MSR Lightning vs Revo Snowshoes: What’s The Difference?

MSR Lightning vs Revo Snowshoes

MSR Revo vs Lightning Trail Snowshoes side by side comparison

Both of these snowshoes offer outstanding traction, ergonomic shapes, Modular Flotation Tails and excellent durability. However, there are a few key advantages of each that may help sway you toward one model or the other. It depends on the experience you’re seeking and your performance priorities. In this blog post we take a closer look at the MSR Lightning vs Revo snowshoes and discuss their differences.

MSR Lightning Snowshoes

Adjusting Paraglide Bindings on Lightning Trail Snowshoes
Photo by Scott Rinckenberger


Meant to be a solution for fast-and-light travel, the Lightning frame takes cues from traditional frame-and-decking snowshoes, but replaces their tubular frames with a laser-cut, vertical blade of aerospace-grade aluminum. This 360 Traction Frame delivers absolute, edge-to-edge grip–even while traversing a slope–with minimal weight. Mounted to this frame, its nylon decking is made of ballistic-grade fabric that maximizes its durability while maintaining the ultralight performance of this snowshoe.

If every gram counts but traction is still critical, this is your snowshoe.

Two snowshoers hiking through forest
Photo by Scott Rinckenberger

Unrivaled Traction

The Lightning features the most advanced traction design on the market. With aggressive teeth lining its perimeter, it provides grip  over all 360 degrees, delivering excellent stability on ascents and traverses. Moreover, the Lightning is MSR’s only snowshoe to boast not one, but two aggressive crossbars on its underside. These additional points of contact increase their reliability in challenging conditions like hard-packed and crusty snow.

Hikers wearing Lightning Trail Snowshoes walking towards camera
Photo by Scott Rinckenberger

Finally, the Lightning’s construction affords a quieter snowshoe experience than the solid plastic platform of the Revo models, letting you savor the peace and quiet of the winter landscape.

Light and aggressive, the Lightning snowshoe is a great choice for multi-day traverses, single-day volcano summits and expedition where every ounce counts. It’ll keep you moving quickly and efficiently, with confidence behind every step.

MSR Revo Snowshoes

Adjusting Paraglide Bindings on Revo Trail Snowshoes
Photo by Scott Rinckenberger


The latest evolution of MSR’s legendary Denali Classic snowshoe, the Revo’s signature advantage is its ultimate durability. If rocky terrain dominates your snowshoe adventures, the Revo is a smart choice. Its rugged plastic deck is made of a polymer that’s specifically formulated to be highly impact-resistant and offer superior strength at low temperatures. Needless to say, this material can combat sinister rocks better than even ballistic-grade fabric can.

The extra fortitude doesn’t stop there. Lining the perimeter of this deck are traction rails similar to the Lightning’s and with the same advantages. However, the Revo’s toothy rails are made of hard-wearing martensite steel that’s resistant to abuse that thin snowpacks and rocks can dish out.

Though it’s built extra-tough, the Revo weighs only 142 g (5 oz) more than the Lightning in each of its models. The few grams might not seem like much of a penalty if absolute durability is your performance priority.

Revo’s plastic underfoot deck allows for more flexibility
Photo by Scott Rinckenberger

Torsional Flex

Lightning and Revo snowshoes offer a slightly different feel underfoot. With its rigid, single-piece frame, the Lightning’s platform affords a much stiffer feel, which is welcome in high-consequence terrain. In contrast, the Revo’s plastic deck is inherently more flexible, affording some extra comfort and a more natural stride while side- and down-hilling. In addition, its platform is separated from its nose, increasing its torsional flex. This allows the Revo to provide greater purchase into the contours of the terrain. While neither experience is necessarily better, some people prefer the dynamic feel of the Revo’s flex over the Lightning’s stiffness as they hike.

The Revo’s rock-solid design makes it a good choice for extended expeditions, early and late-season travel when rocky terrain is more prevalent, and snowshoers who are unapologetically hard on their gear.

The Lightning and Revo snowshoes are available in Ascent, Explore and Trail models. Learn more about how to choose the right snowshoe based on the types of adventures you pursue.

Related Posts:


Updated. Originally Published November 8, 2018.

Products in this Post