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Ethan Rambacher | 06.26.2019

Men's MSR Evo Ascent Snowshoes specs

  • Weight: 3 lbs 15moz (1.78 kg, pair)
  • Length: 22min (56 cm)
  • Width: 8 in (20 cm)
  • Footwear size range: 4.5 - 15
  • Load: 180 lbs (250 lbs with tails)
  • Binding type: TriFit
  • Color: Stone Gray

Where to Buy

$199.95 • Amazon | REIMSR

The bottom line: The MSR Evo Ascent snowshoes are basically the ideal snowshoe for winter hiking and mountaineering in all but the deepest powder. They offer high performance while being one of the cheaper "technical" snowshoes on the market—great performance and value.

 


The MSR Evo Ascent performs particularly well on packed snow. Ethan Rambacher.

For a while I had my eye on the MSR Lightning Ascent snowshoes, popularly seen as the best in the market for steep, snowy winter hikes. But at $300, the Lightning Ascents are quite pricey, especially if you don't plan to use them too often. I decided on the Evo Ascents at $100 cheaper, and I've been quite happy with the decision. So far I've used the Evo Ascents on perhaps half a dozen trips, and I've been quite satisfied on every trip.

First, let's talk traction. On compacted snow, they're fantastic. As the snow gets deeper and more powdery, the Evo Ascents still perform great and offer great grip. Two metal rails provide lateral and forward traction, and a large, toothed metal crampon mounted to the footbed provides strong traction located under the toe, which makes it easy to dig in for extra traction on tougher or steeper moves.

It wasn't until a steep hike through nearly 2 feet of new powder that I noticed any major slipping with them. And at that point, basically no snowshoe will offer perfect traction (if you find one, let me know!). In really deep stuff, you can use the snowshoe tails to add 5 inches of floatation. I never needed mine.

Next: weight. At 3 pounds, 15 ounces per pair, the Evos are lighter than the Lightnings and the Revos. Although I have not tried the Lightning Ascents, the Evos are said to have a slightly wider gait than the Lightnings. That said, the Evos will probably work fine for the majority of users. Because of the plastic construction, they are a bit louder than other models, particularly on crunchy or refrozen snow.

Next, the bindings. Snowshoe bindings might just be my least favorite part of winter hiking. They're fussy, hard to do up with gloves on, they come undone, and they occasionally break 4 miles from the trailhead. Having used several different types of snowshoe bindings recently, I can say that of all of them,the Evo Ascent bindings are the ones I hate the least. They're not perfect, but so far they've been secure, and they don't take too long to attach. Having used a few pairs of older MSR snowshoes as well, I expect the binding straps to get stiffer over the years, but they are easily replaceable if they snap or become too difficult to attach.

Lastly, the price. The Evo Ascent snowshoes come in around $200 MSRP, about two-thirds the price of the Lightning Ascents. If you look at only "technical" snowshoes—those meant for hiking on steeper terrain, as opposed to flat walks through the woods—the Evo Ascents are on the cheaper side, making them an excellent value choice (though as I mentioned, you don't really sacrifice any performance).

I think the MSR Evo Ascent snowshoes are a great choice for casual and frequent users alike. If you don't want to shell out $300 for a pair of snowshoes, but you still want to enjoy aggressive and challenging winter hikes, you will like the MSR Evo Ascents.

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