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LTR - MSR Lightning Snowshoes - Mike Lipay

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  • hiking@westernpa.us
    After the Golite incident, be gentle ;-) html version will be up tonight. mike Long Term Report - MSR Lightning Snowshoes by Mike Lipay - May 24, 2006
    Message 1 of 5 , May 24, 2006
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      After the Golite incident, be gentle ;-)

      html version will be up tonight.

      mike

      Long Term Report - MSR Lightning Snowshoes
      by Mike Lipay - May 24, 2006

      Description
      Date Arrived January 17, 2006
      Manufacturer MSR (Mountain Safety Research)
      Year of Manufacturer 2005
      Website http://www.msrcorp.com/
      MSRP $219.95 USD
      Warranty MSR Snowshoes are guaranteed against defects in materials and
      workmanship without time limit. Return shipping charges to the consumer
      for repaired products are covered. Should a product be found defective
      under this warranty, we will repair it or replace it at our option.
      (website).

      Mfgr. Specs from website
      Model: 35123
      Dimensions: 8 x 30 in. (20 x 64 cm)
      Weight: 3 lbs. 5 oz. (1504 g) per pair

      Personal measurements
      Model: 35123
      Dimensions: 8 x 30-3/4 in. (20 x 78 cm)
      Weight: 3 lbs. 13 oz. (1720 g) per pair



      Personal Information
      Name Mike Lipay
      Age 51
      Gender Male
      Height 5 ft 8 in (173 cm)
      Weight 185 lbs (83.9 kg)
      Email hiking AT westernpa DOT us
      City, State Plum, Pennsylvania
      Background I've been hiking and backpacking with the Boy Scouts since the
      '60s, although currently I hike more solo, with my kids, or as a trail
      guide for a local outdoors group. I am no ultra-light backpacker; my pack
      (external frame) weighs 29-40 lbs (13-18 kgs) loaded (not including food),
      though I am always on the look out for ways to cut down on the weight. I'm
      a low-techie, preferring a hiking staff to trekking poles, compass to GPS,
      fire to fuel; but I do carry some techie stuff as well, recently switching
      over to a digital camera from film, and an UV sterilizer from a filter
      pump.



      Additional Bio I have never used snowshoes, though I hike regularly in
      the winter and the snow my trips have always been in winter boots. The
      reports submitted will reflect the viewpoint of one just learning to use
      snowshoes, and as such may be a bit less technical than one who is more
      experienced.

      Special Note Thanks to an unseasonably warm winter in the northeast (due,
      I am told, to the El Nino conditions in the Pacific) there has been no
      opportunity for additional testing after the end of March. While there
      have been snowstorms and cold temps, neither lasted long enough to build
      up on what remained after my last field test. Because of this, my report
      will be based upon usage through the end of March, along with observations
      made when preparing the snowshoes for storage. I will also cover each of
      concerns raised in the Long Term and Field reports in more detail.

      Ease of attachment and removal The pair of Lightning Snowshoes which I
      tested attached easily barehanded, but I did have difficulty making the
      attachment, especially the right boot. There are two reasons for the
      difficulty:

      1. The strap on the right boot did not overlap the boot as far as the
      strap on the left boot. I have not been able to determine the reason,
      the straps are of equal length and both begin on the third hole. The
      difference is significant enough so that the Lightning Snowshoes do not
      work with my high-top snow boots, a pair of Sorel Badgers. I have tried
      moving the strap to the second hole, but there is not enough strap
      remaining to stay in place during ascents. If the straps were an
      additional 3-4 holes long they would have fit perfectly.
      2. Getting the strap into the pins, with gloves on, was difficult on
      both snowshoes. I was able to pass it through the hook easily, but
      catching it on the pin was difficult. A trip to my local outfitter, who
      carries the MSR Lightning Snowshoes, discovered the reason: the pins
      were not bent out as far as those at the outfitter. After it was clear
      that I would have no further opportunity to test them in the field I
      made the modifications (bending the pins out about 5°) and tried them
      at home, I was able to catch the strap on the pins with ease, even with
      gloved hands.

      How well they will attach to standard boots For the most part I found
      that the MSR Lightning snowshoes would work with any boots. The only
      exception, as I mentioned above, was with my Sorel Badger snow boots, and
      here the problem is related to the length of the upper straps, with 3-4
      more holes on the strap there would be no problem with the fit.

      How easy is it to learn how to walk in snowshoes? Amazingly easy! I
      caught onto using the Lightning snowshoes in little time. Walking is
      pretty much as normal, the only real exceptions are keeping my feet a
      little further apart and taking care during tight turns to make sure that
      I didn't step on one snowshoe with the other. This latter part proved to
      be the more difficult in my area, where trails tend to be narrow and
      switchbacks plentiful. After a few face-falls I caught onto the skill.

      How do they work when the snow disappears and the mud replaces it? Not
      well, and honestly they aren't made for this, unlike less aggressive
      snowshoes. The teeth in the rims dug into the mud and didn't want to
      release their grip. I found it better to remove the snowshoes when the
      snow level was less than 6 in (15 cm). My partnersÂ’ snowshoes (aluminum
      tube frames) did not have this problem, but then again they did not have
      quite the traction in the snow that I did, and that is the purpose of
      snowshoes. Had this been closer to a typical winter the mud would not have
      been an issue; but, with the warmer weather and lower snow amounts, thin
      snow layers were more abundant.

