Here is my LTR for the Redfeather Pace Snowshoes. This
was a very fun test!
LTR text only:
Long Term Report:
Redfeather Women's Pace Snowshoes
May 1, 2007
Locations and Conditions
During the Long Term Test Period, the Redfeather
Women's Pace Snowshoes were used primarily for day
hikes and runs in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Areas included the Noquemanon Trails and the
surrounding bush in Marquette County and off-trail
hikes near the village of South Range in Houghton
County. Locations ranged from and included conifer and
deciduous forest communities with many rock
outcroppings to small peaks. Elevation ranged from 600
ft (183 m) to almost 1500 ft (457 m). The conditions
for snowshoe outings mostly hovered in the 16 F (- 9
C) to 40 F (4 C) range. Sky conditions included
clouds, snow, and a bit of sun.
During most of the entire testing period, Snowfall has
been consistent and over 230 in (5.84 m) of snow has
fallen this winter. Early March brought a period of
very warm temps making the snow very wet and sticky.
During one 40 F (4 C) day, I made a trek to the top of
Whealkate Bluff, a 1500 ft (457 m) peak that towers
over a small village that lies at 1100 ft (335 m).
Most of the height is directly vertical so its always
tough to maintain traction year round on any surface
of the small peak. In fact, the bluff was used in the
past for motorcycle race climbs and is sometimes used
as a challenge for snowmobile climb events. The snow
depth was still a couple of feet (0.6 m) deep and I
sank maybe only a few inches (8 cm). I didn't use my
hiking poles so it was a great test to see if I would
be able to ascend and descent without significant
sliding. I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to
maintain an upright position with little slippage. The
sharp crampons really dug into the wet snow and
provided great traction. To top it off, I didn't
experience any build-up of snow on the crampons
themselves which would of certainly hindered traction.
I was very pleased with the performance of the
snowshoes and no, I didn't run up and down the peak.
My heart rate was high enough just getting to the top
at an easy pace.
Snowshoeing on the crust
Middle March temperatures hovered around the freezing
point. March 20 brought an additional 5 in (12.7 cm)
of snow in the form of heavy wet snow. I snowshoed the
day after it fell resulting in sinking to the crust
underneath the snow. A few days later the new snow had
already formed an additional crust layer. I snowshoed
again partly on an ungroomed ski trail with numerous
side trips off into the bush where no grooming of any
sort had ever occurred. I sunk through the softened
crust in some areas and in other areas that were still
hardened by the nights freezing temperatures resulted
in mostly floating on top of the crust. I was easily
able to infiltrate through low brushy tree vegetation
without getting hung up on the branches. As I
descended and ascended numerous knolls and ridges off
trail, I noticed that the heel plates were building up
icy patches underneath my boots. Later when I removed
the snowshoes, there was at least a half inch (1.27
cm) of ice that had accumulated over the top of the
plates. However, this is not an uncommon problem with
these types of snow conditions as I've also
experienced this with every type of snowshoe I've used
in the past. Regardless, I was very happy that the
crampons themselves didn't build up snowballs of ice.
Late March snow cover made snowshoeing more difficult.
Although more than half of the woods had good snow
cover, I was forced to remove my snowshoes at
intervals to avoid walking through a few muddy areas.
This was OK though, as I was happy to be snowshoeing
at all with the warmer temperatures threatening the
early disappearance of snow for the season. If the
muddy intervals were short, I just carried the
snowshoes and for the longer times that I couldn't use
them I just attached them to my day pack. I could of
probably walked through the mud with them but I didn't
want to unnecessarily mar them with exposed rocks.
After several days of warm temps it no longer was
possible to snowshoe, but that surprisingly changed
Huge Blizzard ---Yeah!!!!
Early April brought a surprise. A huge blizzard
brought over four feet (1.22 m) of lake-effect snow in
a couple of days. The almost bare ground was again
deeply covered in a pristine white world of snow. The
temperature ranged from 16 F (-9 C) to 25 F (-4 C) and
the wind chills were significant with the 30 mph (48
km/h) wind with 45 mph (72 km/h) gusts. I headed out
on four consecutive days into the very deep snow.
