How to Make Your Own Snow Shoes

How to Make Your Own Snow Shoes
Traveling in deep snow is a physically demanding activity. If your feet and legs sink into the snow with every step, you might get frostbite and you'll quickly tire of walking. By keeping your feet on the surface, snowshoes greatly reduce the effort it takes to walk. Since perspiration and exhaustion often lead to hypothermia, snowshoes can be the difference between life and death in a bad situation. If you don't have a set, you can usually make one with the vegetation in your area. Here's how to do it.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Improvised Snowshoes

Things You’ll Need:
  • Two green saplings (willow wood is ideal) Pocketknife 12 sticks Ball of string, stripped clothing or cordage from vines and inner tree bark
  • Two green saplings (willow wood is ideal)
  • Pocketknife
  • 12 sticks
  • Ball of string, stripped clothing or cordage from vines and inner tree bark
Step 1
Flex and shape two saplings into loops. Make them pliable by bending them over your knee and flexing them from one end to the other. Use your knife to flatten the inside edge of both saplings.
Step 2
Flatten the sapling ends and bind them together. To do this, first shave the inside ends with your knife until the surfaces line up and rest flush against each other. Then make a loop out of the saplings by holding the ends together and tying them tightly with string.
Step 3
Tie the 12 sticks into six pairs. The 12 sticks should be the same length, and slightly wider than the widest point of each sapling hoop. Tie each set of two sticks together, in the middle, with your string.
Step 4
Attach three stick pairs across each sapling hoop. Evenly space the pairs across the middle of each hoop. They will be under your feet, so make sure they're spread enough to support the back, middle and front of your foot. Tie them securely to both sides of the hoop with your string.
Step 5
Weave a net of string through the three stick pairs. You want to create a tight, net-like lattice by evenly spacing the string sections across the sapling hoops in both directions. Weave in and out of the stick pairs, and other sections of string, and tie each section securely to the hoops. Make sure the strings are stretched tight in all directions.
Step 6
Tie the snowshoes to your feet. At the junction where each pair of sticks is bound to one side of the sapling hoops, tie a string that is long enough to pass over your foot and attach to the opposite side. Put your feet on the snowshoes so they're centered on the three sets of sticks, pull the strings tightly over your feet, and tie them to the hoops on the other side.

Tips & Warnings

To ensure that each string stays put, you can cut a slight groove at each point where a string is tied.
Even when you have snowshoes, you should always wear a good pair of waterproof boots, with wool socks, when walking in deep snow.

Article Written By Dan Eash

Dan Eash began writing professionally in 1989, with articles in LaHabra's "Daily Star Progress" and the "Fullerton College Magazine." Since then, he's created scripts for doctor and dentist offices and published manuals, help files and a training video. His freelance efforts also include a book. Eash has a Fullerton College Associate of Arts in music/recording production and a Nova Institute multimedia production certificate.

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