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The Portland Hiking Meetup Group Message Board Gear Talk › Winter Day Pack Gear

Winter Day Pack Gear

Jessica B.
Yacolt, WA
Post #: 36
What do you have in your winter day pack?

Throughout this winter hiking season, I’ve noticed varying degrees of plumpness in hikers’ day packs. Some may be carrying too much gear (me? my day pack weighs almost 20 lbs!) and many seem to be carrying not enough gear. This discussion has two purposes: 1) to glean some insight from you lighter pack folks and 2) to educate the folks who may not carry enough so that they are better prepared to hit the trail this winter and spring.

Here’s what I carry in 2 dry sacks inside mid-size day pack with belt:

In dry sack #1:
Hooded poncho
Space blanket
2 sets of handwarmers
20 degree bag liner
Zip ties
Oral rehydration salts
Full first aid kit
Extra pair of eyeglasses
Quick clot pack
Water tablets
Signal mirror
Lighter and waterproof matches
Fire starter
Small LED light
4 granola bars, bag of peanuts, fruit snacks

In a 2nd dry sack:
Fleece bottoms
Extra pair of gloves
Down jacket
Ear muffs
Extra pair of socks

Outside the dry sacks:
whistle with compass
1 led light on my pack
Another headlamp
Hand crank flashlight
Food and water for the trip
Another set of handwarmers
Rain hat
Fixed blade knife
Swiss army knife
2 sets of maps
Sometimes hiking poles
I probably carry too much at times, but I find that with a good pack, its not so bad. I have enough gear to safely and somewhat comfortably spend a night or two in the wilderness in case something happens.

What do you carry or what do you have questions about?
Rick L. J.
user 10833570
Newberg, OR
Post #: 27
Jessica, I carry about what you have except I have a hachet instead of all the knives. Would like to add the sleeping bag liner. I carry more clothes also. Something I need to add are the disposable gloves for first aid and many other uses. I also feel that I could spend a few nights out. Its a good list and I think I will use it as a guide to what to carry. with your permission.
I'm suprised that it all fits in your pack.
Jessica B.
Yacolt, WA
Post #: 37
Thanks for your response Rick. I do carry disposable gloves and I've been meaning to add a few garbage bags. I have a tarp I should carry but there's no room! One of my dry sacks is a compression sack and that helps create room. Go ahead and use the list - that's one of the reasons I wanted to share it:)
user 4250936
Beaverton, OR
Post #: 68
Jessica, you are either carrying too much or I'm not carrying enough smile

Here's what I have:
- First aid kit in which I've added matches, electrolytes, water purification tables and an emergency blanket
- Folding knife
- Headlamp and a tiny LED flashligh
- One set each of feet warmers and hand warmers (sometimes I have a second set of hand warmers)
- A pair of cut off wool socks that I can use on my hands or ears
- Synthetic Jacket
- Rain Jacket
- Rain Pants
- Long Johns
- Extra Socks
- Extra Shirt
- Small tarp (it's actually a tent foot print I modified to use as a tarp)
- I just added a winter emergency multi use blanket
- Food and water for the day
- Three extra bars
- Map, Compass
- Sometimes GPS
- Extra clothes or gear depending on location which I select on a case by case, those include: Extra fleece hat, Fleece and/or winter gloves, fleece sweater, googles

And I guess that's it
A former member
Post #: 52
Pack: Osprey Stratos 24 w/built-in rain cover
Weight: 16lbs12oz WITHOUT Food

When I pack ... I think Ten Essentials

Whistle ... attached to shoulder strap so I can reach it if I fall

- Camelback w/100oz capacity, tube wrapped in homemade fleece sleeve
- Nalgene 100oz wide-mouth Cantene (empty)
- Water treatment tablets

- Honey Zinger (2) bars that pack 400 calories each
- Powerbars (2) that can be shared w/dog in emergency
- single chicken broth packets
- tea bags
- Almonds, cashews and brazil nuts in snack bags
- Lunch favorite for a hike is tortilla wraps w/cream cheese, lunch meat, cheese and spinach or fancy greens
- misc snack foods of the day

- Maps / topo and descriptive hike printouts and/or copies
- Compass (the simplest kind that I know how to use)

- head lamp w/extra batteries
- mini strobe light for signaling
- extra keychain style LED light 

- cotton balls soaked in vasoline
- cotton balls untouched
- water proof matches
- TWO lighters

First Aid
- basic first-aid kit to treat minor situations
- nature can often provide splint materials, etc.
- non-latex gloves

- microfleece pullover
- waterproof jacket
- windproof fleece beanie
- windproof fleece gloves
- extra socks
- stretch knit gloves ($1/pr)
- REIs Lite-core sit pad
- two instant handwarmer packets

