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Reviewed by 2 customers
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Comments about Atlas 1025 Snowshoes:
Given the one-sided, tunnel-vision of the other review on this product, some big-picture context is SORELY needed.
As an experienced, 4-season owner of this product, it is obvious that the previous reviewer:
A) did not attempt any difficult, technical terrain
B) has limited experience with the various binding designs currently on the market in particular, and the more technical demands of the sport in general.
First off, there are trade-offs to *every* binding system. Tubbs and Atlas are owned by the same company, so it's not that Atlas can't emulate Tubb's design, it's that their designers are deliberately creating an alternative with different strengths.
I've used the Tubbs snow shoes. Simply put, they're a simple, recreational design for nontechnical use. While it's true that Tubbs don't "snap back" and throw as much snow as the Atlas design, and thus may have a greater "comfort factor" on flat terrain in wet snow, the Atlas shoes are FAR SUPERIOR on technical terrain, especially on steep traverses and when high-stepping over technical obstacles in tight quarters where precise foot placement is critical.
Here are the strengths of the Atlas binding design:
1) Great crampons & bomber grip on boots, both hardshell or rubber-soled. Strap it on & forget about it. Not as convenient as a ratchet-design, but without the pressure-points such a design entails.
2) "Spring-loaded" binding prevents over-rotation of the deck. When stepping over logs & rocks, or navigating steep switchbacks in deep snow, when using free-pivoting designs like the Tubbs where the decks are free to rotate until they bang into your shins, the user will quickly realize that *unlimited* free rotation at the binding is a *huge* drawback the very first time they trip over an over-rotated deck or drive the entire deck tail-first into the snow like a stake.
I actually "stuffed" a Tubbs snowshoe tail-first while jumping over a log on a fast, technical descent while wearing a pack: I don't wish this experience on anyone. MSR addresses this problem by limiting binding rotation to 45%, Atlas by creating a "spring-loaded" strap-suspension system that helps the decks "rebound" after each stride, which has the added benefit of limiting deck-drag when moving fast on top of heavier snow.
3) Torsional "free float": Another benefit of Atlas' suspension-binding design: unlike rigid-steel-axle designs like on the Tubbs or MSR shoes, the "spring-loaded" strap design of the Atlas allows the foot a controlled & predictable range of rotational freedom relative to the deck to better adapt to the lateral pitch of the trail. This is a *huge* advantage when traversing, especially in hard snow conditions, as the foot isn't forced to cant outwards at an unnatural angle, which allows you to dig in with the more-effective, uphill side of the crampon.
4) Relatively lightweight, yet rugged: while the Atlas 10xx series isn't quite as lightweight as top-end MSR models, it is significantly lighter than any of Tubbs' designs, all of which feature a large, heavy steel-axle assembly.
Bottom line: for all-around, all-condition use, including more challenging off-trail and backcountry terrain, these 25" Atlas shoes are a great choice. Serious mountaineers w/ packs, and those in areas of bottomless, dry snow, would do well to consider shoes 30" or larger. For those willing to spend the extra $100-150 to get the ultimate in traction & lightweight design, the top-of the line models from MSR are hard to pass up.
Those looking primarily for a recreational shoe that will be used almost exclusively on flat terrain, especially in wet, heavy springtime conditions, may chose to join the previous reviewer in purchasing a pair of Tubbs shoes, which will admittedly keep non-waterproof pants drier, should you chose to wear them. Just be aware that this "comfort factor" comes at the price of true, off-trail versatility and performance.
Comments about Atlas 1025 Snowshoes:
After my experience yesterday, where I was cussing and swearing at the trailhead for several minutes at the Atlas designer who invented their strap system, I looked closely this morning at the Tubbs vs Atlas snowshoes this morning… and indeed, Tubbs has a different and much better 'hinge' mechanism. In watching my daughter and her boyfriend snowshoe in front of me yesterday, I was amazed at how the Tubbs so easily 'floated' or kind of skimmed along the surface compared to the ones her boyfriend had, some Crescent Moons, which were more similar to the Atlas, and had a definite 'flip up' with each step. Kara had barely any snow on her even up to mid-calf, while her boyfriend was soaked up to his waist, and I had snow flipping up all the way to my head and past, which at first made me think they were throwing snow at my head from behind. And, humorously, the wetness soaked my pants above the gaiters, and came through on the front in the crotch, making me look like I'd wet my pants. LOL. And, the Tubbs teeth assembly looks a bit nicer when looked at side by side, too. So, considering how hard they were to get my average size hiking boots into it factoring into it, the Atlas are going back and I'm going to get some Tubbs.
On the aesthetic side though, the Atlas' do Look better. That is one thing they definitely have in their favor. And the strap-in system also Looks like it Should be really cool. I can see how a clerk at REI would suggest it as a great choice. And, I could see how if Atlas just gave the strap-in system even just one disconnection point (as is, the whole thing is one piece, sort of like a backpack with a waistband that wouldn't disconnect and you have to slither into it) that it would then be very good, so their next generation, along with a better hinge, could kick it up into the Tubbs league.
* Intermediate markdowns may have been taken.
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