Any winter camping trip is an exercise in gear choices. Snowshoes, skis, what will you do for shelter, what temperature should you prepare for? When heading to the BWCA on a gear test trip it simply means you load up the car and bring everything!
We stopped at Granite Gear headquarters in Two Harbors, Minn. to pick up a Pulk Sled (available now; $600) to haul all our gear. The sled has two features that really helped on this trip. When climbing the portages the brake kept me from sliding back down the hill and the fiberglass stays kept the sled from crashing into me as we descended. The ability to keep everything controlled was not lost on me as I saw others on trail struggling with out of control sleds.
We decided not to ski and that led me to Crescent Moon and their Gold Series snowshoes. I was initially worried when they arrived as they are big. 37 inches big. But at slightly over 4lbs they are much lighter than they look.
The snowshoes (available now; $279) performed. We faced varied terrain from packed powder on trails to wide open powder on the lakes where we laid fresh tracks. In both environments the shoes were great.
Crescent Moon also designed its “SPL Binding” to truly capture your foot in all directions and I found that to be an accurate statement as I was able to completely lock my boot in the shoe and have no slip of any kind. One thing to be aware of, if you have bigger feet (like my size 13s) you will be limited to the type of boot you can get into the binding.
The company recommends trail shoes combined with their neoprene booties. I wanted some insulation and wore a light hiking boot from Hi Tec but anything more than that did not fit in the binding. Overall I highly recommend the Crescent Moon snowshoes.
Coming tomorrow night, Part 2.
— Pat Petschel