Winter Gear Selection IV: Shell, Head, Hands and Feet

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 25 January 2011

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Winter Gear Selection IV: Shell, Head, Hands and Feet.


Now that Winter has brought real temp drops, our medium-weight shell is no longer suitable, and will be stowed until temps again rise as Spring approaches.

I am deploying my North Face Mountain Jacket, along with a set of heavy duty North Face ski pants. Both of these pieces will resist very cold winds. This will allow my insulating layers to work properly.

These heavy shell pieces also add a nice layer of insulation. The mountain jacket is also equipped with a snow bib, which keeps drift from blowing up the jacket, multi pockets (required during Winter), pit zips, and cinches at the waist and on the hood. All are very nice features in the field.

Trail guide links:

Upper Shell: Mountain Jacket

Lower Shell: Heavy Ski Pants

Once you stop hiking your stop generating heat, and your extremeties quickly begin to chill. This requires that you have extra camp layers for your head, hands and feet.


I have a four stage headgear layering system. First is my hat, who's brim protects me from the intense reflected light in snowy mountain bowls. The hat also has insulating qualities at night. This is supplemented by an earwarmer during chill breezes.

When the temps really drop, my base layer is a full-coverage poly head cover. This is really nice for protecting against frost nip.

On top of all this I have an army tank commander's hat.

Put all together, and this set up worked well for me in a blizzard at 9400 feet, alowing me to set up camp and eat in 50 mph winds at 18 degrees. The wind chill was outrageous, but my head was warm and protected.

Head: Headgear Gear List


I bring two pairs of gloves. One is a light pair for day travel, and the other is a very heavy pair for nights. If the temps may be real low I will also bring a pair of poly glove liners.

Hands: Hands Gear List


Heavy Wool socks are generally sufficient for daytime travel. For very cold conditions i bring a pair of poly sock liners to supplement my hiking socks during the day.

Once you stop hiking your stop generating heat, and your extremeties, especially your feet, quickly begin to chill. During the evening I deploy my down booties, fleece socks, and poly sock liners.

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