Snowpacking Gear

Snowpacking Gear

Although winter is only one season out of the year, it requires the most gear. Not having the right gear will be problematic in the cold, and even dangerous. You will need most of your Backpacking gear PLUS more.


10 Essentials

  • These are needed on all outings


Backpack

  • Winter Outing Backpack

    • A summer pack may not be big enough to hold everything you need for a winter outing

    • With ingenuity, scouts can strap gear on the outside of their summer packs

    • Winter Backpack

      • Teton Grand 5500 (90L 6lbs / 2.7kg)

        • This pack is really too big for 4 season use

    • Pulk (gear sled)

      • If you are getting a pack just for the winter, consider making an equipment sled (Pulk)

      • It is often easier to drag a Pulk filled with gear than to carry a stripped down winter pack

      • A Pulk is cheaper to put together than a purchasing a winter pack

      • Many scouts can't carry a 90 Liter Pack full of gear


Headgear


Clothing

  • When purchasing clothing for outdoor use, avoid cotton. Cotton retains water and leads to hypothermia in cold environments.

  • Polyester, nylon and other synthetic materials retain minimal amounts of water and dry fast.

  • If you look in Goodwill, you can sometimes find excellent gear for a tiny fraction of the retail price

  • Rugged Rain Gear Shell

    • Should be large enough to fit over other layers of clothing

    • Breathable Waterproof fabric such as Gore-Tex is preferred

    • Jacket should have a hood

  • Heavy Weight Layer

    • Fleece or puffy jacket

  • Medium Weight Layer

    • Synthetic or wool pullover

    • Mid weight bottoms

  • Base Layer

    • Synthetic or wool long underwear

    • Costco has these every year

      • They are on the thin side - but you can wear both sets

      • But they are pretty good deal when they go on sale

      • Thicker is preferred

  • Silk Weight Layer

    • Under Armour type layer - aka Silk Weight

    • Stretching and thin

    • Wicks moisture away from body


Handgear

  • Gloves

    • Insulated Shells

    • Ideally waterproof

    • If not waterproof get second pair

  • Glove Liners

    • Wool or Synthetic

    • Should have 2 pairs

  • Rubberized Snow Gloves

    • Use when working with snow blocks and building snow shelters

    • Coated Gloves


Footgear

  • Wool Mountaineering socks

    • Smartwool Mountaineer

    • If your boots aren't waterproof, you'll want more pairs of dry socks to change into

  • Sock Liners

  • Snow Boots

    • Waterproof, Insulated Boots

    • Full length boot preferred as they keep out more snow

    • Shop at Goodwill to save a ton

    • Sorel Boots

      • Known for excellent winter boot

      • Too expensive for youth as they will grow out of these in less than a year

    • This Style or This Style are options

      • Rubberized bottom protects feet from wet snow

      • Calf length uppers keep snow out of boot

      • Uppers should be waterproof and seam-sealed

      • Insulation keeps feet warm

      • If you add a snow gaiter - it's even better

  • Snow Gaiters


Sleep System

  • 20° EN Rated or better Sleeping Bag

    • Down or synthetic fill

    • Down is more expensive but lighter

      • Down is NOT recommended for younger or inexperienced scouts

    • Synthetic is more forgiving it if gets wet

    • Scouts without an acceptable sleeping system are prohibited from overnight campouts in the snow

  • Optional - Sleeping Bag system with Bivy

    • Military modular systems with Gore-Tex bivy can't be beat

    • Waterproof

    • -30° Military Rating

    • Expensive and heavy/bulky

    • NSN 8465-01-445-6274

    • Find in Army surplus stores - sometimes new

    • Watch out of counterfeit ones and used ones that are worn out (missing seam tape on bivy)

  • If you don't have a Military system or 0° Bag - augment your bag

    • Sleeping Bag Liner

      • REI

      • Synthetic or Wool Blanket

  • Tarp

    • 6x8 Tarp found in hardware and big-box stores

    • Use as waterproof ground cloth

    • Also use for emergency shelter or sled

  • Sleeping Pad

    • Required (NOT optional) for snow outings

    • Vital if sleeping on snow or frozen ground


Stove

  • Stove is vital in the winter for cooking, providing emergency heat and for melting snow to drink

  • There are many types of stoves to consider and this is discussion for a different page

    • Isobutane Stove

      • Isobutane is very easy to use, but can be problematic in subfreezing temperatures

      • Butane will fail to work at near freezing temperatures

      • Special training requires for use in subfreezing temperatures

      • MSR Pocket Rocket 2

        • Simple over-canister stove

      • Jetboil Zip

        • Cook System - comes with pot

        • Great for boiling water for dehydrated meals and hot drinks

    • White Gas Stove

      • White gas stoves are not as effected by subfreezing temperatures as Isobutane stoves

      • Not recommended for general use by scouts

      • Not recommended for use by younger scouts

      • Whisperlite International

        • Expedition quality stove

  • Pot

    • 750-1600 mL

    • Use for boiling water

    • May be used as a bowl if not eating out of bag

    • MSR Alpine 775 mL Stowaway Pot

      • Stainless Steel is durable and easy to clean

      • Price is reasonable

      • Heavier than titanium counterparts


Gear

  • Snowshoes

    • The troop has some snowshoes, but you may want your own

    • Sometimes found at Costco - If you get these, mark your name on them

    • REI

  • Ski Poles

  • Snow Saw

    • The Troop will provide these and we can make them for very little

    • Commercial ones are of course better

  • Snow Shovel

    • The Troop will provide these - Costco versions

    • Better ones are very expensive and fragile in the hands of scouts

    • We don't recommend you outfit your scout with an expensive shovel without proper training