Suit Up! A newbies (or not) checklist

I think it’s good to be prepared ahead of time when planning a snowshoe trip. It can be very frustrating to wake up the morning of and realize you don’t know where anything is (i.e. that long underwear that will keep you warm). If you’re into any other winter sports such as snowboarding or skiing, you’re probably pretty familiar with most of the necessary apparel. However if you’re just getting started, it’s a good idea to make a checklist and check it twice a day or two before your snowshoe adventure. If you’d like a good read, has a great article for First Timers that I found very helpful. In the meantime, here is a suggested checklist to get you started and out into the snow.


Download a printable version of the Checklist


1.     Gear: For beginners you might want to consider renting

  • Snowshoes – If you’re unsure as to what’s right for you, check out that First Timers article, it explains the different types of snowshoes very well. You can also rent snowshoes for cheap from several different retailers (I rented from Sports Authority).

  • Boots – You’ll want a boot that’s slightly bigger than normal so it will fit in the snowshoe. I personally have a pair of winter hiking boots and I love them because they keep my feet so warm!

  • Trekking poles – You can buy these cheap, sometimes they even come with snowshoe kits


2.    Clothing:

Avoid cotton and denim – they absorb moisture and you’ll just end up freezing your ass off

  • Long Underwear (tops and bottoms) – Choose something based on your activity and what the weather will be like.

  • Mid Layer – I usually choose to wear leggings under my long underwear, mostly because they fit on my body a little more snugly than the long underwear. If it’s nice out (like above 32°F) you could probably skip either the leggings or the long underwear. I also wear a long underwear top underneath a t-shirt. Every time I’ve been out I probably didn’t need this extra shirt as you really do heat up quickly on anything harder than a super easy trail, but seriously, the more clothes the better… You can always take stuff off.

  • Snow Pants – Sit down, roll around, make a snowman, wear snow pants!

  • Winter Jacket – If you’re in the market for a new jacket, look for something with vents. You can heat up quickly and having vents in your winter jacket can be really nice.

  • Socks – Double up! I have a pair of thick winter socks I usually put on over a regular pair.


3.     Accessories:

  • Hat

  • Winter gloves

  • Scarf

  • Face Mask – For the really super cold trips

  • Goggles or Sunglasses – Keep those eyes protected!

  • Backpack – Try to have extra space, it’s always better to be overdressed when doing any type of snow sport. It’s also very easy to get hot pretty much right away and you’ll probably want to take some of your layers off. Extra backpack space for clothes comes in handy.


4.     Extras/Necessities: Let’s not forget the important!

  • Water! Water! Water! – Never forget what hydrates you. Don’t depend on drinking snow, that’s yucky.

  • Snacks  – Optional but also kind of essential

  • Chapstick

  • Sunscreen 

  • Small first aid kit – I’ve literally needed band-aids on almost every trip I’ve been on

  • Compass

  • Flashlight or Headlamp

  • Pocket knife

  • Whistle

  • Matches or lighter

  • Camera (Anndd selfie stick for those awesome views you want to see behind you!)

These are just the basics for getting out for a full or even half day. If you plan on doing an overnight or something a little more intimidating, this list will be much longer. If you’re not comfortable just jumping right in, consider signing up for a guided tour. And remember, always go out with a partner because you should never snowshoe alone!


Download a printable version of the Checklist


If you feel as though I’m missing something, please comment and let me know your thoughts!

Side note: When looking to buy snowshoes I prefer to purchase shoes that have a metal rod that attaches the binding to the snowshoe rather than the strap. This is just my preference and I say this because the strap tends to wear faster and needs to be replaced more often.




Metal Rod