Deep Winter Equipment List

Please follow this equipment list. Good gear is essential for both comfort and survival. It could get to -60 ̊F in December. But with appropriate clothing and training you can be comfortable in surprisingly cold temps. That said, for novices, superficial frostbite is likely when temperatures are below -30 ̊F no matter how much gear you bring. Careful packing and caution in the field are both critical. Don’t rush when assembling your gear.

The most important and specialized clothing you will need is for your extremities.

Insulated, waterproof, winter boots (or mukluks), fur or down mittens and an outrageously warm hat are worth the investment. The more specialized items are best purchased in Fairbanks from retailers like Apocalypse Design or from local skin and fur seamstresses or from the Raw Fur company.

Here is an example of layered clothing for light activity at – 25 ̊F: On your torso, wear one light and one heavy long john top, a thin fleece shirt, light down vest, heavy wool shirt, and hooded puff-jacket. PLUS a parka. On your legs wear one light and one heavy set of long-johns, plus fleece pants with winter bibs over the top. Add a good fur hat and neck gaiter, plus goggles if it is windy. Fleece gloves inside down mittens with wrist warmers keeps the feeling in your hands, and two pairs of socks inside your winter boots complete the outfit.

Layering is the key to staying comfortable. You will want to avoid sweating from exertion. Bring a variety of layers in various weights and make sure you try EVERYTHING on before heading into the field. It may be necessary to wear all your clothes at once. It is generally safe to assume that it will be cold and dry, which greatly simplifies staying warm. All base-layers should be synthetic or wool because they are fast drying, and warmer when damp. Leave your cotton clothes at home.

Please use this as a literal checklist. When all the boxes are checked, ✓ you are done. Anything not on the list doesn’t belong.

Any questions? Please contact us.

Duffle Bag: This is the bag that will hold the bulk of your gear. Below freezing weather means that things generally stay dry so a waterproof bag is not essential. A huge duffle with full length zipper is ideal. Items inside the duffle can be organized with stuff-sacks.

Arctic Wild Provides

Tent: You will be sleeping in an Arctic Oven winter camping tent, which we heat with a small woodstove. This tent will sleep 3 people. Additionally, we will also have a wall tent heated with a stove, which will serve as kitchen, warming and drying area and general “hang-out” and work area.

Arctic Wild Provides

Sleeping bag with stuff sack: We will supply you with a -40 ̊F sleeping bag. The stove in your tent won’t burn all night so it does get cold in the tent.

Arctic Wild Provides

Sleeping pad: Thermarests and Ridge Rest is best combo.

Winter boots: There are two approaches to winter footwear. Either works.
Option #1: Breathable winter mukluks with double liners are fantastically warm and very light. But if there is slush or open water they must be protected from moisture. Rubber over-boots are essential. Mukluks can be ordered from Steger Mukluks. Over-boots ordered from here. Multiple pairs of wool Mukluk Liners and insoles are essential.
Option #2: A warm and water resistant Shoe-pac like a Baffin Apex or similar. These boots don’t require the same amount of caution around slush and water.

Boot insoles or footbeds: Extra liners and insoles are essential.

Down slippers: For in the tent. Essential to have something warm to wear while your boots are drying. A non-slip sole is nice like these.

Socks: 8 pair heavy polypropylene or wool

Thermal Tops: Long-john tops. Bring 3 or 4 of various weights. Wool is great, capilene or polypro is fine. Cotton is forbidden.

Fleece Shirts/ hoodies: 3 fleece shirts of various weights. 1⁄4 zips are nice. Hobo thumbs are helpful. Wool shirts are fine too. Light jackets are also nice. Like this and this.

Puff Parka: A lighter down jacket like this.

Down Vest: A vest adds bulk to keep your core warm while allowing your arms to move.

Big puffy parka: This is critical. Bigger the better and a hood is essential. A hood with a ruff is even better. Nothing is too big. Best purchased in Fairbanks.

Light weight long johns: 2 bottoms.

Heavy weight long johns: 2 set of bottoms.

Heavy pants: The thickest wool or fleece pants you can find. Could bring down pants additionally.

Snow Bibs: Warm and wind proof. Should be able to fit over the heavy pants. Full-length leg zips are also important. These should not be waterproof. Carhartt Bibs are nice and bibs made for working and/ or snowmobiling and usually better than ski pants.

Hats: Bring 3. A light one, a heavier one and a HUGE one. Do not skimp. Windproof is great. Fur is very warm. Many prefer earflaps. Apocalypse Designs in Fairbanks makes a popular “Explorer Hat” which is a good medium weight option.

Neck gaiter: a little tube of synthetic material to wear around your neck or to augment your hat. A scarf works too. Bring three.

Face Mask: Neoprene and fleece 1⁄2 mask protects your cheeks.

Ski Goggles: To protect your face and eyes in case of blowing snow

Gloves: 2 or 3 pairs of pile or wool gloves. Plus 2 pairs of insulated ski gloves. Plus a pair of insulated leather gloves. You won’t wear them all but you won’t know which ones are right until you are working in the cold.

Mittens: Thicker the better. Must be sized to go over your gloves. Fur is best, HUGE down ones are OK.

Wrist Warmers: Fleece is best. Handmade is fine. Really helps keep hands warm. Like this.

Stuff sacks: For packing gear and clothes. This will help keep your gear organized inside your duffle

Day pack: Big enough for thermos, extra hats, mittens and an extra layer.

Quart water bottle or small vacuum bottle. A lightweight thermos is ideal to keep your water from freezing.

Personal toiletries: Scale down. For instance, you will not need a 6-oz. tube of toothpaste.

Toilet paper: Place the roll in a quart-size ziploc bag with a lighter.

Lighter: In case you lose the first one

Headlamp and extra batteries: Bring 2 headlamps/ person and fresh batteries for every 1 1⁄2 days. 3 hours of daylight means 21 hours of dark!

Emergency kit: Band-Aids, aspirin, Moleskin, sewing kit. We carry a full medical kit, but having a few common items of your own is convenient.

Special medications: Inform the guide of your special medications and consider bringing a backup supply for the guide to carry.

Glasses or contacts: Bring an extra pair

Sunscreen, lip balm, and hand cream: Cracked hands, chapped lips and chapped faces can be a problem in the cold. Vasoline on the face can help prevent windburn and frostbite.

Pocket knife