View Full Version : winter backpack checklist

10-16-2010, 11:48 PM
so now it's that time of year I thought it would be good to add one here about "essentials" for those people who are considering venturing out in winter

Below is what I usually carry in winter in my day pack, at minimum, for a summit bid on mt. wash ( or an equivalent climb for other mountain winter summit, but emphasis on daypack)........ please reply with any other recommendations, things I left off etc,

- two plastic gallons jugs of water
- several high energy snacks ( usually dried fruit in sugar)
- a good protein lunch that won't freeze ( usually bagel with peanut butter & honey)
- a big handful of GU gels

- a map and a compass

- bivy stuff ( usually just an emergency blanket/cover)

- basic first aid kit ( emphasis on ibuprofen & some gauze to wrap a cut )

- an extra pair of socks and extra base layer..... if room some more extra warmth stuff

- crampons, ice axe & 2nd tool, small rope with belay device, & headlamp

NOTE: I always start with my "over it all" jacket actually in my pack and not on; normally I start with both pant layers on but only my polypro top on........
as I find if I start with my "over it all" jacket layer on I get hot quick and tire easily ( i.e. I would rather start cold and then let my body heat warm me)

And 've been told a good preparation routine is:
PM before: lots of carbs, I mean beer, I mean carbs like pasta yeah & most importantly good rest
AM start: usually predawn, breakfast with lots of protein & lots of hydration, I mean drink water water water

10-19-2010, 01:18 PM
Did you really mean 2 gallons of water?

10-19-2010, 02:50 PM
add to that: xtra batteries for the headlamp. Matches. A spare bungee cord and/or strap. I always take 3 hats. One on my head and the other two for when the one I'm wearing gets wet. (dry hats always feel good). xtra pair of gloves and/or mittens. 1 gallon zip lock bag to put the wet stuff in. A balaclava. Goggles.

10-19-2010, 08:05 PM
Definitely a set of items already listed. I also assume that this is 2 liters of water and not 2 gallons. (not sure how those would fit in a day pack let alone the 16 pounds). Also...

We carry our water bottles in insulated sleeves (which we also use in summer to keep it cold which some of our winter hiking friends found a bit strange).

Starting in the fall we always carry a thermos of hot tea - usually the lemon herbal kind with lots of honey for energy to go with the heat.

Usually a foam sleeping pad (or just a chunk of an old one) to have something insulated to sit on for breaks.

Definitely add sunscreen, lip balm and sunglasses - definitely more sun issues in winter than summer.

And having learned out lessons with nearly frozen hands on several occasions, a couple of pairs of chemical handwarmers (and extras for in the boots if needed). A great tip from a very experienced winter hiking friend is to start the handwarmers at the beginning of the hike and put them in your spare mittens. When your hands start to get cold the mittens are already toasty.

All this talk about winter gear is getting me itchy to get out in some snow!!!

10-20-2010, 01:11 PM
It's funny, about the handwarmers! On our last hike it was really cold and I though I was a genius for deciding that I would put the handwarmers inside my gloves when ever I don't use them (when the hands warm up and I take them off, then stop for a break and need them quickly!) so when I take a break and decide too late that I want them on, they are toasty and warm!

10-21-2010, 12:09 AM
Did you really mean 2 gallons of water?

yeah I always carry 2 gallon plastic jugs of water (per person)..... there has been many long days that I've started with 2 gallons and have come back with 1 empty gallon jug & the other not so full gallon jug.

I'd just rather be over prepared on the hydration front..... but of course I'm probably a bit to the extreme side as I think a 10-12 hour hike is "average" and a long hike includes a 3am start with finish near sunset; so of course that length of time requires........

BTW I should note that I use the GU gels which do require alot of extra hydration as compared to normal/without..... but it is always good to carry lots of hydration

10-21-2010, 12:17 AM
add to that: xtra batteries for the headlamp.

good point, the headlamp is not so useful with dead batteries.... probably good to keep the extras in a good insulated/warm place to avoid sub zero temperatures....

We carry our water bottles in insulated sleeves

another good point... frozen water is not so fun to drink, but if you insulate the water it may not freeze

Definitely add sunscreen, lip balm and sunglasses - definitely more sun issues in winter than summer.!

Yep! I always put on more sunscreen when climbing in winter than I do in a 99 degrees summer beach day down here in FLA

All this talk about winter gear is getting me itchy to get out in some snow!!!

Absolutely.... I booked my Jet Blue flight from JAX upto Logan a few days back for my after the semester ends................ and I can't wait to get my crampons out - get up on that mountain in subzero temps! Pretty much all I've been thinking of since I saw those pictures posted in the "first winter hike thread"

10-21-2010, 12:40 AM
BTW best wishes to you all for a fun, challenging & enjoyable winter hiking/climbing season..... I hope that you are able to get where you want, reach higher, and steeper

But most importantly I hope you enjoy, reach your goals & make it back to the bar in the PM safely :)

10-21-2010, 06:50 AM
Looking forward to winter hiking....I have gotten my summer pack weight down, but in winter I will carry everything I think I may need (and I am a pack-rat) We don't doing anything too strenuous (yet) but best be prepared