While we are still hoping for more snow soon, winter is upon us! There’s skiing to be had…at the hill, in the back-country, and the cross country trails are in great shape. Some of you are out for some winter trail runs, or some snowshoeing, or maybe some epic tobogganing after Christmas tree hunting!

Whatever your activity, make sure you are well prepared for emergencies. With the temperatures getting down below freezing, any interruption in the movement that’s keeping you warm…is going to get you pretty cold, pretty quickly.

Here are some suggestions for things to considering weighing down that pack with! This way if you end up having to sit still for awhile you’ll be ready.

  • Extra layers (especially for the torso and extremities – time to dig out the mega-mitts and extra insulating layer)
  • Extra calories – It takes calories to keep your body warm and fuel the shivering if needed. You want easy calories here, food that is easy to break down into fuel and DSC_0328doesn’t take a lot of water to process. Any excuse to eat chocolate is good, but this is a valid one!
  • Hot fluids – if only because you look like a hero when you pull out the thermos.
  • Insulation – if ever there was a time to toss the lightweight sleeping pad (inflating or otherwise) into your pack, this is it. Injuries, getting lost, a car break-down…all times you’ll be glad you’ve been carrying the extra weight. (Doesn’t even have to be that much extra weight, and if you are wondering how to best use it, all our Wilderness First Aid courses let you get hands-on with using a sleeping pad)
  • Tarp – Again – lightweight is important here, but there are great tarps on the market that are compact, light and easy to use. Pssst – we cover this on our courses as well!

You may be carrying all kinds of other equipment already, perhaps a signaling device like a SPOT or radio, certainly your avalanche safety equipment any time you are in avi terrain, first aid kit, repair kit, gourmet lunch (or weird leftovers cause it was dark and cold when you left?), but when the temperature plummets, emergencies can get much more serious. Consider the equipment above and have a great snow season!