Gear Review: Atlas BC24 Snowshoes

Snowshoes that comfortably fit on the back of a pack.

[best approach]

“For me, snowshoes are a means to an end,” says one tester who used the BC24s to claw his way to the top of New Hampshire’s Tuckerman’s Ravine—so he could snowboard down. For folks like him—backcountry snowboarders, skiers, mountaineers, and ice climbers—who need traction, stability, and flotation to reach their line without being hindered on the descent by bulky stuff on their backs, the BC24s’ short and wide 7075 aluminum frames (24 x 9 inches) do the trick.

They fit easily on the back of any pack we wore without extending above, where it can bonk you in the head during a fall or get hung up on passing branches. And the low-profile urethane strap binding and shallow nose angle allow the snowshoes to lie flat against the pack. The easy-to-adjust binding was secure on everything but prolonged sidehills, while the stainless steel crampons have plenty of bite for steep snowpack.

Bonus: The binding accommodates bulky (size 14) snowboarding and mountaineering boots. Tradeoffs: You have to adjust your gait to the wider-than-average frame, and bigger shoes have better flotation in deep powder. $230; 4 lbs. 1 oz.; 24 inches;