Repair Snowshoes in the Field

Follow these tips to fix any snowshoe problem you meet on the trail.

Popped rivets. Busted straps. Fractured frames. Snowshoes are much tougher these days, but the abuse they suffer can lead to deep-in-the-woods breakdowns. Some seasoned winter hikers carry a small arsenal of clips, pins, webbing, and screws designed for their brand. But you can also repair most problems with duct tape, an extra strap, nylon zip ties, and a multitool.

Rivets: Most fastener failures occur where the decking attaches to the frame. Replace a lost rivet with a zip tie (or two); string it through the rivet hole in the decking and secure it around the frame, cutting off the excess.

Straps: To replace a ripped binding, remove an extra strap from your pack (look for a compression cord or elastic gear cinch you don't need). Attach the makeshift binding to the snowshoe frame to secure your foot.

Frames: Splint a busted aluminum tube like a bone fracture by bracing the frame with sturdy sticks or tent stakes, then cinching them together with zip ties and duct tape. Hose clamps also work, but bring your snowshoe to a hardware store to get the right size.

Decking: Patch punctures or tears with duct tape on both sides of the decking. Use tape for cracks in MSR's plastic (urethane) decks, and apply it before they grow. Adhesive nylon tent-repair patches stick to nylon-based decks made by Atlas and Tubbs. Before applying either kind of patch or tape, dry the decking completely.

Ratchets: When a ratchet for closing a plastic boot strap fails, you're best off removing the strap. Rig a new binding on the frame with an extra strap from your pack.

Crampons: Hardened steel crampons usually don't break, but heavy usage can strip the screws or pins attaching them to the binding. To reattach, thread a zip tie through the hole where the pin or screw used to be. Position the zip-tie lock on the side or bottom of the crampon to avoid grinding it under your boot.