The requirements for winter equipment are actually clear: it must help to deal with the cold weather. On the one hand, it has to protect against cooling down, on the other hand, it has to ensure that you can move forward in snow and ice. I also recommend our know-how articles about outdoor winter, for example at the Tour planning for winter tours some things have to be considered.
Isolated winter boots: Insulated winter boots should be waterproof in addition to the insulation, so be equipped with a waterproof, breathable membrane. In winter, the membranes make perfect sense. With an insulation of about 200g per boot to get along quite well. If you want to go higher up, you should look for full-grown mountain boots for winter conditions. When buying normal winter boots, you can buy a half size larger, because you might want to wear warm socks. An example of a good, insulated winter boot is the Keen Targhee.
Warm socks: I have had good experiences with real new wool socks. There are also socks with merino wool instead of virgin wool, which may be an alternative for people who can not tolerate virgin wool on the skin. A thin underwear sock under the thicker socks provides extra warmth and reduces friction at the same time, resulting in less blisters. I love my Steiner 1888 new wool socks, but also Woolpower makes good merino socks, which are nice and cozy.
leggings: High leggings, which keep the snow out of the boots, should of course also be waterproof. On strenuous climbs, it can be advantageous if the leggings are breathable. Important in the election is that the leggings fit over the winter boots. Make sure that the gaiters are not closed with a zipper, but with a climbing fit, because, firstly, the zipper can break and, secondly, that a velcro fastener is easier to use, even when wearing gloves. I am with mine Sea to Summit Gambling Satisfied for years.
Hat: I always take two caps with me: one whole light, thin wool hat and a very warm one for the breaks or the afternoon, when it gets colder. Even at night in a sleeping bag or quilt warms a cap. For this I recommend caps with down, which are unsurpassed warm and light. Many also take a warm buff for the neck like that Merino Buff With.
gloves: Also with the gloves it is good, if you have two couples with you. In principle, mittens are slightly warmer than gloves with fingers. With my Ortovox mittens made of wool, I'm super satisfied, and in an emergency fit there too thinner liner gloves underneath. Another combination would be fleece gloves with a light weight waterproof and breathable mitten about that.
Insulation jacket (with hood): Basically, there are two options here: synthetic fiber insulation or down. Synthetic fiber can not pack so small and is a little heavier, but less sensitive and isolated even vollgeschwitzt still quite good. Down is lighter and more compressed, but more sensitive to moisture. Nevertheless, I usually go down with it. Modern down jackets have specially impregnated down (Hydrodown), which repels moisture for a long time and thus loses less insulation than untreated down.
Highly recommended are the light Nano Puff of Patagonia or the Mountain house Ramche Micro with Hydrophobic Down.
Hardshell jacket: A good hard shell with good breathability is in principle an important piece of equipment both in summer and in winter. Pay attention to the fact that it consists of three-layer Lamiat, so it is robust, yet lightweight. Usually, the better membranes are processed in the 3L jackets. Also pay attention to large and long pit zips, so-called Pit Zips, because on strenuous climbs even the most breathable materials quickly reach their limits. Due to the ventilation on the forearms, the water vapor can escape quickly - and in the right place - but the upper body remains protected against the icy wind.
My absolute favorite jacket, for many years, is the DirectAlpine Guide*. Small, light, ingenious design and they always obstruct the best membrane that is currently available in the textile sector.
Hardshell pants: Hardshell pants should be bought with long zips on the sides, because only then you can quickly on and off if necessary, without having to get out of the boots. Also, the zips can be opened during ascent to have some ventilation. Many wear the hardshell pants in winter as normal pants and not just as overpants. But for that it takes a long time underwear for insulation - and then just makes a way to ventilation sense.
As with hardshell jackets, there are also different quality levels. Again for me personally here DirectAlpine has the edge, which is obviously not available. Black Yak introduces one adequate replacement ago.
Softshell jacket: A really good softshell jacket keeps the icy wind out and is still significantly (!) More breathable than a hardshell. She also wears more comfortable because she is elastic and a little "softer". Pay attention to the purchase on good quality, otherwise you can just use the hardshell. There were those years ago Astron Hooded by Mountain Equipment, which had a thin, elastic fabric with low wind protection from the forearms down, but the steam could escape almost unhindered. Frontal, back and arms were made of highly wind resistant softshell material. For me, this was the perfect softshell jacket for winter tours: thin, lightweight, breathable, windproof. The new Frontier seems to be an adequate substitute.
Softshell pants: Softshell jackets are always a little bit critical, because as I wrote above, they have to be different from the hardshell, otherwise it just does not make sense.
Softshell pants, however, are a brilliant thing. They are comfortable to wear because they are elastic and they protect the legs from wind and weather. If they get wet, they dry up relatively quickly. Since good softshell material is pretty breathable, the legs do not sweat too much. Only with continuous rain they let stop quite fast, because then again mature hardshell or rain pants are needed. Overall, softshell pants feel warmer than hardshell pants, so you can do without long underwear when it's not very cold. The Pedroc of Salewa is a durable and lightweight softshell pants that I can recommend.
