The following is my IR on the Explore snowshoes. I still need to weigh the snowshoes and insert that information but will do that before I upload to the main test folder. Now all we need is lots and lots of snow to play in! Excuse the yahooisms. A version with the photographs and chart (without yahooisms) has been uploaded to the test folder under Redfeather Snowshoes--Wheiler. Happy editing and thank you for your help.
REDFEATHER EXPLORE SNOWSHOES
By Michael Wheiler
INITIAL REPORT: (January 1, 2007)
Name: Michael Wheiler
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
Weight: 175 lbs (79 kg)
Shoe size: 10 US
Location: Southeast Idaho
I have about 39 years experience hiking, camping, and backpacking. As a youngster, my father took us camping and backpacking frequently. I have been active in the Boy Scout program as a youth and as an adult leader. I was a Scoutmaster for seven years and our troop would camp, hike, canoe, and/or backpack at least monthly. Since being retired from that position, I still try to go out monthly. In the last two years I have been able to climb three of Idaho's highest peaks: Mt. Borah (12,662 ft/3,859 m) and Mt. Leatherman (12,228 ft/3,727 m) in the Lost River Range, and Diamond Peak in the Lemhi Range (12,197 ft/3,718 m). I own and have used extensively a pair of Redfeather Hike snowshoes. My normal over-night winter pack weighs (approximately 35 to 40 lbs/16-18 kg).
Field Testing Environment:
Most of my camping, hiking and backpacking occurs in the southeastern Idaho area but spills over into western Wyoming and western Montana. I occasionally get into the mountains of central Idaho as well. The areas I frequent generally range from 5,500 ft (1,600 m) to 8,500 ft (2,600 m). The weather in southeastern Idaho is fairly typical of a high desert plain. Winters are usually cold with temperatures at times reaching -20° F (-29° C). Snow depths vary widely but are generally over 10-12 feet (3-4 m) in the high country. On average snow depths in the lower mountainous areas can be between 4 to 6 feet (1-2 m).
Product Description And Specifications Per Manufacturer Unless Otherwise Noted:
Dimensions Per Manufacturer
9" (23 cm) x 30" (76 cm) (also available in 25"/76 cm and 36"/91 cm)
Length As Measured By Tester
30 3/4" (78 cm)
Width As Measured By Tester
9" (23 cm)
Light gray powder-coated Extruded 6000 Series aluminum tubbing
TX35 which appears to be a heavy duty vinyl material
Control binding with a solid polymer heel plate, semi-rigid injection molded polyurethane toe and heel frames; quick adjust nylon webbing to secure foot in frames; and a flexible urethane heel strap
Lynx crampons; powder-coated stainless steel front and back
Manufacturer Listed Weight Per Pair
4.5 lbs (2 kg)
Weight As Measured By Tester Per Pair
Suggested Weight Limit Per Manufacturer 220 lbs (100 kg)
Traditional Rounded Western tail with a Pivot Rod Hinge designed to not lift the heel of the shoe on each step thereby allowing the tail to drag for added flotation
Best Uses Per Manufacturer
Recreational series: for adventure, backcountry, hiking
Year Manufactured 2006
The Redfeather Explore snowshoes arrived on December 12, 2006 carefully packaged and in excellent shape. The snowshoes looked like what I expected after viewing the manufacturer's website. After a quick examination to make sure the snowshoes were undamaged, I read the information contained on the hang-tag. I really liked Redfeather's statement on the hang-tag regarding the Explore snowshoes: "First of all, if everyone could haul a sled full of goods deep into the backcountry in the middle of winter it wouldn't be so dang cool now would it? Second, come to grips with the situation here. If you're going to go way back through some deep snow you need some serious creature comforts. Which means you need snowshoes that will keep you floating under a serious load. These would be them." Also included on the hang-tag was information pertaining to the Explore's specifications noted above and the warranty. Redfeather will repair or replace any defect on the snowshoes for the original purchaser but not any normal wear or damage caused by abuse. Redfeather will otherwise repair snowshoes at a "very reasonable cost."
I then carefully inspected the snowshoes. The decking is attached to the frame by 16 large headed aluminum rivets with washers. I saw no frayed or otherwise damaged decking material. The binding fits through a hole in the decking material and is attached to the Pivot Rod Hinge which, in turn, is secured to the frame by a piece of heavy vinyl type material on each side of the hinge. Each vinyl strip is formed into a loop through the hinge and securely closed with two aluminum rivets. Each loop is also attached to the frame with a single rivet through the material and into the frame. The semi-rigid polyurethane toe and heel frames are secured to the hinge between a solid polymer plate (directly under the ball of the user's foot) and a powder-coated stainless steel plate (underneath the snowshoe) which are bolted together with four bolts. The solid polymer plate contains a Redfeather logo, either a "R" for right or a "L" for left, and raised ridges. The heel plate is also made of solid polymer and is secured to the becking with three bolts. It has a smaller Redfeather logo and raised ridges. The semi-ridged frames wrap around the user's boots and are pulled tight over the boots with two pieces of nylon webbing. There is a single strap across the toe of the boot and a v-shaped strap which crosses the upper portion of the boot. Both straps are secured to be "quick-adjust." A single pull tightens each strap across the boot. A flexible urethane heel strap secures the boot's heel to the binding. This strap is tightened by pulling the strap to the desired length and inserting the point on a rotating metal clip through one of the holes punched in the urethane material. O-rings are placed on all straps through which any excess strap is placed to keep the strap from flapping around during use. See photographs below.
The Explore's crampons are trade marked under the name of Lynx. The front crampons are located directly under the front foot plate. They are approximately 4 1/4" (11 cm) in width with teeth that are approximately 1 1/4" (3 cm) in length. The rear crampons are located directly under the heel plate. The rear crampons are tapered from the front to back beginning at a width of approximately 3 1/2" (9 cm) and ending at a width of approximately 2 1/2" (6 cm). The teeth are approximately 1" (2.5 cm) in length. Redfeather claims that the rear crampons are "aggressive" for "stability when descending a hill." According to Redfeather, the crampons are made of stainless steel which is powder-coated "to shed snow and ice." The crampons are bolted through the decking to the solid foot plates. See photographs below.
Front Crampon and Hinge System Rear Crampon
This concludes my initial report. The Field Report will be appended to this report in approximately two months from the date of this report. Please check back then for further information. I would like to thank Redfeather and BGT for giving me the opportunity to test the Explore snowshoes.
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