Winter Outdoor Gear?

March 23rd, 2008 by Carl D

The Kennecott Glacier and moraine covered in snow one early winter morning and Chugach Mountains in Winter, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

hey Folks,

Well, as winter just wound to a close, I thought I’d post a short note about winter outdoor gear. All in all, what’s the best outdoor hiking and backpacking gear I bought this winter? What piece of gear really rocked my world? A $40.00 pair of Sierra Designs Down Booties! These things rock! Kept my feet warm and happy during the coldest of days – not quite 50 below zero! I was really impressed with them. Sierra Designs make some good gear, but these are the best buy of the season. Comfortable, light, durable, cheaply priced and stylish! Other candidates for good buys or just good winter gear were:

* My Lowe Alpine Mountain Cap. I don’t even know if this is still made – I’ve had mine for over 10 years, and it’s still good as new. It now officially counts as my oldest piece of 1st-tier gear. My North Face Firefox sleeping bag, which is no longer made, is just as old, but I don’t use it most of the time, after buying the Western Mountaineering Ultralite 18 months ago. Regarding the cap, I have the Triple Point Fabric version and they also have a Gore-Tex version. This hat is awesome, fleece-lined, and toasty! And it looks cool as well!

* A surprise contender, for me, is the REI fleece gloves I have .. they’re fingerless, but with a little extra fold-over mitten .. these are great, I can fold the mitten cover back, exposing my fingers for operating a camera, and quickly cover them back up as it gets cold. Unless it got REALLY cold, these gloves we re just fine this winter. Well-priced, and warmer than I thought they might be.

* Atlas 1030 Snowshoes. Excellent shoes for getting around in the powdery snow in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, good traction cleats, lightweight rugged construction, and easy to fix buckles. Great snowshoes for just about any snowshoeing trip, though not cheap either.

If you’re looking for something to spend your tax refund on, you won’t go wrong with any of the above gear, and it’s probably all marked down for end of season sales.



4 Responses to “Winter Outdoor Gear?”

  1. Hi Carl,

    Sorry I haven’t been around. Thanks for this post, though … although winter is dieing down here in Virginia, there’s always next year!

    Do those Sierra Design booties slip over bare/socked feet? Are they warmer than regular snowboots (like sorel caribou boots). I’d love some comfy down booties to put on when I need some extra warmth while sitting in a blind for hours!

  2. Hey Chris

    You can wear them over socked or bare feet. Depends how cold it is, for me.I think they’d definitely be warmer than Sorels, but it might even be possible to use them as liners for a boot like the Sorels.

    To be honest, I think sitting in a blind in the snow probably the hardest way to keep your feet warm – blood circulation to your feet will slow with your knees bent, your body is trying to keep vitals warm, and you’re not circulating any energy. So in that situation:

    * Overdress/layer the rest of your body.
    * Use chemical warmers for your hands and feet
    * Stretch every 10 minutes or so.
    * Put some insulation down on the ground under you.
    * Pray it doesn’t drop down too cold! πŸ™‚



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