Outdoor Guide: Snowshoeing 101
It might be to your surprise, but the development of snowshoeing dates back thousands of years ago. It’s believed that over 6,000 years ago in Central Asia, snowshoes were developed. Originally designed using pieces of leather-strapped to wooden blocks, snowshoes made it possible to track animals through the deep snow. Throughout time, the snowshoe design has evolved, but the purpose remains the same.
When the 1900s rolled around, and more people were eager to explore, the evolution of recreational snowshoeing took off. Rather than using snowshoes solely as a means of travel, people began using the modernized snowshoes for exercise and leisure. Today, you can find most snowshoes made with aluminum frames and plastic mesh, rather than the original wooden blocks.
Throughout the years, the features of the snowshoe have advanced. On the modern-day snowshoe, you can find cleats beneath the shoe to grip icy trails and surfaces. With the advancements of newer materials, many creators strayed away from traditional designs.
Overtime, snowshoeing has become a widely popular activity, and ski resorts began to open snowshoe trails. In many stores today, you can find three main types of snowshoes that range from beginner to advanced.
Type 1: If it's your first-time snowshoeing, start with a pair of flat-terrain snowshoes. Flexible and with fewer traction features make this ideal for those who enjoy a more relaxed day on the trails.
Type 2: For a more challenging route, rolling terrain snowshoes are perfect for uphill and downhill courses. Designed to handle flat to relatively sloped terrains, they feature a more advanced traction system to help you move along the trail.
Type 3: If the mountains are calling your name and you’re a confident snowshoer, the mountain terrain snowshoe is your go-to. Designed for deep snow and steep icy conditions, the backcountry trails will be calling your name.
The snowshoes themselves may be the most necessary part of the venture, but don’t begin your adventure just yet. Let’s not forget about the extra gear that’ll make the journey a lot warmer and safe for you.
Don’t forget to pack proper clothing before the adventure begins! Having a warm, breathable, and moisture repellent jacket or vest is a must for snowshoeing. For additional support when you’re exploring the trails, bring along poles to help with your balance. It’s best to find poles that have a snow basket to help stay atop the snow.
To fully enjoy this winter activity, have a pair of waterproof and durable hiking boots set out for your adventure. Hydration is key! Before the adventure begins, let’s not overlook packing an insulated water bottle. Pack up your gear in a durable Duluth Pack backpack from our lifestyle or outdoor collection. Built for adventure and in various sizes, you’re sure to find the one that fits all your outdoor activity necessities.
You're finally all geared up and ready to explore! The only thing left to do is to find the perfect location. Across the country, you’ll discover that most cross-country ski trails allow snowshoers. When you’re choosing this area, be mindful and walk on the side of the groomed trail to avoid damaging the trails.
From National and State Parks to local ski resorts, each offer designated snowshoe trails. If you’re looking for a more secluded area that has deep and undisturbed power, a National Forest may be your best bet. If there's thick ice coating your beloved summertime river, snowshoeing on it can make it become your favorite year-round river, too.
It's best to call each location to ask about their rules for snowshoeing.
There are countless reasons to want to snowshoe the great outdoors. With a new hobby, come new friends. It’s a great way to get everyone together to be active and avoid being cooped up in the house all winter long. You’ll find hiking trails you couldn’t explore during the summer months, think of all the new scenery you’ll witness! If you thought summer was your favorite time of year, you might find yourself rethinking that once you latch-up those snowshoes for a day out on the trails. Snowshoeing is also a popular activity for those looking to go winter camping in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
With any outdoor activity, there are a few safety recommendations to keep in mind. Keeping yourself hydrated while you venture from trail to trail is crucial. It may sound overboard, but pack more water than you think you'll need. It’s best to bring an insulated water bottle that won’t freeze.
Give yourself the energy you need to make your way through the backcountry trails. Pack some light snacks and food before you embark on your adventure. Energy bars and a sandwich or two are great options. With this being a winter activity, food may freeze, try to pick options that won’t become rock-hard if they get frozen.
Even when your adventure starts during the daytime, your safety is necessary to think about around the clock. Winter, especially in Minnesota, can be unpredictable. Always pack a flashlight, just in case you end up in a blustery wind or the sunset happens sooner than you thought. If you're one to wander where the Wi-Fi is weak, let friends and family know the locations where you’ll be snowshoeing.
The winters are long in Minnesota, let’s start making the most of it, friends! Snowshoeing is a fun way to stay active during the snow-covered months. Use #PersonBehindThePack on social media, and let us know how you use yours throughout the winter. We might feature your story on our blog, The Pack Report.
Snowshoe on, friends!