As a native Minnesotan and lifelong snowshoer, I have snowshoed through a variety of icy terrain and wintry weather. After years of perfecting my gear, I have devised a list of 10 items that I bring along on every trip.
These are my essential tools that I must have, no matter where I travel:
1. Ear Muffs
Keeping your ears warm, on a cold day, can extend your time outside. Even when I wear a hat and scarf, ear muffs make all of the difference. Ear muffs keep me toasty warm -- even in sub-zero temperatures.
Recommended Product: Fleece Ear Mitts Bandless Ear Muffs ($17 on Amazon)
2. Navigation Instrument
While many of my friends swear by GPS apps on their smartphones, I prefer to use a traditional compass. If you are snowshoeing in a place like the Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota, GPS devices generally do not work. With a compass, you do not have to worry about getting it wet or freezing up.
Recommended Product: Silva Lensatic 360 Compass ($21.01 on Amazon)
3. Trail Mix
Nutrition while exerting on a snowy day is essential. Eating something packed with nutrition and without taking off your gloves is a bonus! The nutrients and the energy from the dried fruit is the sort of fuel your body needs while exercising in the elements. I especially love the KIND bars; they are moist and gluten-free and absolutely delicious.
Recommended Product: KIND Fruit + Nut Gluten Free Bars ($15.44 on Amazon)
4. Ski Gloves
Years ago, in the coldest of temperatures, I would use mittens for warmth. Now, the technology is so great that the new fangled gloves keep your fingers warm, even in extreme below-zero temperatures. I also appreciate the flexibility of gloves without baring skin.
Recommended Product: Reusch Snowsports Modi Ski Glove ($40.00 on Amazon)
5. Get Professional Advice
Although I may not bring a book along on an actual snowshoeing trek, I soak up any sort of tip or suggestion available. I started snowshoeing as my way of staying outside, even after a huge snowfall. Details such as amount of snow, texture of snow, and overall terrain make a difference on snowshoeing preparation. This is where you find out about these details before heading outside.
Recommended Product: "The Snowshoe Experience: A Beginner's Guide to Gearin Up & Enjoying Winter Fitness" ($9.95 on Amazon)
6. Upgrade Your Snowshoes
My first pair of snowshoes were a hand-me-down pair. I resisted getting anything new for years. Then, while shopping with a friend, I checked out the snowshoes and spoke to a salesperson. This enthusiast really made me realize that I was not taking advantage of new technology that made snowshoeing more fun. I came home with a new pair, and I have never looked back.
Recommended Product: MSR Lightning Ascent Snow Shoes ($235.33-$299.95)
7. Add Snowshoe Tails
Snowshoe tails are essential if the weight limit of your snowshoes is your current weight --or less -- before you dress in your gear or take along your pack. I think they are a must.
Recommended Product: MSR Lightning 5 Inch Snowshoe Tails ($42.49 on Amazon)
8. Use Snowshoe Poles On Uneven Terrain
When the terrain is uneven, steep or rocky, snowshoe poles help keep you balanced and moving forward. I especially appreciate poles in the late winter when the bright sun melts the snow and creates some icy surfaces.
Recommended Product: Tubbs 3 Part Snowshoes Poles 2013 ($35.56 on Amazon)
9. Get a Bag To Stay Organized
When I get up and find a fresh coat of snow, I have everything organized in my bag when I head out the door. I prefer using a bag that does not stiffen up in cold weather.
Recommended Product: Atlas Snowshoes Unisex Deluxe Tote Bag ($26.95 on Amazon)
10. Don't Forget the Sunscreen
Even when the weather is below-zero, if the sun is shining, I put on sunscreen. The sun reflects off of the snow, and I have seen plenty of people with winter sunburns after a day on the slopes or in the forest.
Recommended Product: The Naked Bee Vitamin C Enriched Face & Body Moisturizing Sunscreen ($16.50 on Amazon)
Georgia Makitalo enjoys writing about exercising outdoors including snowshoeing and hiking:
- Natural Phenomena