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When I started stepping into the backcountry, the first big snow dump meant that my tent and sleeping bag would hibernate that season. Aside from the unpleasant cold, the additional investment in special equipment for activities that I only participate in a few times a year kept me firmly in the mindset of the three seasons. But in the end, my love for the loneliness and silence of hiking on winter days grew. So a few years ago I decided to spend the night in the snow. After making some changes to my regular backpacking kit, stealing pieces from other sports and taking some special safety measures, I enjoyed the backcountry devastation all year round. This is the gear you need to do the same.


Layering is the key to a backpacking trip, but it’s especially important in cold weather. Phrase to live: It’s easier to keep warm than to keep warm. That is, start your hike in the cold and add layers as soon as the temperature stops, if needed.

Level 1 is the base layer. I usually pack two sets for an overnight trip. Lightweight when on the move and heavy around camping and sleeping. Look for garments made of merino wool that retain heat when wet. When sensitive to wool, synthetic polyesters generally dry faster and insulate in much the same way. Lightweight base layer top that I can count on, Stio Basis Power Wool Zip ($ 119) is a polyester outerwear that has wool next to the skin and dries quickly, offering the best of both worlds. It also has a zippered quarter neck collar that allows me to ventilate without removing the layer when it starts to get hot.Pair with this top, especially in cold conditions tights ($ 109) From the same line under my hiking pants.My heavyweight set is Rose Kari Traa ($ 110 top, $ 100 bottom) is a women-only brand that enhances heat insulation in areas such as the neck and hips where women’s bodies tend to lose heat.

From there, add an intermediate layer (or two) and a waterproof shell.Most of the time I opt for a lightweight fleece like Patagonia R1 ($ 129), but my favorite in the cold weather these days is Smartwool. Classic thermal merino base layer ($ 135) provides a ridiculous amount of warmth for its weight and is designed with a deep zipper for excellent ventilation. (Listed as a base layer, but you can see that this works just as well as a larger mid layer than what I usually wear.) I have an 800 fill power down jacket on top of it. Is included. Loves Infinity Alpine ($ 400), or if conditions are milder, Mountain Hardwear 700-fill Stretch down hoodie ($ 275). Down has a better ratio of warmth to weight than synthetics and works well in cold and dry climates like my hometown of Santa Fe, but it does the crappy job of insulating when wet. For rainy climates, consider the following synthetic parts: Arc’teryx LT Atom ($ 259), which is lighter than most similar middle tiers. In any case, make sure the jacket has a hood.

My last layer is a waterproof and windproof shell. Softshell ski jackets work in a pinch, but ideally they are waterproof, breathable, and most breathable. Rab Downpour Plus 2.0 ($ 160). A hood compatible with mountaineering and backcountry ski helmets is usually a bonus as it accommodates bulky middle hoods.

For bottoms, I usually wear lightweight, quick-drying hiking pants over the base layer, but always Black diamond stormline stretch pants ($ 119), in case the weather changes. Another amazing addition, definitely unnecessary, is down pants. Mountain hardware stretch down ($ 250), this was a game changer to keep me warm while camping and sleeping.

In addition, I bring a lightweight, wicking beanie like this: Patagonia R1 Daily Beanie ($ 35), buff that protects your face from icy winds, waterproof gloves (I Hestra fall line Ski gloves ($ 150) around the camp and liners to wear on the trail). Sunglasses are very important. In bright conditions, the reflections from the snow can cause serious eye damage and can be very difficult to see and navigate.While appropriate Glacier glass Ideally, it has a light blocker on the side. We recommend an amber glare-reducing lens that enhances visibility in dark places. For midrange options Sunski Make lightweight glasses with removable side sunshields that can function as regular sunglasses when you leave the snowy road.

Footwear and accessories

You’ll need waterproof boots — bonus points if insulated like Merrell Thermotil ($ 110). Socks are more important. Find a heavyweight merino wool hiker.My favorite is 37.5 trekking heavy ($ 23) From Point6. It’s imperative to pack a pair of dry, lightweight socks for every day on the trail (and add one more than I always think I need).I also have a disposable foot warmer like the one from Ignik ($ 3.75), sticks to socks at night.

In some situations, you may need some kind of traction aid. On your first trip, stick to what you know. If you’re new to walking miles on snowshoes, don’t go on a weekend adventure or look for steep, potentially dangerous things in an area filled with fresh powder. Route if you have never used ice ax and crampons. At the very least, we recommend spikes that can withstand long distances and help you step into ice patches and snow.I’m from Katura ($ 75), but I recently invested in something more aggressive with the brand Crampons hike ($ 100), 3/4 inch spikes, a more robust attachment system, and a stainless steel bar on the sole for harder terrain. Take your snowshoes with you when traveling in the highlands where the snow can grow to a depth of a few inches or more (This is (List of top picks in 2022), and like this pair, consider having tall gaiters to keep your boots out of the snow. Outdoor research ($ 49), ideal for trekking deeper drifts.

