Snowcamping? ‘S No Problem!

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GEAR ESSENTIALS FOR WINTER CAMPING

When I was a kid, I wanted to build an igloo and live in it. I thought perhaps I would have some penguin pals and maybe there would be a friendly polar bear family in the neighborhood. Now, as an adult, though not necessarily a grown-up, I’ve learned that if I want to camp in the snow I don’t need to cuddle with a yeti in order to avoid becoming a peoplecicle; I just need the right gear.

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Photos by Ritchie Espenilla

Four-Season Tents:

Big Agnes Royal Flush 3
This four-season, three-person mountaineering tent is eco-friendly, freestanding and lightweight. It features the DAC Featherlite NSL pole system with press fit connectors and lightweight hubs. 8.5 lbs, $699 bigagnes.com

Sierra Designs Mountain Meteor Tent
The Mountain Meteor is a four-season, two-person, eco-friendly, freestanding, lightweight tent. Jake’s Corners add stability while air-lift venting provides fresh air and helps prevent tent collapse during strong winds. This tent is made with a dye-free, optic white nylon body as part of Sierra Designs Green Effect Program. 9.15 lbs, $549 sierradesigns.com

 

Sleeping Bags:

Big Agnes Edna SL -5° F
This women’s specific down sleeping bag has an integrated pad sleeve that keeps you securely attached to your pad while you sleep. Down is more expensive, but weighs less and compresses better than synthetic materials. 2.14 lbs, $399 bigagnes.com

Sierra Designs Catalyst 0 ° F
This synthetic sleeping bag is light and made with compressible insulation and unique construction work together to maximize warmth. Synthetic fabric dries faster and provides better insulation in wet conditions. 3.8 lbs, $199 sierradesigns.com

 

Sleeping Pad:

Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus
This plush sleeping pad uses patent-pending foam-perforating technology to keep you warm and comfortable without the added weight. 1.8 lbs, $79–$119 rei.com or backcountry.com

 

Stove:

MSR Reactor
The Reactor stove’s radiant burner is enclosed by a unique heat exchanger that gives it the ability to boil a liter of water in three minutes and perform in even the windiest conditions. Stove and fuel stow inside of the high-efficiency 1.7-liter pot. 1.2 lbs, $159 rei.com or backcountry.com

Food:

Natural High Foods
This company uses freeze-dried technology to create super convenient and tasty meals. They come in a pouch you can eat out of so all you have to do is add two cups of boiling water, stir and wait ten minutes. 5 oz, $6.50 richmoor.com

Water:

CamelBak® 24 Oz Insulated Stainless Steel Better Bottle™
This bottle uses vacuum-sealed technology to keep your water cool in the summertime and ice-free in the winter. It’s also spill-proof, stain resistant and taste-free. $24 camelbak.com

Snowshoes:

MSR 25˝ Snowshoes
The Total-Traction™ frame delivers a 360° grip–even while traversing. Slightly longer snowshoes help with backpacking, but these have a lighter and narrower design that makes them the lightest snowshoes in their class at 3.8 pounds per pair. $259 rei.com or backcountry.com

 

Backpack:

Deuter Alpine 40+ Backpack
Carry up to 40 pounds comfortably in this backpack made from bombproof materials with ergonomic shoulder straps. The pack distributes weight evenly throughout your back, even with heavy loads. It’s also hydration compatible, fit with compression straps and ice axe loops. $169 deuterusa.com

EVEN MORE WINTER CAMPING GEAR!

 

WINTER CAMPING OUTERWEAR

Planet Earth Women’s Insulated Pants
These adorable insulated snowpants will keep you warm ‘til the cows come home. They are made from RecycloFaile, which is 100% recycled nylon with faille weave. The seams are fully taped and sealed so you won’t have to worry about cold and snow seeping in. They have a sleek fit and come with all the options: zipper thigh vents, snap cuff gussets, handwarmer pockets and an 80/20 durable water resistant finish.planet-earth-clothing.com

Planet Earth Women’s Vantage Jacket
This unique jean style, twill weave jacket has 10K-rated fabric coating to keep you dry on snowy days with a ThermaPlush lining to boost warmth. Pairs well with the jersey Hatch Pant.$229 planet-earth-clothing.com

