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Backcountry Ski Gear

Winter Camping Gear for Skiers

Don’t get cold: Get the gear that makes for comfort on your next overnight skiing mission.

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Whether you’re an adventurous backcountry skier who just wants to see if you can handle a frigid night in the snow, or a serious ski mountaineer planning on a bivy before attacking a big objective, this is the gear you’ll want to have handy if you’re spending a night out in the cold.

Mountain Hardwear Phantom Gore-Tex -40F Sleeping Bag

Mountain Hardwear Phantom -40 Gore Tex Sleeping Bag
The Mountain Hardwear Phantom Gore-Tex -40F Sleeping Bag.Photo courtesy of Mountain Hardwear

On a recent winter camping trip on Togwotee Pass, near Jackson, Wyo., I don’t remember temperatures dropping to 20°F below freezing at night. That’s because I was cozied up in the incredible Mountain Hardwear Phantom -40°F Gore-Tex sleeping bag, which can apparently handle even colder temps. The key ingredient isn’t the down, although it’s worth mentioning that the insulation is amazing; the magic comes from the bag’s Gore-Tex membrane, which shuttles moisture out but keeps the heat in, so there’s no heat-robbing moisture saturating the bag. And if you never intend to sleep outside when temperatures are this low, they make a 0°F-rated version with Gore-Tex as well. [$900, BUY NOW]

Outdoor Research Tundra Aerogel Booties

Outdoor Research Aerogel Booties
The Outdoor Research Tundra Aerogel Booties in black.Photo courtesy of Outdoor Research

Using the same space-grade, compression-resistant PrimaLoft Aerogel material used in the Outdoor Research Inception Gloves, the Tundra booties are a perfect option to keep your toes warm at camp. The insulation also works when wet, a critical element for late-night trips to the camp toilet or late night star-viewing peeks outside the tent. Best of all, they pack well and weigh a mere 9.3 ounces, meaning they don’t take up much space but provide comfort in the wild. [$89, BUY NOW]

Leatherman Signal Colors Multitool

Leatherman Signal Tool
The Leatherman Signal Multitool in Aqua.Photo courtesy of Leatherman

When you’re deep in the woods and something goes wrong, you never know what tool you might need. Carry the Leatherman Signal, and you won’t have to worry about it: It has 19 mostly-useful tools built into a compact, easy-to-carry mechanism. While there are a few knife options and the standard needle nose pliers, the tools that really set the signal apart are the customizable bit driver for ski binding adjustments and the spark-happy ferrocerium rod to create fires in a pinch. We can also say the bottle opener came in hady during the testing process near Jackson and Breckenridge. [$120, BUY NOW]

Nørrona Lyngen Down 850 Knickers

Norrona Down Knickers
The Nørrona Lyngen Down 850 Knickers.Photo courtesy of Nørrona

Sure, you probably brought a fat puffy plus an extra midlayer for your upper body for an overnight adventure, but what about your legs? Keep them warm at camp with the phenomenally warm Nørrona Lyngen 850 down-fill 3/4 pants. Thanks to well-placed zippers, you can put them on or slip them off without taking off your boots. They also pack into their own small stuff sack for handy packing and carrying. We wore them outside of Breckenridge mostly for comfort, but no one complained about cold legs. [$239, BUY NOW]

JetBoil Minimo

JetBoil Minimo
The JetBoil Minimo (Gas Canister not included, French Press accessory not shown).Photo courtesy of JetBoil

While the standard JetBoil has been a winter camping staple for years, the JetBoil Minimo option is a true upgrade. Yes, it melts snow with hyper-efficiency and is even better at boiling water, but the key is the regulator built into the heating element. It optimizes the stove in cold weather by adjusting air intake, meaning users don’t have to fight the dreaded frosty gas canister to get the flame to stay steady. If there is one add-on you have to get, it’s the silicone coffee press accessory. The revised lining means you don’t have to chew that first cup of coffee. Testing the Minimo in Utah’s Wasatch, we definitely stayed as hydrated and caffeinated on account of its easy-to-use nature. [$150, BUY NOW]

VSSL First Aid Kit

VSSL First Aid Kit
The basic VSSL First Aid Kit.Photo courtesy of VSSL

A critical part of any backcountry kit—day or multi-day—is a solid first aid kit. The VSSL First Aid option is a great starter kit for basic backcountry first aid in a solid aluminum cylinder container with a built-in compass and flashlight. The best part of the VSSL kit is the storage compartment, which can be used for more than just carrying first aid gear (the brand offers plenty of other options beyond first aid, including fully customizable kits). Sleek and easy to carry, the VSSL will feel right at home in your backcountry pack. [$125, BUY NOW]

Backcountry Murdock 850 Down Jacket

Backcountry Murdock Jacket
The Backcountry Murdock 850 Down Jacket in Sepia.Photo courtesy of Backcountry

Using responsibly sourced 850-fill down from ALLIED Feather and Down, the sharp-looking and extremely warm Backcountry Murdock down jacket packs well and fits great, making it a critical addition to your winter camping gear list. The armpit vents were appreciated when physical activity raised our temps some but not enough to warrant taking the down coat off. While super comfortable and, more importantly, very warm, the DWR-treated face fabric is very thin, which is great for weight but should be taken off before skiing in the trees for durability reasons. We spent a night out near Vail, Colo., and stayed plenty warm. [$330, BUY NOW]

Alpine Start Coffee for the Climate

POW x Alpine Start
Alpine Start’s limited edition Coffee for the Climate.Photo courtesy of Alpine Start Foods

SKI Magazine is a big fan of Alpine Start coffee. Their instant coffee and other great flavors are a necessity on the road, at the resort, and, most importantly, deep in the backcountry when it’s time for a cuppa. Now, the brand is giving us even more reasons to love them by donating $1 from every pack of their limited edition “Coffee for the Climate” packs to the folks at Protect Our Winters (POW). So stock up before you tour into the wild for an overnight mission and enjoy some java while warming up each morning. [$9 for a pack of 8, BUY NOW]

POW x Alpine Start – Coffee for the Climate