The Best Winter Survival Gear
Expedition-worthy technology to keep you warm and comfortable—and maybe even save your life.
Not many of us are interested in braving extreme temperatures through the night in a flimsy tent. It can be a miserable—and dangerous—experience if you’re not well prepared.
When you do find yourself out in the cold, you’ll need the right gear to fight discomfort and maybe even hypothermia. So we rounded up ten expedition-worthy products to keep you toasty even when the weather goes south. Trust us, your toes will thank you.
Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Solar Generator ($1400)
It’s expensive, but considering what it can do, we think this generator is worth the investment. The Goal Zero Yeti is designed to power all of your lights, smartphones, tablets, GPS devices, cameras, laptops, and anything else that runs on electricity. Fully charge the Yeti from a wall outlet in less than 20 hours or go solar by stringing together multiple Goal Zero Boulder 20 solar panels ($200 each). Two side grips help you transport the 103-pound behemoth to your campsite.
Barebones Pendent Outdoor Lantern ($80)
You might think you can manage with a cheap flashlight or two, but winter camping is a different beast—lighting makes a big difference on those short days. This camping lantern has a large carabiner clip so it can hang from a strap inside the tent or clip to a tent pole outside. The 125-lumen light casts a wide glow and can be linked with other Barebones lanterns and then plugged into the Goal Zero Yeti with a proprietary port.
Nemo Coda -20 Down Sleeping Bag ($850)
Rated for temperatures down to minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit, the Nemo Coda sleeping bag envelopes you in a cocoon of warmth. To ward off an overnight chill, the Coda cinches down around your head, creating a seal to retain your body heat. The 850-fill down material is soft and warm, and the bag weighs less than four pounds.
Nobis Yatesy Long Parka ($850)
In the bitter cold, you need a good parka. This stylish Nobis model is made from duck down and has a coyote fur ruff to surround your face. The outer shell is treated with a Sympatex laminate to add extra protection when temperatures drop below freezing. All of the pockets are fully sealed against wind and water.
Outdoor Research Alti Mitts ($200)
Yes, gloves are nice when you want some extra mobility, but they’re simply not as warm as mittens. Outdoor Research Alti Mitts use a waterproof Gore-Tex protective shell with leather palms and a thick PrimaLoft fleece and synthetic microfiber insulation. You can easily cinch the mittens down around your wrists to trap warm air.
Brooks-Range Invasion Tent ($570)
It’s never fun to fumble with your tent in below-freezing temperatures. The Brooks-Range Invasion takes less than ten minutes to set up thanks to an easy snap-on pole system on the outside of the tent. We also found it to be very sturdy in heavy winds.
Leatherman OHT ($92)
You never know when a good knife is going to come in handy. The Leatherman OHT is an impressive little multi-tool you can attach to your belt for those times when you need to saw through a branch or open your bag of beef jerky. The OHT also has a bottle opener, screwdrivers, wire cutters, and pliers.
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm ($190)
A high-quality ground layer is almost as important as your sleeping bag on cold nights. This sleeping pad uses ThermaCapture Radiant Heat technology to seal in warm air and create a thermal cushion. The entire pad rolls up to the size of a one-liter bottle of beer and weighs less than one pound. It’s still quite cushy though—it inflates to 2.5-inches thick.
Helly Hansen HH Warm Ice Crew ($80)
You have the mittens and the parka. Now you need a great baselayer. This itch-free shirt blends merino wool and Helly Hansen’s Lifa Stay Dry synthetic so it’s both warm and breathable. Helly Hansen also makes matching pants made from the same fabric.
Tubb’s Xpedition Snowshoe ($240)
Snowshoes are the least expensive and easiest way to navigate a snowy campsite. The Tubb’s Xpedition snowshoe uses a quick release binding and it pivots back and forth depending on the steepness of the terrain.