Since there weren't any layers of crust in the snow, I
sank quite deeply with the snowshoes. Most of the time
I sank approximately 1.5 ft (0.5 m) and in areas of
drifts I sank to the top of my thighs. Of course, it
was impossible to move forward in those areas so I had
to back out of them. This is no reflection on the
snowshoes because any of my snowshoes would of been
buried in over four feet (1.22 m) of powder. I used
the trails and old road beds around Mt Marquette on
three of the outings. I ascended and descended an
elevation difference of about 600 ft (183) from the
bottom to the top. I again had another chance to
snowshoe at Whealkate Bluff which is over 100 mi (161
km) west of my home for another outing. Snow was again
very deep and powdery. Snowshoeing was very laborsome
but I didn't have any mileage objectives so covering a
couple of miles (4 km) in a couple of hours was fine.
During all of these outings the snowshoes performed as
well as could be expected in these conditions. The
forefoot straps and heel straps stayed in place and
traction was excellent when descending and ascending.
I continued to snowshoe for a few more days. The
temperatures warmed and the snow compacted gradually
so that I was only sinking 8 in to 10 in (20 cm to 25
cm). It was really perfect and I did a couple of
bushwhack treks through the forest. I weaved in and
out of the trees and was delighted to find many
occurrences of animal tracks and tunnels down through
the snow where squirrels were searching for their
caches. They were probably just as surprised as I was
to experience so much snow so late in the season. I
ascended and descended repeatedly to get around large
rock formations. The snowshoes worked beautifully and
there was only a build-up of ice on the heel plates
due to the nature of the now warm and more sticky
My only small disappointment during the test period
has been that I had some issues with the heel strap
coming undone on both snowshoes at various intervals.
I thought I had sufficiently snugged the rubber rings
beneath the prongs insertion points. Through trial and
error, I found it was best if the straps are super
stretched so that the straps are very tight. That way
the straps can't slip out of the prongs. During the
field test period, I didn't seem to have an issue with
them even though I have consistently wore the same two
types of footwear in both periods. Looking back, the
only thing that stands out is that every time the
prongs slipped out of place, I was snowshoeing more
aggressively on sticky or very wet snow (rather than
deep powder). While this could only be considered a
nuisance, I would much rather prefer that the
snowshoes have ratcheted straps in the back or straps
similar to the forefoot straps for more security. In
my past experiences, such an arrangement was also
easier to fasten or use. If the Pace Snowshoes were
worn in a running race (as this is what they are
designed for), this would most likely cause numerous
delays in performance if a person had to stop and redo
one or both of the straps.
The snowshoes have held up well during the entire test
period. They were exposed to a variety of mostly deep
snow conditions but removed if I encountered areas
devoid of snow. This no doubt added to their great
condition. The decking material, frames, bindings and
crampons all have remained mostly unmarred.
Overall, I have been very happy with the performance
of the Pace Snowshoes (other than the minor
disappointment with the backstrap issue). I will
continue to use them for future winter outings for
years to come. Throughout the years, I have worn five
other pairs of snowshoes including two pairs of
snowshoes that were designed primarily for running.
The Pace Snowshoes have outperformed the others. The
greatest attribute has been undoubtedly been the
narrower profile and the perfect tracking system
making hiking and running more efficient. I chose
mostly to hike and run in deep unmarred snow making it
a challenge for flotation, but this is perfectly
normal for the decking size of the Pace Snowshoes. I
didn't expect the snowshoes to keep me near the top of
the snow. I prefer to make my own tracks and it
provides an awesome workout. The balanced hinges have
worked perfectly and the level of fatigue experienced
in my feet and legs was remarkably low compared to
other less efficient snowshoes that I have used. These
are definitely a keeper!
This report completes the test series for the
Redfeather Pace Snowshoes. Thanks to Redfeather and
BackpackGearTest for the great opportunity to test the
Pace Snowshoes throughout the entire winter season.
**There is a pleasure in the pathless woods** - Lord Byron
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