Published on November 29th, 2012 | by Kira0
Kahtoola MTN Snowshoes: A Chillingly Great Idea
I spent two years of my life living in Toronto. While Toronto is a pretty large city, it still gets very cold and can large amounts of snow. Moving to New York City hasn’t greatly reduced the amount of snow I am living with, especially when you go upstate or out of the urban areas. While you might not need much more than snow boots while trekking around these cities, you may find once off the beaten path, snow boots might not cut it. We’ve got just the thing for those times.
One of the coolest things I’ve ever witnessed- and certainly the coolest thing I saw while living in Toronto- was frozen waves. It was one of those off-the-beaten-path moments. Some friends and I took a weekend trip to a remote cabin. I am not a big snowboarder or downhill skier, cross country being more my speed, so a few of us decided to go ice skating instead of hitting the slopes. Near the ice skating rink there was a path. I like to adventure as much as the next person, so I suggested to my girls that we go for a walk. Before I knew it we had hit our own giant ice rink, a massive frozen lake. This lake had clearly flash frozen because the ice had formed waves, standing still, iced over and glisteningly beautiful. We slipped and slid all over them, unsure and a little concerned about where the lake began, excited to be crawling through waves. There are two things that would have made this experience more amazing: a good camera, and crampons and snowshoes. If you have never tried to walk through deep snow to end up at a frozen lake, you have no idea how hard it is to move on both of those surfaces. While I did not know it, at the time I was day dreaming of the Kahtoola MTN 28 Snowshoes.
Kahtoola is an innovative company, always looking for new ways to ease your winter hiking needs. The words “snowshoes” and “inventive” might not seem to go together, but you’d be surprised. These certainly aren’t what you’d imagine, if you haven’t checked out snowshoes recently. The Kahtoola MTN are more than the normal snowshoes- these come with clipout crampons, to help you tackle any winter terrain. This means that you only need to take the Kahtoola MTN 28 Snowshoes with you when you go on long hikes during the winter instead of two different winter traction wear, saving valuable weight and space in your bag.
The Kahtoola MTN 28 Snowshoes are very easy to configure and use. You can cinch or expand the crampon fairly easily by adjusting the wingspan below the cleats (and yes, crampons have wingspans). There is a lot of room to modify the fit as well. The crampons can range from women’s running shoe size six to men’s pack boot size 14, an incredible range and fairly comfortable between the women’s six and men’s ten that we tried. Putting on the eight-point crampon is as easy as putting on any shoe, merely push your toe to the edge and tighten the straps. There are bands that will hold any extra strap, which is great so you do not have to worry about it getting in the way while you are hiking. Finally, stepping into the snow shoe while in your crampon is simple. All you have to do is line up the teeth and click in. If you can not see the bars in the deck you will have to pull the reset tab to be able to click in. Taking your crampons out is a basic as pulling the T-handle on the side and you can slide out of the snowshoes.
While the Kahtoola MTN 28 Snowshoes are made from aluminum and might save you some space and hopefully weight by having a two in one shoe, they are not that light. Each shoe weights four pounds and six ounces! These are the longer version (28 inches, hence the name), though a 24-inch model is available as well if you need a little less weight). Like all snow shoes they are rather large (8.5X28 inches); so, they can be a little hard to pack but doable. One should note that the crampons are not full crampons, there are no cleats on the heels. This means that you will have to put more of your weight on the middle of your foot to properly get around. The snowshoes also come with cleats and I found both shoes and crampons easy to move around in, though we didn’t get a chance to test in the deepest powder. Over trails, they felt stable and even comfortable, once we got the hang of their size and balance.
Finally, our favorite, price. As it’s fairly easy to spend $200 or more for snowshoes or crampons alone, the $290 price tag is pretty fair considering the Kahtoola MTN 28 Snowshoes package. Overall, we think they are a well made, fun to play with, easy to use, and a reasonable price for serious gear.