Essentials to pack for Snowshoeing
Snowshoeing is becoming more and more popular, not only is it fun but it’s a great way to get in shape or stay in shape during the winter. I find that snowshoeing for 5 miles is as good a workout for me as hiking 10. I’ve come across many people snowshoeing on the trail who are hours from the trailhead with no backpack and minimal gear. I think they’re taking an unnecessary risk. Mother Nature is much less forgiving in the winter than in the summer when a hiker can make some mistakes, get lucky, and return unharmed. If you’re going snowshoeing you should pack so you’re prepared to stay out at least one night but not too heavy that you’ll end up exerting yourself. When snowshoeing it’s easy to overdress and overheat. Remember to layer down, one key to winter survival is staying dry. Here’s what I recommend for a snowshoe day trip.
1. Clothing worn or packed – Silk or wool long underwear top and bottoms, performance top- long sleeve,
Gortex top and bottom, extra socks, fleece, gloves and liners, gaiters, insulated or fleece jacket, gaiters.
2. Water bottles 2-3 liters with water and purification or iodine tablets
3. Map and Compass
4. Torch-Headlamp with extra batteries
5. Pocket knife
6. Fire starter –recommend a magnesium stick similar to the Swedish Fire stick which can ignite a spark
when wet, won’t break and is equivalent to about 15,000 matches.
7. Medical kit- A simple adventure medical kit costs less than $15
8. Whistle- A good one can be heard several miles away
9. Cell phone in a zip lock and charged, don’t rely on it having reception.
10. Space Blanket- can be used to keep warm or as a signal
12. Hand and Foot warmers
13. Food-realize you burn more calories when it’s cold and exert more during snowshoeing than a normal
14. Good pair of waterproof breathable boots.
15. Snowshoes (my favorites are the MSRs)
16. Metal cup or pot to melt snow.
17. Climbing or skiing snow shovel
Trash compactor bag – to keep the contents of your backpack dry in rain/snow, if your small like me you can use it as a shelter if you get in the fetal position.
Line- I like 550 lb cord which is strong, can be braided for a stronger rope, can be separated into smaller strands for fishing or dental floss.
Wire saw – used for firewood, shelter or signal construction, etc…
Pack stove and fuel
Thermos full of hot tea, coco, or soup
Therma rest or other sleeping pad – can be used as a seat on top of snow or in an emergency. Sometimes it’s not a bad idea to also pack a sleeping bag amongst a group.
Avalanche probe and transceiver
For additional information on Snowshoeing read the snowshoe basics post.