If you’ve read our article on TAP’s recent Overland Snow Camping Adventure, you’ll know that snow camping and snowshoeing are out of our comfort zone and that good gear was essential. That being said, we were provided some fantastic gear and below is our “hands on” viewpoint on each piece of gear’s performance. The saying “there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear”, although somewhat a cliche, feels appropriate.
This was my first time snow shoeing, so I do not have a technical bench mark to judge from. I did however find the snow shoes easy to use and because they had multiple adjustment points, getting them to fit comfortably was easy. They were extremely light on the leg and floated me through the snow with no issues. Applying the the heal lift feature was intuitive and certainly helped traction on steeper terrain. The TSL carbon poles were super light and I had no issues adjusting them to the correct height. Practically, they helped give me support through deep snow areas. The gaiters, well they simply kept me dry and were easy to put on. Highly Recommended
This boot reminds me of a snowboard boot and has killer looks. It’s UltraDry (TM) waterproofing system and 400g 3M(TM) and Thinsulate(TM) materials never let me down, keeping me dry and warm throughout the adventure. The stiff Nordic Rover outsole worked synergistically and comfortably with the snow shoe bindings. Without the ability to break these in before the trip, I was slightly concerned about “new shoe” comfort while in the backcountry and if would I get blisters. I had absolutely nothing to worry about! Highly Recommended
As I do with all my footwear, I added an aftermarket insole for greater arch support and comfort. The SuperFeet Merino Wool insole provided the desired comfort and warmth and at no point were my feet sore or cold. Highly recommended combo with the Vasque snow boot.
Cotton kills and layering is essential while exerting yourself in the snow. I used two different Merino Wool Base Layer fabric weights on the trip. The heavier duty Merino 250, kept me warm and relatively sweat free on our high activity first day. I used the lighter weight Merino 150, on the 2nd/3rd days while camping out of the rig. Technically, Merino wool is very comfortable next to your skin, moves sweat away from your body and provides warmth in cold conditions. I also like the fact that despite being a technical garment, it’s design is “around town” friendly. I’ll be wearing these layers for all my cold weather overlanding adventures from now on. Highly recommended.
These soft shell pants are designed for alpine climbing, however worked perfectly for my snow shoe adventure. The wind and water resistant ActiveTemp(TM) stretch fabric worked very efficiently, keeping me warm and dry throughout. There were multiple times when I was kneeling or sitting in the snow and at no point did moisture penetrate through the fabric. They come in a baggier cut than I would normally wear, but it makes sense for wearing base layers underneath. My only real criticism is that they don’t come in various in-seam sizes. This is something I always look for, as I have a 30″ in-seam, which is short for my torso length and size. Not a huge deal, but I ended up having to have them locally tailored, as they came in a 33″ length. Recommended
This little stove lives up to its name! I could see the others on the trip enviously impressed at the speed it boiled snow for water. Lightweight and super compact, the Pocket Rocket simply rocks! The kit comes equipped with PocketRocket® Deluxe stove (83 g /2.9 oz) with stuff sack; 1.2 L hard-anodized aluminum pot with insulated grip; Hot- and cold-safe 28 oz bowl;* Strainer lid;* Mini LiteLifter™ pot handle; Kit stuff sack; Room to nest a 4- or 8-oz MSR IsoPro™ fuel canister (sold separately) Very Highly Recommended for backpacking, minimalists and individuals with limited rig space.
This was the bad boy that literally carried my adventure. A big, burly pack that is extremely well made and comfortable to wear. It has multiple adjustment settings and room for all the gear I needed. The VersaFit adjustable suspension was particularly useful as I have a long torso. The ability to lengthen the packs torso, in unison with the FitTune adjustable Hipbelt, allowed me to set up the pack so that the weight was spread evenly across my shoulders and hips. Overall, the pack performed well and is Highly recommended.
I’m not going to lie, I wouldn’t wear these out and about and when I put them on I was transported back to the 90’s. Seriously though, this trip wasn’t about being on trend, it was about using great gear in the backcountry. I chose full wrap sunnies to give me protection against glare from the sun/snow. I also chose the Happy Bronze Polar – Dark Blue Spectra lens for the same reason. A vented lens would have helped with slight fogging, but all in all, they performed great. Recommended.
All the items featured here are high end gear and everything was well designed/made and definitely performed up to my expectations of their price point!
Full disclosure: We were provided this gear to use, enjoy and test on our trip. We have not been paid by the brands and do not receive a commission from any purchases that may result from this article.