The weekend is approaching and your snowshoes are anxiously awaiting some use. Even for veterans, planning ahead for your adventurous day will make for a smooth, safe and fun excursion in the wintry outdoors. Check the weather, deice where you plan to snowshoe and coordinate with your crew who will bring what so you don’t double up on gear. Try to head out in the morning since outdoor day trips can sometimes take much longer than expected. Below are the essentials you’ll need for your snowshoe outing, along with a few extra items for more extensive trips in the backcountry.
- Snowshoes – Fortunately, snowshoes have come a long way since their conception in the late 1800′s. The House has a diverse selection of snowshoes for every ability, aspiration and price point for men, women and kids.
- Snowshoe Footwear – Waterproof hiking boots are the best choice for longer snowshoe trips since they are the most comfortable and provide the most support. For shorter trips, under a few hours, insulated winter boots with removable liners will work.
- Snowshoe Poles – These aren’t as essential as the snowshoes themselves, but poles can be quite helpful during longer treks. Snowshoe poles take a bit of weight off of each step and also provide increased stability on uneven terrain. They can also add an upper body workout!
- Gaiters – Gaiters provide waterproof and breathable protection, while keeping snow out of your boots. In deep snow, these babies are truly a lifesaver on a snowshoe outing!
- Pack – Look for a pack that will hold all of your essentials, but one that won’t weigh you down or be cumbersome on your trek. Many packs are equipped with a waist and/or chest strap, which evenly distributes the weight load. Brands like The North Face, Burton and Dakine have a wide selection of such packs, perfect for snowshoeing.
- Moisture wicking base layers (top and bottom)
- Insulating layer (fleece or vest)
- Waterproof/breathable jacket (softshell or technical shell)
- Insulating jacket (synthetic or down)
- Waterproof/breathable pants (softshell pants or snow pants)
- Hat or beanie
- Socks (wool or synthetic)
- Gloves or mittens
The Ten Essentials
As agreed upon by hiking organizations, a set of survival “ten essentials” has been compiled for hikers, backpackers and climbers. Not all snowshoe outings will require the use of every item, but it’s not a bad idea to gather your ten essentials just in case. All items will overlap for summer adventures, too!
- Navigation (map, compass or GPS)
- Sunglasses and Sunscreen
- Extra Food and Water
- Extra Clothes
- Repair Kit
- First Aid Kit
- Emergency Shelter
Gathering the gear you need for your snowshoe outing is a one time deal. Once you have the snowshoe gear, you won’t need new gear for a while and you’ll be more inspired to hit the trail when everything you need is right at your fingertips! One can never bee too cautious about entering the wilderness, so don’t overlook the ten essentials either!