Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Pack It In: Winter Summit Day

Winter Summit Day
Image used with permission by copyright holder
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.

Osprey Mutant 38 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.

Super.Natural Comfort on the trail starts from your skin out. When the mercury drops your favorite flannel might not cut it, especially when you’re hauling a big pack in heavy winds. We got a sneak peak at Super.Natural’s new line of merino baselayers earlier this year, and after beating on them for a few months this fall, we’re very impressed with how they’ve held up to a few hundred miles of trail abuse. The merino-polyester-lycra blend imparts the benefits of wool – anti stench and wicking – with the best in class durability from a synthetic. With a pair of these on, any worries about cold and wet will be banished instantly. They recently launched their fall collection in the US, so be on the lookout for them to hit retailers soon.

Salewa Mountain Trainer A good pair of boots is a serious investment, and the right boots may just save you life on icy winter trails. We’ve been keeping track of Salewa since their first foray into the American markets in early 2010. Their hiking and approach shoes are among the best, and their flagship trekking boot, the Gore-Tex Mountain Trainer is as close to a work of art as a boot can get. Salewa’s 3F Evo fit system locks your ankle and heel into place, ensuring a blister free day. Trust us on this one – we have put a few pairs to the test canyoneering and trekking and they are simply the most comfortable boots on the market. The Gore-Tex liner and climbing shoe lace system round out the comfort features of this superb all weather boot.

Solite 2500 EX Hiking in winter usually means you’re starting and finishing in the dark. We spotted the Light and Motion Solite 250 EX on a couple of mountain bikes in Vail, CO earlier this year and after getting blinded by their 250 lumen output (seriously, think car high beams) it was an easy decision to pick one up. With detachable headlamp straps, bike mounts, and as a standalone system, it is the most versatile flashlight we’ve ever used and now sits ready to go in our packs all year round.

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Nasty weather can blow in blindingly fast when you’re on the trail. You’ve got to be prepared with an extra layer or two to keep out the worst of it. The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Hoody is as good as it gets for warmth, packability, and weight when you’re on the trail. The proprietary ghost whisperer fabric is impervious to leaking down like so many other jackets, and also easily sheds light rain. Water repellent, 800-fill down rounds it out, making the Ghost Whisperer the lightest puffy jacket you’ll ever own, and probably the last you’ll ever need.

Hillsound Gaiters Deep snow is the bane of most hikers, and that dreaded moment when you sink hip deep and fill your boot with snow is a day ruiner. A decent pair of gaiters adds an extra layer of protection by sealing out the weather at your most vulnerable point – the seam of boot and pants. Our favorite? The Hillsound Equipment Super Armadillo Nano. It’s built from Schoeller C-Change fabric, making it ultra breathable, yet easily sheds water, ice, and grime for hours on end. We especially liked that it sat over the calf and had burly buckles holding it up, combating gravity and pockets of deep snow with ease.

Austin Parker
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Austin Parker is a former contributor at The Manual Parker is a powder skier and sport climber and is no stranger hauling…
How much does it cost to build a golf course?
How much does it cost to build a golf course? The answer isn't a hole in one
A golf course with water views.

Have you ever looked around your favorite golf course and wondered what it took for those magical 18 holes to be the calming oasis you love? Or think you could do better than your local green and build a golf course that won't make you want to throw your driver into the trees? Either way, how much does it cost to build a golf course? The answer isn't a one-swing-fits-all kind of deal. Here's how to break down if building a golf course is something you want to putt around with.
The golf course building details

What to think about first
Before starting a budget for anything, you have to know the details. If you want to update your bathroom, you don't need to do a demo first, then buy the new toilet, and then measure the space.

Read more
Scout debuts Yoho, its first pop-up truck camper, with more models to come
Pack a full kitchen, toilet, and room to sleep 4 adults—all in the bed of almost any midsized pickup.
Rendering of a Toyota Tacoma with a Scout Yoho pop-up truck camper installed.

Way back when, in the dark days of the Pandemic Era, stir-craziness was rampant, fueling an explosion in new RV development. Scout Campers became part of that craze, releasing three new hard-sided truck campers in rapid succession. Now, the Washington-based builder is getting into the "pop-top" game with the debut of its all-new Yoho pop-up truck camper.
Everything we know about Scout's new Yoho pop-up truck camper

Since 2020, Scout Campers' entire line-up of hard-sided truck campers has been about portability, durability, and comfort. The Yoho continues that trend but with an even lighter, more compact, more portable design. Fully deployed, it's similar in size and proportions to its hard-sided brethren. But, Scout used next-gen materials—namely composite panels over an aluminum exoskeleton, a one-piece monocoque composite roof, and featherweight interior materials like recycled paper and bamboo—to pare down the dry weight to just under 1,000 pounds. On the outside, it's purpose-built to fit short- and long-bed midsize trucks like the Toyota Tacoma. What's more, the shorter design lowers the overall center of gravity for improved agility and handling on challenging trails.

Read more
Why this national park is known as North America’s Galapagos Islands
This national park is a true paradise
Channel Islands

Nestled off the coast of Southern California, Channel Islands National Park is a hidden gem that offers an unparalleled glimpse into the natural beauty of the region. Often referred to as the "Galápagos Islands of North America," this national park encompasses five islands: Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara. Each island boasts unique ecosystems, endemic species, and a rich cultural history that makes it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and adventurers alike.
Exploring the Galápagos of North America

Channel Islands National Park earns its nickname due to the remarkable similarities it shares with the famous Galápagos Islands. Both regions are isolated, leading to the evolution of unique species found nowhere else in the world. The Channel Islands are home to over 145 plant and animal species that are endemic, meaning they have evolved independently and are exclusive to these islands.
Anacapa Island
Known for its iconic lighthouse and stunning sea cliffs, Anacapa Island is the smallest of the Channel Islands but offers big adventures. The island's Arch Rock is a popular photography spot, and its waters are teeming with marine life, making it perfect for snorkeling and diving.
Santa Cruz Island
The largest island in the park, Santa Cruz, offers diverse landscapes ranging from rugged mountains to pristine beaches. Visitors can explore the extensive network of hiking trails, visit the historic Scorpion Ranch, and kayak through the famous Painted Cave, one of the largest sea caves in the world.
Santa Rosa Island
A haven for hikers and campers, Santa Rosa Island features rolling hills, expansive beaches, and rare Torrey pines. The island is also home to the endemic island fox, a small, charismatic predator that visitors can spot while exploring.
San Miguel Island
Known for its challenging weather conditions and remote beauty, San Miguel Island is a paradise for adventurous souls. The island hosts thousands of seals and sea lions at Point Bennett and offers incredible opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife photography.
Santa Barbara Island
The smallest and most remote island, Santa Barbara Island, is a sanctuary for seabirds and marine life. Its rocky shores and kelp forests are ideal for snorkeling and diving, while the island's trails provide breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.
Tips for visiting Channel Islands National Park

Read more