Winter gear list

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This is the winter gear list used this year for Cabin Hopping and the Frozen Fifty. It is extremely long & comprehensive, and would be overkill for your ordinary average winter day hike, but you as the leader should be aware of exactly what constitutes appropriate gear for winter backpacking. Here it is for your reference, and for your ease of copying and pasting items from the actual list, with detailed, beginner friendly descriptions of almost anything you might be asking your trippees to bring on your trip.

Welcome to Cabinhopping/Frozen Fifty 2009

Welcome to Cabinhopping/The Frozen Fifty 2009! Gear on this trip is crucial, and the list is long, but don’t despair, you’ve got six enthusiastic leaders to answer your every question and help you get what you need (without breaking the budget). Since we know you are going to fall in love with winter hiking, do note that all of these things will be useful in your future expeditions, many of them will even be useful just for that epic trek through a blizzard to class this winter.

Packing basics

We recommend bringing a set of clothes for hiking, and a set of clothes for sleeping. The hiking clothes will likely get wet during the day and you are going to want a stash of dry layers to change into as soon as we reach a cabin.

Gear can be obtained in many ways: borrowing (try blitzing out to chubbers@mac, your friends/family at home, whoever), purchasing: there are an EMS & LL Bean in West Leb accessible by Advance Transit, thrift stores: the Listen Center in White River Junction would be a great place to find some non-cotton layers for cheap, especially wool sweaters, Farmway in Bradford VT is an awesome, huge outdoors store with a big selection & good sales, and rental from Dartmouth Outdoor Rentals (DOR).

Rental from DOR is FREE, however, we need to give Mike numbers soon. We are planning to rent gaiters, hiking poles, crampons, and snowshoes for everyone from DOR, but if you have your own, they are probably better quality, so bring those and let us know.* We can also rent a limited number of extra fleeces & other cold weather clothing, 0 degree rated sleeping bags, and foam sleeping pads, so let us know if you need those!*

Cotton is the worst enemy of winter hiking. Do NOT under any circumstances bring ANY cotton whatsoever on this trip. When cotton gets wet, it stays wet & cold & makes you cold. If you don’t believe me try jumping in the Connecticut in your jeans, then hanging out outside for an hour (please don’t !).

NOTHING ON THIS LIST IS OPTIONAL. With the exception of those things listed under optional , you dummy. But seriously, every single piece of gear listed is absolutely necessary to ensure you have a safe, cozy Cabin Hopping experience.

Please blitz if you have any questions or concerns, need help obtaining gear, or want to chat about how much husky puppies would improve the quality of this trip & how to trick the DOC into buying them for us.

Clothes for hiking

Comfortable, waterproof, broken-in hiking boots that come up to your ankle
Hiking socks
2 pairs
Not cotton—wool, polypropylene, etc. Some people like to wear a thin pair of socks beneath their thick ones to stop blisters & insulate.
Underwear and sports-bra
2 Pairs
Not cotton—no, seriously.
Running tights/long underwear
Depending on the weather, you’ll probably spend most of your time hiking in running tights/smartwool leggings/long underwear/whatever you call those tight athleticy spandex things, and just use your pants for when its really wet/cold/windy.
My smartwool ones are my single favorite piece of gear. Worth the investment.
If you can’t figure out what I’m talking about, blitz me.
Pants to hike in
to layer over tights when it gets cold/windy/wet. E.g. wind pants, rain pants if you have them
most people find that snowpants are a little too hot to hike in
Shirt Layers
at least one short sleeve, at least one long-sleeved shirt (polypro/underarmor type)
PLUS a fleece or wool sweater
Waterproof, Windproof outer layer
Some sort of jacket/coat that is waterproof.
This can be a lined waterproof shell
It is also fine to bring a waterproof rain jacket as long as you’ve got plenty of room to layer underneath & at least one cozy fleece jacket
Warm Hat
fleece or lined wool work well
2 Pairs of Gloves or Mittens
In case one pair gets wet
Liners are great! But they don’t count as a pair by themselves.
Mittens are warmer than gloves. If you’ve got poor circulation, consider bringing some awesome wind-proof water resistant thick, insulated hardcore mittens plus glove liners, plus your other extra pair of gloves/mittens.
Scarf or Neck-Warmer or Balaclava
Very important if it’s windy

Clothing for Sleeping

Cozy Sleeping Socks
do not be afraid to layer!
Long underwear
Not cotton
Warm pants
fleece pants and such
More Non-Cotton Shirt Layers
That you aren’t using for hiking. This can include an extra dry sweater/fleece.
Change of underwear & sports bra
Warm Hat
Bring a separate hat for sleeping
Down Booties/Flippy-Floppies/Sandals
to keep your feet off the cold cabin floor

Other gear

Headlamp or Flashlight or Infra-red Goggles
We will start some days before the sun rises, and a headlamp is most convenient
Spare Batteries for above (even if it’s an LED light… batts drain faster when it’s colder)
Trekking Poles (available from DOR)
Wide-mouth Water bottles
these should be 2 1-liter wide mouth Nalgenes, no exceptions
small mouth bottles/camelpacks freeze and are useless, hydration is important!
WINTER sleeping bag (rated to 0 degrees F or colder)
Very important. Limited # available from DOR, chubbers is also a good resource for this
Ground Pad x 2
Foam pad or the like -- can be obtained from DOR
They keep snow out of your boots. Can be obtained from DOR.
Ski goggles or sunglasses
for looking cool and also protecting your eyes
toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.
Plastic bags
A garbage bag on the inside of your backpack is crucial for keeping your gear dry. Raid your dorm. Smaller ones, like from Topside or the Co-op, can also be handy.
A Backpack
to hold all of the above, should be large, comfortable & fit you!
Extra space
for food, stove, etc.
Mug, bowl, spoon, knife, fork or spork


Lanyard for your water bottle
You want a Nalgene easily accessible for drinking, but not on the outside of your pack—it will freeze!
My favorite method of doing this is to attach the bottle to a lanyard that I can then put around my neck, so that the water bottle hangs underneath my coat.
Another option is to stuff it down your coat and cinch your hip belt so that it stays
Camera (lithium ion batteries work best, the more expensive “platinum” kind)
Pocketknife or leatherman
Compression Bag
So that your sleeping bag/ sleeping clothing take up less space

More information