We’re in the middle of January and for many people that means staying indoors. This is a shame, because winter is not only bearable, but a true joy if you’ve got the right gear.
Based on our completely biased opinions, here are the best pieces of gear to enjoy being outside in the winter as assessed by the 10Hikes team. These are the pieces of gear that makes it on our body in our pack when we head out to ski into a remote mountain hut.
Our favorite piece of gear, and it’s lasted for season after season is our mid-weight merino zip neck shirt. The Arc’teryx Satoro AR Zip Neck (womens version and mens version) is the newest iteration, but ours is still in great shape after 6 years of all-season use.
This heavier weight of this shirt means it can be enough while on the uptrack or a great layer in chillier, lower output activities.
We especially love the deep zip, that allows great ventilation. The fact that it’s merino wool also means your friends will like sitting beside you in the hut after a hard day in the snow.
Our second key piece of gear for winter is a good down coat. Down coats can be worn on low-output activities but we love to use them as soon as we stop moving.
We love our Mountain Hardwear Phantom Hooded Down Jacket (mens version or womens version) because it is ultra-light and ultra-warm. Filled with 850-fill down this hooded jacket keeps us from getting cold on cold days.
One caveat with down is to keep it dry. When it’s in our pack we always have it protected from the elements (with other gear we want to keep dry) with a heavy duty plastic bag (which you can buy at any hardware store). This ensures that when we stop our down coat is nice and dry and ready to keep us toasty!
Forget everything you think you remember about snow pants. They don’t need to be a bulky, slow-drying, crinkly and uncomfortable compromise for winter. In fact, we can’t imagine ever wearing anything other than Patagonia’s Men’s Kniferidge Pants (womens version or mens version).
Imagine going outdoors in comfy, warm, stretchy pants that keep you warm and dry. These pants are great for going up and then coming back down, and for us these beauties are a must have on every trip we do in winter.
On cold days we throw on a pair of Capilene Thermal bottoms and we’re set to keep our legs warm, comfy and dry.
People always have trouble with their hands when it’s really cold, especially if you have to do precise movements that require dexterity. Unfortunately, there isn’t one glove or mitt that works all the time for everybody.
When we know we need to use our fingers and it’s really cold we like to use a mid-thickness full-leather autumn or winter cycling glove (there are so many so find one that works for you) and wear it inside a large Black Diamond Mercury Mitt (womens version and mens version). This allows us to keep hands warm while also having the freedom of using our gloved hands to fiddle with other assorted gear as required.
On really cold days where we don’t need our fingers the Black Diamond Mitt is sufficient, and for high output activities the winter cycling glove is enough, with the mitt only needed during breaks.