Camping Essential Gear
  • Backpack
  • Snowshoes
  • Skis
  • Backcountry Ski Poles
  • Gaiters
  • Tent
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Stove
  • Shovel
  • Hat and Face Mask
  • Sunglasses/Goggles
  • Gloves
  • Socks
  • Boots
  • Underwear
  • Outerwear
  • Other Essentials
  • Backpack
    Your backpack should fit well so you are well balanced as you ski or snowshoe. The pack should be able to carry your skis, shovel, ice ax and snowshoes strapped to its exterior. Many prefer an internal frame pack that has an internal envelope for the sleeping bag to protect it from snow and dampness. If you are carrying an external frame pack, make sure to pack the bulk of the weight low. An internal frame pack sits closer to the body, so the heaviest items should be in the middle of the back and close to the body.

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    Snowshoes
    Use snowshoes when the snow is deep so you don't exhaust yourself "post holing" or breaking trail in deep snow. Make sure your snowshoes are equipped with crampons if you are traveling on slick and icy terrain.

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    Backcountry Skis
    Backcountry skis have metal edges and are wider than touring skis, providing better flotation in deep snow. The boots and bindings are extremely sturdy to support skiers in wilderness terrain.

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    Backcountry Ski Poles
    Backcountry ski poles, which are sturdier than touring poles, should reach midshoulder. They are shorter because in steep and uneven terrain, skiers use their poles for balance as much as propulsion. Some backcountry ski poles have adjustable lengths.

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    Gaiters
    Gaiters keep snow from accumulating on your lower legs or in your boots. They also protect your lower legs from protruding branches and brush, ski edges and snowshoe crampons.

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    Tent
    A winter camping tent should have more tie-downs to secure it against strong winds and a low-profile, aerodynamic shape to withstand both wind and snow accumulation. The tent should also have strong aluminum poles to anchor it in high winds.

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    Sleeping Bag
    Sleeping bags come in either rectangular or mummy shapes. Consider buying a mummy bag in a longer length than you would choose for summer use. You'll appreciate the extrra room if you're storing boots and gear in your bag to protect them from the cold. A mummy bag is more thermally efficient and lighter than a rectangular bag because of its tapered cut. Winter sleeping bags are usually rated from 0°F to -30°F.

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    Sleeping Pad
    A full-length pad is important to insulate the entire length of your body. The best pads for winter backpacking contain a foam and air core. The pad inflates when you open a valve for maximum insulating comfort.

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    Stove
    Find a stove that operates reliably in low temperatures and is sturdy. White gas and unleaded gas burn well at low temperatures.

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    Shovel
    Bring a portable shovel to build a wind-blocking snow wall around your tent or to secure your tent straps in the snow. Most backcountry campers take a special style of shovel called an "avalanche shovel." It is short, lightweight and has a large scoop to clear snow efficiently.

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    Hat andFace Mask
    Up to 50% of your body heat can be lost if you don't wear a hat. Some winter campers take two hats, a balaclava and a neck gaiter and headband to adjust to changing temperatures. In extreme cold, wear a face mask that covers cheeks and nose.

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    Sunglasses/Goggles
    Sunglasses with side blocks are important to protect your eyes from ultraviolet radiation, which intensifies when sunlight is reflected on snow. Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation causes snow blindness. Some sunglasses also have a nose shield to protect against sunburn. Polarized sunglasses reduce glare and protect against UV rays.

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    Layering
    Your base layer should consist of long underwear tops and bottoms made from a wicking fabric such as polyester or polypropylene. A base layer top with a zip-up neck is good for temperature control. Medium or heavy-weight fleece should make up the next layer, or insulating layer. Choose the weight of your fleece by the temperature and activity.

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    Outerwear
    To protect yourself from wind, snow or rain, we recommend a wind layer. Depending on the temperature and activity, this could be a lightweight anorak or heavier waterproof shell. At the end of the day a goose down or synthetic-filled parka and pants provide plenty of warmth for setting up camp and resting. Soft shells are good layering choice, since they combine a highly water- and wind-resistant shell with a warm interior layer that keeps you warm while allowing moisture to escape.

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    Gloves
    Choose a glove that is breathable and has a quick-drying, moisture-wicking lining. Some trekkers take a glove liner and an outer glove. The glove should also have a durable palm covering to withstand the friction of using your ski poles.

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    Socks
    For the most comfort on the trail, a combination of two kinds of socks works best. Mediumweight, smooth-textured socks made from wool or polyester cushion your foot and lightweight polyester sock liners wick moisture away from your skin.

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    Boots
    Warm, high performance boots are critical to winter comfort and safety. Choose either sturdy, well-waterproofed leather boots or plastic mountaineering boots with removable insulated liners. Make sure the boots will accommodate heavy winter socks and sock liners. It is also a good idea to choose boots that will accept crampons for increased traction on snow and ice.

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    Other Essentials

  • First-aid kit
  • Water treatment equipment
  • Repair kit and duct tape
  • Head lamp and/or flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Compass
  • Wide-mouthed water bottle with an insulating cover
  • Map
  • Sunblock
  • Handwarmer packets

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    Need help? Please call the L.L.Bean Outdoor Hotline at 800-226-7552, any day between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. EST.

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  • Performance Materials
    Many of our products feature these innovative materials to keep you comfortable outdoors.

    Gore-Tex?
    Waterproof and breathable for stay-dry comfort

    EPIC by Nextec?
    Water resistant, windproof and breathable for high-powered activities

    Primaloft?
    Insulates even wet – and warm as down

    Thinsulate? Insulation
    Lightweight insulation that provides freedom of movement

    H2OFF Microfiber
    Comfort of fleece with windproof barrier

    Polarguard?
    Sleeping Bag Insulation – warms even when wet

    Fleece
    Breathable, warm and lightweight

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