampons to keep you from sliding when trudging up or sliding down hills.  As well, personally, the bindings on my pair of Tubbs has lasted over 5 years now, which beats the snot out of any of the bindings on the other snowshoes I've had in the past.

 

Dragging a sled is a fantastic idea, it is what I do whenever I hike with any significant amount of gear in the winter.  This allows you to keep extra weight off your body, which means less that your snowshoes have to support.  Also, over snow, it is more often easier to drag a sleigh then it is to carry a heavy pack.

 

Cheers --

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One thing that I use is traditional snowshoes with that I carry the fixing to make field expedient repairs without the varnish. Since I am a bearish type of guy I use a long trail shoe with the before mentioned sled. One thing that I neglected to mention is that you don't want to hard tie yourself to the sled when crossing any water ways don't get dragged down with your sled. Thats why I carry a small bush pack on my back with my basics in case the sled goes down I flick off the rope harness over my head and get going.

I also wear a knife in my external sash to cut sled, equipment loose if I fall into the water, I also carry a la tightrope walker style a small pole to hopefully bracket the hole and have made myself ice spikes worn along my neck and sleeves to drag myself out onto solid ice if need be.

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On traditional snowshoes you can add a 2 piece wooden X bracket that is clamped on and  has nails/screws (cleats) through it about 1" to 1-1/2" to act as the metal crampons that Lycan Ican wisely mentioned, a good feature on icyer/splippery, inclined surfaces.

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Like Lycan, I tend to swear by my Tubbs. I have used a number of off brand (i.e. cheaper) snowshoes, and most were junk, but a pair called "Elk horn" or "Elk somethin-or-other-i-dont-remember-its-been-so-long" were pretty good. I have a cheapy pair of "bear claws" (alm tubes, vinyl/cord, with cleats) that have last a couple of years thru both my kids... they were like $19.99. I also have a OLD pair that was handed down thru my family, wood and wicker. They arent even used.... :o

 

I guess if I were to look to make a pair (while not in the wilds) I would look to bend some tubing, and uses paracord and leather.

 

Funny, I only really use the snowshoes when I am outplaying with my kids. I never take them winter camping nor do I take a sled..... I guess LD's dogs are smarter then I am...

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Tubbs are great, aren't they!!

 

However I never considered modifying more traditional snowshoes as Bob mentioned.  A worthy challenge for the winter!!

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Mrs Blue and I both have bent Ash and gut snowshoes called "Torpedo's" made Lac Magantic, Quebec. I keep all surfaces protected with several coats spar varnish applied at least once per season... depending on the amount of use. As is, these snowshoes have a great ability to compact the snow and keep us "afloat" quite well with full packs, but they don't have a lot of traction on steep slopes. To remedy this, I modified the foreplate of the Black Diamond Contact Strap Crampons to fit into the leather snowshoe bindings. The teeth fit perfectly between the snowshoe cross-slats and gut lacing, and they bite quite well into the snow-pack.

 

Our snowshoes are similiar to these:

snowshoesvz2.jpg

 

These are the crampons:

cramponsqg4.jpg

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BB

 

I like the snowshoes you put up, my only issue with the style is that most of my family (wife/kids) walk a bit "duck footed" and the tails of the shoes cross, making it easy to fall. Which is one of the reasons I like oval style snowshoes.

wooden_snowshoe.jpg.c15dc4204a16a57deb776599894fa480.jpg

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Wow nice crampon BB, I like that idea. Do you lash the crampons inplace to the shoe or do they just fall through naturaly on each step intospaces in the cross lashings using the shoes own harness?

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Mr. Coffee - I certainly agree with that. Fortunately, The bindings we have allow the user to "cant" the shoe to the left or right in order to correct either "duck-foot" or "pigeon-toe" strides. The bindings you have pictured in the bottom shot should allow the same adjustment. They look fairly similiar to ours.

 

Our showshoes happen to have been in my family for many, many years and I've used them since I was a kid. I think at some point we'll break down and purchase some more modern one, maybe some MSR Denali Ascent snowshoes with the extension plates. I've used them before and love 'um.

 

http://www.ems.com/catalog/product_detail_square.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524442587852&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=282574488340769&bmUID=1164038627364

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Bob - The foreplate of the crampons fit perfectly thru the opening on the snowshoe. There is about 1/2 inch clearence between the front picks and the wood cross-bar when adjusted properly. I fit the crampon foreplate to my boots then strap on the snowshoe. They are designd to be broken down for maintinance by releasing the flexible connecting bar between the fore and aftplates. Its hard to see in the pic, but the long toe-loop straps ( I replaced the stock straps with longer ones) of the foreplate can be wrapped around the back of the boot then under the back of the foreplate, then back up to be buckled on the top of the foot. They fit quite securely. 

 

Those crampons are wonderful. They are not a crampon for technical, high-angle climbing, but they do quite well for everything else. The flexible plate strap allow them to be worn on boots with or without a full shank and let the boot flex for easier walking. I also have some clamp-on crampons for the technical stuff, I just do do much of that anymore.

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you don't have any problems with lateral movement of the crampon?  I'm (pleasently) surprised that it doesn't shift to either side and damage the gut.

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Ummm, not yet.......  :P I've had this rig for two winters now (maybe 25-30 good uses) and I haven't had that problem so far. I did a bit of customizing to the bindings to reduce the lateral play in the hope of preventing that problem. Its worked so far.

 

I try to keep the bindings pretty tight just for that reason.

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As I was looking at my snowshoes I realized that interwoven in the tail section I have extra waxed leather and babiche to make repairs if needed. Plus the rest in my pack.

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I need new snowshoes.  When I got my set they were rated for 200lbs.  I was 160 and with a 30lb pack was pretty good.  Now I'. 2oolbs alone and with a pack on I'm going to sink like OJ's book deal.  I'm considering getting something rated for 250-275. I'll check out those Tubbs.  I believe Gander Mountain sells Tubbs in their stores.  I do posses a set of shoes like your Blue.  They haven't been used in a very long time and I don't think they have ever been varnished.  I have tried them though and they do work well although they are extremely wide.

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Pull a small sled behind you with your supplies, minimal pack on your back and perhaps use a pair of ski poles with extra large baskets attached to give you more floatation.

Then maybe larger snowshoes, unless new shoes are in order :thumbup: but maybe add the rest of the gear on the sled.

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