Home Gear Reviews Children’s Snowshoes Reviews: Atlas 17, MSR Tyker, Snowtrek SS14

Children’s Snowshoes Reviews: Atlas 17, MSR Tyker, Snowtrek SS14

by Karen Ung

Check out our detailed snowshoe reviews below to see what we liked about the Atlas 17, MSR Tyker, Snowtrek SS14, and Yukon Charlies Youth Aluminum children’s snowshoes.

Snowshoeing is one of the best ways to experience – and enjoy – the snowy season. With a small investment and no learning curve, snowshoeing is fun for all ages! In fact, our kids started snowshoeing when they were 18 months old (but they spent more time playing in the snow than snowshoeing).

Over the past decade, we have tried four different kinds of children’s snowshoes: Snowtrek SS14, Atlas 17, MSR Tyker (17″), and Yukon Charlie’s Youth Aluminum. All are in the same price range, but different bindings and features make for a very different snowshoeing experience. We hope you find our snowshoe reviews (which include where to buy these snowshoes) helpful, and that you enjoy snowshoeing as much as we do!



Affiliate disclosure: Please note that this story includes affiliate links through which I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!

Testing

All snowshoes were tested on packed snow, fluffy snow, and ice. To account for differences in ability based on age and experience, both girls tried all pairs of snowshoes. On flat, moderately packed snow, they could walk equally well in all snowshoes tested. On inclines and icy sections, the MSR Tykers, Snowtrek SS14, and Yukon Charlie’s Sno-Bash snowshoes outperformed the Atlas Sprout 17 snowshoes because they have metal crampons (specifically hill and toe crampons for superior traction).

Snow Trek SS14 Kids’ Snowshoes

The Snow Trek SS14 snowshoes were the smallest we could find locally. My eldest started on these snowshoes when she was only one and a half. They worked fine on fluffy or packed snow, icy sections, and inclined terrain, but the grom bindings have a tendency to get stuck in the front of the snowshoe, so I have to adjust them frequently. The larger Snow Trek SS21 (21″ snowshoes for kids that weigh 60-100 pounds) have gone to a convenient one-pull binding that is far easier to use.



Specs

For kids:   30-65 lbs (13.6 – 29.5 kg)
Weight:     2.2 lbs (998 grams)
Length:     14″ (35.6 cm)
Bindings:  Single rachet harness – one on the front and one at the back

What I Liked

  • Short length, rachet system made putting on and removing the snowshoes easy, sturdy aluminum tubing, 4-point toe crampons, and hill crampons.

What I Would Like to See

  • Different bindings – The grom bindings (toe cups) kept getting stuck in the front of the snowshoe, so we upgraded these snowshoes after one season.
  • Lighter weight – these 14″ snowshoes are heavier than 17″ snowshoes!

Atlas Sprout 17 Kids’ Snowshoes

When we needed larger snowshoes, we decided to try the attractive Atlas Sprout 17s. They are suitable for flat terrain that is not icy. As soon as we hit icy patches or inclines, whoever was wearing the Sprout 17s was slipping and sliding (not an issue with the other makes). Our other issue with these was the heel straps; the straps do not stay fastened. Available at MEC.

Specs

For kids:     30-80 lbs (13.6-36.3 kg)
Weight:      1.98 lbs (900 grams)
Length:       17″ (43.2 cm)
Bindings:   rubber binding straps and binding heel straps



What I Liked

  • 4-point steel toe crampons.
  • Grom bindings are quick and easy to put on (but they don’t stay on unfortunately – see note below).
  • Leaves cute snowflake footprints.
  • Tapered ergonomic V-shape

What I Would Like to See

  • Heel straps that stay in place better – on a 4 km snowshoe on packed snow, I had to refasten the heel straps four times (one or both kept coming completely undone).
  • More metal crampons and the addition of plastic traction bars to prevent slipping on inclines and icy sections.

MSR Tyker Children’s Snowshoes

MSR is a leader in snowshoe design (we own the MSR Lightning Ascents and love them!), so when we needed another pair of kids’ snowshoes, we opted for the MSR Tyker snowshoes. These high quality snowshoes are light, have great crampons, and straps that stay in place. Available at All Out Kids Gear, a family-run Alberta store.

Specs

For kids:    up to 80 lbs (36 kg)
Weight:      2.1 lbs (936 g)
Length:      17″
Bindings:   rubber binding straps and binding heel straps

What I Liked

  • Since my husband and I use MSR snowshoes ourselves (Lightning Ascent – so awesome!), we are familiar with the how the straps work and appreciate how well they fit and stay on. It’s also awesome that we can put on or remove the snowshoes with mittens on! Another advantage to these fasteners over BOA bindings are that you can easily a strap if one breaks (note this has NEVER happened to our MSR snowshoes in over 10 years of regular use but if you snowshoe to backcountry huts or travel long distances, I recommend carrying a spare snowshoe strap just in case).
  • Excellent traction thanks to 3-point toe crampons, two 3-point crampons in the middle (oriented vertically) for hill traction, as well as plastic traction bars on both sides (left and right) of the snowshoes to provide bite and stability on uneven terrain. 

What I Would Like to See

We have no issues with these, but I should mention the straps take longer to secure than one-pull bindings. However, they stay in place the best, so when we need the next size of snowshoe, we will purchase MSR again (the next size up is MSR Shift).

Yukon Charlie’s Sno-Bash Youth Aluminum Snowshoes

We had the opportunity to test out Yukon Charlie’s snowshoes a few years ago and have been using them ever since. These affordable recreational snowshoes have a colorful and robust design, easy-pull bindings, and coated steel crampons for good traction. With a higher weight limit than many youth snowshoes, you can use the Sno-Bash snowshoes for many years. Available at Yukon Charlie’s (and occasionally Costco).

Specs

For kids:    up to 100 lbs (45.4 kg)
Weight:      2.2 lbs (997 g)
Length:      16″
Bindings:   RIPCORD™ Easy-Pull binding with glove friendly release strap

What I Liked

  • One-pull binding system is super easy so kids can put on and take off the snowshoes by themselves
  • Coated steel crampons to bite packed snow: 4-point toe crampons, and two 3-point hill crampons
  • Kit comes with snowshoes, poles, and carrying case (you can also purchase the snowshoes on their own)

What I Would Like to See

The twist-lock poles sometimes collapse and need to be adjusted, but we have had no issues with the snowshoes, and the kit price can’t be beat!

The Verdict

The MSR Tyker kids’ snowshoes had the most secure straps and provided the best traction due to their toe crampons, traction bars and hill crampons. If you’re looking for a complete snowshoe package, the Yukon Charlie’s Sno-Bash Youth Snowshoe Kit is an attractive, affordable option that includes poles and a carrying case.

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2 comments

Playoutsidegal November 10, 2015 - 4:37 PM

I saw them yesterday when I was verifying specs, Tanya! There are lots of cute ones out there, and if they have what you're looking for, that's awesome! My mom BEGGED to get the Tubbs Snowglow ones for our kids last Christmas, but since they are lacking crampons and we get so much melting and freezing here, they wouldn't suit our needs. We go with what's affordable, available locally, and safe!

Tanya Koob November 10, 2015 - 3:40 AM

I won't leave a link but go to the MEC website and check out the kids' garneau snowshoes. They are so CUTE. I might go that route for my son's next pair. Purely for cuteness. They have animal critters on them.
Otherwise, we are an Atlas family but I know a lot of people who swear by the MSR ones.
Almost feels like a cat vs. dog lover thing between Atlas and MSR. I don't know anybody who likes both. It's usually a very strong preference.

Comments are closed.

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