Adventuring out in the cold is quite different than a summertime hike or canoe trip. It can be incredibly special and open up a whole new season of adventure, however, we need to make sure to take extra care in packing the right gear to make sure we're safe and comfortable the whole way through. Below we've outlined what you'll need to pack on our winter adventures.
Rule #1 here is LAYERS. You'll always be more comfortable packing multiple layers that you can take off and put back on as you heat up and cool down.
Here are the main layers you'll want to pack.
1. Base Layers
As the name suggests, base layers are the clothing items that are closest to your skin. Some people call them long johns or long underwear. Base layers are meant to provide some warmth and come in different thicknesses for different temperatures. However, the main purpose of base layers is moisture management.
Base layers are usually made from either merino wool or synthetic fabric. Merino wool is naturally moisture-wicking and odour resistant and provides amazing warmth for its weight. Our favourite base layers are these ones from Devold. They’re incredibly high quality and they trace all of their wool to the farms ensuring humane treatment and sustainability throughout the process. Synthetic, however, tends to be much less expensive. There are plenty of high quality, warm base layers made from either material, so you have lots of options when choosing base layers.
Mid-layers, also known as insulating layers, go on top of your base layers. These are the items that provide insulation and prevent you from losing heat to your surroundings. The most common types of insulating clothing are fleece / wool sweaters and puffy jackets.
3. Outer Layers
Outer layers are windproof and waterproof. These items are your shield against the elements (like a rain jacket, rain pants or ski pants). Some outer layers, like those specifically designed for winter activities like skiing, have some insulation built-in as well. However, try to stay away from parkas that have tons of built-in insulation. You want the flexibility to change the amount of insulation as the temperature changes and your body heats up.
Winter hiking boots are a great option here. Compared with regular boots, winter hiking boots are designed to be less breathable but more water resistant. They typically have insulation to provide additional warmth.
And don’t forgot about a thick pair of wool socks! Pro trip, pack an extra pair for the drive home :)
Tip: If you do choose to wear a scarf, ensure the ends are secured inside your jacket so there isn’t any chance they could get caught on a tree as you’re trekking by!
6. Extra Items
While we supply almost everything you'll need for the trip, you'll want to bring some of these as well.
- 1L Water Bottle
For our overnight trips such as the "11 North" you'll want to double up on everything mentioned above. Since it's two days, the last thing you'll want is to pull on some sweaty hiking clothes from the day before.
Additionally, you'll want to pack your toiletries and any medication you'll need for the overnight stay.
We'll be staying in a cozy cottage so no need to pack a sleeping bag or pillow - we'll have all that clean and ready for you!