Your best value winter gear

Discussion in 'Clothing & Footwear' started by CEves, Feb 4, 2017.

  1. CEves

    CEves Summit Camper

    Hi all - I've decided to start upgrading my gear so I can get out there in the cold. This is some kind of cabin fever madness I'm sure, but I'd be nice to not spend all winter just dreaming of outdoor adventures!

    There's obviously a whole array of choices to make, so I though it would be interesting to start by asking what delivers you the most in the winter months? - the items you wouldn't want to do without when it comes to keeping warm and comfortable. :thumbsup:
  2. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Buffalo smock. Mountain shirt 0 to 10 C. Tecmax below 0C.
    Thermal underwear.
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  3. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    Buffalo mitts.
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  4. craige

    craige Thru Hiker

    I think other things to consider is what you want to do and what gear you already have.
    Do you just want to have a wander in the local hills or do some winter scrambling?

    I have basically zero experience in the mountains in winter so I'll likely be little help. In the local hills in winter I'm fine in my normal gear plus leggings and plastic bags + a pair of merino socks or waterproof socks over my regular liner socks. Microspikes would probably be helpful as would snow baskets on my poles. Windshirt adds a lot of warmth.
    CEves likes this.
  5. Mole

    Mole Thru Hiker

    And if you want to extend your trips into camping, it's another area of gear.

    Outwith travelling over serious snow and ice on mountains where spikes n axe needed, it's really just a matter of common sense in keeping warm/dry.

    Just take enough of what you need to stay warm and dry ( spares too).

    Decent waterproofs, windproof, enough insulation, pay attention to extremities (e.g. I get painfully cold hands, so take powerstetch gloves, Buffalo mitts and Paclite waterproof mitts, and have often needed them all in cold wet weather - plus I have liner gloves for tent use too!)

    The less experience and less you spend on nice light clothing/kit the heavier your pack will be, but you can still go out if you take enough.

    I rarely get/make the chance to get northwards into mountains in snow and ice, but in winter, as well as regular day walks, I do occasional overnighters or 3 day trips where it's just above freezing and wet (maybe overnight frost's), which IME is often harder to manage than when it's subzero( so dry).
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2017
    FOX160, rikdon, rorymax and 1 other person like this.
  6. OwenM

    OwenM Section Hiker

    For my head all year around in winter when it's bad a I just stick a fleece lined mountain cap on top. Also goggles, a neoprene face mask and fleece buff when it's windy. For my hands fleece gloves and Dachstein mitts or if it's really cold extremitie mitts. For the body any combination of thermal base layer, insulating mid-layer and weather proof outer. I particularly like these from rab, fleece lining and pertex outer very windproof. For the UK mountains primaloft is I think better than down, I've a old jacket from fleabay but something like this would be great In the Alps, Andies or Scandinavia then I take down.

    Should add I live in Scotland so walk mainly in the Highlands.
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  7. Munro277

    Munro277 Thru Hiker

    Dam you beat me to that
    Jon jons likes this.
  8. Munro277

    Munro277 Thru Hiker

    In no order Buffalo mitts,Dachstien mitts..if under 2-3c I love my Montane Extreme smock..all I need on my top half all day ..hood is a wonder,very well designed and fit. I wear Páramo pants in winter
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  9. Tartanferret

    Tartanferret Thru Hiker

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  10. el manana

    el manana Thru Hiker

    Alpkit have some down gear and others reduced - think it ends tomorrow

    The time to look for winter gear will start in the next few weeks, end of season. Stick some watches on Ebay, i picked up my PHD Minimus Smock for £83.
    CEves likes this.
  11. Scotty Von Porkchop

    Scotty Von Porkchop Ultralighter

    I'd suggest multiple gloves that are cheap. I like surgical gloves (VBL) and the thermal work gloves you get at screwfix as for climbing/mountaineering and the UK MOD Goretex mitts over fleece for walking. I don't spend as they get trashed so quickly.

    Don't bother with winter jackets too much, just layer.

