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OR Tubbs Xpedition Snowshoes - Bob Dorenfeld

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  • geartest7000
    Hi all, For March I have a snowshoe review.... test file at https://tinyurl.com/k564hjl ~Bob Text of review: Tubbs Xpedition Snowshoes Owner Review By Bob
    Message 1 of 4 , Mar 11 1:33 PM
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      Hi all,
      For March I have a snowshoe review....
      test file at https://tinyurl.com/k564hjl
      ~Bob

      Text of review:

      Tubbs Xpedition Snowshoes
      Owner Review By Bob Dorenfeld
      March 12, 2014

      Tester Bio
      Name:     Bob Dorenfeld
         
          I'm an active hiker, snowshoer, skier, backpacker, amateur
          geographer and naturalist. Home base is the Southern Colorado
          Rockies, where I usually journey from 7000 ft (2100 m) to above
          treeline, with occasional desert trips to lower altitudes. Six to 12
          miles (10 to 20 km) hiking in a day is my norm, including elevation
          change of as much as 4000 ft (1200 m) in a day. Most of my backpack
          trips are two or three nights, sometimes longer. Often I hike
          off-trail on challenging talus, snowfields, or willow brakes, with
          occasional bouldering.


      Email:     geartest(at)sageandspruce(dot)net
      Age:     55
      Location:     Salida, Colorado, USA
      Gender:     M
      Height:     5' 6" (1.68 m)
      Weight:     135 lb (61 kg)


      Product Overview
            Manufacturer:    Tubbs Snowshoes
            Website:    www.tubbssnowshoes.com <http://tubbssnowshoes.com>
            MSRP:    US$239.95
            Year of Manufacture:  2011
            Length:  25 in (64 cm) [longer lengths avail.]
            Width (widest point):  8.25 in (21 cm)
            Weight/Pair:  4.6 lb (2 kg)
            Weight/Pair (measured):   4.1 lb (1.9 kg)
            Optimal Load:  120-200 lb (54-91 kg)
            Surface Area:  188 in² (1213 cm²)
            Materials:   aluminum, plastic, carbon steel
            Gender:  Men's (Women's available)
            Color:  Varies by production year


           Overview
      The Tubbs Xpedition Snowshoes are designed for challenging conditions
      (deep snow, ice, steep terrain) as well as for easy snow trekking.
      Their shape is "modifed bear paw", falling between "bear paw" (short and
      wide) and Michigan (long and narrow with tail), and therefore suitable
      for a wide range of conditions.  Both front and back of the shoe is
      turned up to optimmize travel through snow.  The frame is made of
      black-painted aluminum, and the decking is soft and flexible plastic
      with the look and feel of neoprene (Tubbs uses SoftTec?).  Toe and heel
      crampons underneath the foot bed are of carbon steel, and bindings are
      made of molded plastic and flexible webbing.  The one-piece decking is
      riveted to the sturdy aluminum tubing with 14 integral loops around the
      frame, while the foot binding pivots on a hinge about one third back
      from the snowshoe's toe, where it's fastened securely to the frame.  The
      binding toe has a generous swing space in front for just about any size
      of boot.  For the the Xpedition, Tubbs uses a quick-attach and -release
      mechanism consisting of one toe strap in front, and one heel strap at
      the rear, held in place by friction sliders (front), and friction clamp
      plus a peg (rear).  There is also a heel riser that hinges up under the
      boot heel to angle the foot when climbing or descending steep slopes.
      On the bottom of the snowshoe, the crampon pattern beneath the toe
      roughly describes an oval 4 in (10 cm) wide, and beneath the heel a U of
      the same width.  Crampon tooth depth varies from 0.25 - 0.5 in (0.6 -
      1.3 cm), with the longer teeth at the front of the toe area.  My Tubbs
      Xpedition snowshoes were purchased in 2011 and sport black frames,
      yellow and gray decking, and yellow and black bindings.  Newer models
      have updated colors, but as far as I can discern the design, materials,
      and functionality are identical to my 2011 model.


            A Bit of Background__
      When I purchased my first pair of snowshoes in 1973 I was so excited to
      tramp around in shoes with ash frames, varnished-leather webbing, and
      half-grain leather bindings.  Later I graduated to a pair of
      neoprene-webbed shoes in wood frames that I built from a kit, which were
      definitely an improvement over the unfortunate tendency of leather to
      stretch when wet, playing havoc with the bindings especially.  But
      several years ago I finally got with the program and obtained a pair of
      modern-style snowshoes with some nice performance features that make
      snowshoeing a real pleasure in all kinds of conditions.


            Field Performance   
      I've used my Xpedition snowshoes over three winters, and have trekked
      some 150 mi (240 km) in just about every snow and weather condition
      imaginable in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.  Powdery dry stuff, wet and
      icy snow, very deep to very shallow snow - you name it, I've hiked it
      with these Tubbs.

      Before I go into performance details, let me describe how the bindings
      work.  These are the easiest-to-use snowshoe bindings I've seen on the
      market, although initially I was skeptical, even after watching a
      demonstration in person.  Do note:  the Xpeditions are designed as right
      and left, heel strap buckle (yellow, in front of my hand in the right
      photo below) should be on the outside of the foot.

