Hike year-round—if you have the right gear. Snowshoes distribute your weight across a larger surface area to keep you from sinking into powder, allowing you to hike well beyond “hiking season” if you live somewhere with four seasons. Add in some cold-weather gear that breathes well and break out of hibernation for the best of the fourth season: untouched powder, snowy vistas and empty trails.
New to snowshoeing? Learn more in our Beginner’s Guide to Snowshoeing. And read on for some of our staff’s favorite products for snowshoeing.
True: This pair of snowshoes from Atlas costs less than what many winter hiking boots cost on their own, a fact that may delight beginners. Also true: The Helium’s aluminum frame and underfoot crampons make it durable and reliable enough for intermediates to enjoy, too. Plenty of cutouts in the decking keep these snowshoes light, so you can go far, far away. BYO poles. $149.95
Snow is cold and wet. Protect your tootsies with these burly, waterproof hiking boots from Merrell. They have 200 grams of synthetic insulation to seal in warmth and grippy outsoles that offer great traction in slush, so you can use them for regular hiking even when you’re not out ’shoeing. $120
Thirty-two liters may seem like a lot for a day hike, but between the additional layers, snacks and water you need in winter, you’ll be hauling more than you might anticipate. The Gregory Targhee comes equipped with a pocket specific for avalanche tools, plus features like a ski carry system, ice-tool bungees and a helmet sling for all semblance of snow activities, so it should have life beyond your snowshoeing kit. The zippers have glove-friendly hardware to make mid-hike layer changes and water breaks a cinch. $189.95
Never experience frozen water when you need it again. This .7-liter bottle from Hydro Flask uses double-wall vacuum insulation to keep hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold (but not frozen). This version fits nicely in a bottle holster, so you can grab it without breaking stride, but there are other volume options available. And so many colors. $39.95
Patagonia’s R1 fleece has been around for 20 years, and the popularity of the original waffle grid speaks for itself. The idea is that it insulates like a true mid layer with synthetic fleece, but sweat vapor can escape through the channels created in the waffle pattern. It’s pretty much perfect for heart-pumping, cold-weather activities like snowshoeing. $139
You’ll start out cold when you’re snowshoeing, but you’ll warm up fast. Pack a compressible insulation layer like the Atom LT from Arc’teryx, which tips the scales at barely 12 ounces and squeezes down to cantaloupe size. Worn alone, it delivers just enough weather protection to fend off light snow and wind. $259
Your hands will warm up fast when snowshoeing, so reach for breathable, liner-style gloves like these from REI Co-op. The Polartec Wind Pro offers just enough protection from the cold, while a synthetic suede grip helps you bear down on poles. The index finger is also touchscreen-compatible. $44.95
Warm feet while crunching through the snow means more miles and smiles, so look for a cushioned merino wool sock like this one from Darn Tough. (It’s a men’s sock, but this women’s offering is similar.) The nylon adds durability, while the Lycra helps it retain its shape after you start sweating or after you launder it a few times. $26
Interested in more staff picks and kits? Find more Trail Mix collections here.