It looks as if it is most definitely going to be a white Christmas, at least here in our neck of the woods. With that in mind, many of us have gotten an early start on some of our favourite winter pastimes, whether it is skiing and snowboarding, playing hockey, skating or tobogganing.
Winter is also a special time for birders with new arrivals from the north stopping in each and every day, there always seems to be something to see, so long as you head out to find it. With the leaves removed from the bulk of the trees, it is a great time to visit your favourite nature trail with a good pair of binoculars and see what you can find.
Heavy snowfall, however, can put a damper on outdoor hikes at times, making it difficult to make your way into your favourite birding haunts. Giving that problem much thought, we spent some time researching and evaluating a few options that might help birders out in the field during the winter months. We landed on snowshoes, and not just any snowshoes; Wonka Outdoors’ Backwoods series of snowshoes.
For over a decade, Wonka Outdoors has been manufacturing high-grade snowshoes and trekking poles at a reasonable price point. Let’s break down each model for a closer look:
The flagship model, these snowshoes are built tough and durable using a 6061 aluminum frame, rugged polyurethane decking and aggressive 6063 aluminum crampons. The one-size-fits-all polycarbonate ratchet binding makes putting them on a breeze and each pair comes with a handy carry bag.
Sizes range from 8 x 20 inch (supporting up to 100lbs) to 9 x 34 inch (supporting up to 250 lbs).
Backwoods Snowshoes Junior
Just as the name suggests, you get all of the perks of the flagship model, but with a slightly smaller sizing for children weighing up to 80 lbs. The 17” frame is the perfect size for getting the kids or grandkids out on the trails this winter.
For the astute outdoors person is the Backwoods Pro model. This upgraded model features a more aggressive heel crampon; hinged binding and a heel lift to better handle rough backcountry terrain. The Pro model also features a strap pivot for greater flex and articulation, allowing for the ultimate in comfort while traversing.
Sizes range from 17 to 36 inch frames that can handle anywhere from 165lbs to 200+ lbs of load when in use.