By: Meghan Tastensen, Yukon Charlie’s Trailblazer
Snowshoeing is truly an all inclusive sport. As the saying goes; “If you can walk, you can snowshoe”. My name is Meghan and this is my guide on what to bring for a successful snowshoeing day trip.
Snowshoes and Poles:
The first thing on this snowshoeing gear list is not only good quality snowshoes, but the right size shoe for your weight that will assure optimal comfort and performance.
Snowshoe sizing goes as follows:
Once you’ve figured out your correct size, it’s time to get a good set of trekking poles. Yukon Charlie’s poles come with both a hiking and snowshoeing basket attachments and are height adjustable. You will use your poles to both feel under the snow for any hazards, as well as to keep you balanced.
The most important thing I recommend is a hard, thick pair of boots and not a soft pair. This is because your snowshoe bindings will need something to keep them in place as you walk. Be sure your boots have a nice groove in the back of the heel (pictured) for the strap to sit securely in. Lastly, make sure your boots are both waterproof and insulated for maximum comfort and protection against the cold.
What to wear snowshoeing? Layers. Layers. Layers. I cannot stress this enough. Your body temperature will be fluctuating the whole time you are on the trail. Your main goal is to stay warm, but not too warm. If you feel you are getting too hot, take some layers off. The last thing you want is to sweat in cold weather!
Your layers should include a base layer, an insulated layer, and an outer waterproof layer. Be sure to layer your clothing according to your activity level.
Also be sure to have a hat, neck cover, and pair of gloves.
A backpack is your best friend. It will be there to carry all of your supplies for the day. Hiking daypacks are a great option if you want to use a water reservoir. Having a water reservoir lets you keep moving without having to stop to hydrate. But, what you pack in your backpack is also important!
High protein, natural snacks are the way to go. Did you know that snowshoeing can burn up to 510 calories per hour? Your body is going to require more energy, and quickly. Snacks such as granola bars, dried fruit, nuts, and jerky are perfect for for the trail and will keep you going. Also plan to bring along about 1.5-2 liters of water for the day (depending on length/difficulty of trail).
Even though my boots are insulated and waterproof, I am always sure to bring multiple pairs of warm wool socks. Wet, cold feet can be extremely dangerous and could lead to numbness and frost bite. Wear a pair and bring two backup pairs to keep in your backpack.
Flashlight or Head Lamp:
In the winter months the sun sets in the late afternoon. Whether you had a late start to your trek, got lost, or are just having too much fun to return to the trail head, always be sure to pack a light source so you can easily and safely find your way back to where you started. Either a flashlight or headlamp will do. My preference is a headlamp so my hands are free to grip my trekking poles.
No one ever plans on being stuck in an emergency condition. This is why items such as a first aid kit, emergency blanket, fire starter, and hand and foot warmers are so important. You never know when a situation will arise that you will need these items to help keep you safe. Keep all these items in your backpack so they are in reach.
Trail signs can be extremely helpful, but also extremely confusing, especially if some are covered in snow. Depending on trail signs alone can get you lost and put in a potentially dangerous situation. Be sure to go online and print out a map of the trail you plan on trekking for the day. The internet is full of maps and helpful advice from other outdoors lovers.
Don’t waste your phone battery by taking photos. Instead, pack a digital camera or action camera to capture your fun day on the trail. Photos are a great way to share moments with friends and maybe even give others some inspiration to hit the trail!
Plan Ahead, Be Safe, and Have Fun!
Also recommend compass or gps extra batteries for flashlight (and gps), small knife and signalling device such as a whistle. Small, lightweight things you can toss in your pack and forget about but if you do find yourself in an emergency situation you’ll be happy to have!
Gord Boston says
I carry a small lightweight hiking saw to cut off dead branches. Used it to help build a fire when a fellow hiker fell into the Meech Creek in 2010 (snow/ice overhang).