Best winter hiking gear

Gear

Even if you don’t think it will be icy, use microspikes in winter in case you run into ice or slippery patches on the trail.

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Which winter hiking gear is best?  

Hiking in the winter is a challenge compared to more fair-weathered seasons, but the thrills and beauty of winter are equally as fascinating. The cold weather enthusiasts who decide to tackle the trails in the depths of winter will find a white world full of wonder. However, it is essential to have the right gear to handle the colder temperatures and wet environment. 

While different people will have their clothing preferences, it is paramount to bring the 10 essentials, water-proof gear, base layers and extra clothing in case of an emergency. It’s also good to have a fire source and emergency blankets on hand. 

Evaluate winter in your area 

Winter hiking means different things depending on where you live. A cold New England winter will require much warmer gear that takes deep snow and sub-zero temperatures into account, while a southern winter might mean dealing with patches of ice here and there. 

Think about winter where you live. Is there a lot of snow? What are the low temperatures? Questions like this will answer just how much protection you need and what gear you need to bring and potentially save you some money. 

Best winter hiking footwear 

Best winter boots for men

Oboz Men's Bridger 10" Insulated B-Dry Waterproof Hiking Boots

Oboz Men’s Bridger 10″ Insulated B-Dry Waterproof Hiking Boots

Oboz’ 10-inch boot is thick and burly, allowing you to keep your feet warm during a winter trek. The Granite Peak Midsole is durable enough for multi-day hikes, while the outsole is waterproof and able to keep snow and water from soaking your feet. They have the rigidity of boots with a comfortable proprietary insole molded for the perfect fit.

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Best winter boot for women

UGG Women's Adirondack Boot III Boot

UGG Women’s Adirondack Boot III Boot

This is a stylish winter boot that is also heavy-duty and comfortable in sub-zero temperatures. It is made of leather and waterproof with wool lining to keep your feet cozy. They have good arch support and check off the box for everything a great winter hiking boot needs without any real drawbacks other than the price tag.

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Best snowshoes for winter hiking 

MSR Evo Ascent Snowshoe - Men's

MSR Evo Ascent Snowshoe – Men’s

For those wanting a more rugged winter hiking experience, MSR has you covered with their Evo Snowshoes. They have plenty of teeth to ensure you never slide. The straps on the top are interchangeable if one ever breaks, and the heel ascender diminishes any strain your ankle will endure when going uphill.

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Best winter hiking jackets 

Best all-purpose winter hiking jacket 

Fjällräven Keb Wool Padded Jacket

Fjällräven Keb Wool Padded Jacket

The Fjällräven Keb Wool Padded Jacket is great for people who want a UL winter coat. It is made in the USA and filled with Swedish wool with a polyester lining. It is great for all winter activities and weighs just 1 pound. It is very stretchy and comfy, but it is better for day hikes than rugged multi-day adventures.

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Best Winter hiking gear for your extremities 

Best winter hiking gloves

Outdoor Research Backstop Sensor Glove

Outdoor Research Backstop Sensor Glove

Outdoor Research makes some of the best winter gloves on the market, and the Sensor Gloves are a mix of high-quality and affordability. The stretchy fleece allows you to use your fingers while hiking, and the windstopper lining keeps the cold wind at bay. The one thing to consider is that these gloves are more suitable for day hiking and aren’t warm enough for multi-day treks.

Sold by Backcountry 

Best all-around microspikes for winter hiking 

Kahtoola MICROspikes Footwear Traction

Kahtoola MICROspikes Footwear Traction

The Kahtoola MICROspikes are some of the most popular spikes on the market. They fit any shoe size and come with 12 spikes, eight for the front of the shoe and four for the heel. This is an amazing option for people hiking on light snow with possible ice.

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Best winter hiking clothing 

Icebreaker Merino 150 Legging 

Icebreaker Merino 150 Legging 

The Icebreaker Merino leggings are 83% Merino Wool, which wick away moisture and bad odors. They are soft and warm and make for both great base layers and sleepwear. They are essential gear for staying warm and easily fit in any winter pack.

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Best winter hiking socks 

Darn Tough Merino Wool Boot Sock Full Cushion

Darn Tough Merino Wool Boot Sock Full Cushion

Darn Tough socks are made in the USA and remain some of the most beloved Merino Wool socks on the market. They combine warmth and comfort and keep your feet warm and blister-free, even on the most rugged hikes. Darn Tough also has a lifetime warranty on all their socks.

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Best winter hiking hat 

Smartwool Unisex Merino 250 Wool Cuffed Beanie

Smartwool Unisex Merino 250 Wool Cuffed Beanie

Smartwool makes this 100 percent Merino Wool beanie that wicks away moisture and bad odors. It is unisex and comes in many different colors. It is double layered and traps in heat. Weighing just a couple of ounces, it is the perfect hat for winter hiking, especially for the low price of just $30.

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Best Winter hiking shelter and sleep gear 

Best winter sleeping bag for below-freezing temperatures 

Western Mountaineering 10 Degree Versalite Sleeping Bag

Western Mountaineering 10 Degree Versalite Sleeping Bag

For those who want multi-day winter hikes, you need a warm sleeping bag, and Western Mountaineering has you covered. It weighs just a little over 3 lbs and remains comfortable until dropping to 10 degrees. It is filled with down and comes with a nylon exterior. It’s expensive, but truly one of the best winter bags available.

Sold by Amazon 

Best winter hiking accessories 

Best winter hiking water bottle 

Hydro Flask32oz Wide Mouth Straw Lid 2.0 Water Bottle

Hydro Flask32oz Wide Mouth Straw Lid 2.0 Water Bottle

Using a water bottle with a wide mouth to ensure the lid doesn’t freeze over in winter is crucial. Hydro Flasks have wide mouths and double-walled stainless steel construction and keep drinks hot or cold for up to a day. The lid contains a spill-free design as well as a straw. 

Sold by Backcountry 

Best fire-starter for winter hiking

Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel 2.0 Army 12,000 Strike Fire Starter with Emergency Whistle

Light My Fire Swedish FireSteel 2.0 Army 12,000 Strike Fire Starter with Emergency Whistle

Start a fire with ease with this durable fire-starter that is usable at any temperature and altitude. It easily fits inside any bag or pocket, and you can strike it up to 12,000 times, even while wet. This fire-starter costs a little extra, but it is great for winter hiking and wet conditions where other fire-starters might fail.

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