Whether or not you are new to hiking in winter, it’s important to be prepared . It will definitely make you feel more confident when the tempuratures drop.
This picture shows the things that are always in my pack, I usually am also carrying extra layers like a downsweater, a wind layer and my water.
Starting in the top right hand corner and going clockwise
1. First Aid kit. I bought this kit on Amazon for about $15. I have added to it, but it’s nice to start with a prepared kit if you out are starting from scratch.
2.Emergency space bag. This is like a space blanket, made of Mylar. This reflects body heat back and you can get inside. You can add leaves for extra warmth.
3. Latex gloves. As a guide if I need to respond to any first aid, it’s important to protect myself.
5. Ace bandage.
6. Crevatte. Fabric for slings etc.
7. Extra warm mittens and hand warmers. It’s always nice to have a bomber pair of mittens that you have in case yours get wet. You always want to protect yourself from frost nip or frost bite.
8. An extra base layer. I always keep and old capilene top at the bottom of my pack, just in case mine or others gets wet and cold.
9. Headlamp. You never know if something happens to delay your return, it’s so worth it to not have to stumble through the dark. Make sure to check your batteries!
10. Multitool or Swiss Army Knife– for about 101 reasons!
11. Ice grippers. These’ll literally save your ass!
12. High energy snacks. On a cold night outdoors and the only thing keeping you warm is a space blanket, you’ll need as many calories as possible. Even during the day, it’s easy to bonk, which is a first sign of hypothermia. Keep your brain working at its best by frequent feeding!
13. Matches. Try to find waterproof matches if you can. If you are stuck build as big a fire as you can, it will keep you warm and increase your chances of being found!
I highly recommend taking a Wilderness First Aid class. They’re fun and informative and really get you thinking about how to be smart in the woods.