Heading into Winter 2022, I decided to replace my Atlas 1030 snowshoes. Stella had hoped that I would select either the Louis Garneau Premiere or Blizzard III snowshoes (since she has the Blizzard II snowshoes and absolutely loves them), but they were not the ones that I wanted. After researching every mountain/backcountry snowshoe available, my decision led to the Tubbs Flex VRT snowshoes.
I decided to wait to post this review for them until Fall 2022, prior to the 2023 winter season. I wanted to ensure that I had used these enough to be able to provide a well-tested review. Likewise, this same notion applies to our new Madshus Panorama M78 skis that we had also purchased Winter of 2022. That review will be available in a week or two.
BINDINGS: This biggest factor in my decision to upgrade from the Atlas 1030 snowshoes came down to the binding and the DynamicFit BOA Binding. This is a huge upgrade from the Wraps Swift bindings on my Atlas 1030 snowshoes. I have been drawn to the BOA technology ever since Stella had purchased her Louis Garneau Blizzard II snowshoes in November 2017. She loves those snowshoes and will use them until they fall apart, literally.
Unlike the cinch straps, the BOA technology allows you to dial in the fit creating a perfect fit across the front of the foot, locking you into Tubbs Advanced Torsion Deck. The DynamicFit binding encases approximately 2/3 of your foot, producing a comfortable and even pressure across your foot. Thus far, this technology has helped to alleviate heel blisters. I trekked in a variety of terrain and have yet to experience the blisters that plagued me with the Atlas 1030’s.
COMFORT: Another significant attribute of the snowshoes is the Flex Tail design. The Atlas 1030 snowshoes have a tubular frame, which is ridged from front to back. After trekking long distances, I would sometimes experience joint pain in and around my ankles and knees. The Tubbs Flex Tail design is supposed to provide a more natural stride, leading less joint fatigue when on long journeys.
PERFORMANCE: One feature that I do like on the Atlas snowshoes is the tubular design. If the rear part of the Atlas snowshoes cross over one another, they just slide right off without issue. However, with the Tubbs Flex VRT, there is a groove or lip on the underside of the edges that causes them to snag or lock together. This can be problematic in tight areas on a trail where the back part of the snowshoes may cross over one other, resulting in a potential loss of balance.
With that being said, the traction on the Tubbs Flex VRT is rock solid. They have a carbon steel crampon to assist in gripping during vertical ascents and descents, paired with side rails to prevent slipping on the horizontal. This came in handy in during our recent Jackson Hole/Alpine Winter Adventure when we traversed Stateline Canyon.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I would be hard pressed to purchase another pair of snowshoes without the BOA Fit System. You have the ability to customize the fit for your desired level of comfort so you can be on the trail in a matter of seconds without fumbling around with toe straps and having to constantly tighten up the straps during your journey. Plus, they are designed for use in the backcountry/off trail, which if you happen to be looking for us, that is where we will be found. Although, if you do come across us, Stella will likely be buried in a pile of deep snow, as is her luck from often being a bit too adventurous.
Price Paid: $259.99
Place Purchased: Backcountry.com
Link to Tubbs Website: Tubbs Snowshoes
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