How to Make Snowshoes

How to Make Snowshoes
If you've ever tried to walk through deep snow with the goal being to get from point A to point B, you've undoubtedly felt the frustration of trying to put one foot in front of the other. Snowshoes can help immeasurably, and making your own is not only fun but a great way to enjoy deep snow.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Various size sticks
  • 20-foot string
Step 1
Figure out how big you want your snowshoes to be. You don't want them too large and cumbersome but at the same time, you want to make sure that your foot fits comfortably in the middle with no less than 4 inches behind and 2 inches in front. The snowshoes should also be anywhere from 1 to 2 inches wider than your foot on both sides.
Step 2
Bend a branch that's big enough for your foot for the outer frame. The branch should be roughly 3/4 of an inch in diameter. You'll want to use a fresh sapling for this. A fresh sapling is more supple than a stick you've found on the forest floor. You need a supple stick because you are going to bend it so that it forms a horseshoe shape.
Step 3
Bring the two ends of the branch together and tie them tightly with string. This may take several wraps around both sticks. If you tie the string in a knot around one end of the sapling and then proceed to loop it around the other end a couple of times, you'll have a good solid start. Continue to wrap the ends with string until the bond feels secure, then tie another knot so that the string won't come loose.
Step 4
Find three 1/2-inch diameter sticks. You'll want these to be an inch longer than the width of the snowshoe so that you have something to tie your bindings onto. These will be your cross supports. The first stick should be placed where your toes will hit. The other two should be spaced at 2-inch intervals below the top stick. Use your string to bind the sticks in place on both sides of the outer frame.
Step 5
Weave in additional smaller sticks around the frame. The objective is to put in enough sticks to give your snowshoe frame the inner support when you step down on the snow. Without any inner sticks, your frame would simply sink in to the powder. You'll want to weave in around 10 sticks, running them across the width and from front to back. Once again, the greener the wood, the better. You will not need to tie these but rather use the frame and the cross supports to hold them in place.
Step 6
Add your bindings. This is the main reason your cross supports are an inch longer than the width of the snowshoe. Knot one end of your string to the left-hand side of the top cross support. You can then run the string across your boot to the other side of the top cross support. Run the string underneath and then draw it back to the bottom cross support. Once again, run the string underneath the inch overhang and then across the ankle of your boot to the other side of the rear cross support. Pull it tight and tie it off on the left-hand side of the bottom cross support.
Step 7
Repeat Steps 2 to 6 for your other foot.

Tips & Warnings

Always bring a compass.
Test the shoes out before going too far.
Never venture out into deep snow if you don't know where you are going.

Article Written By Patrick Cameron

Patrick Cameron is a freelance writer with 10 years of diverse experience in consumer goods branding, promotions and retail communications. He works out of his home in Denver, Colo. He received his Bachelor of Arts in mass communication from the University of Minnesota.

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