Finally, although I rarely use trekking poles in the summer, Black diamond trail trekking pole ($ 110) Due to its excellent stability, it comes with a snow basket and exposed carbide tips in winter. But adjustable ski poles also work.

Sleep setting

A three-season tent will work in the winter if you put it under a tree limit line with less exposure and less wind, strong aluminum or carbon fiber poles and a solid rainfly.both Sea to Summit Telos TR2 ($ 559) and Big Agnes Fly Creek UL1 ($ 350) worked for me in the snow. I try to find a dry place for the night, but if that isn’t possible, dig one out or stuff it with snow to create a flat place with a compact avalanche shovel like this: Ortovox Pro Light ($ 70) I usually skip the tent footprint when backpacking in summer conditions, but when things get cold I bring a tent footprint to protect the water.

Look for sleeping pads with an R value of 5 or higher. However, if you only own a light summer pad and don’t want to invest in a heavy one, you can always add two R-value points by sleeping with a closed cell foam pad underneath.bring Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite Sol ($ 55) With me, with my winter pad, Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm ($ 230) — It’s great to have another warm and dry place to sit in the camp.

Similarly, instead of investing in a winter sleeping bag, you can bring a liner like this: Sea to Summit Reactor ($ 63), this adds 10 to 15 degrees of warmth to your current setup. Also check the bag comfort rating as well as the limits. The former indicates the temperature at which you can sleep comfortably in your sleeping bag, and the latter indicates the temperature at which you can survive in your bag. Therefore, if the bag is comfortable at 30 degrees Fahrenheit and the limit is 15 degrees Fahrenheit, inserting the liner will make you comfortable even when the temperature drops to about 20 degrees.

My favorite tip for quickly warming a sleeping bag: boil water, pour it into a sturdy plastic bottle like Nalgene, stick it in the bag’s feet for about 15 minutes, then climb.

Water purifier and cookware

Almost all water filtration methods malfunction at sub-zero temperatures. Standard hollow tube filters like Sawyer Squeeze do not work when frozen.Pump filter like me Katadyn Hiker Pro ($ 85) utilizes fiberglass elements that can withstand sub-zero temperatures but still have a risk of cracking. UV purifiers have the problem that the battery malfunctions in the cold. The chemical purification tab works, but is much slower than other methods. Regardless of your choice, the best bet is to put the filter in a dry bag or plastic bag and put it in your down jacket pocket or wrap it in a sleeping bag and put it close to your body and sleep together at night. You will also need to bring some kind of insulation container to prevent the water from freezing. If you have a CamelBak or similar bladder system, you can buy one that is insulated tube And a pouch for it.

Propane-isobutane gas cylinders should also be kept warm as mercury may drop below freezing and create a weak flame. on the other hand, Liquid fuel stoveIt requires more maintenance, but is designed to work at even the most extreme temperatures. Therefore, if you are below freezing for several days at a time, you can invest in a more expensive liquid gas setup such as: Whisper light From MSR ($ 170), use both liquid and regular gas cylinders. However, if the temperature is expected to be above freezing, the gas cylinder should work as long as you have the cylinder in your sleeping bag or down jacket.

Emergency supplies

Winter adds a layer of backcountry safety concerns. Snow can hide trail markers, lower temperatures increase the risk of hypothermia, and unexpected storms can trap you and interfere with rescue operations.Survival in cold climate conditions “Rules of three” The period during which someone can live in a wilderness environment (3 days without water, 3 hours without shelter, 3 weeks without food) is 1 hour without shelter, 1 day without water, 1 without food. It will be shortened to a week.

Therefore, it is important to pack some emergency equipment.If you’re adventuring alone, like a personal locator beacon or satellite communicator Garmin InReach ($ 350) or Somewhere ($ 280), especially important.I always have SOL Emergency Zelt ($ 17) — A good idea for hiking on long winter days — A lightweight shovel that can be used to create windbreaks, open tents and fire areas, and dig snow.

You also need a weatherproof way to make a fire. SOL sells Fire kit ($ 15) and Survival kit ($ 28) Includes a manual striker (note that the lighter also doesn’t work well below 32 degrees Fahrenheit) and a crater, but you can create your own with another striker striker, Windbreaker matchWhen Fire starter..

Finally, carry more food than you think you need.Your body burns additional calories in the cold trembling.. As a rule, pack a day’s worth of food that you can distribute as needed and high-calorie snacks such as peanut butter and nuts. I also double the serving I eat at mealtime.