      Insert the foot into the toe area, pushing forward flush to the front of
      the binding.  There is only one adjustable strap holding the toe: then
      with one hand on each strap end, pull tightly, slightly down and to the
      rear.  Done!  To loosen, pull on the center strap where "REACT" is
      printed.  The heel strap is similar but tightened from one side only; if
      necessary, first loosen the strap by pulling through the buckle closest
      to the boot, step on the binding, position the back of the strap just
      above the boot's heel, then tug on the loose end of the strap to
      tighten.  Finally, push down on the buckle top, where friction and a
      small peg will hold the strap tight.  Any extra strap can be tucked into
      the provided slot on the other side of the boot heel.

      Now I'm ready to go, very easy.  Getting out of the snowshoes is quick
      as well...just pull on the toe strap to loosen, then flip the heel strap
      buckle up and pull the strap loose.  I usually give a gentle kick and
      the shoes slip right off.

      How well do these shoes do in the field?  I'll summarize by snow
      condition based on my three years' experience:

      Moderate snow depth and dry conditions
      I found the Xpeditions to perform very well in this kind of snow.  The
      decking sheds the snow easily, and I rarely get any accumulation on the
      rear or at the bottom.  An upturned rear of each snowshoe helps to
      minimize drag on the forward step. The bindings are very secure, and
      I've never had my boots slip or slide as long as both toe and heel
      straps are tight.  The large toe holder surrounds the entire front of
      the boot, allowing good control at all times.  At around 135 lb (61 kg)
      my weight is at the lower range of what my model is rated for.  When
      trekking up or down hills the crampons grip nicely and prevent sliding.
      I've never felt any chafing on the hinge point where the binding is
      attached, which is important since I normally want the shoes to swing
      freely down at the rear to facilitate easy balance and to throw off
      accumulated snow.  The shoe's moderate length means I can easily execute
      tight turns in brush, or sit on the ground or a tree and stay
      comfortable without removing them.

      Wet and very wet snow conditions
      This would be a challenge for most snowshoes, and for the Xpedition this
      is no exception.  Despite a special coating on the carbon steel
      crampons, snow would stick in big clumps to both the shoe bottoms and
      along the tops, requiring much kicking (but no screaming please!) to
      constantly lighten the load.  However, I can say from experience that
      the sticky snow accumulation is much worse on other types of snowshoes,
      so I accept this as a condition of wet snow.  When the snow is only
      slightly wet, accumulation is not nearly as much of a problem.  In fact,
      I usually avoid snowshoe trips when very wet snow would get in the way
      of a fun hike.

      Deep and dry snow conditions
      Some of my most challenging snowshoe hikes have been in fresh, dry,
      untracked, >3 ft (90 cm) snow.  The bindings perform just fine, but at
      these times I wish for shoes that are half again as long.  Despite my
      being at the low end of the weight range for this 25 in (64 cm) model, I
      usually sink over 12 in (30 cm) with each step.  Since no length
      extension is available for the Xpedition, I just high-step it through
      the powder and enjoy the extra exercise.  I would consider another
      snowshoe shape, such as Michigan or bear paw, if I find myself in an
      all-day trip through very deep and dry untracked snow.

      Icy and packed snow conditions
      When it's icy I like to hike only moderate snow terrain and trails (no
      ice climbing), but for me this is where the Xpeditions really shine!
      Crampon pattern  I find that the crampons grip well at almost any angle
      - pushing forward downhill, traversing a steep icy slope and exerting
      pressure sideways, or climbing straight uphill.  The crampon teeth are
      positioned directly under the foot, and if I keep that in mind I can
      watch my step appropriately and ensure that the teeth get as good a grip
      as possible.  At present the carbon steel teeth show little or no sign
      of wear, despite having accumulated some mileage on poor snow cover with
      exposed rocks and dirt.  Heel riserTo help with steep slopes (up or
      down), a nifty feature of the Xpeditions is the heel riser, a U-shaped
      metal bar that I can flip up with my fingers to lock into place under
      each boot heel.  This has the effect of leveling my feet and legs and
      makes walking much more comfortable and secure on firm steep slopes.

      I did find another use for the riser (but I'm not sure it was designed
      to do this) - as a heel lock to keep my boot flat on the shoe while
      walking.  The metal bar just happens to fit into the back groove of the
      boot heel intended for crampons.  On one particularly tricky and icy
      slope, having the boot locked-in like a ski helped me nogotiate the
      traverse without losing my balance.

      Extreme slope conditions showed off the well-designed binding, since
      I've never had it come loose or feel insecure, even in some quite
      precarious situations when large trees or rocks would not have made for
      soft landings.  Even on those times when I was sure that the bindings
      had worked loose after some tough hiking, I was surprised that they
      didn't need tightening after all.

