Our snowshoeing gear list includes everything you need to wear and bring on your next snowshoeing adventure!
Winter adventures call for a bit more preparation, but it’s always worth it. For a successful snowshoeing outing, bring extra clothes, a hot drink, and the ten essentials. Our gear recommendations are below.
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Here is a printable PDF version of the checklist:
What to Wear Snowshoeing
- Warm, moisture-wicking base layers (synthetic or merino wool): We love Helly Hansen LIFA Merino (Available at Helly Hansen | Sport Chek | Amazon) and Patagonia Capilene base layers.
- Wool ski socks: Smartwool and Bridgedale make high quality socks.
- Wool toque with fleece lining: wool is warm and naturally anti-odor. A fleece lining (at least around the forehead and ears) prevents skin from getting itchy. We like this Ambler toque.
- Insulated waterproof-windproof jacket: I own and recommend the Helly Hansen Powderqueen 3.0 Jacket and Helly Hansen Alva 2.0 Parka.
- Insulated waterproof-windproof snow pants: The Helly Hansen Legendary Insulated Pants are warm and waterproof. I loved my first pair (bought in 2014) so much, I just bought another pair!
- Gaiters: Outdoor Research Crocodile Gaiters (unisex) are the bomb at keeping snow out of your boots.
- Waterproof winter hiking boots: After trying several brands, my whole family likes Salomon winter boots best. They are warm, light, grippy, and durable (and no, we didn’t get them free or get paid to say that – we have been buying Salomon boots for years!). The Toundra Pro ClimaSalomon Waterproof are rated to -40 so you can say goodbye to cold feet.
- Water-resistant mittens or warm gloves: Black Diamond Mercury Mitts are really warm. For extreme cold, get the Black Diamond Absolute Mitts.
- Sunglasses or goggles: polarized lenses help cut the glare and improve depth perception. We like Shady Rays‘ quality and commitment to fight hunger (10 meals provided for every pair of sunglasses purchased).
Snowshoeing with kids? See our story The Best Winter Gear for Kids: Buying Guide & Product Recommendations.
What to Bring Snowshoeing
Clothing Pack List
- Snowshoes: We highly recommend Yukon Charlie’s Elite SPIN Snowshoes. The bindings are so easy to adjust! Check out our review of the Yukon Charlie’s Elite Spin snowshoes here. For backcountry use, we recommend MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoes for their aggressive crampons and easy-to-repair/replace straps.
- Trekking poles with snow baskets: splurge on Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z poles (super light and compact – fold into 3 sections), or save on the Yukon Charlie’s Carbon Lite Trekking Poles (I have been using these for 3 years and love them)
- Backpack: 30-40 L is a good size for adults (to hold extra clothes and emergency gear); for kids, keep packs small. Kids shouldn’t carry more than 10% of their body weight since their spines are still developing. This Osprey backpack from MEC has all the features you need.
- Toe warmers
- Foldable foam pad to sit on (great to have for emergencies too)
- Avalanche Gear (if heading into avalanche terrain): avalanche beacon, probe, and shovel
- map or trail guide + compass or GPS
- headlamp + extra batteries
- first aid kit
- signaling mirror
- emergency shelter: Siltarp, bivy, emergency blanket or poncho, or large garbage bag
- sunscreen + lipgloss with SPF
- pocket knife and/or multi-tool: We like Swiss Army Knives
- fire making kit: lighter, matches in waterproof container, fire starters (Zip Firestarters are the best; they last up to 15 minutes)
- snowshoe repair kit (extra snowshoe straps and/or zip ties and duct tape)
- hand sanitizer
- toilet paper and ziploc bags (to pack out waste and used toilet paper if no outhouses available)
- bear spray
For more information, please read our story: The Ten Essential Systems.
Food and Drink
- Insulated bottle with hot drink (don’t forget marshmallows for cocoa!)
- foods you can eat with gloves/mittens on: sandwiches, cookies, granola bars, yogurt tubes, cheese sticks
- water in insulated water bottle (hydration packs not recommended in cold temps as water can freeze in the tube): Hydroflask bottles are great.
Optional / Nice to Have
- Power bank with charging cable to recharge your cell phone and headlamp
- Personal locator beacon like the Garmin inReach Explorer+
Here is a printable PDF of our snowshoeing gear list:
Have fun and stay safe! Remember to check the trail report and avalanche report before you head out.
- Where to Snowshoe Near Calgary: Best snowshoe trails in Kananaskis & Banff
- Best Winter Gear for Kids
- 14 Things to Do in Canmore this Winter
- 10 Things to Do in Banff this Winter
- 9 Things to Do in Lake Louise this Winter