2021 Winter Hiking Gift Guide

Winter Hiking Gift Guide

Winter is a great time to gear up and get out for some cold weather hiking and snowshoeing adventure. The bugs are gone and so are the crowds, leaving the mountains and the hills to those who can’t live without their weekly dose of sun and snow. Here are expert 20 gift suggestions for the winter hiker in your life.

1. Atlas Helium MTN Snowshoes

Atlas Helium Mtn Snowshoe
The Atlas Helium MTN  is a lightweight, tear-drop-shaped snowshoe that has a wrap-around binding, aggressive traction, and a heel bar that makes it easier to climb hills. A Boa binding locks the front of your winter boots in place and while a rear strap keeps them properly positioned. A spring-loaded suspension system lets your foot rotate naturally with slope changes for maximum efficiency. An aggressive toe crampon and dual side traction rails provide excellent traction on snow and ice. But the best feature of these snowshoes is the weight, which is surprisingly low for such a full-featured snowshoe.

Available from:

2. Julbo Vermont Classic Glacier Sunglasses

Julbo Vermont Classic Glacier Sunglasses

Julbo Vermont Classic Glacier Sunglasses block 100% of UV rays and 95% of visible light protecting your eyes from the snow’s glare. Moldable ear temples offer a customized fit. A leather nose piece and vented side shields block peripheral light and can be removed as needed. Multiple colors are available.

Available from:
REI | Amazon

3. Arc’teryx Squamish Windshell

Arcteryx Squamish Hoodie
Experienced winter hikers will tell you that a wind shirt or wind jacket is one of their go-to layers for winter hiking when worn over a mid-layer or base layer top. Your body pumps out an amazing amount of heat when you’re hiking uphill or snowshoeing and a wind shirt simply traps it so it doesn’t escape. What sets the Arc’teryx Squamish Hoodie Windshell apart from other wind jackets, is its superb breathability, allowing perspiration to escape while keeping you warm. A women’s model is also available. Top rated!

Available from:
REI | Arc’teryx

4. Superfeet merinoGrey Wool Winter Shoe Insoles

merinoGrey Superfeet insoles

These Superfeet merinoGrey Wool replacement insoles provide added warmth to winter boots in addition to excellent foot support that helps prevent plantar fasciitis.  These insoles are equivalent to Superfeet Green insoles that are designed for high-volume shoes, like winter hiking boots or pac boots. They have a deep heel cup to prevent the pronation that can lead to plantar fasciitis and arch support that helps stabilize and support the foot reducing stress on feet, ankles, and knees. If you can feel the cold of your microspikes radiating up through the soles of your boots, you should get these insoles. I use them in all of my winter boots. Sizing is unisex.

Available from:
REI | Amazon

5. Dachstein Classic Boiled Wool Mittens

Dachstein Mittens
Dachstein Extreme Warm Wool Mittens are very warm boiled wool mittens made in Austria that are popular with mountaineers. Made from very dense boiled wool, they’re windproof and virtually waterproof because they’re so dense. When the mercury drops to near zero or below, these are the mittens you want to be wearing. They’re also ideal for people who get very cold hands in winter or who suffer from Raynaud’s Disease.  They’re not itchy at all and can be worn alone or with an outer shell mitt in extreme winter weather.

Available from:

6. Sea-to-Summit Ether Light XT Extreme Sleeping Pad

etherlight extreme
The Sea-to-Summit Ether Light XT Insulated Extreme Sleeping Pad is a High R_value (R+6.2) winter sleeping pad suitable for winter camping and backpacking. It’s extremely comfortable with a full 4″ of insulation and dimples which mimic the air-sprung action of a spring mattress. The Extreme includes an inflation sack and is covered with a thick 40d/30d cover for enhanced durability and protection. Men’s and Women’s models are available.

Available from:
REI | Amazon

7. NEMO Sonic 0 Sleeping Bag

NEMO Sonic 0 Sleeping Bag

The NEMO Sonic 0 degree down sleeping bag is a spacious cold weather sleeping bag that can be comfortably used by back or side sleepers. Tricked out with top-of-the-line features such as a taped zipper, zipper draft tubes, and large draft collar, the Sonic 0 has innovative Thermo-Gills that let you adjust the warmth of the bag without cracking open the zipper and introducing cold drafts. The Sonic 0 is also available in a -20 degree version.

Available from:
REI | Amazon

8. Outdoor Research Mt Baker Modular Mitts

Outdoor Research Mt Baker Mitts

The Outdoor Research Mt. Baker Modular Mitts, with removable PrimaLoft One liner gloves, provide high warmth and storm protection in cold, damp climates. GORE-TEX 3-layer laminated nylon shells offer waterproof, breathable protection with long gauntlets; synthetic-leather palms add durability and good grip. PrimaLoft One liner gloves have a high warmth-to-weight ratio and continue to insulate when wet; when it warms up or you need better dexterity, they can be worn alone. The liners also have heat pack pockets on the back.

Available from:
REI | Amazon

9. NEMO Switchback Folding Foam Sleeping Pad

Nemo Switchback Sleeping Pad
The NEMO Switchback is a folding closed-cell foam pad that you can sit on to rest or lay on if you’re injured and waiting for help to arrive. It has a high enough R-value to prevent the cold ground from robbing your body’s warmth and causing hypothermia. Many hikers strap them to the outside of their backpack, especially in cold weather, because it’s considered a wilderness first aid essential to insulate a patient from the cold ground.

