Oh, what to wear snowshoeing! To add confusion to the great what-to-wear debate, snowshoeing is one of those tricky activities where you can be cold and sweating at the same time.
That’s why it’s even more important to nail down a snowshoeing and winter hiking outfit that you love, that will keep you warm but not overheat throughout the day.
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Below are my top picks for pants, shirts and jackets to wear snowshoeing.
Best Pants To Wear Snowshoeing
Unless you’re in extreme winter conditions, luckily you don’t need full on ski pants to go snowshoeing. The key is to avoid pants made of cotton, like jeans, that will just soak up the snow and hold on to that cold moisture.
If it’s fairly warm out, think sunny and in the 30’s, you can simply wear comfortable synthetic leggings or quick drying hiking pants.
If it’s colder or you’ll be out during a wet spring snow storm, you’ll want pants that have a little more oomph, either with more insulation or hard shell pants to repel moisture, or go for a hybrid like these Kuhl pants that fit and wear like leggings, but are a soft shell material that repels rain and snow and dries quickly if they do get wet.
Best Shirts And Tops For Snowshoeing
Synthetic, quick drying shirts and lots of layers will be your friend here! Even if it seems very cold out, anticipate creating your own body heat and sweating quite a bit while snowshoeing.
If it’s a fairly warm day out, think sunny and in the 30’s or warmer, I might just wear a synthetic t-shirt with one light, insulating layer over it like a fleece jacket.
If it’s much colder out, think a wintery day with temperatures in the teens, I might reconsider if I actually want to go snowshoeing – haha, just kidding! (Kind of!) I’m a huge wimp when it comes to super cold days, but the right clothes really do make all the difference. On cold days, I wear a long sleeved synthetic base layer, with a fleece over it, as well as a puffy coat and hard shell jacket to block the wind and snow.
Best Jackets For Snowshoeing
Whether I wear it or just pack in my bag just in case, I always bring a rain jacket or some sort of water proof hard shell to help block the wind and any wet snow that may come down.
If it’s real cold out, I also usually pack or wear a warm puffy down coat. Honestly, after I get moving I do usually end up taking it off and putting in my pack but I like to know I have it to stay warm during breaks or in case of emergency.
Best Boots And Socks For Snowshoeing
I swear by FITS socks and won’t wear anything else hiking or backpacking. For snowshoeing, I love their ski socks or heavy weight/winter hiking socks because I know they’ll never sink down or scrunch up in my boots.
I’ve used and loved Keen winter boots for years, but any waterproof boot that fits your feet well and you can move in for hours on end will be just fine. I also prefer a very high cut boot for winter to help keep the snow out, but more on that in the next section.
Extras You Might Need While Snowshoeing
Gaiters: If you don’t have high cut/winter boots, I definitely recommend waterproof gaiters to help keep the snow out of your boots and keep the bottom of your pant legs dry and snow-free.
Winter gloves, fleece buff, warm hat: Of course, you’ll also want to keep your hands, neck and head warm and covered up. I always bring warm winter gloves, a warm buff or scarf and a winter hat. Sometimes if I’m working and sweating hard enough, these extras get thrown into my pack, but I’m always glad to have them just in case.
Goggles: As silly as I may look, I love goggles like this on windy days. You know the ones where your eyes won’t stop watering from being pounded by the cold wind for hours on end? These definitely help with that.
Hot hands: These can be such a morale booster on super chilly days when your fingers just won’t warm up. Place them in your gloves, mittens or pockets to warm your hands. Or place a few in any and all pockets on the inside of your coat and pants to help add some heat inside your layers. These are also great to put inside your sleeping bag on cold camping nights!
Trekking poles: Maneuvering yourself in snowshoes over uneven terrain isn’t always the easiest or most graceful activity. Trekking poles with snow baskets can help you keep your balance and move more efficiently while snowshoeing. I do believe you get what you pay for with trekking poles and after burning through a few cheap-o pairs, I finally invested a pair of Black Diamond Z poles and they’ve last many years on too many snowshoe hikes and backpacking trips to count.
For more tips on winter hiking and snowshoeing, check out:
- Snowshoeing Guide For Beginners
- How To Wash Your Down Jacket – Without Creating Clumps!
- 5 Winter Hiking Essentials To Add To Your Pack
- 13 Wonderful Tips For Winter Hiking