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Winter Day Trip Gear List

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Please come dressed in all your winter gear. Although you will be riding in a snowcat, hiking in severe weather may be necessary in the event of a vehicle breakdown.

Items you need on the drive up, such as goggles, face mask, camera, water, and snacks, should be packed in a small daypack to take with you inside the snowcat. The rest of your belongings will be stowed and may not be accessible.

Space on the snowcat and in the bunkrooms is extremely limited, so personal gear should be kept to an absolute minimum. If you are spending the night before your trip in a hotel, pack a separate bag so you can leave your street clothes and other unnecessary items in your car or at the Observatory garage.

Pack and dress as you would for an outing in severe winter weather. You will need many layers of extremely warm clothing: you will be colder than you think! Cotton clothing of any sort is unsuitable because of its tendency to absorb and hold moisture. Suggested materials are listed for each item:

  1. Wicking base layer: wool or synthetic long underwear tops and bottoms to pull moisture away from the skin
  2. Insulating mid-layer: midweight wool or synthetic tops and bottoms to wear over your base layer to provide insulation
  3. Insulating top layer: midweight wool, synthetic, or down jacket to layer over your base layer and mid-layer.
  4. Wind-proof outer layer: durable, synthetic (Gore-Tex or similar) hooded jacket and pants to wear over your base layer and insulating layers
  5. Rain layer: Waterproof, hooded jacket and pants to wear over all other layers (Note: If your wind-proof layer is waterproof, you do not need to bring a separate rain layer)
  6. Socks (2 pair): wool or synthetic socks (not cotton) that fit comfortably in your boots
  7. Hat: Wool or synthetic cap that covers your ears
  8. Balaclava or neck gaiter: face mask and/or neck scarf to cover your neck and face in severe wind, blowing snow, and freezing rain
  9. Warm gloves or mittens: thick, down, or synthetic-filled windproof gloves or mittens with long cuffs that fully cover your wrists. A minimum of two pair are recommended, to ensure that you always have a dry pair
  10. Glove liners: thin wool or synthetic gloves to use in lieu of insulated gloves when the weather is warmer
  11. Sunglasses: sturdy sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection
  12. Ski goggles: for protection in wind and blowing snow
  13. Mountaineering boots: warm, insulated, waterproof, durable winter boots (no summer hiking boots, day hikers, or tennis shoes). Note: Mountaineering boots, with crampons, may be rented from many gear stores, including Eastern Mountain Sports in North Conway, NH
  14. Crampons: sturdy metal mountaineering crampons. Note: the Observatory has crampons that you may reserve by advance request, but supplies are limited, please email us to reserve a pair.
  15. Micro spikes: slip-on traction devices with 3/8 inch metal spikes that fit snugly on your boots. Note: these do not replace the use of crampons, but may be worn in an area where crampons are not necessary. "Yak Tracks" and similar light-duty traction devices are not acceptable
  16. Gaiters: to protect your pants from damage from your crampons, and to keep snow out of your boots (optional)
  17. Ice axe (if you know how to use one), trekking poles or ski poles: to help you walk on icy, uneven terrain
  18. Daypack: durable, water-resistant, or waterproof backpack that's large enough to hold your layers, water bottle, and camera
  19. Water bottle: minimum 18 oz capacity
  20. Headlamp: This is helpful during an unexpected severe weather event, which might turn the Day Trip into an overnight


An overnight on the summit may be necessary in the event of an unexpected severe weather event. Bring all necessary toiletries and medications, including an extra few days worth of medications in case continued adverse weather delays departure. There is nowhere to purchase toiletries or medications on the summit.

Special Equipment

If you are bringing a camera or other special equipment, remember to bring extra batteries. There is nowhere to purchase electronic equipment on the summit, and batteries die very quickly in the cold.

Other Gear

Personal gear not listed above should be kept to a minimum, as space in the snowcat and summit lodging facility is extremely limited.

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