Trekking Blog for ultralight and outdoor – Trailblaze

Atlas Race snowshoes versus Northern Lites Backcountry

March 14, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

I was able to make extensive use of the last snowshoe trip I undertook to conduct a comparison between Atlas Race and Northern Lites Backcountry snowshoes.

Basic data:
– Atlas Race 907 grams/55.8 cm long/up to 85 kg.
– Northern Lites Backcountry 1,219 grams/76 cm long/up to 113 kg.

Atlas Race vs Northern Lites Backcountry

Both snowshoes were tested using an overall rucksack weight of approximately 96 kg and 80 kg.

The difference in size is, of course, immediately apparent. Each of the snowshoes is the lightest in its class. It was clear to us in advance that the Northern Lites would perform better in deep snow. The aim of the comparison was to show whether the Atlas Race also offers benefits.

Snow conditions in the Harz were perfect for obtaining a good comparison. There was deep lying snow in open areas, up to 1.80 meters of snow on the Brocken Mountain, trampled pathways of snow and about 30 cm of snow lying in the lower areas of the Harz. It was obvious that the Northern Lites were suitable for use in deep lying snow. My companion preferred the Northern Lites in these conditions, even though he was carrying a total weight of only 80 kg. The Atlas Race sinks more deeply into the snow (when carrying an overall weight of 80 kg) than the Northern Lites Backcountry does when carrying 96 kg, although maximum weight was not placed on the Atlas Race.

By way of contrast, I found the Atlas Race practical in deep lying snow despite overburdening it with a total weight of 96 kg. Although the deeper steps through the snow made it more strenuous to use the Atlas Race, it still proved feasible.

On the other hand, the Atlas Race proved itself to be the ideal snowshoe for crusted snow or on pathways where the snow had already been trampled. It provided sufficient size to make both test persons feel secure on the snow. The narrower width of the snowshoe also permits a more natural gait, something which was, of course, also enhanced by the short length of the Atlas Race.

The Atlas Race was frequently the more ideal of the two snowshoes due to the nature of the snow and trails to be found in the Harz. Both test persons prefer Northern Lites Backcountry if a great deal of deep lying snow is expected.

I would also like to mention that my large shoes (size 50) made it impossible to use the Atlas Race fastening properly. This had obviously been designed for smaller and shorter feet, and I was not able to fasten the buckle around my heel. Both my companion and I greatly preferred the Northern Lites fastening. This enables the foot to be secured and released more quickly and also provides a better grip. After the trip, I decided to change the Atlas Race fastening and have a comparable fastening from Backcountry fitted.

Atlas Race vs Northern Lites BackcountryAtlas Race vs Northern Lites Backcountry

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