Affordable Outdoor Experiences
Are you just getting into the outdoors, or have you been playing outside since you were a kid? I have been playing outside since I was youth, and I have found that I take my experiences for granted sometimes. It is true, even in a state like New Mexico, where the great outdoors are so readily accessible, many people never get outside and have fun. A lot of folks tell me that what prohibits them the most is the cost of outfitting themselves or their family. That can be true if you are looking to get into mountain biking, skiing, boating, or rock climbing. But if we look at the root of outdoor experiences they all begin on foot in the simplest form.
Hiking can be done in every month of the year in some fashion or another. If you can walk, you can hike in the wilderness, open space, or in your local park. The equipment is minimal; it ranges from a solid sturdy shoe to hiking boots. Optional equipment includes back packs, trekking poles, to overnight gear.
What happens when the winter weather turns cold? Will that stop the hiking? In my mind no, it just changes the gear needed a little bit. Depending on the depth of the snow all you may need is a pair of mittens and a winter hat and you can be out experiencing the soundscapes of winter. If the snow is over 6 inches you might want to utilize a pair of snowshoes.
But wait, I thought this was a blog post on affordable outdoor experiences? That’s true, it is, and that’s why I bring up snowshoeing. If you live in an area with heavy snowfall, then you know the value of using snowshoes to get around. It only takes a few minutes of post-holing on the trail to wear you out, and make your pants wet and frozen. If you have ever wandered with frozen pant legs, you’ll know that it’s not the best experience you can have.
What kind of equipment is needed for snowshoeing? Really all you need is a pair of snowshoes. The optional equipment can include trekking poles, a back pack, and some warm layers inside of the pack. Snowshoeing can be a great aerobic activity like hiking. But in the winter you will want to dress in layers to keep from getting chilled when you stop to enjoy the scenery and soundscape of the great outdoors.
But the cost! I know I have been there before. A pair of snowshoes can cost around $150/ person. That’s why I enjoyed rental snowshoes long before I ever purchased a set of my own. At MST Adventures we rent our snowshoes for $20 per 24 hour period, and the best part? They come with trekking poles, to aid in stability, traction, and balance.
Know Before You Go
What do you need to know before you rent or purchase snowshoes? Whether you are renting or buying, you should look for a set that will meet your needs, are you planning on going on well-established trails, in the backcountry, or are you packing a heavy load?
Knowing where you plan to go will help determine the proper length of snowshoe. This is important as that will determine how much float it will provide in the snow. All snowshoes will sink in soft snow, but the snowshoes with a larger surface area will allow for a higher float, and keep you from running out of energy.
Binding systems, I like a binding that will go on and come off with ease if I am wearing mittens or gloves. If you have a complicated binding system, it may be hard to operate with gloved fingers, thus opening yourself up to cold fingers or frost bite while putting them on, or adjusting them in the field.
Traction bars, is the last component that I think everyone should look at before making a purchase or renting. The better the traction the less likely you will be to fall. All snowshoes are not created equal that is for sure. Some snowshoes only have traction under the binding, while others have traction bars on the sides and front of the snowshoe or binding area. This is an important component when the trail becomes slightly off camber, or traverses across ice.
MST Adventures offers rentals for the whole family. If this is your first time or you are just looking to take the guess work out of your trip come with us on a guided snowshoe tour. We offer small groups tours with our interpretive guides. Guided trips are a great way to learn more about the soundscapes of winter, layering for a successful winter outing, and tricks and tips to get the best pictures in the snow.
MST Adventures operates under special permit from the Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands. We are an equal opportunity provider. Furthermore MST Adventures is a web based business, and will travel to you for custom clinics.