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As in the title really. In the hypothetical situation that I'm caught in the wilderness in winter and there's a heavy snow storm resulting in an unexpected level of snow, snow shoes could well come in handy. Is there a way to make / improvise them effectively using different types of wood / other common materials found in the wilderness?

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Nope, snowshoes can only be made by little elves in a hollow tree or a suitable factory. – Olin Lathrop Jan 23 '13 at 14:10
Seriously, the old "bear paw" type of snowshoe was a bent stick frame with some type of cordage as webbing. I have never actually tried to make one myself though. – Olin Lathrop Jan 23 '13 at 14:12

The easiest way that I know of requires you to have some kind of rope or long straps and to be near evergreen trees.

Depending on the strength of the needles and width of the trees limbs take anywhere from 1 to 4 ends of an evergreen tree limb. Be sure to use green wood so they can bend without breaking. Make each section about three times as long as your boots.

Then take the string/straps and first weave the limbs for each foot together, then weave the limbs to the bottom of your boats, making sure to weave through the boot laces so the "snowshoes" don't slip.

This will give you enough of a snowshoe to deal with powder snow. These will not however provide the kind of traction that you would get from real snowshoes with metal cleats. Not really sure how to replicate that feature. has this same idea on their site with sketches here.

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