An excellent-value kit that includes robust and versatile snowshoes, plus poles and a handy carry bag.
They come in various sizes, including for kids
Kit include poles and mesh carry bag
Heavier than some snowshoes
The throw snow when you’re walking
Best with more robust boots
No heel lifter
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Cascade Mountain Tech Explorer Plus Series Kit: first impressions
There are few snowshoes more competitively priced than the Cascade Mountain Tech Explorer Plus Series Kit. Buy the kit, and not only do you get some of the best snowshoes, but you also get trekking poles and a carry bag for a fraction of the cost of most other snowshoes.
• List price: $90 (US)
• Dimensions: Available in six sizes from 15.2cm x 35.6cm / 6in x 14in (for kids) to 25.4cm x 91.4cm / 10in x 36in
• Weight: 960g-1,100g / 2.13-2.43lb
• Frame Material: Anodized aluminum
• Deck Material: Plastic
• Traction: Aluminum teeth underfoot
The Explorer Plus has an anodized tubular aluminum frame with tapered tails that make walking easier. The frame is strong with a durable no-frills binding that attaches your boot to the snowshoe with two ratcheting straps. Snow-shedding plastic decking riveted around the Explorer Plus's frame provides float.
When walking, an articulated toe band snaps the binding and your foot back to neutral with every step while an aggressive claw underfoot grips 360°, and a heel cleat provides extra traction.
Cascade Mountain Tech Explorer Plus Series Kit: in the snow
In the field, these snowshoes were a workhorse. It was easy to get them on, and my boots never worked loose in the binding. I preferred to wear them with boots that were structured not soft to spread the pressure of the straps.
Whether I was on a backyard ramble or hiking up to a viewpoint, they had good purchase in both icy and powdery conditions, and in all conditions in between. They weren’t the quietest shoes, but they weren’t obnoxiously loud either. And while they're on the heavy side, the weight wasn’t an issue for day trips.
Cascade Mountain specs these snowshoes with aluminum cleats underfoot. They’re great for most conditions, but after scrambling up numerous Northeastern summits, they showed some wear.
Articulated tails kept me from getting tripped up when walking. So did the twist lock poles that came with the kit. The poles have both snow baskets and trekking baskets, so I used them for hiking as well as snowshoeing. The poles and shoes packed into a handy carry bag perfect for storing the shoes and poles in the car between adventures or for storing them at home.
Vermont-based writer, photographer and adventurer, Berne reports on hiking, biking, skiing, overlanding, travel, climbing and kayaking for category-leading publications in the U.S., Europe and beyond. In the field, she’s been asked to deliver a herd of llamas to a Bolivian mountaintop corral, had first fat-biking descents in Alaska, helped establish East Greenland’s first sport climbing and biked the length of Jordan. She’s worked to help brands clean up their materials and manufacturing, and has had guns pulled on her in at least three continents.
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