Gear Review: L.L. Bean Summit Trekker Snowshoes

For hut trips and overnights, these snowshoes can carry a load

Whether testers were climbing packed trails around the Mt. Tahoma Trails Association’s hut network, or hiking off-trail in the deep powder of the Wallowa Mountains in Oregon, the Summit Trekkers were a hit on multiday adventures. Even with 40-pound overnight packs and a loose layer of fresh snow on the 45-degree slopes leading up Tumac Mountain, the Summit Trekkers helped testers hold their ground.

The smooth, spring-style hinge attachment lets your legs move efficiently: You can slide the shoe through deep powder without having to lift your foot high to clear the snowline. Women loved the gender-specific binding, too. “I usually have to really crank down snowshoe bindings to snug them around my narrow feet. But these were easy to adjust even to my narrowest hiking boots,” said one after hiking on Mt. Baker. The women’s models also feature narrower decks to improve natural stride motions. Stiffeners (dubbed “wings”) on the sides of the bindings provide solid lateral support, keeping your feet positioned properly on the decks even when carrying heavy loads on across traverses.

Weakness: Traction on crust and wind-packed ice can be sketchy, given the short 1.5-inch crampons underfoot and the minimal heel cleats (two small bars of teeth).

$199

3 lbs. 15 oz. (25-inch); 21, 25, 30, and 36 inches;

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