It does not take much for a day in the snow, but I still pack mine daypack slightly different than in the summer.
In winter, clothing, shoes and other equipment must operate in a wide range of different temperatures, wind, sunshine and rainfall.
- Temperatures can be from low plus degrees to far into the minus.
- Wind force can be from calm to stormy.
- Sunlight may be very strong, but also completely covered and hazy.
- Precipitation can range from dry to foggy and rainy to blizzard.
- Terrain can range from deep, loose snow, ice, frozen waters to dry rock.
The 10 essentials are in any backpack, anyway, but beyond that in winter are some additional things to think about.
The garment layer system must be able to withstand these different conditions, as well as be attuned to the activity. During physical activity such as ski touring, the body heats up and cools down quickly during the breaks. Snowshoeing can also be very exhausting, but on a leisurely winter hike, you do not get into a sweat. For the optimal heat output at the right time, one should pay attention to a correctly applied layer system / onion system.
In the article to onion system I was already on the basics of the layer system, so I will only briefly and very specific to a sporting winter activity as a mountain tour with snowshoes.
The underwear should fit snugly so that it can absorb the resulting moisture, sweat, and pass it on to the next layer of clothing. When you go off you should not be wrapped up too warm, otherwise you sweat the clothes wet and does not get really warm.
Everything that is worn over the underwear should be easy on and off, so you can easily change through the layers. During the ascent, you will take off your clothes so as not to sweat too much, during breaks you should be able to quickly and easily put on something to keep you warm. If you go on then you will take off something again.
At launch, you may be able to wear hats and gloves, long underwear, warm socks, (insulated) boots and gaiters, hard or soft shell pants, a fleece pullover and a hardshell jacket. After about 15 minutes you will start to take off your hardshell jacket and open the venting zips in the pants to release the accumulated body heat. At the summit rest you will surely put your jacket back on and maybe even put on the down jacket over it.
The following packing list for winter days ensures safety and warmth up to about the tree line. Above this, additional equipment such as crampons, ice axes and so on may be needed. Below the tree line it is usually less cold, as the trees provide some protection and isolation. The wind is not so strong and icy, because it is blocked by the trees.
On the backpack, handy
- Backpack: 30-40 liters, as waterproof as possible
- Seat pad for the break
- Thermos with hot tea
- PLB or SPOT to get help in an emergency
- Sunglasses & sunscreen, LSF50 (under the nose and ears not forgotten!)
- Headlamp / flashlight, replacement batteries
- light weight shoes or other "traction devices" like the Snowline Chainsen
- Sticks with winter dish
- 4 heat pads, best these disposable things that you knead something and then warm for a few hours
- First aid kit with rescue blanket & whistle
- Duct Tape / Gaffa Tape, wrapped under the handle of the trekking pole, it does not bother and is always there
- Small pocket knife
- Lighter & Tinder if you have to make a fire
- Map & compass, the handling but that should be practiced
- Snacks, double portion, or triple portion
- Toilet paper & shovel
- trash bags
- Replacement: Socks and thin gloves as well as another, thin fleece or similar, packaged waterproof
- Wind & slicker, for extra protection
Above the tree line the following additional equipment may be necessary:
- windproof balaclava or mask
- snow goggles
- ice pick
- Avalanche equipment (shovel, probe, avalanche transceiver)
We have summarized in a separate article some tips, as well as stay warm in winter can.