Rated 5 out of 5 by OutdoorPete BOA Snow shoes
I have bought two pairs of the new shoe. They are terrific. I use these where I have to take them off and on multiple times in an hour, and always struggled with the older type bindings. These take seconds and are easily adjustable to any boot size.
March 5, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by nkcornett Snowshoes with BOA bindings
Great snowshoes. The BOA bindings are a breeze to put on and take off. I'm the envy of the showshoeing group!
March 1, 2014
Rated 3 out of 5 by VermontShoer Good Snowshoe Except For Binding Problem
While the snowshoe binding fits tightly on a size 9 wide boot, it has excessive side to side play due to the width of the binding base. Since it is made for up to a size 13 shoe size, smaller winter boots may not work as well as desired.
February 28, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by Fredosaurus Great bindings
Review of LL Bean Men's Trailblazer 25" snowshoes with BOA binding
The purchase (by my wife for me) of the LL Bean Trailblazer snowshoes ($159) was motivated by the frustrating bindings of my older model MSR snowshoes, which also had dangerously bad traction on ice. I've used the new Trailblazers a couple of times now and am very happy with them.
The unusual BOA bindings are great -- they are quick to put on and remove, even with gloves. They adapt immediately to any size boot, provide a positive forward stop for the boot, and make a very secure connection. These are the best bindings I've ever had and believe them to be superior to others. The one factor that might downgrade them is weight -- the molded plastic boot holder weighs more than simple straps. If you are fanatical about weight and aren't so concerned about convenience, these bindings may not be the best for you.
These had very good performance on a trail and firm snow, but 25" isn't large enough for my 180 lb weight on deep soft snow. The inclines I went on were about as steep as one can manage without poles and the snowshoes performed well both up and down with small slippage going down.
In traversing a steep incline the bindings allowed more foot rotation that I would like, but with no danger of the boot coming out of the binding (as I've had with other bindings in steep traverses). The very wide foot plate doesn't allow a tight fit for my hiking boots. The amount of foot rotation seems to be similar to other snowshoes
I didn't test them on ice, but the steel teeth under the heel looked like they would be effective in preventing slipping. The snowshoeing was done in the low teens so I don't know if there would be problems with snow clogging at near freezing temperatures, but I doubt it. There is minimal snow kickup in back.
One snowshoe weights 2 lb 7.4 oz (1118 grams), which is almost 8 ozs more than my MSRs. The additional clawed metal brake bars account for some of that, and the better binding the remainder. Impressionistically I didn't notice the weight, perhaps because the slightly tapered shape of the Trailblazer reduced snowshoe collisions so they felt more agile.
Two hours of snowshoeing isn't enough to conclude much about durability, but the Trailblazer seems to be on the over engineered side of things. The binding equipment is fastened with bolts, which curiously are mostly longer than they need to be. Bolts allow easy replacement. The foot and heel plates seem overbuilt - or perhaps I should think of them as reassuringly strong. The only wear I've noticed is that chrome is flaking off some of the brake bar teeth -- obviously some parts were not well plated.
Yes, there is a friction problem. The binding pivots on a transverse bar as one strides, but it doesn't pivot as freely as it should. The old MSRs have close to zero friction, but the Trailblazers had a substantial amount -- not enough to lift the tail when stepping forward, but it was definitely not a free rotation. I've oiled one binding and used silicone on the other. This has reduced the friction by about 80%. My guess is that the tight fit of the plastic around the metal bar will loosen with wear and eventually move more freely. This seems like it would have been trivial to have avoided in manufacturing or quality control.
I would buy them again and recommend them to others. The bindings are exceptionally convenient and they perform very well. Overall very good.
February 27, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by J1234 Trailblazer Snowshoes
The snowshoes were received promptly and worked well in last weekend's mushy snow conditions. The BOA bindings are especially easy to use and adjust. I am pleased with this purchase experience and look forward to using the snowshoes again soon.
February 26, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by OutdoorsmanBoater Awsome Snowshoes
Best snowshoes I have ever owned. Easy to get into and out of. Great on the trails.
February 19, 2014
Rated 4 out of 5 by FastEddie1 Easy fit
I'm a first time snow shoe enthusiast. I've only been out a couple of times, for a couple of hours at a time. First time out I used my hiking boots, the fit seemed sloppy and I had a hard time keeping my shoes in a parallel position. The second time out I wore my snow boots and the fit was much better. No problems. I guess they're made for a wider sole, not the narrow sole of my hiking boots. Easy to put on and easy to take off. As a novice I believe they were a good choice.
February 19, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by Trasky 2nd Pair of LL Bean Snow shoes - Very Happy
This is my second pair of snowshoes from LL Bean. It seems they get easier and easier to use. I have tried other snowshoes and these were the first ones that seemed to work more like a system - they were very easy to adjust to get that perfect fit.
Step in, adjust and go! (if there is snow).
I highly recommend giving these a try.
January 17, 2014