My 2020-2021 Winter Backpacking Gear

My winter backpacking gear. Berryman Trail – Day Three, December 2020. Copyright © 2020 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

Evidently my idea of getting away early includes time to stop and take pictures of my gear.

Foreground, from left to right

  • Everything is sitting on my 6’x3′ Tyvek groundsheet (which I rarely use fully unfolded).
  • Tree straps.
  • Chameleon Hammock, with under quilt protector and winter cover (though I’ve stopped using the cover recently. I’ll soon refit it if it gets really cold!).
  • Camp/sleeping clothes (in the green ‘packing pod’).
  • Top quilt Rated at 10°F. My trip planning limit is a forecast of 20°F and I have used it down to 16°F (That’s -12°C, -6.6°C and -9°C respectively). With my under quilt protector, and winter hammock cover, I ought to be cozy down to around 10°F, but I don’t fancy standing/sitting around doing camp chores at those temps!
  • Under quilt. This is rated the same as my top quilt.
  • Pillow (the orange thing at the top).
  • Wood burning cooking stove.
  • Cook kit (Pot, mug, Fancee Feest alcohol cooking stove, wind-screen, fire starters and dishcloth) all stored in my pot cozy, plus I must not forget my long handled spoon.
  • Trash (in the white bag). Leave no trace means carrying a lot of trash. A four day trip can produce over ½lb of trash.
  • DCF Food bag (blue), it’s water proof, so it can hang in a tree in the rain. It’s looking quite depleted with just one more night to go. It’ll hold around five days winter food at most. In it is the line for hanging the bag, around 50ft of highly reflective line (so I can find it in the dark) attached to a small DCF bag, to put a rock in. This works surprisingly well, and enables me to throw the line 20ft+ up a tree.
  • Nalgene 32 oz. water bottle. this is all the water I typically carry. I fill it up as often as I need.
  • Waterproof DCF ‘Go bag,’ the black bag on the right, containing all my spares, first aid kit, compass, headlamp, camp light, journal, my medications, and the 10,000 mAh battery charger pack, which can charge all the electronics: phone/GPS, camera, satellite communication, headlamp, and camp light as needed.

Then we have

  • The camp chair (I love my REI camp chair!),
  • puffy jacket, and a
  • hunter orange tabard (we are still in the hunting season), and I must not forget,
  • Zpacks Arc Haul backpack, lined with a waterproof DCF bag.

In the backpack back pocket

  • Towel (one should never go anywhere without one’s towel1).
  • Noodles (my lunch for the day).
  • Tuna sachet (also lunch for the day).
  • Baby wipes–a backpacking essential.
  • Tarp stakes.
  • 62oz unfiltered water bottle. If I think I’m not going to be able to find water I fill this and lug it around.
  • Water scoop, Sawyer Squeeze water filter, and bleach (two drops per liter).
  • Syringe (for back-flushing the filter).
  • 12oz bottle of alcohol for the Fancee Feest stove. 12oz should last four days or so. I have a bigger 20oz bottle I could carry should I need it. The bottle has Duct Tape wrapped around it for minor repairs. I’ve had to use the tape a couple of times recently.
  • Cat hole trowel, with several feet of paracord wrapped around the handle
  • 7oz empty water bottle for clean up.

1The late Douglass Adams

Not visible

I have no idea where the tarp is. Oh yeah, I remember! The tarp line is holding the backpack up, so I couldn’t take it down until after the picture was taken. The tarp lives in the main compartment of the backpack. Also the camera can’t be seen (d’uh!). 🙂

In the right side-pocket:

  • Mini tripod.
  • Waterproof jacket and rain skirt.

The left side pocket is empty, it’s where I keep my Nalgene water bottle.

On the hip belt:

  • Snacks and trail food,
  • hand sanitizer,
  • sharpie,
  • whistle, and
  • handgun.

On the shoulder strap (in a waterproof DCF pocket)

  • Phone/GPS.
  • Paper maps.
  • Garmin InReach Mini (satellite communication).

Food & Hot drinks

For a typical day of winter camping, the following weighs in at around 1½-2lbs per day.

  • Breakfast. cup of hot chocolate and a cup of tea; dehydrated biscuits and gravy or dehydrated breakfast hash, or Oats.
  • Trail Snacks. Two handfuls of almond and raisins, two mini Snickers bars, and a couple of rashers of pre-cooked bacon.
  • Lunch. Sachet of tuna, noodles, cup of tea.
  • Dinner. Cup of hot chocolate and a dehydrated meal. My current favorites are: chicken and dumplings, chili mac with beef, teriyaki chicken, beef stroganoff, lasagna with meat sauce, spaghetti with meat sauce, and beef stew.


This depends of the weather I’m expecting, but typically I’ll have the following

Trail Clothes

  • Shemagh2 –possibly my favorite piece of ancillary clothing
  • Buff2 Keeps my ears warm and my glasses clean!
  • Water resistant outback bush hat, keeps the rain and sun out of my eyes.
  • Bandana2 (I tend to use this as a hankie!)
  • Merino wool base layer top, which I use as a hiking shirt
  • Snow pants (below 32°F), zippered leg pants (32°F up ), or utility kilt (45°F up)
  • Boxer undies
  • Puffy down jacket with hood and/or puffy down jacket (I’ve been using this as a replacement for my fleece jumper. It’s lighter and compresses better)2
  • If needed, merino wool base layer pants from my camp clothes2
  • Gloves, I’ve two pairs, depending on how cold it is2
  • Toe socks2
  • Luna Sandals2. I do have some hiking shoes, but I’ve only worn them on one trip.
  • Rain Jacket. This doubles up as a wind-break. I must remember to tuck my rain jacket hood inside the neck of the jacket if I’m wearing my hat and not bothering with the hood. Otherwise the hood fills with water when it rains (I’ll let you guess how I found that out).
  • Rain skirt – I’ve now had a chance to use this several times and I think a rain skirt much better than rain pants. The skirt keeps you cooler, there’s better freedom of movement–stopping for a pee is much easier–it keeps you just as dry, and doubles up as a rain cover for an exposed hammock end, or as a frost/condensation bib to keep my top quilt dry once I’ve set up camp. I’ve used it in all those situations.

Camp Clothes

2 Items above also double up as camp clothes

  • Fleece pants
  • Merino wool base layer
  • Beanie (thinsulate or hunter orange)

Depending on my clothing load-out the base weight–without food, water, fuel, and ‘extras’– is 18-19lbs (weighed not calculated). Fully laden at the start of the trip including the extra 62oz of water and food for five days (I always carry some spare food in case of a change of plan) I was at my pack’s maximum recommended loading of 35lbs.

There’s a complete list of my cold weather gear here:

Zpacks Arc Haul Backpack. Berryman Trail – Day Three, December 2020. Copyright © 2020 Gary Allman, all rights reserved.

2 thoughts on “My 2020-2021 Winter Backpacking Gear

  1. Tim

    Thanks for your posts Gary. Great info, for anyone that backpacks. I enjoy your posts, keeps me going, and wanting to go.


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