Packing List for a Winter Day Hike


Several friends have asked me what gear, clothing, food, and water to bring on winter hikes. Here is a list of things I bring on winter hikes and some advice that can make a winter hike more enjoyable. 


Boots: Avoid walking around with wet frozen feet by getting waterproof boots. *No need to buy snow-boots if you have warm socks*

  • I love gortex fabric (wicks away sweat and keeps water out). I can cross a shallow stream with gortex fabric and keep my feet completely dry.
  • I prefer a high ankled boot to keep snow and water from coming in the top, and provide ankle support if I am on a really rocky trail.
  • Good traction is also a must. I recommend vibrainium rubber soles.
  • The boot must also fit you well to avoid  blisters.


Winter Traction: I have three types of traction devises for different occasions. I usually start with no traction devise (unless I am snowshoeing) and then put some on if needed. I keep them tied to my pack for easy access.

  • I have studs for when the trail is a mixture of ice, mud, rocks, and frozen ground
  • I have coil treads for when when the trail for snow and very slick ice
  • I have snowshoes for deep snow and slick ice. (Not recommended for any other surfaces or for technical situations (lots of small footholds on rocks, climbing over fallen trees etc)

Trecking Poles:


  • Snow baskets prevent poles from sinking into snow to much
  • Helps with balance
  • Improves posture
  • If you skimp on these they will break. Make sure they are sturdy)


Base Clothing Layer:

  • Avoid Cotton!
  • Wear synthetics or  wool that wick sweet away from you, so that your sweet does not freeze on you. This includes anything that comes into direct contact with your skin.
  • There are some base layers designed for extra warmth but long underwear or athletic clothes will do the trick.

Mid Layer:


  • Depending on how sunny and windy it is and how
  • fast you are hiking it can start to feel quite warm. I a lot of times end up stripping off my outer layer and just hiking around in my mid layer.
  • Make sure the mid later is not restricing movement
  • Make sure it fits snug enough to your body to make sure the outer layer and pack don’t cause it to ride up and chafe you.

Outer Layer:


  • This layer should lot be too insulated. The layers should give you warmth.
  • This layer needs to block wind and water.
  • A scarf or a face mask is great to protect your face if it is windy out.
  • Scarfs are also great to put behind your jacket zipper and seal in extra warmth.
  • I recommend a warm hat to keep against your head and a loose hood to pull up to block wind or snow.
  • The mountains can be very sunny, so don’t forget sunglasses.
  • If you use trecking poles, thick warm gloves will be wonderful. I would not recommend keeping your hands in your pockets for warmth as they are good to have unconstrained for climbing and balance.

Extra Layer: I keep an extra layer of compressible clothing in my pack, in case it gets colder, warmer, or I get wet.


  • Thinner gloves can be nice for in between temperatures
  • A thinner jacket can also be nice for in between temperatures, or for sitting on during a snack break
  • Extra socks can be great for double layering or for a spare set if the others get wet
  • An extra layer of loose fitting pants that you can easily slip on over your other layers will be great if the temperature drops

First aid kit: Keep this in a water proof bag at the bottom of your pack.

  • Pain reliever20180310_122618
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Bandages variety of sizes
  • Gauze pads
  • Rolled gauze
  • Medical Tape
  • Frosting for diabetes
  • Antihistamine
  • Epi pen
  • Butterfly strips
  • Antihistamine
  • Moleskin for blisters
  • Tweezers
  • Scalpel or razor Blade
  • Medical Sponge
  • Gloves
  • Face mask (CPR barrier)
  • Eye Wash
  • Itch relief ointment
  • Safety Pins
  • Steel sewing needle with heavy-duty thread
  • Antibacterial ointment

Emergency: stuff to be kept in a water proof bag at the bottom of your pack

  • Water proof matches or flint starter20180310_123559
  • Pencil and Paper
  • Wire
  • Ten Foil
  • Emergency blankets
  • Para cord
  • Chemical hand warmers
  • Duct tape
  • Knife/Multi Tool


Essentials: Keep in easy to access external pockets on pack.

  • Pepper Spray20180310_124046
  • Sunscreen
  • Chap stick
  • Compass and map
  • Flashlight or head lamp
  • Toilet paper and hand sanitizer



  • Water in bottles (Stored upside down so ice forms at opposite end from lid).
  • Avoid bladders, but if you must use them:
  • blow air back into them to try to prevent the tube from freezing
  • Keep tube hidden in your coat or shirt to prevent it from freezing




  • Easily accessible snacks that do not require dexterity to open or consume
  • Snacks that will not be difficult to consume if frozen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s