Planet Earth Women’s Jersey Hatch Pant
They look and fit like your favorite pair of jeans, but won’t leave you soggy on the slopes. The boot-cut jean style looks adorable and the 10K-Rated fabric and fully-taped seams prevent moisture from getting in. The ThermaPlush lining adds warmth without bulk, and zippers at cuffs makes lacing boots easy. $170 planet-earth-clothing.com

Helly Hansen Men’s Odin Mountain Jacket and Pants
This versatile all-mountain expert jacket and pants with detachable soft shell bib offers a perfect blend of style, comfort and, most importantly, functionality! They are made with Helly Hansen’s signature HellyTech® O2. A state-of-the-art waterproof, breathable technology that keeps you dry in the most severe conditions, which couldn’t be more important when you are camping in the snow. The jacket and pants also have welded thigh and hand pockets, an inner snow gaiter, water resistant welded pit-zips, RECCO® reflec, superb full-stretch and comfort with 20,000 mm waterproofness and 20,000 g breathability. The construction is made for advanced recreational pursuits, so you don’t have to compromise your dexterity to stay warm. Made from 100% Nylon 66, this set-up was approved by ski mountaineers Chris Davenport and Stian Hagen during their classic Alps project. Jacket $499, Pants $399 hellyhansen.com

Helly Hansen Isolator Jacket
The engineers at Helly Hansen created this mid-layer jacket to be ultra lightweight and durable. It has laminated PrimaLoft®, which minimizes cold spots and delivers vital warmth in the coldest conditions. Have you heard of zipped LIFA® hand warmer pockets and zipped chest pocket? Who else but Helly Hansen? A smooth exterior fabric resists moisture and assists the body in maintaining a balanced temperature. It’s so comfy you can sleep with it on, and boy is it packable! It’s made of 100% Nylon and weighs in at just 350g/12.3oz. $157 hellyhansen.com

Helly Hansen Women’s Savoy Jacket
Warm and dry are pretty dang important, and Helly Hansen gets it. They built this piece with, 100% polymide, WarmCore insulation and HellyTech® with 5,000 mm waterproofness and 5,000 g breathability to stand up to the wintry conditions. The cut and design give it a flattering and classic edge. But just because it’s pretty doesn’t mean it isn’t smart. Full stretch side panels ease movement while the pit zip mechanical venting regulates body temperatures. It also features a one-hand hood adjustment, full-time hood, powder skirt, hem drawcord adjustment and interior media and goggle pockets. Wear it skiing, camping or just to walk the dog.$259 hellyhansen.com

Helly Hansen Women’s Vega Pant
Hooray for HellyTech®! A state-of-the-art waterproof, breathable technology that keeps you dry in the most severe conditions, which couldn’t be more important when you are camping in the snow. Extra insulation will keep your legs warm and dry. The lower legs are detailed with a reinforced hem that minimizes abrasion from ice and ski edges while stretchy boot gaiters keep snow from entering the top of the boots. They are made from 100% Nylon and are fully insulated. Extra insulation in the seat and knees will keep you warm in all the right places, and you don’t have to sacrifice looks for comfort with these cuties. Belt loops and a tailored fit mean you get to look good AND stay warm.$149 hellyhansen.com

Outdoor Research Insulated Adrenaline Mitts
Mmm toasty…these mitts are packin’ heat! They have all the function and features needed for a long day of skiing or say…a snowy vacation. The durable nylon fabric and AlpenGrip® LT palms withstand abrasion from gear and tough use. You won’t have to sacrifice dexterity because they are designed to keep your hands warm without bulk AND Outdoor Research products are guaranteed forever. Warm hands forever sounds nice doesn’t it? $45 outdoorresearch.com

Joy Edgar Gloves
Joy is right. These gloves stood up to all of the blisteringly cold conditions we put them through. They have a full leather exterior, alpha tex waterproofing, thinsulate insulation, micro-bemberg lining, neoprene cuffs and zipper closure. They used wrap stitching in the construction so that areas with the most wear and tear don’t get thrashed and fall apart at the seams. Gear testers contend that these are pretty much the best gloves ever. The end. $89 joystickskiing.com

Chaos Beanie Hats
Chaos hats are made of 95% Acrylic and 5% Spandex so they are snug, but not enough to give you brainfreeze. The seamless fitted crown eliminates uncomfortable pressure points, and many of their hats are hand knit and have super soft liners in them so you won’t get an itchy forehead from wearing your hat all day. Plus, they look cool. $15 chaoshats.com

