So you're shopping for someone who shuns modern technology? This rugged, timeless gear is sure to be a hit.

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2012 Winter Buyer's Guide, including the Atlas Aspect snowshoes.

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2012 Winter Buyer's Guide, including the CW-X Insulator Stabilyx tights.

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2012 Winter Buyer's Guide, including the Tubbs Wilderness Snowshoe

Which snowshoes have the easiest binding system for gloved hands?ArtPhiladelphia, PA

What are the best snowshoes for deep snow? What are the best goggles for snowshoeing? Jennifer from Helena, Montana Judy from Portland, Oregon

I would like to get my husband a pair of snowshoes for the holidays. I know nothing about them. Can you suggest a few pairs worth looking into? Thank you! KatieMilford, NH

Testers loved the no-brainer binding on this aggressively cramponed shoe: It positions your boots in the snowshoe perfectly every time, and with one pull you’re in—no fiddling with toe and heel adjusters required. 23″, 27″; atlassnowshoe.com…

BIGFOOT WITH BIG TEETH Whoever was wearing these snowshoes spent most of the time breaking trail. In deep snow, the Lacrosse offered the best flotation of any shoe here, and its aggressive claws also kept testers feeling secure on ice. The optional Pilot II binding (far superior to the baseline…

Total maneuverability, exceptional side-hill traction, and the most aggressive crampon system out there make this shoe a top all-arounder. The heel lifter flips easily and securely to reduce calf burn, while a Spring-Loaded Suspension prevents shin bang. 3.9 lbs; atlassnowshoe.com. Pair them with: ASOLO ELYSIUM GTX…

At 1.9 pounds per pair on our scales, these unisex shoes are remarkably nimble. While they meet US Snowshoe Association racing requirements, they work just as well knocking around your local trails. northernlites.com…

THE MODERN CLASSIC Sure, it looks a bit retro, but the Winter Rover offers more than just old-school charm. Best for gentle meanders on rolling terrain and packed trails, it features a bent white ash frame with a flexible plastic deck that delivers good float in powder, while low-profile aluminum…

For the second year in a row, Atlas’s Elektra snowshoes made the cut for their superior performance and good value. The new Elektra 8’s have a contoured shape that doesn’t interfere with your stride and a light, easy-to-operate spring-loaded binding that accommodates a wide variety of boots. 23″ and…

Like to move fast? This lightweight snowshoe took top honors among runners and speedier testers on even terrain. The binding’s crisscrossed webbing cinches tight with an easy tug, and the heel strap fits everything from low-profile running shoes to bulky snow boots. On icy days when you…

Snowshoeing is simple. No lift lines, overpriced cheeseburgers, or long list of expensive accessories. All you need is some snow, a warm pair of boots (see page 107), and a pair of versatile shoes that’s up for whatever terrain you’ll encounter. To settle on our Gear of the Year–winning…

This teardrop-shaped shoe is designed for speed: The binding cinches tight with a single strap across your feet. And the heel strap, which is fixed on one side and ratchets down on the other, was praised by testers for both its glove-friendly operation and snug fit. 24.5″;…

The pounds you carry on your feet tax your body more than the pounds you carry on your back. That’s why our testers were such big fans of the Backcountry. At under three pounds a pair, they’re the lightest 30-inch snowshoes we’ve ever seen. To achieve such a low…

The Artica won last year’s Gear of the Year, and everything testers raved about then is still here in this updated model. The symmetric and flexible aluminum frame that self-adjusts to tricky terrain. A tapered tail that doesn’t interfere with your natural stride. A free-pivot, articulating binding that prevents…

The Hike is a great technical snowshoe—with a long, slender shape for lots of float, a slight banana curve for easy walking, and a frame that twists so your knees, ankles, and hips don’t. 21″, 25″, 30″; eastonsnowshoes.com.

Fits Any Foot With most snowshoes, it’s just strap ’em on and go. That’s fine, unless you’re a bit duckfooted or pigeon-toed, in which case you’ll likely step on your tails, trip on your tips, and generally stumble around in misery. There’s another way: With the pull of a pin,…

Big Daddies If these were skis, they’d be your superfat powder boards. With smaller teeth and abundant surface area, the aluminum-framed Mountain Quests easily kept testers afloat when smaller snowshoes began to sink. While it takes a bit of practice not to feel as if you’re walking in flippers, they’re…

1. From backyard strolls to backwoods epics, the Back­country was our favorite all-purpose snowshoe. Its frame is really two pieces of aluminum alloy held together at the toe and heel by sturdy, flexible plastic, so the deck self-adjusts to tricky terrain. The inner tail is streamlined to allow a…

From day hiking in the Front Range to hut trips in Canada, testers loved the go-anywhere Electra for its new FRS (free-rotating suspension) binding, which, they said, gave the shoe a springy feeling that made walking easier. The squared-off claws bit into steep terrain as well as fanglike crampons,…

