Saturday, April 22, 2006

Super Ultra Light - Snowshoes - MYOG - Part 1

Super Ultra Light (SUL) - Snowshoes - MYOG - Part 1

I own a pair of Northern Lites, the Backcountry Rescue model as I liked the bright orange. When I bought them I thought I needed the larger size snowshoe. They have worked very well for me and they are very light at 43oz for the pair. I also bought them at the end of the season and got a nice discount on the price.

Since I bought them my gear weight has come down A LOT. I also had a chance to use some smaller snowshoes and have wanted the smaller size ever since.

I have been making gear for warmer weather thinking I may be able to get out for a long hike by Sept this year. Foe several reasons that time frame has to be pushed out a few months and it now seems it will be Fall or early winter.

I have shifted my MYOG project to colder weather gear with a new pack frame system and bigger bag. It will still be very light but it might weight as much as two pounds.

I have had also been working on a pair of full cover (trail runner) gaiters. To take advantage of a few new ideas such as the
Kahtoola Flight Snow Travel System

I am turning that project into a set of very light over-boots for my trail runners. At the same time I realized that this is a new snowshoe system and it is coming out the first of Oct. This gave me some new ideas for a very light snowshoe that with a couple of small changes should work with my trail runner over-boots.

I had tried to make a snowshoe out of tubing but was not very successful at bending the tubing. I didn't give up on the snowshoe idea just put it on hold. I had remembered seeing a snowshoe that wasn't made with tubing but could not remember who made it. Last night I started looking and found the MSR Lighting Ascent Snowshoes.

The 22" model I found a picture of weighs 3 pounds 8 ounces and uses flat Aluminum for the side part.

My snowshoes will be a much lighter cousin and I will replace the Aluminum with Titanium for the side part. The Titanium for the edge on ONE snowshoe will weigh less than [4 ounces]. It will have two cross pieces of Titanium under the deck part that will act as crampons. I don't have an estimate of the weight for those two pieces but there will not weigh much.

Cardboard Model:

New Snowshoes size vs Northern Lites Backcountry Rescue model:

For the first working version I will use a plastic material called POLYGAL for the deck. It is strong and light weight at 0.1 gram per sq inch. The weight of the POLYGAL for ONE snowshoe will be less than [2.5oz]. The POLYGAL is very ridge and should hold the more flexible Titanium in place.

I am working on several ideas for the bindings. I am looking for certain parts and how I make the binding will depend on finding those parts. If that fails I will make a simple binding like you see on the old wooden snowshoes.


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