Ryan’s Winter Day Hiking Essentials

Every item in my day kit is chosen based on the simple reality that
I just may have to spend the night out there. This is not all
inclusive, but this is what I recommend at minimum for winter
backcountry travelers in the deep snow of mountainous areas.

  1. SnowClaw. 6 oz. For building an emergency shelter.
  2. Foam Sit Pad. 1 – 2 oz. 3/8" thick minimum, with enough surface area for sitting.
  3. Firestarting Kit. 2 – 3 oz. Esbit tablets, in combination with a Spark-Lite and some Tinder-Quick and a Bic lighter.
  4. Insulating Parka. 8 – 24 oz. Something as simple and light as a Cocoon can go a long way, something like a Patagonia DAS can be a true survival piece in fierce weather conditions.
  5. Navigation. 1 – 6 oz. Map and compass at minimum, but the addition of the tiny Garmin Geko GPS can dial you back to your car in the darkest of nights.

But none of these things will do you a bit of good if you don’t know how to use them. Equip your brain, man.