Field Testing MSR Snowshoes in Switzerland

Designing gear can’t happen in a cubicle. Sure, there’s a lot of computer work that goes into creating CAD drawings and engineering specs, but the real solutions—the big ideas—come from the field. Chris Barchet, category director for MSR Water & Winter products, is a perpetual field tester. He recently headed to the Andermatt region of Switzerland on a snowshoe R&D trip to reacquaint himself with the terrain and chat with mountain guides and users to find out what works best for them. Here’s a quick look at one of the many professional recon missions Chris takes in the world’s most incredible places.

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Fly Your Tent Down the Freeway

The original Mountain Safety Research Newsletter (1969-1982), written by MSR Founder Larry Penberthy, is always a fascinating read. The newsletters are filled with extensive and technical product testing and mountain safety information. However, Larry and his team were also known to have some fun. One of our favorite features in this vast newsletter archive is the makeshift “wind tunnel” testing report in Issue 7 (April 1973) for the new MSR Mountain Tent. Important performance features of the tent are profiled under the headings “More Room,” “Condensation,” “Doors,” “Ease of Erection,” “Wind Stability,” “Cookholes,” “Materials,” and “Weight.” Within the “Wind Stability” description, the reader is given this glimpse into MSR’s rigorous and fun DIY testing methods. It’s true that Larry was never satisfied until he personally put gear through the ultimate…

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