What’s in our daypacks this winter?
Take a look at some of the great bits of kit we’re taking out to the icy hills this winter and get a low down of what should be in yours!
We love winter walks! It is one of the very best and most beautiful times to get out and about, where clear air meets icy landscapes. Though the weather can of course be hazardous and unpredictable, we believe that with enough planning and of course the right gear you can enjoy even the grimmest of winter conditions as easily as any other season. It is a very satisfying feeling to be stood in the middle of sideways rain and icy cold wind, being completely warm and dry thanks to your carefully selected kit.
One of the very best ways to organise the very best day out, prepared for all sorts of conditions is with the right day pack. Not only does it need to be able to carry all of the extra bits and bobs required for winter walking, but it also needs to be capable itself of protecting itself and your cargo.
Today on the TL Blog, we’ll be diving deeply in to the right pack for you and all of the gear you’ll be needing to optimise your time outdoors. Let’s of course start with the big question!
As mentioned above, your pack needs to be able to hold everything you need to so that you’re prepared for the worst that winter can throw your way. You’ll never regret packing something situational when that situation occurs. These three packs represent a renge of sizes depending on your situation they range from a 33L option (Osprey Talon) to a mid sized, adjustable 45L option (Lowe Alpine Airzone Trek) to a generously spaced, ultra-durable 52L option (Fjallraven Keb). The smaller size is if you’re only carrying things for yourself, this will be the other componants which we discuss in this article. The mid-sized option is for you and perhaps somebody else, if say they we’re either unable to carry the gear or perhaps they could carrying something else important such as a baby carrier. The larger option is if you are walking in a large group and you are sharing some larger things between you such as a group shelter, or even if you’re a guide and you’re lumping yourself with food for everyone. Whichever you choose, these are some great options.
The Osprey Talon 33 (and its women’s variant, the Tempest) is covered with superb features such as a specifically designed strap for attaching your walking poles as well as a superb, lightweight back system for good comfort.
The Lowe Alpine Airzone Trek 45:55 has adjustable volume, meaning it can be made larger as smaller as you need the space more comfortably without become flappy in the wind. You can read a review on it HERE.
The Fjallraven Keb 52 is a beautifully made and ultra-durable pack with great volume. It has Fjallraven’s award-winning wooden frame and durable, sustainable materials that will last for many years of adventures in rough terrain. The carrying system is designed to distribute heavy loads and can easily be adjusted to suit different back lengths.
What are we taking on our winter walks?
Below is a list of essentials which we think are vital for any safe, long day out in wintery conditions. Of course you do not need all of this in certain situations, but we believe that this is a great point of reference, whatever form your escape into nature may take this winter. These are the things which you should have stashed in your pack, we’re presuming that you’re sensible enough to be wearing a proper pair of walking boots, good socks, walking trousers, something warm and a waterproof jacket.
A packable, lightweight insulated jacket
Just in case the cold becomes a little to much, it is vital to keep some extra layers tucked away. A lightweight insulated jacket is perfect for stashing away nice and small for when it is needed. A down jacket such these pictured, Rab Microlight Alpine (left) and the Cotopaxi Fuego Hooded jacket (right) are both very lightweight and incredibly warm. Both perfect for slipping under your waterproof, these jackets will keep you cosy and warm in some very cold weather. It should be noted however that a down jacket will not perform to any good stand if allowed to get wet; if you’re looking for something more effective in very wet conditions, then you should instead opt for a synthetically insulating option.
A good reliable pair of waterproof trousers
It truly stuns us how often overlooked a good pair of waterproof trousers are. When the rain really pouring there is nothing you can throw on which will increase your comfort more. Without, all the water that runs off your waterproof jacket is going straight onto your trousers, this will leave you sodden and very uncomfortable in parts you really don’t want. To be pulled out of your pack at a moments notice and put on over everything, without you having to take off your boots, you’ll feel like a walking fortress.
The Berghaus Deluge 2.0 Pant is a fully featured waterproof over trouser, ideal for year round walking. Updated with a new and improved fit, these pants will keep you comfortable all day. The Hydroshell membrane is sure to keep you dry on the wettest of days in the hills. The 3/4 length side zips with upper leg venting option allow for great temperature control, and make it easy to put on and take off.The elasticated waist and side waist adjustment allows for a comfortable and flexible fit.
A sturdy and large water bottle
Staying well hydrated is believe it or not one of the best ways to keep warm. When well hydrated your body works more efficiently in pretty much all areas, so since you’ve got a sensible amount of space in your pack, why not fill it with something important. We love Hydro Flasks! They’re super tough, colourful and their efficient thermal abilities make them versatile. You can be drinking ice cold water in the peak of summer or something comforting and warm in winter. If you’re looking for something lighter, but still with plenty of volume, then it has the be the Nalgene Tritan Wide Mouth Bottle, a true classic!
A first aid kit
JUST IN CASE! Simplly bring a handy, small compact kit like the Lifesystems Trek Kit pictured, could save you a lot of hassle. Bumps and scrapes are easily done and easily managed with a good first aid kit. There are several varieties available so we recommend heading HERE and choosing the right kit for your needs.
Though it could be considered a luxury for some, for us a good cup of tea or coffee is the ultimate pick me up on any cold day’s walking. There are a plethora of small packing and lightweight stoves out there but we are very taken by the Primus Lite + stove. We love the colour range and its ability to quickly boil some water is something to behold! Just don’t forget your mug.
A head torch
The days sure don’t last all that long this time of year. It is amazing how often you can find yourself looking for your car in the deep black gloom. A reliable headtorch is the solution to the foul trip hazards which emerge from out of the black. The Actik Core from Petzl is a nifty option capable of putting out 450 lumens of light. That’s plenty bright enough for finding your way home and then some. The battery is rechargeable and easy to replace with another charged one ready to go for the well-prepared. Its headband is also high-vis making it good for the runners out there as well.
A spare pair of socks
Crossing streams and bogs is risky business and just in case your foot sinks that little bit more than you were expecting, a fresh pair of socks is perfect for sorting out your feet. It is also wise to have a tactical sock change regardless to ensure that your feet don’t get too clammy over long days. We love Smartwool socks, we love their very luxurious and solid Merino wool blends which take superb care of your feet. For something appropriate for cold days on the hill, spoil yourself with a sock that is thick and fluffy!