Winter weather doesn’t stop us from exploring the wild places of the world. With some quality gear and the proper preparation, even the coldest day is an invitation to play.
If you’ve been searching for the perfect layerable clothing, wondering which sleeping bag to snuggle up with, or looking for a lightweight, long-lasting headlamp, we’ve got you covered.
Merino Ridge Wool Layers
Anyone who enjoys winter activities can tell you about the importance of layers. I’ll reiterate that point with the importance of wool layers. Merino is the undisputed king of soft, durable wool fabrics and they have a killer collection of stylish layers to choose from.
The Convict Merino Wool Hoodie is an excellent mid layer.
Made with Polartec Power Wool, it’s surprisingly breathable and lightweight for how warm it is.
It packs extra small and the zippered breast pocket is a perfect stash spot for anything you want to keep close to the chest.
I also appreciate the thumb holes which keep your sleeves in place while putting on additional layers.
Merino’s Crowley Compression Wool Tights are another essential component of your winter arsenal.
In an innovative pairing, Merino combined a soft, odor-reducing wool base with a durable synthetic exterior that’s perfect for hiking, running, or a trip to the gym.
Added bonus? Thigh pockets for easy phone access.
BioLite Headlamp 200
The BioLite HeadLamp 200 is a new addition to the BioLite line of headlamps. It’s remarkably light, weighing only 1.6 oz.
The light weight plus the absence of a traditional battery pack make it easy to forget you’re wearing the 200, so named for its 200 Lumens of light.
It’s USB rechargeable and can last for up to 3 hours on maximum brightness or up to 40 hours on low.
The headband is soft, durable, and made from a breathable fabric that seriously cuts down on head sweat.
Though not waterproof, you can clean the inside of the band with a damp cloth. It’s also easy to adjust and fits both adults and children.
One of my favorite features is the lock mode which ensures your light doesn’t flick on accidentally while stored in your backpack.
I’ve had more than my fair share of headlamps burn through their batteries in my stuff sack and those dark nights are enough to ensure you don’t make the same mistake twice.
The 200 has four settings: red flood, white spot, red strobe, and white strobe.
Red flood and white spot can also be dimmed by holding the button down; the light will blink to let you know it’s at its lowest setting.
I also like the memory feature, which recalls the last light setting you used and automatically turns on to that setting.
Once on your desired setting, the light can be dimmed or brightened by holding the button for a few seconds. For the $45 price tag, you really can’t beat this high-powered, ultra-light lamp.
Backcountry Bed Duo 700 DriDown Sleeping Bag
When it’s blowing snow and you think to yourself, ‘My girlfriend and I would love to sleep in a sack outside right now,’ consider the Backcountry Bed Duo.
Available in both 20 and 35 degree variations, the Duo is the perfect cold weather camping companion for you and a partner.
The Duo doesn’t have a zipper, so you slip into it from the top.
Pull the comforter, which is sewn in to the bottom of the opening, up around your chin and get cozy.
If you’re too hot, a large foot vent at the bottom allows you to kick your feet out and cool down.
An excellent feature of this bag are the pad sleeves.
These independent sleeves keep your sleeping pad in place so it doesn’t slide around while you toss and turn.
The bag also features DriDown to protect the insulation from moisture.
Moisture is often a problem with down, but the DriDown Duo holds up well to snow and sweat.
Sierra Designs has been offering the Duo for years, but their most recent version has some nice upgrades from the original.
A newly added stretch cord closure system creates a better seal over the opening, reducing cold drafts and keeping body heat trapped inside the bag.
This version also offers a higher down fill (700) than previous models, reducing mass while adding loft and warmth.