These items serve as my core gear list for weekend backpacking trips during the winter. Layering is key for me in the colder months: I tend to run hot while hiking and then cold at camp. Even for a weekend trip, I believe in bringing a back-up to essential layering pieces - I have a spare hat and gloves, as well as camp clothing. Plus, in the Mid-Atlantic, we're known more for slush than snow so changing into something dry at camp makes a huge difference–and is the safe thing to do! My first aid kit and shelter tend to be more robust since, as the co-organizer of the DC UL Backpacking group, I'm often leading or assisting on our trips. My shelter can accommodate two people comfortably, and three in a pinch. My Mariposa holds all this and more for such trips.

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winter backpacking

Lightweight Backpacking in Winter

Category Gear Selection Weight (oz) Details
Packing Gossamer Gear Mariposa (Medium Pack, Small Belt) 29 Switch from SitPad to TorsoPad for winter
Pack liner 1.2 To keep water off my things
Z-Packs Bear Bag 3 Food storage
Exped Schnozzel Bag 2 Leftover from old Exped - waterproof bag used for storing insulation layers
Sleeping Western Mountaineering Versalite 32 Rated to 10 degrees.
Thermarest NeoAir 13 Supplement with GG Torso Pad
Montbell Pillow 2.5 Luxury item, and I love it.
Shelter MLD Trailstar 20 So far I haven't frozen in this! Plus, as a trip leader, I like to have the ability to have extra space in the shelter if needed
Bivy Sack 5.2 Protection against ground, elements, and curious animals.
Packed Clothing Patagonia NanoPuff 11 Worth every penny as a layering piece
Patagonia Houdini Windshirt 2 Extra layering–suprisingly warm for such a light piece
SmartWool Long Sleeve BaseLayer 6.75 For camp
SmartWool Long Underwear 7 For camp
Darn Tough Socks 2 Extra pair
Mountain Hardware Dome Perignon 1.75 Back-up hat
EMS Fleece Gloves 2 Camp gloves
MLD RainMitts 0.75 Adds protection to fleece gloves in case of snow or rain
Hydration Sawyer Mini 2 Don't forget to sleep with it!
Platypus (1L) 1 For untreated water
Bleach 1 Always good to have a back-up
Hunnelsdorf Water Bottle 3 Can open these with mittens. Will add a bottle booty if temperatures look they will be below freezing during the day
Cooking Caldera Cone and Stove 5.5
SnowPeak Titanium Pot 3
Sea to Summit Long-Handled Spoon 0.7
Small Essentials Bandana 0.5 For cleaning
Extra Toilet Paper 1
Toob (toothbrush + toothpaste) 1.5 With toothpaste
Petzl Tikka Headlamp 2.4
Matches 0.5 Lighters and I do not get along… I find matches more reliable
Contact Solution 0.5 For a weekend trip, I'll skip bringing an extra set of contacts.
Glasses 0.75 Back-up in case of contact issues.
Knife 1.75 Good all-purpose knife
First Aid Items 3 Typically I carry BandAids (mix of sizes), blister pads, tweezers, Benadryl, Advil (Day and PM), Neosporin
Diaper Rash Creme 2 For, well, chafing…
Journal and pen 4.5 Moleskin journal for capturing the stories of the day
Mini-brush and mirror 1.5 It's scary when I leave this at home. Plus, the mirror could be used for signaling!
Tenacious Tape 0.75 Gear repair
Total Base Weight (oz) (not including worn items or consumables) 178
Total Base Weight (lb) (not including worn items or consumables) 11.125

This gear list was contributed by former Trail Ambassador Jen "Shuttle" Adach and Editor.