LIGHT AND FAST Wear a heart-rate monitor while you snowshoe? The Race is for you. Titanium claws help keep them light without compromising traction, and the V-shaped frame won’t trip you up at high speeds. The crisscross Race binding cinches tight without crushing feet shod in flexy shoes. 2.1…

CHEAP THRILLS Hardcore ‘shoer? Hard up for funds? The fiercely clawed, all-terrain TSLs were the favorite among our more committed testers with value in mind. The bindings aren’t as intuitive as others, but the combination of macro- and micro-adjusting buckles helps them fit a wide range of boots and shoes…

If your main objective is gentle, packed trails or snowy, rolling hills, the Crest is for you. Testers were drawn to it because of a comfortable and easy-to-ratchet binding, enough float for undemanding trails (like Vermont’s Bolton backcountry), and surprising grip. All at less than half the price of…

STEEP AND DEEP When a heavy nor’easter buried the lean-tos on Vermont’s Long Trail, the high-flotation Mountaineer simply cruised over the deep snow. But it’s more than just a big deck. This shoe has Tubbs’s most aggressive traction system yet: stainless-steel claws under toe, ball, and heel that bite in…

EXPEDITION READY Simple. Light. Unbreakable. Infinitely versatile. What more could you ask for in a snowshoe? These hard-plastic classics can be extended with modular tails, so it’s easy to snap on more deck for powder or remove it to save weight. The no-gimmicks plastic-strap binding is effortless (just pull and…

We’ve tested plenty of snowshoes with serious bite, and others that are extraordinarily comfy, but what makes the Mountaineer so impressive is how well it performed in both those categories. Thanks in part to two independent toe straps, the binding perfectly cradled every boot we jammed in it, from…

WINTER TRAINER This snowshoe has a message for triathletes and runners trying to stay in shape during the winter: Get off the treadmill and go outside. By building an integrated snowshoe/boot system, the TSL saves weight and delivers better energy transfer than you get with traditional bindings. The Step-In Race…

BUILT FOR SPEED A teardrop shape and snappy return make these lightweight shoes a good pick for midwinter running or aerobic hikers. An extra toe claw delivers more power during quick-stepping toe-offs, and the easy-ratcheting binding feels stable in running shoes or low-profile boots. The frame is a magnesium alloy,…

1. Atlas’s signature Spring-Loaded Suspension helps underfoot crampons bite into hard snow and ice for maximum traction. Offset rows of aggressive teeth have exceptional lateral stability and grip to keep you from sliding sideways while traversing. During a heinous descent of Vermont’s exposed Sunset Ridge Trail—a mix of rock,…

MOST VERSATILE This do-it-all shoe scored high marks whether we were strolling a rec path or marching off with a multi-day load. The keys are low weight and a nimble feel made possible by the shoe’s unique crampon design. Small teeth are cut directly into the frame, which presses points…

EASY STROLLER The best value out there for casual snowshoers, the Xplore is a light-duty shoe designed for packed trails and gently rolling terrain. But our testers found that the aggressive carbon­steel toe and heel crampons dug in well enough on the occasional crust, and the deck provided more than…

Speed is Your Friend Racers and fitness snowshoers, these are for you. And, no, you’re not missing something; there’s no binding. Instead, running shoes or lightweight boots attach directly to the shoes’ PVC-free decks with included, easy-to-use hardware and a couple of punches with a power drill. (Yes, it permanently…

The shoe is built lighter and slimmer than the unisex version but with the same unique design: teeth cut directly into the aluminum frame, which flexes and bites into the snow as you press down. The free-rotating binding kept snow kick-up to a minimum. 3.3 lbs; msrgear.com. Pair them…

The men’s version of this shoe won 2010’s Gear of the Year award. The user-friendly women’s version has plenty of bite, but our favorite feature is a flexing frame that removes any jarring, whether you’re walking around the lake or up the mountain. 22″; tubbssnowshoes.com…

Testers reached for the burly Vector when they knew they’d be in changing conditions—like atop Mount Elbert, a Colorado fourteener. Spiked rails and a bear claw of points underfoot bit into hard-packed snow and ice. “I never had to take my gloves off when adjusting my shoes,” one tester…

This day tripper has a wraparound binding so easy to put on, you can do it with bulky gloves or cold hands. The women-specific shape is tapered, with upturned toes and tails to make your stride more natural. 3.6 lbs; tubbssnowshoes.com. Pair them with: ULU CROW RABBIT…

There's the gear you want, and there's the gear you need. After much internal debate, we present the 25 products every guy should own.

Presenting nine foolproof rules to keep in mind when scouting for presents (or just a little swag for yourself), plus 67 great products we couldn't keep under wraps.

Page 2