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Let's Gear Up!

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Good gear will completely change your outdoor experience. In Alaska we had a saying: "There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear." We want you to feel comfortable, safe, and prepared so you can maximize your outdoor adventures and have fun out there!

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Portage Glacier, Alaska

Winter 

Guide to Winter Layering

How to stay warm and dry during wintertime adventures

Keeping your skin and clothing layers dry is the key to dressing for winter outdoor recreation. Each layer performs an important role in keeping you comfortable. These layers work together in different combinations that can be adjusted for the specific conditions you encounter and your own level of activity. For example, your mid-layer might include both a fleece zip up and a down vest. If you're snowshoeing up a hill and begin to feel too warm, you can remove the vest and stash it in your pack. If the wind picks up once you're atop the ridge and you begin to feel chilly, you can put that vest on again. 

Base layer Next-to-skin layer that wicks sweat off your skin. Choose silk, wool, or synthetic.

Mid layer   Insulating layer that helps retain your body heat and keeps you warm. Choose wool, synthetic, fleece, or down.

Outer layer  Shell that shelters you from the wind, rain, and snow.

 

Access the full list of my favorite winter gear!

 

Disclosure: I only endorse products that I own, love, and think would help you in your outdoor pursuits. If you grab anything mentioned here, I may get a small commission. There is no cost to you. Most links are for REI Co-op as they are a great outdoor gear retailer and have supported The Women's Adventure Club by lending us gear and promoting our events. If you want to shop locally, 3 Rivers Outdoor Company is a fine Pittsburgh outfitter.

Snowshoe
Cross-Country Ski
Cross-Country Ski
Hike
XC Ski
Snowshoe

Favorite Day Packs

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This is one of the most comfortable packs out there! Several women in our community use this as a daypack and it's the pack I use when I'm hiking on my own.

 

Pros:

large capacity, excellent back ventilation (good for sweaty summer hikes!), adjustable torso, includes rain cover, plush load-bearing hip belt, works for long day hikes and is large enough for an easy overnight.

 

Cons:

runs small, on the heavier side

 

Sizes: XS/S, S/M

Weight: 46-48 oz.

Capacity: 28 liters

Reservoir Compatible: yes

Number of Pockets: 6

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Another WAC favorite because of its versatility and comfort. The Mira 22 comes with a 2.5-liter hydration reservoir. The size works well for shorter hikes and/or hikes in warmer weather conditions that don’t require a lot of gear. It has a ventilated tensioned mesh back panel to help keep you cooler with a women’s specific hip belt and shoulder harness. It can be adjusted to different torso lengths so that you can really dial in the fit. I use the 32 L version of this pack when I'm leading hikes for the WAC.

 

Pros:

2.5 L hydration reservoir included, internal frame distributes weight evenly, mesh back panel allows for airflow, exterior webbing and straps to attach hiking poles and extra gear

 

Cons:

pricey, weight

 

Sizes: one size

Weight: 45.9 oz.

Capacity: 22 liters

Reservoir included: yes

Number of Pockets: 4

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This is the daypack that Joe, friend of the WAC and fellow gear junkie, often recommends. He has fitted a lot of packs during his 16 years at REI, so this is a well-researched recommendation! It has a mesh back panel that provides excellent airflow along your back, making it a great choice for our humid summers. It’s also lightweight and sits right up against your body for a streamlined fit. The pack has one big compartment with a drawstring opening that you can stuff your gear into along with a zippered pocket in the lid. It features a handy water bottle pocket on each side as well and a zippered slot for your phone.

 

Pros:

lightweight, breathable, more affordable

 

Cons:

no torso adjustment and it comes in only one size. It'll either fit you or it won't.

 

Sizes: one size

Weight: 33.6 oz.

Capacity: 22 liters

Reservoir compatible: yes

Number of Pockets: 4

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