 

WINTER CAMPING UNDER THERE? Baselayers and Undies

Helly Hansen Women’s Support Top/Boxers for Women and Men
If you’ve never sported a pair of high-performance undies, you are in for a treat! These boxers are made with HH®Dry™ and effective 3-Layer System™. It’s a moisture super highway creating a dry layer next to the skin, keeping you comfortable while you hike in, set up camp and while you sleep. You may have underestimated the importance of underwear in the past, but don’t be fooled, wearing cotton, polyester or wool next to your skin, especially in extreme conditions, just ain’t good for ya. These have Lifa® Stay Dry Technology™ and Flat lock stitching with gender-specific cuts and graphic prints. Helly Hansen is so sure that you will love them that they offer a 100% money back performance guarantee.$48 hellyhansen.com

Helly Hansen Warm Pants and Ice Crew Tops
What makes these baselayers so special? A whole lot! Helly Hansen used HH®Warm™, which uses two different layers in one. The inner Lifa® fibers ensure you stay dry in all conditions, while the outer, soft Merino wool adds warmth and comfort. This means you get extreme insulation and superior evacuation of moisture. The natural fibers help you stay warm in sub-zero environments, and they keep you warm even on ridge tops with gale force winds. The flat-lock stitching construction of the pants provides zero-abrasion comfort, and the low-bulk cuffs make it easy to layer the pants. The pants also come in Capri-style to accommodate ski and snowboard socks. Pants $60, Top $70 hellyhansen.com

Burton Luxury Midweight Baselayer
Is it possible to be cute AND warm? Heck ya! The women’s Burton Luxury Midweight One Piece uses DRYRIDE Ultrawick™ MicroModal® stretch rib fabric. This is just a fancy way of sayin’ that this baselayer is quick-drying, highly breathable, has a stinkproof antimicrobial finish and stretch 360° for unlimited mobility. It’s dreamy to sleep in too. Are you wondering about the midnight scramble to the bathroom in a one-piece? If so, no worries, it also features an EZ Pee Port for button-flap bathroom convenience. $99 burton.com

The I/O Bio 100% Merino Wool Signature Hoody
Warm. Comfy. Cute. I/O’s Bio Merino Signature hoody is deceiving. It seems like a casual hoody, but lives a double life as a high-tech jacket. It’s made from Vosges Terry fabric and has an obsequious long cut making it a must have for your winter wardrobe. You can ski in it and sleep in it. $99

 

WINTER CAMPING – On the Feet

Columbia Ravenice Shoes
Designed for the winter-velocity minded, the Ravenice shoes were created for winter running, snowshoeing and faster winter activities that require unique winter protection in a minimal package. We wore them camping, snowshoeing and put them to the test in a snowshoe race. We’re happy to report that they’re remarkably comfortable, light and definitely kept our feet dry. The soft, yet snug, neoprene collar protects your feet from the slush and snow while the single density midsole Techlite molded material offers cushioning and support. The lateral foot strike zone is soft to provide greater cushioning in the heel, and the footbed offers stability through firmer density and lower profile geometry. Yes, we said geometry, but don’t worry. The only math you need to know is Ravenice shoes + dry feet = happy camper. They will be available at retail in fall 2010. $115 columbiasportswear.com

Sierra Designs DriZone™ Booties
Sierra Designs answer to cold feet. These slip-on booties are extremely handy après ski and winter camping. They are fully taped, waterproof, breathable and ultra comfortable with an EVA footbed and ankle adjustment. The booties compress down quite a bit so you can squish them anywhere in your pack. They are constructed with a heavy-duty nylon sole and have handy cordlock adjustable pull-tabs at the cuffs and ankles.$68 sierradesigns.com

Cushe Women’s Mindy Boots
These colorful boots may look like a blast from the past, but they have modern features and are comfy and cute! The rubber toe bumper keeps your tootsies from getting squashed and a thermal fleece lining keeps your feet toasty, even while winter camping! $120 cushe.com

Cushe Women’s IT Boot Cuff
Keep your feet dry while walking around camp in these water resistant suede boots. They have lamb’s wool lining to keep your feet warm and are quick to pull on and off. $120 cushe.com

 

