WINTER EQUIPMENT LIST

Clothes

You will require waterproof jacket and trousers. Essential to keep the wind and rain out and the warmth in. For the majority of Scottish winter activities I prefer a hard wearing set of waterproofs that will cope with the rigours of Scotland's winter season. I prefer trousers with at least a half length zip to ensure that they can be put on over boots.

Do not underestimate Scotland's winter climate. Think onions - lots of layers. This means you can easily regulate your temperature depending on what the weather is doing and how hard the conditions are at the time. Any kind of wicking fabric is recommended and cotton is to be avoided at all costs. Trousers which can dry out fast are a bonus.

Hats and gloves have a habit of either flying away or getting wet so I always carry a few pairs of gloves with me. At least one pair of thin gloves that I will walk in with and then a big pair to change into throughout the day - make sure that you can actually do things wearing these. I'm also a fan of a neck gaiter which can be pulled over my face when it's blowing a gale.

Odlo do a very thorough range of thermal underwear and Outdoor Research have everything from shells, soft shells, loft, technical sportswear, hat, gloves and gaiters.

Spare clothes

Apart from the clothes that I’ll expect to wear during the day, I’ll carry an extra layer with me. I’m a big fan of the synthetic ‘belay jacket’ which is a lightweight jacket that can be worn over all my clothes. If you don’t have one of these, an extra fleece will suffice. I’ll also carry a spare pair of big gloves.

Rucksack

Roughly 40 litres will be fine for the majority of Scottish winter courses. You want to be able to comfortably get all your kit inside but at the same time it doesn't want to be too big since you will only fill it. I like simplistic designs with a good size pocket in the lid. Everything in your rucksack wants to remain dry.

For our ski mountaineering courses, your rucksack will have to have system appropriate for carrying skis.

Check out Deuter for fantastic rucksack design who also specifically cater for the female cut under the Deuter SL women's fit brand. They also cater for the ski mountaineering market.

Boots

A good pair of 4 season winter boots are essential for any type of winter activity. If you have 'floppy' boots you will not be able to use your boot effectively as a tool.

Scarpa® do a massive selection of boots, ranging from trail, approach, trek, mountain, climbing and ski boots.

If you don't have boots with an integrated gaiter, it might be worth thinking about these.

Little things

A pair of goggles are essential for Scotland’s winter. Make sure that the vents are covered up with foam or they will just fill up with spindrift.

A small head torch with spare batteries. Either Halogen or strong LED's are the best.

Any personal medication and a small first aid kit to deal with common problems or existing health issues.

A cheap orange plastic emergency bivouac bag which can live in the bottom of your rucksack.

A little whistle for attracting attention and weights nothing - the majority of Deuter rucksacks have one build into the chest strap.

Navigation tools

For mainland UK navigation, I always use Ordinance Survey maps, scale 1:50,000 and a compass - I use a Silva Type 4. It is possible to enlarge the 1:50,000 map to a 1:25,000 scale if you struggle seeing all the fine detail.

Don’t forget a map case if you’re not using laminated maps. There is only one map case that works in my opinion and that is the Orblieb cases.

Food & drink

Like any engine, your body needs fuel to perform at its best. Lots of small items that can be munched on throughout the day are ideal. A one litre water bottle should provide enough liquid and/or a flask depending on personal preference.

Crampons

A good quality pair of crampons that are compatible with your boots. A set of 10 points will be adequate for general hill walking and mountaineering but I would recommend 12 points or more technical performance crampons for climbing courses. Make sure that they are easy to put on and that you can adjust them easily wearing big gloves.

Grivel do an excellent variety of crampons, from hill walking to technical climbing and specific ski mountaineering crampons.

Axes

Not wanting to get into the great ice axe length debate, basically an axe between 45 - 60 cm should suffice for hill walking and mountaineering courses - preferably with a leash that can be removed easily. Little people need little axes and long people need long axes. Once again check out the Grivel range.

You will require an ice axe and hammer for climbing courses.

Climbing helmet

You will require a climbing helmet for all courses - these can be providing if necessary for the hill walking courses.

Additional equipment for mountaineering and climbing courses

A climbing harness that will fit over all your clothes.

Please feel free to bring any technical equipment you wish to use.

Additional equipment for ski mountaineering courses

A pair of skis might be useful. Check out the Black Crow range for great ski mountaineering skis.

A pair of skins - normally you have to cut these yourself.

Ski crampons - also called Harscheisen - are certainly useful when there is lots of ice around and you need extra purchase.

Ski poles

Avalanche equipment include transceiver, probe and shovel are essential for ski mountaineering travel.
Expedition supplies

Food for 4 weeks

Alaskan pulks

The Denali 'Pig'

Patriot Hills

Antarctic freezer

Climbing rack

Hardware


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