Choosing Snowshoe Accessories: Snowshoe Poles, Gaiters, and More
If you can walk, you can snowshoe. Snowshoeing is not only easy to learn, it is also one of the most inexpensive winter sports. Your biggest investment will be a pair of snowshoes (about $150-200). Generally speaking, you will be able to use your own hiking boots, winter coat, and other winter apparel.
There are only a few other accessories that will make your snowshoeing experience more pleasant.
If you plan to snowshoe on hilly or rough terrain, you will probably want to invest in a pair of snowshoe poles. Snowshoe poles help you improve balance and traction on downhill slopes and rocky terrain, and improve your speed going uphill.
Today, most showshoers prefer telescopic poles, which can be adjusted precisely to your own personal comfort level, and changed for steep slopes if necessary. Telescopic poles are lightweight aluminum or other materials, and they also work great for hiking and backpacking.
Ski poles are not generally recommended for snowshoers.
The other really important accessory is snowshoe gaiters. Gaiters are waterproof covers that go around your lower legs and over your boots. They protect your feet, legs, and ankles from snow being kicked against your pants or socks and melting in contact with your body heat. Wet socks can be not only uncomfortable but dangerous when showshoeing, so gaiters are an important investment, especially if you plan to snowshoe on hilly terrain and surfaces that aren't packed.
Finally, you may want to invest in a set of extra bindings, especially when your snowshoes are a little older and more used. Bindings are the part of the snowshoe that ties it to your boots, and for most model snowshoes, they are the most likely part to break.