Build Your Own Snow Shoes

Build Your Own Snow Shoes
If you find yourself having to travel through deep snow, snowshoes are the best way to go. The size of the snowshoe helps to disperse your weight so that rather than sinking into the snow you are able to glide across it. You can purchase a pair of snowshoes for recreational purposes at most sporting goods stores. You can even make your own snowshoes out of PVC pipe. However, if you find yourself stuck in the woods in an emergency situation, you can always make snowshoes by using a pocketknife, some 550 cord and the tree branches around you.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Small, bendable branches
  • Pocket knife
  • 550 cord
Step 1
Determine how big you need to make your snowshoes--this will depend on your weight. Typically, a person weighing up to 140 pounds will need snowshoes that are at least eight inches wide and 21 inches long. If you weight more than 140 pounds, you will need to make your snowshoes bigger. A person weighing more than 200 pounds will need snowshoes that are at least 10 inches wide and 36 inches long.
Step 2
Gather wood to build a frame for your snowshoes. Look for small branches that bend easily. Alder and willow are good examples of trees with small, bendy branches.
Step 3
Hold the branch at both ends and bend the ends together so that the branch forms a teardrop shape. Secure the two ends together by laying the ends over each other so that they form an "X" shape and then wrap 550 cord around the middle of the "X" shape. Secure the ends in place by wrapping more 550 cord around the center of the "X." Tug at the ends to make sure they are firmly in place.
Step 4
Cut smaller saplings to build the crosspieces, and position the crosspieces so that the biggest one is located two-thirds of the way up from the bottom of the teardrop. Position the remaining two crosspieces several inches below the first piece and several inches apart. These crosspieces should hold your weight as your walk. Tie the crosspieces to the frame of the snowshoe using 550 cord.
Step 5
Weave smaller, more pliable saplings between the crosspieces. You won't need to tie these saplings off, as the pressure of the weave will keep them in place.
Step 6
Position your foot on the snowshoe so that the ball of your foot sits on the largest crosspiece.
Step 7
Make a binding for your snowshoe by using the 550 cord. Tie one end of the cord to the left side of the biggest crosspiece and run the cord through the laces of your shoe, tying off the 550 cord at the other end of the crosspiece.

Tips & Warnings

If it is very cold outside, you may find that your branches keep snapping. If this happens, warm the branches by the fire first. The heat will make the branches more pliable.

Article Written By Shiromi Nassreen

Shiromi Nassreen has been writing professionally since 2005. She specializes in travel and outdoor topics, and her articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including "DISfunkshion Magazine" and Matador Travel. Nassreen holds a Bachelor of Arts in theatre studies from Rose Bruford College of Speech & Drama.

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