Winter Hiking

How to Select a Winter Tent Site

Winter Tent Site

If you go backpacking in winter, you need to know how to select a good tent or camping spot. Three season rules do not apply! Picking the right site will definitely increase your level of comfort, but can also protect you from serious injury. Here are some basic guidelines to …

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Winter Fire Building Practice Trip

Winter Fire in a Snow Pit

This trip was motivated by an accident report I read about in Appalachia Magazine where the victim couldn’t get a fire started in winter conditions. The Appalachia Accident Editor recommended that winter hikers practice winter firelighting skills which is a topic that’s left out of most winter hiking and backpacking curriculums that …

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How to Prevent Camping Tent Condensation in Winter

Tent condensation manifests itself either as frost on the inside surface of your tent or moisture droplets that are transferred from the inner tent to your clothing and gear. It is undesirable, particularly in winter, because it can make your gear wet and degrade its insulating properties Here are a …

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Kahtoola Nanospikes Traction Device Review

Kahtoola Nanospikes DO NOT exert any extra pressure over the ties which can lead to blisters

Kahtoola, the inventor of Microspikes, has come out with a new lighter weight traction device this year called Nanospikes. Compatible with trail runners, most street shoes, and winter boots, Nanospikes weigh about half as much as Microspikes and have much smaller traction points, resembling tire studs, that are designed to …

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How to use an Ice Axe

Ice axe self-arrest

An ice axe is an essential safety tool for winter hiking and climbing. With proper instruction, it is easy to learn the basics and serves as a foundation for all subsequent winter hiking and mountaineering skills. If you’re new to winter hiking and climbing, the first thing you need to …

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Multi-Purpose Items as Snow Anchors

Practice Emergency Snow Trench to get out of the Winter Wind

Question You need to set up a shelter fast, but don’t have the time for snow anchors to set. What pieces of multi-purpose gear can you use to set up a winter tent, shaped tarp, or flat tarp? Answer If I’m up in the mountains on a winter overnight, I’m …

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Winter Backpacking Gear List

Mt Guyot (4580') I'll be headed back here to try and get a better view this time!

I believe in creating a new gear list for every trip I take that takes into consideration the environmental conditions (weather, terrain, water, navigation, sunlight, etc) I’m likely to encounter. There was a time when I had one static gear list, but ever since I started hiking year round in …

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The Rest Step – Hiking Footwork

The Rest Step

When I go hiking in winter, I’m frequently climbing a mountain and carrying 2-4 times the amount of gear by weight that I carry the rest of the year. On top of that, I wear double plastic boots that weigh 5lbs per pair, plus crampons that weigh nearly 3 lbs …

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Winter Backpacking Food

One of the best things about winter backpacking and mountaineering trips is the food. You can eat just about anything and never feel guilty about it, including these Ritter Sport Bars which pack over 630 calories each! Seriously though, winter nutrition is an important subject if you’re going to be …

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Snowshoes, Postholing, and Winter Trail Etiquette

Snowshoers should stay off ski tracks

It’s a common courtesy among winter hikers to wear snowshoes when hiking on winter trails that are covered in unpacked snow deeper than 8 inches. Hikers who don’t wear snowshoes usually posthole, plunging knee or waist-deep into the snow and creating a deep hole that other hikers passing by the …

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The Best Pee Bottle is not a Bottle

You can't really pee out the front door of your tent at a crowded campsite

Sometimes you can’t leave your tent to take a pee. There might be a rain or snowstorm outside, it might be frigid cold and windy, or you might be surrounded by other campers at a crowded tent site where you can’t simply pee out the front door at night, and …

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