red snowshoes snowshoeing what to wear what to bring chamonix mt blancI’m often asked what to wear and what to bring on snowshoeing tours. Whilst it does vary a bit depending on the type of snowshoeing tour you’re undertaking, the time of year and the weather, here are some general tips and a checklist to help with planning and packing:

Snowshoeing Equipment

Firstly, all technical equipment – so that’s snowshoes, walking poles, and group safety kit – are provided by the Company at no additional charge. You’re welcome to bring your own if you have it, but there’s no need.

What To Wear Snowshoeing

When it comes to what to wear, most skiing or hiking clothing is suitable for snowshoeing. That said, clothing needs to be warm and waterproof. Also, you will find that multiple light layers rather than few heavy items are more versatile, allowing you to regulate your temperature and stay comfortable by adding or removing layers as we go. ‘Active-wear’ garments, usually made of polyester, and variously described as thermals and fleeces, are a good choice as they ‘breathe’ moisture away from the body. These are preferable to cotton, which tends to absorb moisture and sweat through the day, and may leave you feeling clammy.

Footwear

Footwear choice is very important, because although snowshoes fit almost any boot, they offer no protection from the cold or wet. For this reason your boots need to be warm, waterproof, and comfortable to walk in all day. A sturdy pair of your own walking boots with warm socks is best, whereas trainers, casual shoes and ski / snowboard boots are unsuitable. If you don’t have your own hiking boots, you can hire some locally before your trip.

Food and Drink

Snowshoeing can be energetic, and exercise plus fresh air is good for the appetite! This is why on full day walks you need a simple but hearty packed lunch, and even on a shorter walk it’s a good idea to bring some snacks. You also need something to drink. It’s pretty easy to buy most things you might want in town, or your accommodation can often help you. It’s up to you what you prefer to bring, but try to include some high energy snacks (eg chocolate, sweets, nuts, snack bars, etc) as well as a sandwich or similar. It’s pretty rare that there is anywhere to buy refreshments en route, and it may be cold when we stop, so a hot drink in a thermos flask is a nice luxury if you have one.

Here is a simple outline checklist you may find useful. It is not intended to be comprehensive, but used as a guide for packing your suitcase, and also before setting off on the day:

Clothing

  • Walking boots (comfortable, warm and waterproof)
  • Hiking socks
  • Gaiters
  • Thermal top
  • Thermal bottoms / tracksuit bottoms / leggings
  • Light fleece / jumper (x2)
  • Heavy fleece / jumper / jacket
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof trousers
  • Warm hat
  • Sun hat
  • Scarf / turtle fur / ‘snood’
  • Warm glove

Other Kit

  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Sunglasses
  • Ski goggles
  • Camera (optional)
  • Ski lift pass (optional if you have one – do not buy in advance for snowshoeing only)
  • Water bottle
  • Thermos flask (optional)
  • Snacks / sweets / chocolate (optional)
  • Small rucksack (eg 25-40 ltr)
  • Insurance details, incl. policy number, and emergency contact number

Do not panic if you don’t have all of this! Most items can easily be hired or purchased locally. Please contact me if you are unsure.