loading, one second please...

Yukon Charlie Chinook Snowshoes

Reviewing: Yukon Charlie Chinook  |  Rating:
Joan Young By Joan Young on
Badge: Editor | Level: 34 | Outdoors & Recreation Expertise:
Image for Yukon Charlie Chinook Snowshoes

These snowshoes are a low-end, modern-design snowshoe that work well for a casual user or occasional snowshoe hike.

The pair of these shoes that I tried are the 8" x 25" size (model 825), suitable for up to about 200 pounds. The company makes larger sizes as well, and also one size smaller. I believe that they have discontinued the Chinook line, but they make other similar shoes, and presumably there are lots of used pairs out there which will show up secondhand. These originally sold new for about $60.

They have a lightweight tubular aluminum frame and rigid plastic decking held to the frame with riveted straps and plastic lacing. There are gripping cleats (crampons) both under the toe harness, and a fixed, four-prong plate under the heel position. These seem excessively heavy-duty to me compared to the quality of the rest of the shoe, but I’m not a big fan of crampons, so I may just be prejudiced. In general, if you are going to be walking on steep enough terrain that the crampons need to be this long and heavy, I would think that you are a more serious trekker who would have chosen better equipment in the first place. The entire snowshoe is very rigid, whereas the top-quality shoes have a certain amount of flex.

The harness has a plastic base and toe clip with nylon straps and side-press release buckles over the instep and around the heel. The heel strap has a plastic reinforcement gripper that helps prevent boot slippage. The toe clip can be adjusted for smaller and larger feet, but not easily, as bolts must be removed and the holes in the toe clip and harness base realigned. If you have very small feet, you won’t want to be sharing with someone larger and needing to readjust the toe clip too often. (Someone with very large feet would probably also be heavier and thus need a larger model shoe.)

The “tail” (these round-backed shoes don’t really have a tail... but I am referring to the back end) of the shoe is long enough that it doesn’t flip snow up on the user as easily as some of the really short shoes. I found the snowshoes to be quite well balanced, at least. That is very important to the ease of walking. The toe hole is large enough that it won’t catch the front of your boot, and the tail stays down when you move your foot forward. This makes moving the shoes forward across the snow easier, and is what keeps the snow from being thrown up on your fanny. The crampons are quite large, so you really need significant snow to use these. I have been told that snow does not stick to the plastic decking. That would be a very positive feature. Personally I have not used these shoes in wet enough snow conditions to test this.

These actually belong to a friend of mine and came with matching collapsible trekking poles. The poles do not lock well at the joints and the time that I used the poles they kept telescoping on their own. Not very helpful. I would suggest getting better poles. (You can also just use ski poles, regular trekking poles, or no poles.)

My husband, basically a non-snowshoer, also tried these and said he can’t tell any difference between these and anything else. He just doesn’t like the sport.

I personally do not care for aluminum and plastic snowshoes. See How and Why to Choose Wooden Snowshoes . However, these are a reasonably priced pair that would be fine for light use. If you are about to take on a regular program of snowshoeing for exercise, I would suggest looking into a slightly more expensive snowshoe.