Gear Check: MSR Evo Series Snowshoes
Economists told ABC “World News” that if we spent just $64 more on gifts made in America it would create 200,000 new American jobs. If that idea appeals to you and you have someone on your gift list who loves to play in the snow, consider a pair of snowshoes from Mountain Safety Research (MSR). For adults,M SR makes two lines of snowshoes that are made in Seattle, the Lightning Series and the Evo Series. I am going to break down the Evo Series and let you know the difference between the three types. They all cost more than $64 but here are a few reasons why it’s money well spent.
All of the Evo snowshoes are made with a durable injection molded plastic. This composite Unibody deck is incredibly tough. The three also have tip to tail steel traction rails giving increased bite in snow and ice. Traction rails and brake bars are molded directly to the deck for a secure fit. The length of the EVO snowshoes are all 22.2 inches making movement on narrow trails much easier. If you plan to travel in deep powder 6 inch modular flotation tails can be added for more weight displacement.
Now that you know what makes all of the snowshoes in the Evo line great, here’s what makes each one different so you can choose the right pair:
The Evos are the most basic of the three types in the series. They are designed for use on flat and rolling terrain. They still have the tip to tail Unibody Traction but the crampons on the bottom are not as aggressive as the others. The Evo uses a three strap, freeze proof Posi-Lock binding that is glove friendly. A wide variety of footwear can be used with these from a women’s 5.5 up to a men’s 15. The Evo comes in green and navy and weighs in at 3lb 10oz.
If you spend most of your time on rolling terrain but occasionally want to go onto the steeps then the Evo Tour is a good choice for you. The Evo Tour comes with a set and forget SpeedLock Binding. Once you have set the main strap to your boot then you don’t have to worry about ever changing the setting unless you switch footwear. They are easy to get in and out of by just changing the back strap. An optional third strap can be used when you are on steeper trails. The Evo Tour also comes with Televators for your heel. These bars flip up to reduce fatigue and increase traction on constant steep uphill trails. The Evo Tours weigh in at 4lbs and come in gray.
The most aggressive of the Evo Series is the Ascent. For the Ascent, MSR uses a PosiLock AT binding which is their most secure, freeze resistant binding. The binding is made up of 2 independent pieces and 4 straps to really keep your boot in place. The Pivot Crampon provides the wearer with an excellent bite into the snow or ice. Like the Tour the Ascent comes with glove friendly Televators to help you on those hikes up mountains. The large boot hole can accommodate ski or snowboard boots for those that like to do ski/ride mountaineering. The Evo Ascent comes in red, black, or white and weighs 4lbs.
Picking the right snowshoe is personal. It depends on where you are going to go and what you are going to do. I have an older version of the Ascents and have spent many days in the mountains with them. I admit that one of the reasons I picked them was because they were made in America, but their performance is the reason I’m so happy with them. Cascade Designs, the parent company of MSR, has great customer service and is proud to make many of their products domestically.
Do you have a favorite Made in America product? Leave a comment below and let us know.