Adventure in the Backcountry

Your Guide to Long Distance Backpacking, Backcountry Canoe Tripping, Hiking, Outdoor Gear and Adventure

Category: Gear

What to Wear Day Hiking in the Winter

One of the most common comments I hear from people is that they find it really hard to get time outside during the winter season. The cold temperatures and snow can be a major deterrent for hikers, and I can totally relate. The key to an enjoyable winter hike all comes in wearing the proper clothing to stay warm.

Now here’s the extra challenging part: wearing heavy, thick clothing can cause you to overheat as you work up a sweat while hiking. You’ve probably experienced the feeling of sweating buckets in your heavy winter jacket and snowpants and having that awkward cycle of taking off layers, getting cold, putting them back on and then off again. It totally sucks, and let me tell you how you can make sure this never happens to you again.

The key is to find clothing pieces that have the perfect balance, you want breathable, lightweight clothing that at the same time has good insulation. Let me take you through my key gear pieces for winter hiking.

Photographer: Matt Rowlandson

Important winter gear tips to keep in mind:

DO wear layers, it will keep you warm and you can remove them if you get too hot.
DON’T wear cotton, when it absorbs sweat it looses all its thermal properties.
DO wear clothing that is conforming but allows free movement. You want to keep your body heat from escaping.


My Day Hiking Winter Gear Choices: 

Base Layers:
Wool, synthetic or a wool-synthetic hybrid fabrics
What I Wear: Women’s Oasis Leggings by Icebreaker

Fleece Sweater:
Lightweight with good isolation, they make an excellent mid-layer.
What I wear: Columbia Women’s Glacial Fleece 1/2 Zip 

Down Jacket:
Not only do they have great insolation, but down jackets are lightweight and more breathable while hiking. When purchasing a down jacket, remember the higher the ‘Fill Power’ the warmer it will be.
What I wear: Arc’teryx Women’s Cerium LT Hoody

Hard Shelled Jacket:
Venturing outside when it’s snowing or raining out? One thing to keep in mind is that once down jackets get wet they lose their insolation power. In wet conditions its a good idea to have a hardshell rain jacket that you can layer on top to stay warm and dry. When purchasing a jacket, keep in mind that GORE-TEX is the highest quality you can get in protection from the elements.
What I wear: Arc’teryx Women’s Beta AR Jacket 

Winter Leggings:
Personally I find hiking in snow pants torturous they are so heavy and I overheat so easily in them. I recently discovered that wool, or thick synthetic leggings can be super warm, lightweight and very comfortable/flexible while hiking. I am obsessed with a pair of ‘Hunting Extreme Base Layer’ Leggings from Under Armour that I shovel the drive way in and hike for long periods of time outside in.
What I wear: Under Armour Women’s Extreme Base Hunting Leggings

Wool Socks:
A lightweight wool hiking sock is your best bet for keeping your toes warm as you hike in the winter. My favourite brands are Smartwool, Darn Tough, and Wigwam.
What I wear: Smartwool Women’s PhD Outdoor Heavy Crew Socks 

Hiking Boots:
Ankle hiking boots are my go-to while hiking during the winter because they have a better coverage if the snow is a bit higher. I also find they tend to be a bit warmer because they cover more of your foot and ankle. Obviously if the snow if a bit higher then you are going to want to wear good winter boots or wear snowshoes while hiking.
What I wear: Women’s Salomon Quest 4D 2 GTX Hiking Boots 

Toque and Mittens/Gloves: 
Keeping your ears and hands warm will make a major difference in your enjoyment of being outside for long periods of time. I recommend anything made of wool or synthetic fabric.
What I wear: Black Diamond LightWeight ScreenTap gloves


Let the Outdoor Adventures Begin!

Now that you’re all geared up, it’s time to start exploring all the trails, Parks, and conservation areas in your community. Turn off the Netflix, and work up the courage to start finally enjoying winter. With the proper gear, you will be toasty warm but ready to break out in sweat on the trail. What winter destination in on your hiking bucket list? Comment Below.

