The Atlas Helium Path ($150) is a light-weight and surprisingly cheap snowshoe designed to be used on rolling hills and straightforward terrain. It has nice traction and has a brand new Wrapp binding system, corresponding to the Paragon Binding on MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoes. The Helium Path Snowshoes additionally include heel lifts (televators) which make climbing hills simpler and aren’t often discovered on inexpensive “path” snowshoes.
Specs at a Look
- Gender: Unisex
- Sizes: 23″ (3 lbs 2 oz), 26″ (3 lbs 7 oz)
- Traction: entrance crampon, facet traction rails
- Crampon Materials: Carbon Metal
- Heel Lifts: Sure
- Form: Teardrop
- Deck Materials: Plastic
- Max Really useful Load: 23″ (as much as 160 lbs), 26″ (as much as 220lbs)
Snowshoes are heavy, starting from 4 to 5 kilos per pair, relying on sizing. However the factor that units the Helium Path Snowshoe other than different makes and fashions is the truth that they solely weigh 3 kilos and a couple of ounces, which is an astonishingly low weight for a 23″ snowshoe. The 26″ snowshoe, which I’ve been utilizing, weighs 3 lbs 7 oz per pair.
Whereas the Helium Trails are exceptionally light-weight, the brand new net-like Wrapp binding may be very easy to make use of and cozy. It replaces the webbing model binding Atlas used final 12 months when these snowshoes have been first launched, which had a defect the place the binding might be reduce by the facet traction rails. That outdated binding is historical past and the issue has been utterly fastened on this new mannequin.
Atlas additionally gives the Helium snowshoe with two totally different binding techniques. The Helium BC Snowshoe is sort of equivalent to the Helium Path besides that its binding makes use of a urethane ski strap as a substitute of the Wrapp binding, whereas the Helium MTN Snowshoe has a Boa-based binding system. I just like the Helium Path and Helium BC the very best of those three as a result of they’re the simplest to strap to the surface of a backpack. Boa Bindings are very cumbersome and troublesome to pack compared.
The Atlas Helium Path is a teardrop-shaped composite snowshoes with a entrance crampon and facet traction rails. The entrance crampon is made with carbon metal whereas the metal traction rails present grip for side-hilling on sloped surfaces. The Helium has a chunky televator heel raise, which you’ll flip as much as cut back calf pressure when climbing hills. This have to be completed by hand since there’s no different method to grasp the televator wire, however a superb whack along with your trekking pole handles is sufficient to flip them again down once they’re not wanted.
The plastic decking is surprisingly sturdy and has lots of flex in it once you step on obstacles like rocks or small ledges. Louvers (angled slits) reduce into the floor of the decking maintain the deck versatile whereas shedding powdery snow. I think about the flotation good, however not extraordinary for a 26-inch snowshoe. However their mild weight makes all of the distinction on this measurement!
The Helium Path’s entrance crampon supplies a wonderful chew in ice, onerous snow, and combined rock and snow for hill climbing. The Helium MTN and Helium BC fashions have barely extra aggressive entrance crampons, however I doubt the distinction is that materials.
New Wrapp Binding
The Altas Helium Path binding is a urethane “internet” that wraps excessive of your boot. One facet is completely hooked up to the snowshoe whereas the opposite two corners have straps that you simply tighten over your boots. It’s quite simple and stays shut when you tighten the straps snugly. The binding is “handed” so you should put your proper foot into the right-hand snowshoe and your left foot into the left. A “RIGHT” and a “LEFT” are embossed within the backside of the binding so you possibly can’t combine them up.
As you stroll, the binding pivots by means of a big entrance gap within the entrance of the snowshoe, so the entrance crampon digs into the snow in entrance of you whereas the rear of the snowshoe floats on prime of the floor of the snow offering flotation. This can be a customary snowshoe design.
Along with the webbing, a rear urethane strap is used to lock your heel in place. If you happen to don’t use the heel strap, your heel and boots gained’t monitor straight or degree, making it a lot tougher to stroll. While you’re able to tighten the heel strap, you pull it tight. It’s held in place by a compression buckle and gained’t slip.
Until you alter footwear, you possibly can set the heel strap as soon as and neglect about it. While you placed on the snowshoe, you possibly can step into the entrance half of the Wrapp binding and easily safe the surface corners. It does assist to make use of winter boots which have little ridge within the heel, just like the Oboz Bridger 10″ that I’m carrying right here, so the heel strap doesn’t slip down the again of your boot. Most insulated winter boots supposed for mountain climbing have this (see 10 Finest Insulated Winter Climbing Boots).
The Atlas Helium Path Snowshoe is surprisingly light-weight but nonetheless totally featured (together with a televator and facet traction rails) for a snowshoe that’s solely supposed for gently rolling terrain. I’ve ignored that steering and use it like I’d use any backcountry snowshoe on mountain trails. Whereas I did discover fault with the earlier mannequin of Helium Path and its former webbing-based binding, I feel this new Wrapp binding is a house run. If you happen to’re in search of a snowshoe that may be very light-weight and straightforward to make use of, I’d seize a pair of those Atlas Helium Path snowshoes. I do know I’ll be carrying mine this winter.
Disclosure: The creator owns this product.
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