    Boots, axes and crampons I'd love to hear cheaper options. They're the killer!
    Mole and CEves like this.
  12. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    This is such a hard question with so much winter kit, and for different kinds of winter trips. Best value for me is the bits of kit that are the most flexible, and go on majority of trips

    Primus Omnilite Ti goes just about everywhere, all year, and runs all liquid fuels or gas for a 200g burner
    Paramo Fuera peak is a year round performer.
    RBH Vaprthrm custom fit socks, with merino liners keep waterproof boots dry inside, and feet warm in any winter temps for up to a week without changing them, as warm as 2 pairs of thick boiled wool socks.
    Lands End silk long johns get worn under any trews, or thermals. Tenner a pair.
    Devold Expedition hoody is at home in warm UK winter temps to stupid cold.
    Imco Slimline lighter has never failed to light and keeps it's petrol for weeks. 20+ years of failsafe use for me.
    Nalgene HDPE bottles, not BPA free. Dries kit as a hot water bottle , won't split, always unscrews. Keeps down insulation lofted and dry.
    Integral Designs Bugaboo II eVent bivy bag (now Rab) is trusted in any conditions.
  13. rorymax

    rorymax Section Hiker

    Do you have a link for these Pete, tenner is a great price.
  14. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    On discount, but not a tenner presently. They often have offers though on top of the discounts. I get them from the factory shop, they have... some really good prices sometimes.

    Got a 600 fill gilet for £7, £20 merino liners for £1/pair.
    Mole likes this.
  15. Toot

    Toot Summit Camper

    Not the answer for every extreme condition, but no way would I consider being without my Outdoor Designs Kona convertible Windbloc glove now. Other gloves add to the hand protection system, but the Kona's are a part of it every time and used year-round because they're a perfect fit and the most useful over the widest range of conditions. Merino liners may go underneath, Buffalo's, Montane Extreme mitts/Goretex Tuffbags, ME Pro Shell mitt and liner, Rab down mitts may be added to boost performance as conditions demand, but always the Kona's will be there. I place considerable importance on protection from the wind in a winter kit selection.

    Tog24 Windbloc balaclava. Cheap, perfect fit, utterly effective. If I'm wearing this it's darned cold and probably darned windy. If it's darned cold and darned windy and I'm not wearing it because I left it at home I'm not a happy bunny - I would consider cancelling a cold-weather jaunt if I thought I'd need this item but didn't have it with me. A spur-of-the-moment buy, astonishing find, now an utterly indispensable bit of cold-weather kit.

    A gifted Woodlore (Ray Mears) Possum fur and merino beanie. Very soft, warmest beanie I've ever worn by a mile - may be found too warm for anything but cold weather use. If I lost it I'd buy a replacement immediately, without a second of hesitation.

    Paramo Fuera windproof smock. Fits over any baselayer/midlayer(s)/insulation combo I may use on the move. A longer length which I need, may be called "boxy" or a bit "flappy", more effective kit than fashionable kit, but this is unquestionably my winter windproof layer when I really need a winter windproof layer. Too warm as a warm-weather windproof.

    In 45 years of kit-buying I have owned many items intended to serve the same purposes as these, but this lot represents the peak performance I have known in each field. There may perhaps be better, but I haven't personally discovered them yet.
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  16. Graham

    Graham Thru Hiker

    If this is completely new to you @CEves, then Chris Townsend has a couple of short introductory videos on YouTube re: winter clothing for UK conditions, always worth taking on board that wealth of personal experience. You won't find specific brand recommendations but CT's advice for the UK ties in with a lot of the above i.e. layering, windproofs, synthetics.

    @Toot nails it for me:

    Often times in the UK the ambient temperature on summits can be just below freezing but the windchill can take it to -20C or below (it's pretty pleasant x-c skiing in -20C with light clothing if the air is still :)). I like Extremities kit and personally prefer flexible clothing combos e.g. a pertex hooded windproof with a separate fleece rather than an integrated item. I can't recall the last time I wore long johns in the hills. Thinking about a day walk on easy terrain in our changeable climate, the gear I wouldn't want to be without is the stuff that usually stays in my pack (goggles, windstopper balaclava, spare gloves etc.).
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  17. Padstowe

    Padstowe Thru Hiker

    Buffalo special 6 smock, rab vapour rise gloves with a pair of powerstrech gloves & Buffalo mitts in the bag.
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  18. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    I'm a bit puzzled as how you find a 'Fuera' long enough. I had one. I'm 5'3" and it came to just below my waist …….:arghh:. Sold it.
    My Buffalo is much longer - covers my arse right down to the top of my legs and can be 'tightened up' so fits close around my waist - no drafts :smug:.

