Winter is a favorite season for many outdoor lovers. Eagerly awaited by all snowsports fanatics, it gives landscapes a special charm, turning them wilder and more pristine, but also more prohibitive and dangerous. Staying safe and enjoying the great outdoors in harsh winter conditions hinges both on good preparation and high-quality equipment.
To help you plan for adventuring in the cold, we’ve assembled a list of essentials, organized from the most affordable to the most expensive items. Use it to perfect your winter set-up, or find inspiration for the best holiday gifts for your loved ones.
Skiers, campers, ice fishers and climbers all suffer from the same winter predicament: cold hands. To quickly fight to the sickening sensation of icy, numb fingers and prevent what mountaineers call “the screaming barflies,” get a set of hand warmers. From cheap disposable ones to fancy USB-rechargeable ones, they are always a good addition to your winter gear.
There is no better feeling than being warm and cozy after a long day on the slopes. The North Face produces the quintessential winter slipper, known as the tent mule, and many other manufacturers offer a similar design. Used by most high-altitude climbers in base camps, winter slippers are equally at home in skiing cabins or camping out in your local state park.
A sip of hot tea (especially one made with fresh ginger), can do wonders when energy is running low and the body starts to shiver. A high-quality vacuum flask keeps your beverage hot for hours and is shock-resistant. Depending on size and shape, flasks can store not only drinks, but also hot soup and even regular meals.
Winter gloves come in a multitude of types and shapes, depending on the sport. Carefully designed to meet the requirements of their users, they all have one thing in common: they get heavily used and battered, meaning a new pair could be a foolproof holiday gift idea.
Thermal base layers
The secret to staying warm and dry on any winter adventure is an appropriate layering system that protects against the elements, traps body heat and wicks moisture away from the skin. A good base layer offers thermal isolation while wicking sweat away from the body, and staying fresh for many hours, or even days.
Base layers are worn on both upper and lower body, usually in the form of long sleeve tops and leggings. Merino wool provides ultimate warmth and comfort.
Winter camping equipment
From a sleeping pad to insulate against the cold ground to a rugged tent that can withstand not only wind, but also a heavy layer of snow, winter camping equipment is designed to protect the campers life and wellbeing.
And among all the technical fabrics and state-of-the-art solutions, one piece of gear remains reassuringly simple and homely: a hot water bottle. A cute one, enclosed in a cozy knitted pouch, will make a great holiday gift and come in handy while camping out of the car. A simple one – just a plastic bottle placed between the legs to warm up the femoral artery – can save a life on a cold winter night in the high mountains.