These are the items you need to bring with you when you plan to spend one or more nights in the snow. This list contains all the items from the day pack list plus a few more since you have a bigger backpack. Make sure you at least have all the items from the daypack list otherwise you are very likely to die from cold or suffer very serious medical consequences.

3 pocket lighters Pocket lighters are cheap and light, and fire is very important on a cold winter night. Bring at least three of them just in case one or two stop working. If your lighter gets jammed with snow it may not work until you remove the snow and dry it, so make sure your lighters are in a place where they don't get directly exposed to snow. Don't use matches, they run out quite quickly, and once they get wet they'll never work again.

Multi-purpose tool Either a Leatherman tool, Swiss Army knife, or something similar will do. These tools are excellent if you need to fix some broken gear, such as a snowshoe or a ski binding.

Lightweight wood stove

These stoves have not been around that long and most people have never heard of them. You need to have a stove in order to melt and boil water to drink, to keep your body temperature up and your energy consumption down. Anyone who has tried to use a gas stove in very cold temperatures knows how much trouble they are, sometimes they just don't work, which could mean death on a cold winter night, not worth it. Wood stoves are a much better option, they always work. I would recommend the Trailstove, this wood stove weighs around one pound but you don't need to bring any fuel since it runs on wood. Another great feature of these stoves is that they generate quite a lot of heat, enough to raise the temperature inside your emergency snow shelter to a descent level, just make sure you have good ventilation (see the section on snow shelters).

The reason I'm writing such great things about portable wood stoves is that mine saved my life in January of 2001 during a snowstorm. I was stuck for three nights in a snow shelter, I didn't have much food but I was able to drink plenty of hot water to keep me warm. I believe I would have frozen to death without my Trailstove.


more info about this stove

Camp Saw With a camp saw you will be able to quickly cut down branches to make a snow shelter or for fire wood. You can do this with your multipurpose tool too but having a real saw will save you a lot of energy and frustration. You can also use a campsaw as a snow saw to cut hard snow into building blocks for a snow shelter.

Light weight cooking pot This is a very important item, you will need a pot to melt and heat water. Drinking hot water will warm up your whole body. I would recommend just getting a cheap mess kit and using the pot from it. You could just grab a pot from your kitchen but these tend to be relatively heavy which is OK in your kitchen but not in your backpack.

Tarp A tarp is a very useful item in the snow. You can use it as an inner roof for your snowshelter, see the section on snowshelters.

Sleeping Bag
You need a very warm sleeping bag for winter camping.
Sleeping Pad
You need to isolate your body from the cold ground.
String is very useful for making snowshelters, emergency snowshoes, or fixing broken equipment. Bring at least 20 feet.
Tent Even if you're not planning on sleeping in a tent it is a good idea to bring one. Bad weather can develop very quickly and with a tent you have a shelter in a few minutes.
Food Bring plenty of high energy food. Don't waste your money on fancy energy bars though. Chocolate bars and granola bars are just as good and they taste better too.
Extra Clothes Find out how cold it gets at night where you will be going and bring enough clothes to keep you warm at that temperature.

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