    PS. - and the pockets on Fuera are pants - open the zip and everything falls out.
  19. Whiteburn

    Whiteburn Thru Hiker

    I’m probably committing sacrilege but in winter I think a good pair of warm waterproof boots + gaiters are an essential (even the thought of wading through snow or across semi-frozen peat bog makes my toes curl); I’m not talking B3 rated climbing boots!

    IMO the ‘normal’ summer kit isn’t out of place in the winter you just need to add more layers. Aldi merino underwear is pretty good value.

    Would recommend carrying spares for the extremities, I carry: liner gloves, wind stopper gloves, tuff bags overmitts, Lowe Alpine mountain hat, balaclava, Blackrock beanie, normal buff, merino buff.

    I’ll usually carry a down jacket on back packing trips, but you could go for a heavy weight fleece.

    One tip is to make sure your jacket will fit over the insulating layer.

    Even sticking to the lower mountain areas I’d invest in a set of micro-spikes; makes boulder hopping across frozen streams a lot easier & safer (or even just walking down an icy path). If you want to head for steeper slopes invest in a lightweight axe (& learn how to use it); something like the Camp Corsa is good enough for self-arrest, chopping the odd foothold & is light enough to carry on a multiday trip.
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  20. Toot

    Toot Summit Camper

    The Fuera just seems to fit as I need, and it's as long as it needs to be. I'm 6ft but have stumpy legs and it's fine, really. Yup, pocket isn't the best - what's wrong with a kangaroo jobbie - but I'd only have a map in the Fuera pocket and I normally don't need that anyway. Not sure what Buffalo you have but I've been tempted by them several times - just don't have anything in the current system that needs replacing ATM. I'll bear the recommendation in mind though, probably have a look at one just-in-case - ta. Any specific model??? Other windproof is a Rab Cirrus for warmer times - light as hell and notably short but nowhere near as warm as the Fuera because wind flattens it against a less-layered summer outfit. It may be the difference between the Fuera and Cirrus length that makes the Fuera seem more enveloping, but it does the job and that's me happy.

    Looking at the other posts, I agree with comments about boots and gaiters. My go-to gaiters are ancient Karrimor SB's - old friends, couple of discrete patches, but still effective - and keeping wet off the trousers which eventually runs into boots and ruins foot comfort is a winter essential. So often it's grot that comes in through the ruddy great hole a leg goes in that causes the blame for "leaky boots".

    Berghaus Mountain Cap is becoming a relied-upon winter constant too. The Lowe Alpine and Rab models just didn't fit right and the Berghaus was bought as an I'll-bin-it-if-it-doesn't-work option, but it really is starting to impress after reliable use. I underestimated its capability and the AQ2 fabric.

    Microspikes. Good call. Brings confidence in whoops conditions and saves a surprising amount of nervous shuffling gingerly along like a fairy on the way to Fairyland.[/QUOTE]
  21. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    I also have their lightweight version - 'Teclite' which I use above 10c.
    I've considered their windshirt but never found one 2ndhand (obviously a good recommend….no one ever parts with them :angelic:) and I am too parsimonious to pay full wack. Also there is no lower pocket on the windshirt and I find it very useful. I have plans to make a copy of the Buffalo windshirt but with lower pocket…...….some day :whistling:.

    Buffalo garments are a "Marmite" thing - I loved mine from first use. My hubby won't go near them and loves Paramo - which after trying, I find are in the category of "Emporers New Clothes".
    Padstowe likes this.
  22. paul

    paul Thru Hiker

    Love my Fuera. One of my most used items. Goes on trips year round and on dog walks over a fleece
  23. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Hubby likes and uses his Fuera - but only in summer. He's built along the "brick s***house" model. :)
    I have several other windshirts (Haglofs and Golite) which are half the weight of the Fuera so I don't mind if they spend all day in the pack (summer) - but in winter I switch to a baselayer and fleece lined Buffalo = no mid/fleece layer.
  24. paul

    paul Thru Hiker

    A good solid British design model that i also fit :D
    cathyjc likes this.
  25. MartinK9

    MartinK9 Section Hiker

    Army artic wool socks and wool wristlets. Picked mine up for a pound a pair.
    CEves likes this.

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