      Boot sizing
      Tubbs does not size their snowshoe bindings, and as far as I can tell my
      bindings would accommodate a very large range of shoe size (mine is U.S.
      men's 9 (42 European)).  I've used them with some lightweight
      just-cover-the-ankle boots, as well as with heavy full-grain leather
      trekking boots.  The only difference is that I may need to loosen the
      toe and heel straps a bit to accommodate a bigger boot; otherwise
      performance of the snowshoe is identical.

      Wear and tear
      This photo shows how the webbing has become worn and frayed at the edges
      where it's folded around the aluminum frame.  Webbing wearDuring my
      first winter using the Xpeditions I was somewhat careless about walking
      on poor snow cover, and didn't notice until the end of the season how
      much abrasion the webbing received from rocks and dirt.  At this time
      the wear is not a problem, as structural integrity has not been
      compromised.  However, I'm now certainly more careful about where I
      walk, and I'll take off my snowshoes when necessary to prevent further
      damage to these edges.  I've also duct-taped a couple of the edges to
      protect them.  Otherwise, the soft deck material has held up very well,
      and only shows some superficial scratches on the colored top surface;
      the bottom is pristine as it's protected by the tubular frame.

      The painted aluminum frame has also suffered many inevitable scratches,
      but like the webbing its shape and strength has not suffered at all.

      The bindings are almost as good as new, with only a bit of fraying
      apparent on the front toe strap fabric where it slides in and out of the
      friction buckle.

      I've seen little wear on the carbon steel crampon teeth, and I have as
      much confidence in them now as I did when they were new.



            Concluding Thoughts   
      My final evaluation is an almost unqualified approval of the Tubbs
      Xpedition snowshoe: they perform very well under a wide variety of
      conditions, given their size and modified bear paw shape, and the
      bindings hold my boots securely. The only design change I would
      recommend to Tubbs is to consider another method of attaching the
      decking material to the frame so that the pliable plastic edges are not
      exposed to abrasion.  I would do this by adding a metal or stiff plastic
      loop around the tubular frame, and attaching the decking to it, keeping
      the soft edges away from the frame and the ground.  Otherwise it's an
      excellent product, and I expect to put many more miles and winter
      seasons on these Tubbs Xpeditions in coming  years.

      Pros
          * Lightweight
          * Easy in-and-out bindings
          * Bindings hold boots securely under wide variety of conditions
          * Snow slides off easily under most conditions
          * Excellent crampon gripping at different angles and snow/ice conditions
          * Optional boot riser for climbing/descending steep slopes

      Cons
          * Soft decking material can abrade where it wraps around aluminum frame

       Reviewed By
      Bob Dorenfeld
      Central Colorado Mountains
    • chcoa
      Thank you Bob for answering the Monthly Call. Your review has been added to the Edit Queue. You will be hearing from one of our Editors very soon. Regards
      Message 2 of 4 , Apr 2, 2014
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        Thank you Bob for answering the Monthly Call.  Your review has been added to the Edit Queue.  You will be hearing from one of our Editors very soon. 


        Regards
        Jamie DeBenedetto
        Editors Team Director

      • rayestrella1
        Hi Bob, Thanks for the review in answer to the call. This is a very thorough review, good job. I just have a few edits for you, after which you may place the
        Message 3 of 4 , Apr 6, 2014
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          Hi Bob,

           

          Thanks for the review in answer to the call. This is a very thorough review, good job. I just have a few edits for you, after which you may place the corrected review at:

           

          Reviews > Snow Gear > Snowshoes > Tubbs Xpedition Snowshoes

           

           

          See you down the trail,

           

          Ray

           

           

          ***Both front and back of the shoe is turned up to optimmize travel through snow.

           

          EDIT: optimize

           

           

           

          *** For the the Xpedition, Tubbs uses a quick-attach and -release mechanism

           

          EDIT: delete extra “the”

           

           

           

          ***An upturned rear of each snowshoe helps to minimize drag on the forward step.

           

          Edit: I think you want to start with “The” instead of “An”

        • geartest7000
          Ray, you caught a couple of boilerplate errors - I need to find a better spellchecker! All fixed and uploaded, test removed. thanks, Bob ... Hi Bob, Thanks
          Message 4 of 4 , Apr 6, 2014
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            Ray, you caught a couple of boilerplate errors - I need to find a better spellchecker!  All fixed and uploaded, test removed.
            thanks, Bob


            ---In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, <rayestrella@...> wrote :

            Hi Bob,

             

            Thanks for the review in answer to the call. This is a very thorough review, good job. I just have a few edits for you, after which you may place the corrected review at:

             

            Reviews > Snow Gear > Snowshoes > Tubbs Xpedition Snowshoes

             

             

            See you down the trail,

             

            Ray

             

             

            ***Both front and back of the shoe is turned up to optimmize travel through snow.

             

            EDIT: optimize

             

             

             

            *** For the the Xpedition, Tubbs uses a quick-attach and -release mechanism

             

            EDIT: delete extra “the”

             

             

             

            ***An upturned rear of each snowshoe helps to minimize drag on the forward step.

             

            Edit: I think you want to start with “The” instead of “An”

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