What to Wear on Your First Snowshoeing Trip
What to bring snowshoeing
When it comes to clothing, bring the same clothes you’d wear for winter hiking or for any outdoor activity that requires you to stay warm in cold weather. Key must-haves include high-quality winter boots, a warm jacket, and a good pair of snow pants.
Of course, there are other things you’ll want—plenty of layering options for changing weather conditions, dry clothes for the ride back home, and some other essentials we’ll cover below. Keep in mind that there will be some variables based on your plans. An overnight excursion, for example, will obviously require more gear than you’ll need for a family day trip to the mountain (not to mention a solid understanding of how to camp in the snow).
Packing Pro Tip 1: Understand the importance of dressing in layers
Snowshoeing can involve a range of temperatures and weather conditions—from clear and cold to snowy and windy, sometimes all in the same day. So you need to be prepared for anything, and the best way to do that is by layering your clothing.
Knowing how to layer for cold weather will go a long way in helping you to fully enjoy your day, because layers not only provide you with warmth, they provide options by allowing you to adjust to both the conditions and your activity level.
The three components of proper layering are:
2. Midlayer: A thicker middle layer that provides insulation and keeps you warm. This middle layer typically consists of an insulated jacket, fleece, or knit. If you choose a puffer jacket, try one with special reflective technology like Omni-Heat™ Infinity, and if you opt for fleece, try one with Helix technology
3. Outer shell: A thin layer that goes on the outside to offer weather protection. This outermost layer, typically some sort of shell, protects you from rain, wind, snow, and other elements. Its job is to keep the underneath layers dry, so it’s best to look for a shell that is both fully waterproof as well as breathable to keep you dry inside and out. In milder conditions, this layer might be kept in your pack, but it’s a good idea to always have it with you.
Packing Pro tip 2: Choose high-quality footwear
Snowshoes will provide the traction you need on the snow, but you’ll also want your boots to have excellent traction, like Adapt Trax™, to give you the versatility of wearing them on the way to the mountain, in the icy snow-packed parking lot, or on your next winter hike.
And don’t forget to pair your high-quality boots with high-quality socks. The best socks for snowshoeing will provide both warmth and moisture-wicking features—the same things you’d look for in a skiing or snowboarding sock.
Packing Pro Tip 3: Stay warm and dry with the right jacket and pants
Because snowshoeing constantly exposes your legs to snow, you’ll need a good pair of snow pants too. The best pants for snowshoeing are ski or snowboard pants that are warm, waterproof, and breathable to keep you dry inside and out. Most ski pants will also have internal leg gaiters to help keep the snow out of your boots, but if you’ll be trekking through deep powder, you might consider adding a pair of external gaiters to your packing list.
And of course, make sure to remember a hat and gloves for everyone.
- Winter boots
- Winter jacket or rain shell
- Snow pants
- Insulated jacket or fleece
- Baselayer top
- Baselayer bottom
- Warm hat
- Socks (bring an extra pair)
- Dry clothes for the drive home
- Trekking poles
- Neck gaiter
- Lip balm
- Cell phone and charger
- Area map
- GPS device
- Knife or multi-tool
- Lighter or waterproof matches
- Headlamp and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Bivvy sack or emergency shelter
- Filled water bottle
- Food (bring more than you think you’ll need)
- Quick energy snacks
- Avalanche transceiver
- Avalanche probe
- Portable snow shovel
- Two-way radios