The first serious storms of this winter season are on the ground (sorry, Buffalo), but that shouldn’t keep you off the trail. Sure, it might be below freezing and your favorite trail is completely iced over and deserted. That means you’ll have the best spots on the mountain all to yourself, that is, if you know how to build your hiking kit up for the winter. A winter summit day gear list can easily start looking like you’re packing for a trek to Everest instead of a quick jaunt in the woods, so we’ve done the serious leg work and helped you pick out the best trekking gear for cold weather trips above the the treeline.
Our favorite four-season pack is the Osprey Mutant 38. Redesigned for this winter, this formidable gear hauler is just as at home hauling ice axes and rope up Rainier as it is navigating the twisting canyons of Zion National Park. Specific alpine climbing features like water and snow shedding outer material, a stowable helmet carry system, A-frame ski carry, and climbing harness compatible suspension make for the perfect formula for bagging peaks in the snow. Using the side compression we’ve dialed it down for light day use, and even hauled ski and camera gear on serious ski-mountaineering routes. To sum it up in a single word, the Mutant is flawless.