My Winter Gear List

IMG_5159I just finished a week-long trek in central Pennsylvania, during which the ground was usually covered in snow and the air was rarely above freezing. If I hadn’t been familiar with my gear and attuned to my tendency to sleep cold, I might not have been able to stay comfortable on the trip. Gear choices are filled with personal decisions, but anecdotes from others can sometimes help you dial in your list to meet your specific needs. Here’s what worked for me on this particular trip.

Trip stats:
Duration: 7 nights, 138 miles
Temperatures: highs usually in the 30s, lows between 20 and 25 deg F
Pack weight: started at 29lb, finished at 18lb

Big Four:

  • Six Moon Designs Skyscape X shelter (+6 stakes and stake bag)
  • Zpacks ArcBlast backpack
  • Feathered Friends Petrel 10 sleeping bag
  • Neoair XTherm sleeping pad


  • sleep socks
  • Montbell Mirage down parka
  • Montbell down pants
  • Enlightened Equipment Sidekicks – booties with synthetic insulation
  • Feathered Friends bootie shells (for wearing the booties outside my tent)
  • Patagonia capilene thermal weight bottoms
  • Gordini Stash Lite down mittens
  • extra underwear and hiking socks
  • AntiGravityGear rain jacket and pants


  • BST 3000T stove
  • Snow Peak 700 pot with lid
  • long-handled titanium spoon
  • camp towel
  • matches and lighter
  • Montbell 15L stuff sack
  • Katadyn BeFree 1L filter bottle
  • Platypus 1L SoftBottle
  • 0.5L Nalgene widemouth bottle


  • Vargo titanium trowel
  • hand sanitizer
  • hand lotion
  • Aquaphor
  • sunscreen
  • toothpaste/toothbrush
  • kleenex
  • wet wipes


  • compass/whistle/thermometer combo
  • maps and trail description book
  • Black Diamond Spot headlamp with extra batteries
  • phone with Gaia app and preloaded maps
  • Garmin InReach
  • Victorinox Classic Swiss Army knife
  • first aid kit – rubber gloves, ibuprofen, benadryl, antibiotic ointment, alcohol pad, band-aids
  • repair kit – duct tape, Tenacious tape, and extra dyneema cord
  • Vargo pocket cleats (didn’t use, but easily could have)


  • Sea2Summit Aeros pillow
  • sit pad (cut from a larger foam sleeping pad)
  • earbuds
  • earplugs
  • crossword puzzle and pencil
  • Anker charger and lightning cable


  • 5kg of food to start (which turned out to be way too much)
  • 1.5L of water to start (water was so plentiful that I rarely carried more than a half liter)
  • 100g fuel canister

Worn/Carried (not counted in pack weight):

  • Icebreaker long-sleeve shirt (wool stinks much less than synthetic!)
  • Ibex Woolies 3 hoody
  • Athleta leggings
  • Patagonia Barely Baggies shorts
  • bra/underwear/socks*
  • Altra Lone Peak trail running shoes, with Dirty Girl gaiters
  • cheap Casio altimeter watch
  • headband
  • fleece neck gaiter
  • Defeet wool gloves
  • Komperdell Carbon Approach Vario 4 poles

*I don’t mean to give short shrift to the significance of good socks, but I made a couple mistakes on this front. I brought Injinji toe socks, which I started using a couple years ago because I was developing blisters between my toes. Have you ever tried to put on frozen toe socks? Well, neither have I. The next morning, the socks were frozen stiff, and I wore the non-toe socks every day after that. Those would normally be Darn Tough socks, but my washing machine broke just before the trip, and they were dirty, so I just brought a random pair of ankle socks. They did the job ok, but they were stretched out of shape by the end of the trip. On the upside, I found out that I don’t get blisters between my toes anymore. =)

I keep a spreadsheet of my gear list, adding a tab for each trip. When I plan my next trip, I will copy a similar (temperature, precipitation, terrain, etc) trip and modify it with any updates. I find that I’m less likely to forget something if I use the list when I’m packing up. After the trip, I usually make notes about what I brought but didn’t use, as well as what I wish I had brought. For example, on the above trip, I wish I had brought dental floss and more sunscreen.

Most of the gear on this list I use because I love, but they all have pros and cons. Questions? Comment below, and I’ll try my best to answer.


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