Waterproof/breathable jacket and pants
Synthetic hiking pants
Base thermal layer
Warm coat (down or polyester filled)
Mittens or gloves (preferably wool)
Socks with extra set
Insulated waterproof hiking boots or gaiters (depending on type of backpacking)
Sleeping bag liner
Knife or multi-tool
Water filter or iodine drops/tablets
First aid kit
Lighter and waterproof matches
Tent (only after asking a professional; varies according to needs)
Bivy sack (alternative to a tent, specially if there isn’t much snow)
Rope (for clothesline or bear bagging)
Toiletries (razor, toothbrush, etc.)
Sunscreen (SPF 15+)
Spoon, bowl, mug
☑ Backpacking during winter means having shorter days to travel as much as you can. This means, you have to make the most out of sunlight time.
☑ The snow is just as unpredictable as the rain. Always inform a couple of people about your route. Don’t forget to carry extra energy bars.
☑ Cold temperatures are said to decrease battery life. Always keep your batteries inside warm clothes, when not in use.
☑ Carry foods that have proteins, fats, and carbohydrates; they all provide energy.
☑ Symptoms such as continuous shivering, a slurred speech, or lethargy might indicate hypothermia. Stay warm throughout your trip as a precautionary measure.
☑ If you’re traveling to great heights, make a camp base at mid-level, acclimatize to a height for sometime, and then climb higher.
☑ A frostbite can also affect your nose and face. Remember to keep these areas warm as well. Using a balaclava throughout the trip can help.
With this checklist and these tips, your winter backpacking trip will be smooth. Also, always remember to take a paper map; don’t rely on network while visiting secluded destinations.