Participant Personal Gear List – Valid for 2023 Trips
This page is designed to provide specific recommendations and links for personal packing for our guided trips. For a cleaner checklist-style list, use the following .pdf document:
- Personal Gear List (provided by each individual);
Note: These recommendations are intended to be used as a guideline only. We do not expect you to have the ‘best’ of everything to participate on our trips. If considering making a few purchases, we recommend the following priorities:
- Proper Footwear: Soft, breathable deerskin moccasins are by far the best footwear for our style of winter camping. In fact I doubt we would love the winter as much as we do if we hadn’t discovered moccasins. These should be accompanied by a pair of lightweight rubber ‘over-boots’ in case of warm conditions. For economy and convenience a pair of large winter Sorel-style boots which can accommodate 2 – 3 pairs of socks, and have removable felt liners are 2nd best.
NOTE: Hiking boots are not appropriate.
- Traditional Snowshoes: Modern snowshoes were designed for use in icy/ wind-packed alpine environments (or more recently, for hard-packed, high-use trails in more urban environments). Simply put, they don’t have enough surface area to provide adequate floatation in deep, unpacked snow. We know of no better snowshoe weaving material than 400lb fishing line, found here: Lure’s Traditional Snowshoes or better yet, weave your own!
- Good Base Layers: A good layering system starts with a good base layer. These are the clothes you will be wearing next to your skin all day, every-day. We never skimp on a base layer, and try to find nice merino wool long underwear whenever possible.
- Nice Wool Pants: If you don’t have them already, you won’t regret purchasing a nice pair of heavy wool pants. They will find use all winter around the home(stead) and in the bush.
- Specialty Cotton Wind Layers: These are not essential if you have nylon wind layers already, but if you plan to do a lot of winter trekking in exposed locations (ie. lakes and rivers), they are an exceptional bit of clothing. We have made, and love, our own, which is now available in our store. We have also found cotton/nylon wind pants at army surplus stores.
The Complete List
If you have any questions, please contact us.
Clothing – Bottoms
- Heavy Wool or Synthetic Pants
Best: Military surplus stores can be an excellent source of high quality, heavy wool pants;
Best Online: Big Bill 100% wool pants
OR 100% wool Filson “Mackinaw Pants”
Economy: Your favourite roomy winter pant;
This should be a windproof cotton or nylon pant which pulls on easily over your moccasins or boots and fits over your pants. This layer becomes less essential with a long anorak.
Best: Empire Wool and Canvas – Tundra Trousers – Currently Unavailable.
Economy: Canadian Forces Wind Pant – Price varies, link leads to online search results, since stock varies so quickly on this used item. Check local surplus stores as well.
Clothing – Tops
** It is important to note that the items on this list should layer together very comfortably. Ie. Ensure that you can wear your base layer, mid-layer and jacket all together, and your wind layer or parka should fit over all of the first 3 items.
Costco, who knew?: We’ve recently found that Costco has a great selection of men’s and women’s 100% merino wool tops in various weights. They’re super soft and well made, but not online in Canada. Check stores, we’ve liked the following:
Cloudveil (very light), Calvin Klein (light-mid) and Kirkland Signature (mid).
- 2x Light Base Layer (half-zip or pullover)
This layer should be close-fitting, and long sleeved. No drafts!
Best: Costco Cloudveil 100% Merino top (~ $20);
Best Online: MEC Merino T3 Zip-T
Value Online: MEC T3, Long Sleeved, Zip-T
- Mid-way Layer (half-zip or pullover)
Best: EWC Scout Shirt
Good alternative: Stacking the three Costco products listed above would serve as a great light and mid-weight;
- Heavy wool or fleece jacket (full-zip preferred)
Best: Empire Wool and Canvas Camp Coat (Not available in 2022)
Haven’t worn it, but a lot of people swear by it: Filson Mackinaw Jacket
Local: Mark’s Work Wearhouse or similar
Economy: Thrift stores ~Price varies;
- Outer Wind Layer
This should be a loose-fitting windproof item made of nylon or cotton which easily fits over all other layers. If the hood has a fur ruff you will be very well protected in windy conditions.
Best: Lure’s own cotton canvas anorak
OR Build your own LotN anorak from our DIY kit
OR Any of the shells from Empire Wool and Canvas
Economy: Large nylon wind jacket- Thrift stores & Army Surplus stores;
- Very warm parka for rest stops
Down jackets are best because they are extremely lightweight and compress well, so they can easily be packed in a day pack high on the toboggan.
Best: Feathered Friends Expedition Down Jackets
Economy: MEC APEX Down Jacket
Clothing – Extremities
(Many of the following items are easily identified and readily available, thus no links have been provided).
- Warm Wool Toque;
- 2 x face mask, neck tube or balaclava;
- Thick wool scarf;
- Heavy wool mitts and leather or nylon overmitts;
Check out our mittens and DIY mitt kits!
- Insulated leather work gloves;
- Heavy wool socks (4 – 5 pairs)
** We recommend a base layer wool sock that is comfortable next to your foot, plus a thick knit sock which fits comfortably over your base sock;
Best base sock: Thermohair Wool Socks – $30 CAD;
Best thick knit sock: These can be found at thrift stores or knitting stores.
- Moccasins or Sorel-style boots
Best: Our Moccasins;
Economy: Kamik Boots – Canadian Tire with 2 or 3 pairs of socks- $65 CAD;
- Rubber over-boots (if using moccasins)
Best: Tingley Natural Rubber Overboots $50 CAD;
Alternative: Local industrial supply stores;
- Ski googles;
- Underwear (briefs are best under long underwear);
- Pajamas – comfortable, light, breathable material;
Example: MEC T-0 Long John
- Sleeping Bag rated to -20;
Top of the Line: Feathered Friends Expedition Down Bags:
Economical Alternative: MEC Centaurus synthetic sleeping bag
- Sleeping Pad
** Many guests are now bringing both a closed-cell foam pad, and an inflatable pad to go over that.
Durable closed cell foam: Closed cell foam winter pad
Luxury to be used carefully: Exped Dura 8
- Toiletries: Toothbrush/ toothpaste/ floss/ chapstick/ vitamins/ meds, etc;
- LED Headlamp – huge variety at MEC (USB rechargeable is nice for longer trips);
- OPT: Reading/ sketch/ log book;
- 2 litre water capacity;
We use 2 x 1l insulated vacuum bottle (eg. “Thermos”)
- Sunglasses and sunscreen;
- Simple belt knife
Recommended: Bahco Belt Knife – $15;
Best: Our traditional snowshoes with monoline weave;
DIY: Weave your own from our Snowshoe Weaving Kit!
- OPT: Ski/ trekking Pole(s);
- OPT: Small binoculars;
- OPT: Camera;
- Small wash towel;
- Lightweight rain gear (tops and bottoms);
- Spare headlamp batteries;
- Duffel Bags x 2 (35l or 60l) – (MEC)