How to winterise your walking rucksack


Winter walking calls for a distinct variety of kit so that you remain protected in the hills and mountains. Right here are my ideas and tips on winterising your walking kit.

Winter brings shorter days, reduce temperatures, higher probabilities of windchill, plus snow and ice. If you program to stroll in Scotland’s mountains at this time of year, you need to have to take added care – and kit – to remain protected.

Initial points initial

Just before you pack your rucksack or even make a program about exactly where to stroll, you need to have to verify the climate and avalanche forecasts.

Valuable internet sites incorporate MWIS, Met Workplace mountain climate and the Scottish Avalanche Details Service. Becoming in a position to study the forecasts is also important for security.

If you are unsure about winter navigation, expertise and avalanche awareness there are a lot of courses to sign up to. It is crucial you know what you are carrying out in the winter hills and mountains.

Often inform an individual exactly where you will be walking and give them an anticipated time for returning. If a thing does occur they will be in a position to say exactly where you planned to go.

Winterise your walking kit


A baselayer is worn in layers, beginning with one particular against your skin. They are produced from lightweight supplies that hold you warm but also permits sweat to wick away to the outdoors. All-natural wools, such as merino or yak, have a tendency to be much better at maintaining you warm and these fabrics will dry immediately if you get sweaty.

Put on quite a few layers to trap heat in involving each and every layer for the finest level of warmth.

You can then add or peel off layers, such as quick and extended-sleeved tops and leggings based on the circumstances or how tough you are operating.

Winter walking boots

You need to have stiffer walking boots than in the summer season to offer you much better grip on muddy, icy or snowy terrain – and make certain they are waterproof, as well. I put on boots that have a larger ankle cuff, as well, to protect against rain and snow obtaining inside the boots.

Appear for boot soles that have a a lot more aggressively gripped pattern and the sharper the heel (appear for a ideal angle at the base of the heel), the much better the boots will grip to the terrain when descending. Rounded heels have a tendency to slip on wet, snowy or muddy land.

Gaiters will assistance to hold the wet from obtaining into the leading of your boots.


You will need to have crampons for winter walking. These are added to the base of your boots to give added grip in snow and ice. There are distinct sorts of crampons to match distinct designs of boots.

You dont need to have specialist boots for a lot of designs of crampons but you do need to have to be certain that the crampons will match the boots you program to put on.

As a basic guide, boots are rated from B0 to B3, from versatile to stiffer. There are crampons to suit each and every sort of boot.

  • B0 boots are as well versatile for crampons.
  • B1 boots can be applied with C1 crampons.
  • B2 boots can be applied with C1 or C2 crampons.
  • B3 boots can be applied with C1, C2 or C3 crampons.

If in doubt, ask an specialist at an outdoors retailer.

I personal Grivel crampons, Tiso’s Monte Rosa crampons and lightweight Petzl crampons.

Some people today also use micro crampons, such as Kahtoola. These are fine in some circumstances but they will not offer you adequate grip when circumstances are incredibly icy. There is tiny to substitute a very good good quality pair of Grivel or Petzl style crampons. See distinct Grivel crampons.

Ice axe

If you are winter walking in Scotland, you could properly finish up, at some point, on an icy or snowy slope. This is when you are most likely to use crampons and an ice axe.

A walking ice axe is meant to act as an emergency help, in case you fall. It will be applied to “arrest” your fall, but if you do not know the approach for arresting your fall with an ice axe there is tiny point in owning one particular. This is why you really should attend a winter mountains expertise course.

I have also applied crampons and an ice axe to ascend a seep slope, such as on a stroll of Bidean nam Bian in Glencoe. The ice axe helped to hold me “stuck” to a snowy slope.

Kirsty Williams tends to make it by means of incredibly snowy circumstances.

Winter waterproof jacket

The best waterproof jacket for winter will be produced of fabric that is wind and waterproof. Appear for winter good quality rather than lightweight summer season good quality of fabric.

If you are wearing final year’s winter jacket you could give it some interest with a wash-in re-proofing detergent.

Functions to appear out for when getting a winter waterproof incorporate DWR, higher-grade Gore-Tex, Occasion or related, taped seams, a waterproof/water repellent zip, waterproof zipped pockets, an adjustable hood with a stiff peak (so it stays up in windy circumstances), adjustable arm cuffs and hem and a brighter colour to help security on the hills.

Walking poles

I have come to adore my walking poles and I locate them genuinely helpful on wet, muddy and snowy terrain. They are fantastic for balance – and also for preserving my joints and leg muscle tissues.

Waterproof trousers

A pair of waterproof and breathable overtrousers are critical. Get trousers with zips on the outdoors of the legs to permit you to pull them on more than boots.


You will need to have a hat or buff of some sorts, gloves or mittens that are made to cope with cold circumstances (add a pair of silk liner gloves for added warmth) and winter walking socks.

Gloves are my most significant concern in winter. I generally carry a couple of pairs of distinct thicknesses.


I love a snowshoe outing in the winter and when there is thick snow it is a fantastic way to cover a related distance to summer season walking. The snowshoes permit you to pace out on leading of the snow. See snowshoe adventure on Beinn Ime.

My favourite snowshoes are MSR Lightning Ascent footwear for girls.

Bigger rucksack

In the winter months, you will carry a lot more spare clothes and security kit, which indicates you need to have a bigger rucksack.You may handle with a 30l pack but a lot of people today carry a bigger pack.

It is crucial that the rucksack is comfy since it will be heavier. Make certain it has padded shoulder straps, a padded hip/waist strap and some way of staying waterproof. If it does not have a waterproof cover, place all your kit inside in drybags. There’s no point in possessing spare clothing if they finish up soaked by rain.

What I pack in my winter rucksack

  • Spare layers, such as a baselayer and mid-layer
  • Spare socks
  • Spare gloves
  • Spare beanie hat/buff
  • Insulated jacket, such as a down or primaloft jacket
  • Emergency blanket or shelter
  • Compass and map (and make certain you know how to use them)
  • Mobile telephone (loaded with OS maps if you have the ideal app) and/or GPS gadget (and spare batteries)
  • Crampons and ice axe (you also need to have to know how to use these)
  • Headtorch
  • Flask of hot drink
  • Bottle or hydration bladder of water (you nevertheless sweat in winter and need to have to remain hydrated)
  • Extra meals than you assume you will need to have
  • Emergency power snacks
  • In snowy circumstances, a balaclava and ski goggles.
  • Snowshoes if I program to use them.


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