When you make your own snowshoes you're doing more than saving money on commercially prepared goods. You're also giving yourself a sense of accomplishment; after all, it's much easier to simply buy a pair of snowshoes. Making your own snowshoes is also environmentally friendly, especially if you use recycled goods and manual labor. If you decide that you want to make your own snowshoes, here's what you need to know.
You have a lot of options in style. You may choose to make snowshoes reminiscent of Native American tribes or Eskimos, or you may want to make more modern snowshoes. Some people prefer to preserve the integrity of snowshoeing by choosing a more classic design, even if functionality suffers. When you make at home, you can pick and choose. The plans you follow will vary depending on the style and materials you decide to use. You can find free plans for snowshoes online.
Determine what size your snowshoes should be. The heavier you are, the longer and wider your snowshoes should be. Conversely, the lighter you are, the shorter your snowshoes can be. Short snowshoes are also ideal for steep slopes or wet snow, while longer snowshoes are great in powder. Think of it this way; the bigger your snowshoe, the more it will compact snow.
If you're using wood, use live wood. It's much easier to bend than dead, dried wood, meaning it will conform to your mold easily. You can probably get this at a local lumberyard. Look for green ash or hickory, if possible. They're supple enough to form, but strong enough to withstand the snowshoeing you plan on doing. PVC piping also makes for great snowshoes, though it may crack in very cold weather.
What is the best boot for snowshoeing? Would you believe that there isn't one?
What's your reason for learning how to make snowshoes? The thrill of DIY, or to preserve the long tradition of snowshoeing?