Imagine this: a cascading mountain range, wildlife, and white powder snow – finding yourself in the middle of the ultimate Canadian playground. You, a hardworking city-dwelling adventurer, taking in and savoring the beauty and tranquility of each moment.
Alberta is a dream for to those willing to fall to into its beauty. It’s safe to say that the human experience is built on the idea that we can and should explore and experience as many places we possibly can – and the Rocky Mountains are a great place to start.
Just as a road trip requires a partner-in-crime and a selection of good tunes, winter treks in the mountains call for a few essentials to be enjoyed to the fullest.
Let’s start from the toes:
You wouldn’t go running in flip-flops or boxing without gloves, so to maximize your experience, a trusty pair of hiking boots is essential. For a frost kissed winter hike, wool socks are a great addition to keep in the heat. A pair of insulated hiking boots is also a great investment that will help keep those toes warm. These North Face Insulated Winter Boots won’t disappoint!
Fashion over function won’t cut it on the snow-dusted trail. While you may be tempted to look as good as the mountain views you’ll be soaking up – your performance is more important. You’ll want to allow for some movement in order to be comfortable, and unrestricted. Hiking pants and with stretch material, like these Fast Trek Pants from Columbia will help you to hit the trails with ease.
A winter hike will have you yearning for a breathable shirt that wicks sweat away from the surface of your skin. While your working up a sweat, that moisture can actually cling to your skin and bring your body temperature down. Check out MEC online or in-store for a soft and sweat-wicking merino wool long sleeve as a base layer. Keep the heat, and the good times abundant!
A warm, durable hat is a must when it comes to winter hiking. Retaining your own body heat is important when the temperature gets a tad chilly – and covering your head can help to keep you cozy! Consider something waterproof so you can be prepared for anything mother nature may throw at you!
Getting a good pair of gloves with waterproof insulation will help keep your fingers warm and your spirits high. While mittens may feel more comfortable, fingered gloves will give you more dexterity and control throughout your hike.
Fingers and toes are among the first to get cold so make sure you pack accordingly! Check out a pair of our favourite gloves from MEC here.
Now that you’re all dressed, all you need is somewhere to stash your stuff!
Whether it’s a 3-day hike in the Himalayas or a 2-hour hike in Panther River, a proper backpack will be essential to keeping food, extra clothing, and a camera to capture all of the beauty you’re experiencing close. For a winter hike, a 35-45 liter backpack will provide enough room for all your winter hiking needs. Depending on your skill level, a 35-45-litre backpack will also hold crampons, snowshoes, and microspikes. Osprey has a wide selection of competent backpacks you can explore here.
Below is the ultimate list of the top 10 essentials to bring in your backpack:
5. First Aid Kit
6. Swiss Army Knife
7. Sunglasses and Sunscreen
10. Toilet Paper
11. Survival Gear – Sleeping Bag, Tent, Stove, Pots, Pans
With all of these winter essentials, you are ready for the adventure of a lifetime! Huddled in the sanctity of the Albertan Rocky Mountains, Panther River Lodge is a family owned wilderness resort that encourages all who come to call it “home.” Offering helicopter rides, yoga retreats, weddings, corporate team building events, trail rides with horses and guided hikes, Panther River Lodge is a Swiss army knife of opportunity.