New for 2011, MSR’s Evo Tour are a comfortable pair of snowshoes that will get you through most winter terrain. I used them on everything from crusty, windswept plains to moderately steep, fresh powder, and I was very impressed by their versatility.
I felt downright nimble with the 22″ shoes while hiking. The short length and low weight resulted in an easily maintained, natural gait; at times I barely noticed I was wearing snowshoes at all.
If you head for the powder attach the 6″ tails for additional flotation by just loosening the screw and sliding them on. Although I struggled with this adjustment while wearing mittens out on the trail, I had no trouble back at camp.
The additional tails were surprisingly effective. I broke trail through fresh snowfall in Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley with aplomb, and despite the additional length and weight, I didn’t feel ungainly.
MSR’s new Speedlock binding is insanely quick to set up, and it’s glove friendly. Just stuff your boot into the oversized front binding, grab the single rear strap, pull it tight across the heel, and secure it on the metal tooth. Done and done.
The large front binding was comfier than the multiple bindings I’d used before. There’s an extra strap for burly terrain (see previous photo), but after a single dayhike in Yellowstone, I found it unnecessary for anything I’d pursue with this snowshoe.
These also feature “Televators” that raise your heel on steep ascents. If you haven’t used them before, they provide serious calf relief on uphill stretches, and I was thankful to have them during our x-country trek up Yellowstone’s Slough Creek.
Evo Tour Snowshoes
$180 (although you can find good end-of-season deals)
4 lbs. per pair, one size
12 oz. per pair
Photos and text by Will Rochfort