Available from:
REI | Amazon

10. CAMP USA Corsa Ice Axe

Camp Corsa 2021-2


Quite possibly the lightest ice ax in the world, the CAMP USA Corsa excels at ski mountaineering, adventure racing, and low-angle glacier travel. Built from 7075-series aluminum for dependable service and minimum weight, Corsa is hardly noticeable when packed. A hot-forged, aluminum head delivers a solid bite, and the rear adze adds chopping power.

Available from:

11. Outdoor Research Crocodile Gaiters

Red Crocodile Gaiters

Outdoor Research’s Crocodile Gaiters are hands down the most popular winter gaiters available today and with good reason, because they are nearly indestructible. and tough as nails for winter hiking and snowshoeing. Their waterproof/breathable Gore-tex uppers will keep your legs dry and warm when plowing through snowdrifts and down winter trails. Heavy-duty velcro front closures provide a secure and adjustable fit while hooks at the bottom assure compatibility with many kinds of boots.

Available from:
Outdoor Research | REI | Amazon

12. Reversible Polar Buff

Reversible Polar Buff

The Polar Buff can be worn as a helmet liner, balaclava, mask, scarf, hood, or hat to give you warmth where you need it when you need it. One side is covered with an original Buff while the other is covered with a layer of Polartec fleece to help minimize heat loss. Super warm and comfortable, the value of this item is its versatility in winter conditions.

Available from:
REI | Amazon

13. Feathered Friends Eos Down Jacket

Feathered Friend EOS Jacket

Weighing just 10.6 oz, the Feathered Friends EOS Hooded Down Jacket excels at keeping you warm on its own when conditions call for moving light and fast. Filled with premium 900+ fill power down, Feathered Friends’ down clothing and sleeping bags are prized by hikers and backpackers around the world. A women’s model is available.

Available from:
Feathered Friends

14. outerU faceGlove

faceGlove diagram
The outerU faceGlove is an ingenious face mask that prevents frostbite on your nose and cheeks while helping to eliminate ski mask fogging. It’s perfect for winter hiking or skiing and covers your nose and upper cheeks, which are the most sensitive to sun and wind damage. OuterU is a cottage manufacturer located in the White Mountains of New Hampshire where the faceGlove was developed and is manufactured.

Available from:

15. Garmin inReach Mini Satellite Messenger

Garmin inreach mini satellite Messanger
The Garmin inReach Mini is a pocket-sized satellite messenger that can send an SOS message to Search and Rescue in an emergency when you’re out of cell phone range. It can also send email messages and text messages to friends and family, whenever you want to update them or share your GPS coordinates. It has an easy-to-use push-button interface but can also pair with a smartphone via Bluetooth to display GPS maps and navigational information. Weighing just 3.5 oz, it’s small enough to tuck into your pants pocket.

Available from:
REI | Amazon

16. Brynje Wool “Fishnet” Long Underwear

Brynje Wool Mesh Thermo Long Underwear has an open mesh-style weave that traps warm air under a mid-layer. Perspiration is very efficiently wicked from your skin to your next layer, keeping you drier and more comfortable. This is especially useful for start-and-stop snow sports where effective moisture management is a top priority. They’re also available in synthetic fabric.

Available from:
Brynje USA

17. Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultra

Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultra

The Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultra is a necessity for added traction when you’re out hiking on local trails or deep in the backcountry. Their heat-treated carbon steel spikes are strong and durable providing years of use. The elastomer harness ensures compatibility with most shoes and boots and makes the Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultras easy to get on and off.

Available from:
Backcountry | Amazon

18. Ragged Mountain Rockpile II Vest

Ragged Mountain Rockpile Il
The Ragged Mountain Rockpile II Vest, named after nearby Mt Washington, is a high loft wool/ hybrid blend of recycled polyester (80%) and Merino wool (20%) making it astonishingly warm when worn over a baselayer or mid-layer insulation. It has a zippered chest pocket, two zippered handwarmer pockets, and a pair of internal drop pockets. It’s a great active insulation layer keeping your core warm while providing increased freedom of movement and ventilation for your arms. Available in Men’s and Women’s sizes. It’s also very reasonably priced like all of Ragged Mountains hand-made clothing.

Available from:
Ragged Mountain Equipment

19. Nitecore NU 32 Headlamp

Nitecore NU 32 Headlamp
The Nitecore NU 32 is a very bright 550 lumen rechargeable headlamp with a larger-than-average 1800 mAh lithium-ion battery for long-lasting power. It has four brightness levels, a primary CREE spotlight and auxiliary LEDs for flood, closeup, and red lighting modes with a tilt adjustment making it ideal for night hiking, trail running, and camping. The NU 32 has a built-in power indicator and lock to prevent accidental activation, it is water-resistant to 2 meters and includes a micro-USB cable for recharging.

Available from:
Nitecore | Amazon

20. Darn Tough Mountaineering Socks

Darn Tough Mountaineering Socks
Darn Tough’s Over-the-Calf Mountaineering Socks are seriously warm. They have a streamlined performance fit (which means they won’t fall down) that is chock full of merino wool for superior wicking and all-day warmth. Guaranteed for life, Darn Tough will replace them if you ever wear them out!

Available from:
Darn Tough | REI | Amazon

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  1. Squamish *used to* have, if not “superb”, at least good breathability — around 40-50 CFM. It was revised in 2019, and breathability was dramatically reduced, to around 10 CFM. Better off with Incendo or Patagonia Houdini Air.

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