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How to choose your first pair of snowshoes

Recently, I stumbled upon an article on the Olympian.com where the author ( not sure who that was ) tried to give "professional advice" on how to choose a pair of snowshoes to a person who had absolutely no idea about snowshoeing.

In my post " Choosing snowshoes is rocket science ", I might have exaggerated a bit, and may be, even confused somebody.

Here, I will try to simplify it even more.

Basically, it comes to just two things : snowshoes size and price.

Most snowshoes nowadays come with numbers on them like 22, 25, 30, 36, which stand for recommended weight they will support:

22 - for user 75 - 140 lbs
25 - for user 140 - 180 lbs
30 - for user 160 - 220 lbs
36 - for over 200 lbs

That's all you need to know. But even for that there is an exception. Buying one size up/down won't really matter, because, chances are, as a beginner you'll be traveling on well groomed/used trails ( and not in the backcountry).

As for "suggested (by author) prices ", he's freaking insane ( $140-200 for snowshoes ? unless you are loaded with money, or one of those compulsive buyers, go for it).

For your very first pair of snowshoes, check out local Craigslist ( "sporting goods" for sale section), where you can buy lightly used ( or sometimes brand new ! ) for as little as $50 ( depending on the brand , of course ). Brands like MSR, Readfeather, and Tubbs tend to be a bit more expensive. But even for those brands, you can pay just $ 80-100 in average.

Another great place to buy locally is Costco. The popular ( for the past two years) Yukon Charlie's Pro-Guide Aluminum Snowshoe Kit ( snowshoes+poles+bag) goes for $ 79.99 ( size 30 ; size 25 I saw for $ 69.99).

Next, check out Amazon. What I call "off brand" ( aka, not popular with "cool kids snowshoers") Alps All Terrian Snowshoes 25" ( + pair Arakan antishock adjustable snowshoeing poles+ tote bag !) go for as little as $59.99 ( plus , of course, $ 16.85 for shipping ). And believe me, I tried them before, they "work" just as fine as MSR or Tubbs.

If anybody still buys anything from eBay, they have pretty much the same deals as Amazon on snowshoes ( especially on Alps), PLUS free shipping ( well, sometimes/most of the time ).

The bottom line is that if you are just thinking about "getting into snowshoeing", don't worry about "details". Right size+right price= all you need to know about snowshoeing.

Better worry about where to go. In this case check out Snowshoe Routes Washington. Or even cheaper, find the right snowshoe trails for FREE on WTA.org or join the Seattle Snowshoeing Meetup Group ( also free).

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