1 Stylish and cosy
Tenies Hat, Schöffel, £29.95. The microfleece head band warmer on this knitted bobble hat keeps your ears cosy while the highly stroke-able faux fur pompom adds a touch of panache. It’s hard to get the right balance of warmth and style with walking headwear, but the Tenies hat is right on the button.
2 Snug and breathable
Boulder Hoodie, Rab, £100. Fleecy Polartec Thermal Pro fabric ensures this snuggly midlayer is both warm and highly breathable. The fit is excellent - unlike many women’s-specific jackets – with the elasticated wrist and close-cut hood boosting heat retention. Try the Firebrand jacket as a men’s alternative.
3 Keep warm in emergencies
Survive Outdoors Longer Emergency Bivvy, Adventure Medical Kits, £16.99. More durable and far less rip-prone than traditional silver space blankets, this immensely light (under 4oz) bivvy should be a staple in every winter pack. It’s reusable, although a tad tricky to pack back down after use.
4 Versatile double-layer gloves
Versaliner Glove, Outdoor Research , £40. As brilliantly versatile as the name suggests, these gloves have a removable waterproof shell that can be stored in a back-of-hand pocket and brought out when you fancy a spot of snowball throwing. The Radiant Fleece insulating liner can be used alone in drier conditions.
5 & 6 Stay sure-footed
Mallerstang Boot, Altberg, £209.99. An exceptionally sturdy three-to-four-season boot that comes in a range of different widths and is instantly comfortable - if a tad on the heavy side. A stiff and rugged outsole lends itself to winter walking, while the heel groove allows the Mallerstang to take a flexible walking crampon. Pictured with Microspikes, Kahtoola, £55. Think of these as tyre chains for human feet – handy devices that strap on to boots or shoes and give you traction in icy conditions. There are other versions on the market, but Kahtoola’s are well-priced, easy to fit and durable. Just bear in mind that they won’t take the place of crampons on steeper snowy routes.
7 Warm wool insoles
Merino Grey insoles, Superfeet, £40. If a new pair of winter boots is beyond your budget then here’s the solution - thermal insoles with a top layer of merino wool that will keep your toes toasty when the temperature drops. Increased stabilisation and foot support are added bonuses, while the wool’s antibacterial properties should help reduce the whiff factor of your boots.
8 Keep the snow out
Expeditor Gaiter, Berghaus, £35. Gaiters are essential wear in snowy conditions, helping to keep the cold stuff out of your boot tops. These are well fitted and made to last, with a replaceable underfoot strap and a drawcord for adjusting internal volume - an excellent buy for the price. The regular version comes in a rather more sober black.
9 Thick winter socks
Extremities Mountain Toester Long Sock, Terra Nova, £22. Banish cold toes permanently with these absurdly cosy wool-mix socks, which extend up to the knee and are padded with the comfort of walkers in mind. A short version is also available.
10 Instant heat for frozen fingers
Hot Gel Handwarmer, Strider, £4. Keep a pair of these in your pockets to instantly warm up freezing fingers. Each gel handwarmer provides at least 40 minutes of heat – less than the 10 hours promised by some other brands, but these pack a seriously hot punch while they last and are reusable into the bargain.
12 Cosy cuffs
WarmWool Pulse Heaters, Aclima, £23.95. The idea behind these merino wrist warmers is that they give your hands a heat-boost while leaving your fingers free for map reading and the like – and it works. Combine with waterproof gloves for extra warmth in snowy conditions.
2nd Skinz Coolmax Long Johns, Snugpak, £19.95. Sneaking an extra pair of bottoms in under your usual walking trousers is the perfect way to protect against the cold. This Snugpak pair will keep you toasty while mopping up excess perspiration - and at a bargain price, too.
14 Start with the base
NTS Mid 250 Pattern Crew, Smartwool, £84.99. Thicker and warmer than a standard two-season base layer, this 100% merino wool top impressed during testing with its perfect fit, comfort, and amazing ability to stay dry and odour-free after a stiff uphill hike. Also available in a men’s version.
15 For piping hot refreshments
Hot & Cold flask, SIGG, from £25.99. Keep your coffee warm for snowy pit stops with this double-walled stainless steel vacuum flask. A drinking mug attaches neatly to the base of the flask and there are plenty of fun colourways available.
16 Emergency anchor
Helix Ice Axe, Grivel, £55. If you are heading up frozen mountains, an ice axe is a must for safety: if you slip, driving one of these iinto the snow is the best way to stop you sliding off an icy slope. This is an ideal introductory level axe that delivers solid performance at a bargain price. The straight shaft, long leash and large adze all make it easy to handle, and the plastic cover helps guard your gloves from the sharp teeth.
17 Keep a grip on snowy slopes
Contact Crampon, Black Diamond, £100. Black Diamond, £100. Lightweight, durable and faff-free to fit – a classic crampon ideal for all but the most intrepid mountaineering expeditions.
18 A tent for any season
Trisar 2 tent, Terra Nova, £180. An excellent price for a four-season tent strong enough to cope with winter weather in exposed places. At 2.7kg it’s light enough for backpacking, especially if you share the load. The compact porch won’t suit everyone, but an extra £20 buys you the XL version – weighing an extra 400g but with much more space up front. (This review by Joe Pontin.)
Photography by Steve Sayers (except 18).
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