As part of our Wednesday snowshoe series we’ve talked a bit about the history of snowshoeing, why to snowshoe and how to choose a pair of snowshoes. Today we’re talking about the best places to buy a set of snowshoes. But don’t go shopping just yet! Next week we’ll talk about the extra gear (poles, boots etc) that you need to go with your snowshoes.
Like most gear, if you’re a beginner I recommend buying used or renting a pair of snowshoes for your first few adventures to be sure that it’s a sport you really want to invest money into.
You can rent snowshoes from most outdoor gear shops. If you’re a college student in a snowy place chances are that your school’s outdoor rec program has a pair you can take for a cheap test drive. Many snowshoe companies also put on free clinics with demos at winter festivals throughout the United States (we’ll keep you posted on one’s in our region), so that’s another chance to try before you buy. Or you can always find a friend who snowshoes and ask if you can borrow their snowshoes for a few hours, we’ll lend you ours if you’re in Laramie.
If you’re looking to take the plunge and buy a used pair we’ve seen snowshoes for sale on eBay, Craigslist, local classified ads, garage sales, thrift stores, gear swaps, used gear stores and online message boards. In looking to buy a used pair we’d focus on the bindings and ensuring that the straps are in good condition and will properly fit and hold your boot.
If you’re looking for a new pair we’ve seen great package deals lately at Jax in Fort Collins, Colorado. We’d also check out REI, Sierra Trading Post and of course local outdoor gear shops. The good news is that snowshoes are easy to find, we’ve even seen them at Costco and Sam’s Club (although you get what you pay for). Or, you can always order them online directly from the snowshoe company or even Amazon. The biggest problem we had lately was finding a pair of snowshoes for our 2 year old, but thankfully he has one Grandpa, my Dad who has now been dubbed the “Gear Grandpa” for his ability to find good kid’s gear at reasonable prices. It also helps that he lives in what I consider an outdoor gear mecca (Bozeman, MT).
There are hundreds of options when it comes to buying new or used snowshoes.
We’d like to start a list for people looking for snowshoes. If you can recommend an awesome place with good customer service and reasonable prices leave us a comment with the store name and location below. Our blog subscribers come from all over North America so there’s no need to keep this local or regional!