Here is a suggested kit list for our winter courses. We are aware that to the uninitiated this list may seem complicated and 'technical' and we don't want you to be put off a great adventure before it's even started! If you look through and need to discuss something (or everything!) in more detail, don't hesitate to get in touch! You might also read it and think you have to spend lots of money but we can often loan you gear or suggest less expensive options. Peak Mountaineering clients can also take advantage of some great discounts from our retail partners (full details on our retailer discounts are available here).
At the end of this list there is some specific advice on winter boot selection and we'd ask you to take particular note of it because having suitable boots is essential in winter. If the cost of winter boots is prohibitive we also have boot hire facilities available through our friends at Cotswold Outdoor. Details on this option are also at the bottom of this page.
It's well worth printing off a copy and bringing it with you to check you have everything each morning.
- Rucksack (around 45-50 litres for skills and climbing courses and 60 litres for snow shelter trips. It is worth buying a durable waterproof rucksack liner bag too)
- Waterproof jacket and trousers (durable breathable fabrics are essential and a knee length zip on the trousers will make your life a lot easier)
- Walking boots and socks (including spare socks) - Please ensure you have read the additional advice on boot choice below.
- Gaiters (essential for keeping snow out of your boots)
- Thermal base layer (synthetic fibres rather than cotton)
- Fleece mid layer
- Mountain trousers (synthetic fabric)
- Hat and/or balaclava
- Insulated waterproof gloves
- Spare insulated waterproof gloves (essential in case the first pair get wet)
- Lunch and drink bottle or flask
- Headtorch and spare batteries
- Spare food (something high energy like a few extra choccy bars)
- Spare warm layer (mid weight fleece)
- Sunglasses and sun cream
- Ski goggles (essential when the Scottish wind whips up - we have some of these available for you to borrow)
- Personal first aid and medication (including stuff to treat blisters and lip salve)
- Compass (Silva type 4 is perfect if you're buying one)
- Maps of area we will be visiting (1:50000 ordnance survey)
- Map case (if map isn't laminated)
- Insulated jacket (synthetic insulation rather than down)
- Mobile phone (in a sealed plastic bag or waterproof case)
- Trekking poles
- Money for a pub stop at the end of the day!
Additional overnight kit for our snowholing expeditions
- Sleeping bag (4 season rating)
- Bivvy bag (breathable fabric - we can provide these for you)
- Insulating mat (we can provide these for you)
- Food for the duration of the trip (our article on mountain food might help you decide what to bring)
- Stove, pans, lighter and fuel (we can share these between the group)
- Set of spare clothing and socks to sleep in
- Toilet paper
Buying suitable boots is probably one of the biggest expenses for new winter mountaineers and, while we want to keep your outlay as low as possible, nothing beats having your own well fitted boots and this will certainly be the best option if you are planning to get into the winter mountains regularly. For others it is often worth hiring boots for your first winter adventures which, as well as keeping your expenditure down, will allow you to see which are the key features to look for.
Winter boots need to be well insulated, able to keep out moisture effectively, have sufficient stiffness to allow users to kick into snow and also to have good ankle support. For our introductory winter courses a stiff soled B2 boot is ideal (a well established example of this is the Scarpa Manta). For more technical courses more rigidity in the sole is essential and a B3 boot will be required (an example of a tried and tested B3 boot is the La Sportiva Nepal Evo).
We recommend you visit a specialist outdoor shop and try on a range of boots by different manufacturers as the fit can vary considerably (even in the same size!). When fitting your boots wear a pair of good quality thick socks and a very thin pair of liner socks - usually the shop will have some that you can borrow but ideally try them on with your own socks. It is never a good idea to buy boots mail order unless you have tried exactly the same boots in a shop beforehand. Please ensure you wear your boots as much as possible before your course so they have a chance to 'break in' and make sure you come along to your course with them proofed. Before making your boot purchase you may find the information in our crampon article here helps you understand the boot categorisation system.
If you decide to purchase boots there is a specific section on our website that will be useful to read but if you choose to hire then our top recommendation is Cairngorm Mountain Sports in Aviemore. They have full contact details available here. If they don’t have availability a good alternative is Nevisport and their contact details are here. Please ensure you book these with them well in advance as Aviemore is a busy place and their supplies are limited. Once you have booked them we will be able to collect them on the first day of your course.
We can supply all other technical equipment (crampons, ice axes, harnesses and helmets) and their cost is included in the price of your course.