Emergency Shelter
- two space blankets
- multiple lengths of cordage, including extra shoelaces
- duct tape

Tools/Repair Kit
- multiple lengths of cordage, including extra shoelaces
- duct tape
- multipurpose camp knife w/semi-multitool function

- hat with brim that I always wear
- sunglasses
- sunscreen

Dog Items
- dog kibble in 12oz Kleen Kanteen container
- dog treats
- doggy fleece bodysuit
- doggy softshell waterproof/windprood bodysuit that can be worn alone OR over the fleece bodysuit
- extra snow booties (2)
- extra dog boot liner socks (4)
- extra soft webbing leash that doubles as a muzzle if dog is injured and is resistant to needed emergency medical care

- extra eye glasses
- shoelaces
- toilet paper and waste bags
- cell phone

When choosing gear, I try to stay leaner yet safe. My dog's safety and warmth is paramount. If she is warm, I will not give up my gear to her. With two space blankets and duct tape I can build some type of shelter and use the lite-core sit pad for comfort and insulation. A dog puts off a lot of heat in a tent or small space ...

I have cordage and shoelaces that can be used to tie something together and/or used to suspend the Nalgene bottle to make hot water for broth or tea bags if stuck overnight

Most of my essentials are in dry bags. I used the seal-a-meal for my microfleece, extra socks and the doggy softshell bodysuit. 

Hope this helps others.
user 11692521
Portland, OR
Post #: 22
Holy Moly,

The only difference between my winter and summer day packs are that I carry extra chemical hand warmers, and 2 packs of firestarter, rather than 1 warmer and just a lighter.

All year round, things that live in my pack include:

* Ziplock bag with xtra clothes - wool socks, balaclava, thick gloves, scarf, wool shirt. This also makes a great seat in the snow.

* Ziplock with first aid/odds and ends: advil, benadryl, poison oak cleanser (I am really allergic), blister tape, scissors, absorbant pads, girl supplies, xtra bootlaces, hair rubber band, DEET, sunscreen, duct tape, mylar emergency blanket, large safety pin, ace bandage, headlamp, hand warmer or two, cigarette lighter, water purification tablets. About 6oz of firestarters in winter.

* 2-3 large trashbags to: sit on for breaks, collect trash/invasive species, make emergency bivy from

* small pack pocket includes - small pocket knife, lighter, lanyard w/ keylight and whistle, compass w/ mirror, tissues, pencil, small write-in-the-rain pad, powers bars that are probably expired

I also carry extra duct tape on my poles.

Day of hike I'll add water and food, waterproof top and bottom depending on conditions, camera, cell phone and wallet (in zip locks), and usually a map or guidebook. Treats for my hikers if I think they might deserve them ;-)

Oh, and I finally started wearing a watch again after getting tired of trying to get my phone to tell me the time in the canyons. I think this should be essential #0. Daylight is my friend.

Usually weight's not too bad unless I'm carrying a lot of water, but I've never actually tried weighing it, and now I'm curious. Compared to all the crap I carry around when I'm doing field work, this feels easy. Maybe next meeting we should do a show-and-tell ;-)

See y'all on the trail.
user 9676491
Portland, OR
Post #: 3
I tend to use sil-nylon sacks and zip locks for waterproofness:

First aid kit : fluctuates but generally this my backpacking cut and scrape kit

Repair kit/"survival kit": contents fluctuates, in winter I tend to add bailing wire for snow show repairs, especially if I'm wearing MSRs.

Backpacker keychain: shower curtain keychain w/ LED flash light, whistle, time piece, backup compass, leatherman mini scissors and mini pliers (only in winter, again snow shoes), tweezers.

Liner gloves sometimes spares and shell glove w/ insulator glove that fits it.

Hat "system": light cap, light neck warmer, heavier hat/ warmer that work together or balaclava.

Down or synthetic jacket, depending.

W/B shell jacket and pants.

Instead of a fleece type insulating layer I tend to soft shells, usually two that work together (one that's a windbreaker, one a light dryskin type jacket).

50' cord.

Headlamp with spare batteries.

3 liters of water unless the hike is really simple.

Some times a hand saw if I think there may be spruce trap problems, especially if I'm traveling solo. I dont think it's as much an issue in the NW as in the NE.

Depending upon the hike, expected conditions and group size/ familiarity with group I may add a shovel, sleeping pad, vapor barrier bag and/or bivy. I find the sleeping pad is the most useful of the bunch.

The list hasn't changed much from my winter list in the northeast so it may be a bit much for the Northwest. I've become a big fan a hooded light windbreaker and hooded dryskin soft shell instead of a fleece layer. Hood helps a lot with the snow down your back chill.
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