How To Snowshoe: Gear and What You'll Need

How To Buy Snowshoes, Boots and Equipment

How To Buy SnowShoes - Snow Shoe EquipmentCredit: Champéry Tourisme

Are you a newbie to snowshoeing? No worries! You've shown interest in an amazingly fun, rewarding and challenging recreational activity, and you won't be sorry for pursuing it. Snowshoeing is not only a ton of fun, it is fairly easy to get into and inexpensive to get started. Plus there's a bonus: it's one of the healthiest activities out there. You can really get fit out there in the snow!

This article is all about snowshoeing for a beginner. We'll mostly be talking about how to buy snowshoes, including what you'll need in terms of gear for a successful hike, and things to watch out for. We'll talk about where to buy snowshoes, the kinds of boots and equipment you'll likely want to have, and a few tips for once you get out there on the mountain. 

Let's get started and learn all about snow shoeing and the equipment you'll want to get. 

Snow Shoe Equipment:

How To Buy Snowshoes - What You'll Need

There are a few things that pass through the minds of any person considering snowshoeing for the first time. You might consider where you'd like to go in your local area (snowy places work best!). You'll probably think about who you'd like to go with, since it's an activity that's way more fun in a group. And lastly, you'll probably take an inventory of what kind of snow gear you have, and then wonder how to buy snowshoes. 

There isn't a lot of cost associated with buying snow shoes, but there is a bit of specific gear, and you'll need to go to certain places to get it. 

Snow Shoes:

First, and most obviously, you'll need a good set of snowshoes! They're pretty straightforward in how they work: by distributing your weight across a wider area of snow, you are prevented from sinking into the snow. You can stride across deep drifts without a care in the world! 

You may have a picture in your head of wooden frames wrapped with animal skins. While these worked well for early explorers, modern snowshoes are usually made from metal and plastic, include special bindings, and are very light and sturdy. 

In learning how to buy snowshoes, remember that there are varying levels of quality. If you're just going out a few times a winter, you should be looking into the lower cost, one-size-fits-most variety.  These consist of simple shoes and bindings designed to work with most kinds of boots. If you're planning a prolonged outing or are an avid snowshoer, you might want to invest in something a littler higher priced for the sake of durability and comfort.

Waterproof Boots:

You're learning how to buy snowshoes, so don't feel bad if you didn't know that there is no such thing as a 'snowshoe boot'. (Well, technically there are, but they aren't necessary for the beginner!) What you'll need in terms of snow shoe boots is a good, waterproof set that is comfortable enough to walk in all day. The bindings on the snowshoes themselves should fit almost any size, so don't worry about that. 

Cold Weather Gear:

You'll probably want to kit out in cold weather clothing, including a thermal jacket, waterproof gloves and snow pants. You'll probably want to sit down a few times in the snow, so having waterproof clothing is a must if you plan to rest. A good warm hat is essential, and you might consider a scarf too. Dress in layers. You can always peel them off if it ends up being warmer than you expected. 

Safety Equipment:

If you're learning how to buy snowshoes, you might as well know about the recommended safety gear while you're at it. A hiking / walking pole is a useful item. It lets you test drifts for hidden streams and helps keep your balance. Sunscreen is another often overlooked item. If it's sunny out, you'll be surprised how quickly you can burn (light reflects off the snow). 

If you're in an avalanche prone area, you might want to get a beacon or a signaling device of some kind in case you get trapped or lost. A mobile GPS can be handy too. These snow shoe equipment recommendations might seem overkill, but they could save your life.

Where To Buy Snowshoes: Equipment & Gear Retailers

How To Buy Snowshoes

How To Buy SnowShoes - ALP All Terrain SnowshoesCredit:

If you're learning how to buy snowshoes, you might want to check out your local outdoor sports equipment supplier. I'd recommend checking out a place that deals specifically in sports equipment. Avoid big box retailers; you'll want to talk to someone in the know, and big box store employees won't be any help. 

If you're wanting to save money, one of the best places to buy snowshoes is in the used section of the local paper. Classifieds sites like Craigslist or Kijiji can be good options too, and often the person you're buying them from will have some good tips and advice to give you. 

Another source of snow shoe equipment is online stores. You can find some pretty good deals on snow shoe gear on Amazon and other online retailers, and they'll often have free shipping. 

The ALPS 27" All Terrain Snowshoes are a pretty great deal at roughly $45, especially considering that they're lightweight, aluminum, suitable for adults, and come with a free carrying case and two collapsible snowshoeing poles. If you're learning how to buy snowshoes, this is a great introductory deal that has basically everything you need to get started. 

Check out the ALPS All Terrain Snowshoes here.

Additional Snow Shoe Equipment Tips:

How To Buy Snowshoes

-Make sure that you buy snowshoes that are the proper size for your weight. The more you weigh, the longer your snowshoes must be. If they're too short, you'll sink, so make sure you get the specifications from the manufacturer and pick accordingly. 

-If you're planning to go snowshoeing, make sure you let someone know where you're going and your basic route. That way if anything happens, help can be easily sent to find you. Or, go with a large group to increase your safety. 

-Read lots of reviews of snow shoe gear and equipment. A particular set might be inexpensive, but if it reviews poorly it's not worth the low cost. 

Good Luck!