WINTER CAMPING ACCESSORIES

Black Diamond Deploy 3 Shovel
Built for backcountry travelers and first responders, this trapezoidal, curved-shaft designed shovel deploys instantaneously for emergency situations. It’s made from 6000 series aluminum so it weighs just 20 ounces. In addition to being fast and easy-to-use, it’s small (17.3 inches when collapsed) so it fits into your pack nicely. This sweet little shovel won Couloir Magazine’s 2006 Design Innovations Award. *Note: It also comes in handy for snowball fights. $65 blackdiamondequipment.com

Black Diamond Traverse Poles
These poles are perfect all-around poles, but especially useful for everyday touring. They’re part of BD’s new collection and feature new efficient series grip with fluted interior for weight reduction, a new efficient series strap with lightweight webbing and plastic ladder-locck buckles with lightweight grip extensions for quick, secure choke-ups. Did I mention they are light? They weigh just 1.5 ounces for the pair. The Flicklock adjustability allows you to change the length easily even with your gloves on. $65 blackdiamondequipment.com

Petzl Tikka Plus2 Headlamp
Good morning sunshine! What’s that? It’s just a headlamp? Not the sun? Oh my! Petzl made this versatile and powerful headlamp by integrating a white, high-output LED (50 lumens at max level, shine up to 35 meters) and a red LED to preserve night vision. The Tikka Plus2 also features five lighting modes, three continuous and two strobe, or as I like to call it, “dance party mode.” In its most efficient mode, the Tikka Plus2 can reach a burn-time of 140 hours. This headlamp can also be used with lithium batteries to decrease weight or increase performance in cold weather situations…such as winter camping. $39 petzl.com

Tech4o TrailLeader Watch
If you happen to find yourself way off the map, you’ll want this ultimate survival tool on your wrist. The new Tech4o TrailLeader watch comes with a digital compass, altimeter, barometer, thermometer and accelerometer. It can actually monitor weather conditions and it’s all packed into a rugged stainless steel case inside a ventilated polymer band. The accelerometer sensor works by detecting changes in your movement that are translated into varying degrees of electric currents within the sensor. These electric currents are instantly decoded by the Tech4o TraiLeader watch into highly accurate measurements of speed and distance that’s displayed on the watch face. Yeah, it does pretty much everything and it could save your life. $149 tech4o.com

Alite Monarch Camp Chair
Your friends may snicker at you when they find out you have packed a camping chair on a backpacking trip, but they will be jealous when they see you unpack it. These innovative chairs only weigh one pound and collapse down to the size of a very large burrito. They’re comfy and fun. $59 alitedesigns.com

Eureka! High Camp Expedition Tent
Eureka! thought of everything when they designed the High Camp Expedition Tent. This four-season, two-person tent is made especially for use in high altitude sub-zero temperatures. Its 5-pole rectangular dome structure with post and grommet assembly was designed by Eric Simonson of International Mountain Guides. It’s easy to set up and take down and has a narrow footprint in case you don’t have much space to work with. Aluminum framing and uncoated 70D 190T nylon taffeta make it lightweight (9.8 lbs) and durable. Eureka! uses a patented high/low door venting system with bottom venting vestibules and interior mesh to create airflow throughout the tent. $529 eurekatent.com

Eureka! Kaycee Zero Degree Synthetic Sleeping Bag
Fall asleep in the red hot Eureka! Kaycee Zero Degree Synthetic Sleeping Bag. It has zero degree protection for the hard-core cold weather camper. It’s made from a double-layer, off-set, multi-needle quilt construction Rteq™ with differential cuts to prevent thermal leaks. Quick drying 210T polyester taffeta lining and insulated draft tubes prevent cold air from entering through the zipper. It also has a few other fun features like a fully adjustable contoured hood, external pillow pockets to keep your camp pillow in place and an ergonomic trapezoidal foot box for extra foot space. It weighs 4.9 ounces packed and comes with a coated polyester compression stuff sack so that you can pack it in the smallest amount of space possible. $144 eurekatent.com

 

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About Author

Melissa McGibbon is the Senior Editor of Outdoor Sports Guide Magazine. She is an award-winning journalist and is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers, the North American Travel Journalists Association, and the Adventure Travel Trade Association. She is usually in pursuit of adventure, travel, or some daring combination of the two. IG @missmliss // melissamcgibbon.com

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