Just because the meteorologist called for a few inches of snow does not mean you have to abandon your backcountry weekend plans. During a recent winter snowstorm that sent the balmy South into a deep freeze we hit the trail to try out the Tubbs Flex ALP Snowshoes on the snowy slopes of the highest peak east of the Mississippi: Mt. Mitchell.
The Flex ALP is designed with a torsion deck design, which allows for ideal biometrics, enhanced traction and comfort perfect for any terrain. The secret behind the torsion deck is the flexible yet durable plastic that allows your foot to naturally roll as you walk, which is essential for reducing stress on your joints. The Flex Tail was designed to aid your natural foot placement by absorbing heel strike shock, unlike traditional ridged snowshoe designs.
On the underside of the Flex ALP, traction can be found everywhere. From the carbon and steel toe crampons with sharp, jagged teeth to the traction bars, this snowshoe will keep you on the trail no matter how icy it is.
As you step, the rotating toe cord allows the snowshoe to drop and allow the snow to fall off the trail, reducing the amount of snow you carry on the shoe–a big plus to save much-needed energy. Your toe is able to pivot for excellent traction, and a rotation limiter prevents over rotation of the foot.
The 19° heel lift helps keep your foot flat, reducing calf and Achilles tendon strain as you attack steep terrain.
Active FLEX bindings make strapping in quick and easy. Simply insert your toe, tighten the toe strap, then tighten and latch the heel strap for a tight fit for the entire day. The bindings fit up to a size 13 boots in men’s and 5-11 in women’s.
This snowshoe is perfect for the week-long trekker and the weekend warrior. Coming in at 4 lbs for the ladies and 4.5-5 lbs for the men, the Flex ALP snowshoe is one of the lighter all terrain snowshoe offered by Tubbs. The compact size helps reduce weight while making them maneuverable in tight spaces–great if you find yourself contently off the trail to snap a great picture or traveling off the beaten path.
To test the Flex Alp we selected a route that would encompass everything a weekend warrior would experience. We wanted to test the Flex Alp through heavy snowdrifts for flotation, ice for crampon traction, and mixed terrain to get the overall performance and feel.
Honestly, at first I was skeptical about the flexible design, but after I hit the trail I was sold. An hour down the trail I was impressed with the ease of movement compared to the more traditional ridged design I am accustomed to. While I was walking down the trail, I completely forgot I had snowshoes on as they keep me afloat on 12+ inches of fresh powder. The flexibility allowed for natural foot placement and stride, so it was easy to adapt to walking on snow and ice.
Our test route followed the Eastern Continental Divide via the Blue Ridge Parkway and Mountains to Sea Trail for a spectacular winter camping experience. This section of the trail offered dramatic elevation change, with a few flat sections with snowdrifts and close to 13 inches of fresh powder. The Alp Flex excelled, offering excellent flotation even with a heavy winter pack on.
The Torsion Deck provided excellent traction and comfort, as I did not have to adjust my stride, offering a natural feel and an enjoyable experience. The 19 degree heel lifts were a wonderful addition for longer, steeper ascents, and kept my legs feeling fresh and ready for more.
In the sunny spots the snow had melted during the day then refroze at night, making a slick layer of ice. The carbon steel crampons and side traction made traversing ice easy. You could place your foot without breaking stride or concern about foot placement.
The Active Flex bindings make clipping in so simple! You can go all day without worrying about the straps loosening which, was one less thing to worry about on a long day out on the trail.
The compact design of the Tubss FLEX ALP Snowshoes makes them maneuverable and lightweight: perfect for singletrack or off trail treking. The flexibility of the snowshoe offers low impact and less strain on your legs. These snowshoes offer excellent flotation, even with a full winter pack on. Traction is everywhere on the bottom of this shoe, and boy can you feel it, especially on icy sections of trail.
Overall, I would say this is a great all-round snowshoe. I could see myself using this out on the trail for day hikes, weekend trips, or long treks into the backcountry. This is a must have if you don’t want to be stuck indoors another day this winter!
MSRP: $229.95 – $239.95