      The Laurel Ridge (where I do most of my hiking) is notable for it's rocky
      terrain, what kind of footing will I have with rocks under the snow?
      Again, I would not normally encounter these conditions, but thanks to the
      warmer weather the rocks were out in full force, just a few inches under
      the snow. While walking didn't prove to be an issue (just enough snow on
      top to level things out) the rocks did take their toll on the frames. By
      the end of the season there was noticeable scratches in the frames, and
      some of the teeth did show a little more flattening than others. A quick
      application of a file at the start of next season will take area of the
      problem and return the Lightning snowshoes to their original condition.

      Signs of wear An end-of-season examination of the MSR Lightning Snowshoes
      shows the following:

      * Wearing of some of the teeth along the frame; as mentioned above, I
      feel this is due to the unusual amount of rocks that I encountered due
      to the low snow levels
      * Scratches on the bottom of the rubber; again, probably due to the
      low snow levels, walking on more unseen roots and twigs than would
      normally be the case.
      * Rust. Now this was unexpected. While just minor amounts were visible
      this bothered me. After each trip I was careful to dry off the
      snowshoes. The rust appears on the tops of the teeth on the frame, and
      at the pivot point on the center teeth. The rust isn't much, and a
      little cleaning and waxing should keep it in check while in storage.
      Rust goes along with steel, and the frames on the MSR Lightning are
      made of steel, so a little more care and attention needs to be paid at
      the end of a day's hiking to dry the metal parts, and probably coat
      them with wax or a penetrating oil, should be enough to prevent the
      rust from occurring.

      Conclusions/Observations I have been please with the performance of the
      MSR Lightning snowshoes, both on snow and on ice. As covered in my Field
      Report, I had a couple occasions where I had to cross frozen streams, and
      the teeth on the snowshoes gave enough bite to keep me from slipping. My
      partners (with their tube-framed snowshoes) found that they had to remove
      the shoes during crossings to keep from sliding on the ice.

      Walking through, or on top of, the snow is an odd experience, especially
      when my staff dropped 4 feet (1.2 m) into the snow that I was walking on
      top of. The heavy-packed snow in this area, combined with the Lightning
      snowshoes, kept me from sinking more than a few inches into the snow. I
      really had no idea how deep the snow was in some areas without shoving my
      staff into it - as I said, a really odd feeling.

      The straps performed much better than I had expected, staying flexible and
      stretchy even in sub-zero temperatures (lowest was -5F, -20C). Only two
      real issues existed:

      1. The right snowshoe strap seemed shorter than the left, and neither
      was enough to stretch over my Sorel snow boots.
      2. The attachment pins on both were not bent out as far as they should be.

      All-in-all, I am very please with the quality and performance of the MSR
      Lightning snowshoes, and have only one recommendation to make, that the
      upper straps be made a couple notches longer than they are to better
      accommodate the use of larger boots.

      I would like to express my thanks, both to MSR and to BackpackGearTester,
      for the opportunity to test the Lightning snowshoes.
    • rami
      ... [[R:]] Hi Mike, Nice looking report, thanks for your patience on the edits! I really like the format of your HTML on this one. No edits for you... please
      Message 2 of 5 , May 27, 2006
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        hiking@... wrote:
        > html version will be up tonight.
        >
        > Long Term Report - MSR Lightning Snowshoes
        > by Mike Lipay - May 24, 2006
        >

        [[R:]]
        Hi Mike,

        Nice looking report, thanks for your patience on the edits!
        I really like the format of your HTML on this one.
        No edits for you... please upload at will.

        -r
      • Thomas Vickers
        Arrived: Thomas Vickers MSR Cloudliner. Its here. Can t believe AP got his first. TV
        Message 3 of 5 , May 30, 2006
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          Arrived: Thomas Vickers MSR Cloudliner. Its here. Can't believe AP got his
          first.

          TV
        • Mike Lipay
          ... Thanks, Rami, the LTR has been uploaded. Shame there isn t a move function to allow a report (with images) to be moved from one folder to another. mike
          Message 4 of 5 , May 31, 2006
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            On May 27, 2006, at 2:23 PM, rami wrote:

            > hiking@... wrote:
            >> html version will be up tonight.
            >>
            >> Long Term Report - MSR Lightning Snowshoes
            >> by Mike Lipay - May 24, 2006
            >>
            >
            > [[R:]]
            > Hi Mike,
            >
            > Nice looking report, thanks for your patience on the edits!
            > I really like the format of your HTML on this one.
            > No edits for you... please upload at will.
            >
            > -r

            Thanks, Rami, the LTR has been uploaded. Shame there isn't a "move"
            function to allow a report (with images) to be moved from one folder
            to another.

            mike
          • Andrew Priest
            ... Hey, who is more important? :-) SIR Andrew
            Message 5 of 5 , Jun 2, 2006
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              At 09:10 AM 31/05/2006, you wrote:
              >Arrived: Thomas Vickers MSR Cloudliner. Its here. Can't believe AP got his
              >first.

              Hey, who is more important? :-)

              SIR Andrew
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