Happy Trails!

 

 

5 Reasons the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 is an Incredible Tent

I purchased my Big Agnus Copper Spur HV UL2 in April 2017 and have completely fallen in love with it. I originally purchased it for my section hike of the Appalachian Trail, as I had done tons of research on lightweight backpacking tents and this one had incredible reviews and everything I was looking for. Not only did I really enjoy it on the trail but have taken it on backcountry canoe trips in Parks across Ontario. I am very happy with my purchase and here’s why this tent meets the mark:

Specs:

Vestibule Area 9 / 9 sqft / 0.8 / 0.8 sqm
Trail Weight 2lb 12oz / 1.25kg
Packed Weight 3lb 1oz / 1.40kg
Packed Size 4″ x 19.5″ / 10 x 50cm
Number of Seasons 3
Number of Doors 2
Head Height 40″ / 102cm
Footprint Weight 6oz / 170g
Floor Area 29 sqft / 2.7 sqm
Fast Fly Weight 964g

1. It’s super lightweight
When picking out a tent it was very important for me for it to be lightweight for long distance backpacking trips. Previously I owned an ancient and super heavy Coleman 3 person tent that I lugged around with me on backcountry trips so this was worth the money to do a major upgrade. Coming in at only 2lb 12oz this so lightweight and fantastic for what it offers. It stored super nicely in my Osprey Aura AG 65 backpack and I was very impressed with how light it felt in my backpack as I hiked.

2. It’s incredibly easy to set up
There’s nothing like being extremely tired from a long day hiking on a trail, or paddling the interior, only have to come to your site for the night and struggle with poles and clips in the dark. Having previously owned tents that were very frustrating to put together, owning the Copper Spur HV UL2 was a breathe of fresh air. The set up is beyond easy to put together, can be done solo in pretty much a minute or two, and I never had any struggles with it long term.


3. The mesh design will blow your mind

The best feature of the Copper Spur HV UL2 is hands down, the two-tone mesh design which starts about halfway up the tent. This allows for privacy but also allows you to take in outdoor sights including the scenery around you or even the stars at night. During the summer months, if I knew it wasn’t going to rain, I loved being able to fall asleep under the stars. Another amazing thing I will note, is this design is great during bug season. Camping in Northern Ontario during the months of May and June means tons of black flies and mosquitoes. This design was perfect for when I needed to escape their wrath. I could lay in my tent with a good book or a cup of coffee and still enjoy the the forest around me and all the critters (like the chipmunk above that came for a little visit).

4. The double door and inside mesh pockets features
One of the major selling points for me were the great features this tent offers. One of these features is the double door design. If you are sleeping with someone else in the tent then this is very important to have. It solves having to crawl over your partner in the middle of the night when you have to pee, and makes it just so much more convenient to get in and out of the tent. Another feature I loved was the 2 interior mesh pockets, and oversized mesh pocket with two cord routing portals. It was perfect to store my books, maps, cellphone, and items I wanted quick access to. It was especially useful for storing my headlamp so I could find it right away in the middle of the night when I needed it. The door and fly design also meant I could unzip and tie the sides to enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning with full view of the forest which was extremely relaxing and gorgeous.

5. It has the perfect amount of space
It was very important for me to get a two person tent because I didn’t want to make a big investment into a gear item that I couldn’t use with my partner or with friends while camping. It was also important to have enough space to be able to stretch out and be comfortable and not feel claustrophobic, which many one-person tents tend to be.  Having a two person was also awesome because it meant that I could sleep with my backpack right beside me if I was solo and have access to everything I needed.

As you can see, the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 was a fantastic gear choice for me. I can’t recommend this tent enough for ultralight long distance backpacking, thru-hiking, camping, and interior canoe tripping in the backcountry. It’s lasted me through storms, wind, and the all kinds of elements in the spring, summer and fall.

I hope it keeps you warm and dry on all your adventures.

Happy exploring!

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