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Survival: Stuck in Powder with…No Snowshoes

Few forms of hiking are more frustrating, exhausting, and potentially dead-ending than postholing (aka, flailing through thigh-deep snow). If a storm struck overnight or you forgot to pack snowshoes--but still have miles to go--save energy and stay drier by constructing your own Ojibwas.

Cut down two pine branches that are still green, full of needles, and about three times the length of your boots. Densely needled boughs perform  better than strips of bark or wooden boards because the gaps between the
needles let the snow sift through, just like the lattices found in regular snowshoes.

Step lengthwise onto the center of each branch; orient them so the tips face forward and the woody stems extend behind you. Strap the boughs securely to your boot soles using compression straps, cordage, or tent guylines. Trim the branches so there’s not excess overlap, which can trip you up.

To keep the boughs from shifting as you walk, weave the straps through your boot laces.

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