Making the leap from three-season backpacking to doing it all year round, including the cold months, is an exciting endeavor that takes some planning and adjusting. Fortunately, not all winter accessories cost a fortune, and some can fit well within most budgets. So, with just a couple of handy additions, you can transform your current seasonal setup into a full year’s backpacking gear. Here are the essentials you’ll need (all under $100).
1. Instead of a Winter Sleeping Bag, Get a Sleeping Bag Liner for $69.65
With a sleeping bag liner, you get more warmth for less money and less weight. Instead of getting a brand new winter sleeping bag, you can just get a liner like this ‘Sea to Summit’ option. The general rule is to create a sleep system that’s at least 10 degrees warmer than the lowest temperature you expect at the camping spot. This particular brand of liners has several options based on the degree rating.
2. Down Booties to Keep Your Toes Toasty
Waiting for your toes to defrost in the tent after a day of trekking surely isn’t on your wish list. These awesome ‘Outdoor Research Tundra Aerogel’ down booties will keep your feet toasty and cozy, so you won’t have to go into your tent prematurely when it gets extra chilly outside.
3. Balaclava Is a Must: Try the Smartwool Merino 250
A balaclava can never be too much in winter. When temperatures drop, you need to make sure your neck, nose, and cheeks are well protected. Pairing your balaclava with a beanie will keep you comfortable and warm.
4. Gore-Tex Mittens: Mountain Hardwear FireFall 2
Everyone knows how horrendous cold hands can feel and how helpless you can get if you don’t have a pair of warm mittens. For optimal temperature comfort, it’s best to pair these $70 Gore-Tex mittens with a pair of lighter gloves inside. This is a tried and tested winter method that you may already know if you’ve ever been skiing. Pro tip: choose something with merino wool for the lighter glove inside.
5. Socks! The Sealskinz Waterproof All-Weather Mid Socks Are a Top Choice
After your winter shoes, your socks are probably the most important accessory you need. These $45 Sealskinz seem to be a fan favorite and for good reason. They are designed to keep your warm and dry while remaining breathable and comfortable, which is all you need from a good pair of winter socks.