Mid-layer insulation: My Midlayer should be paid attention to good fit, so that not too much air between underwear and midlayer, which must be laboriously heated and then escapes with every movement. Fleece materials have been standard for years. Fleece insulates well, even when wet. There are fleece in different thicknesses, usually given by weight per square meter. The thickest fleece, usually 300g, is far too much and too heavy for winter sports use. Thinner 100g or 200g fleece will be enough, depending on your own feelings. A grid material like that Montane Allez Micro provides warmth, but is still very breathable. In conjunction with a windbreak that's mine dearest construction.
Base-layer insulation: Baselayer, which means underwear, should be tight-fitting and made of synthetic fiber materials that quickly wick away moisture and do not absorb it. Cotton absorbs moisture, absorbs it, and does not release it again. The fibers collapse under moisture and so a moist fiber film lays on the skin, which cools quickly. This can be pleasant in the summer, in winter this can lead to dangerous hypothermia. That's exactly why they say cotton kills.
Merino wool is a small exception, although it is always "wet", as pure synthetic fiber materials. For day trips, the merino wool's benefit of not taking the smell so much is not really important anyway, so in winter I'd bet on pure synthetic fiber.
Underwear is available in different thicknesses or material thicknesses. From wafer-thin materials to thick microfleece, there is something for every taste and every feeling of coldness. In very cold temperatures, and when I wear only the hardshell, I love my microfleece pants from Rab. Warm underwear, which is neatly thick, is mostly out Polartec microfleece manufactured.
spare clothes: It is important to take at least socks, gloves and a thin fleece as a replacement, which are packed as waterproof as possible. It can happen quite quickly that you are completely soaked. When ice climbing, an acquaintance once broke to the chest in a frozen and completely snowy pool or stream at the wall. You could not see that before. Even with long breaks, it is a blessing to get rid of sweaty clothes and at least be able to cover a dry fleece.
Grödel: In planned snowshoe tours you have the snowshoes anyway. They help with their claws on the rise and prevent a deep sinking into the snow.
Girdles or shoe chains like that Chainsen from Snowline or the Ran Light by Grivel* to have in your backpack is never wrong in winter. They offer, like snow chains with spikes, a lot of grip on icy paths, which greatly facilitates the ascent and descent and contributes to the safety of the tour.
Backpack: Since the equipment for the winter has a little more pack size and you rather carry more material, water and food, the backpack should be between 30 and 40 liters Have capacity and be as good as waterproof. For the easy attachment of material such as snowshoes and so on he should have outside some loops, where you can lash down the snowshoes or shoes. A lid pocket or mesh pocket for odds and ends like hand warmers, handkerchiefs and cereal bars is also handy.
Water and thermos bottles: In winter you have to be very careful to drink enough liquid. The humidity decreases rapidly in the cold and causes you to be less thirsty, but dehydrated faster by the dry air. Dehydration also significantly speeds up dangerous hypothermia.
The tube of the drinking bubbles can freeze, so you either jump on bottles, or worried a hose insulation, which probably helps more or less well. Personally, I prefer to take a thermos with hot, sweetened tea and a nalgene that does not freeze too quickly in a backpack. Wide-necked bottles like Nalgene do not freeze so quickly. If you transport the bottles outside on the backpack, turn them upside down! The freezing process starts from the water surface, so you can drink from upside down bottles, because virtually the ground is frozen and not the bottleneck or spout. There are also Insulation sleeves made of neoprene for the bottles, which also protect something.
10 essentials: s. Article to the 10 essentials
emergency equipment: On Biwaksack In winter definitely belongs to survival essential emergency equipment. Even slightly waterproof packed tinder and lighter can save lives.
If you are traveling in a group, you can think about whether you want to take a mattress and a light sleeping bag. If someone has an accident and can not move independently, sufficient insulation can be vital. A small, lightweight stove with Esbit fuel and pot provides hot water, a few extra teabags in case of a miracle help.
Additional equipment above the tree line: Above the tree line, we speak of high mountains, as above, the weather conditions are already much more extreme in itself, in addition, the protection by trees and other growths falls away. The cold wind whistles unhindered, rain falls unchecked, the sun burns without shielding. This must also be considered in the equipment. If the tour leads over glaciers or large snowfields, you should think about whether an ice ax makes sense. If you slip - and the danger is enormous - the fall can be slowed down with some practice (see "self arrest", which you should practice on occasion). Crampons have more and more pronounced spikes than Girdle and give much more grip on ice. Again, the handling of it should be practiced times. Snowshoes make sense in our latitudes, especially away from (much-used) ways. The snowshoes increase the contact surface, so you do not sink so far into the snow. This is usually not really necessary on flat rolled paths.
Our article series for Outdoor winter:
- Part 1: Dangers in winter and effects on tour planning
- Part 2: The right clothes for the winter adventure
- Part 3: 5 cooking tips in winter
- Part 4: Seven tips to stay warm in winter
More on the subject: Clothing: the optimized onion principle // winter bivouac // The Daypack in winter