After a record-setting December here in Tahoe, the trails are covered in multiple feet of snow. With sunny days in the forecast, now is the perfect time to get outside with your snowshoes. Since temperatures and conditions range broadly in Tahoe, you may find yourself asking what you should wear when out on the trails this winter.
The key to any outdoor winter activity is layers. If you dress in multiple layers, you will have the flexibility to deal with fluctuating conditions. Below I’ve compiled recommendations for different types of layering and the specific brands and styles I choose when snowshoeing.
Merino Wool Base Layer
A good base layer will be comfortable, well-fitting, and moisture-wicking. Merino wool is a great choice for base layers because it naturally has all of these components. Merino is the world’s finest wool and feels soft and lightweight, which is why it’s often used in next-to-skin clothes.
My base layer of choice is the Smartwool Intraknit Thermal Merino Crew Baselayer.
Moisture Wicking Leggings
In addition to a top base layer, you also need a bottom base layer that is well-fitted and moisture-wicking. I like to wear lightweight, high-waisted leggings because I find them to be the most comfortable option, especially when layering snow pants on top.
My go-to choice for base-layer leggings is the Lululemn Align leggings, which you can find here. I love these leggings so much, I have them in 6 different colors! They are a little pricey, but so worth it in my opinion.
The next layer is an insulating mid-layer. A mid-layer will direct any body heat that your base layer didn’t retain back into your body and help stop cold air from passing through to your body. Mid-layers are a good option to wear if it’s chilly out or to pack in your backpack for extra warmth while taking breaks. Good options for mid-layers include a lightweight insulated puffy jacket or a fleece pullover.
If you’re looking for a warm mid-layer that lasts for years, the best option is the Patagonia Down Sweater Jacket.
The main purpose of the outer layer is to protect you from the snow and wind. You want to look for an outer layer that is waterproof and breathable, which will allow sweat to evaporate and also keep you dry if it snows.
A great option for a shell jacket is The North Face All Mountain 3L Jacket, which provides all-weather protection with a list of features that stacks up nicely with coats that cost twice as much.
Shell Snow Pants
Just like the shell jacket, the main purpose of your snow pants is to protect you from the snow and wind. You want to look for snow pants that are waterproof and breathable, and comfortable to move around in. When trying on snow pants, I always make a point to squat and sit down to make sure it’s a good fit and I’m going to be comfortable in them, regardless of the activity.
A great option for snow pants is The North Face Freedom Bib.
In addition to layering, you will also want to make sure to pack good gloves, waterproof boots, merino wool socks, a beanie, and sunglasses. Besides that, you just need a pair of snowshoes and an adventurous spirit, and you’ll be on your way to a great snowshoeing experience!
Have fun out there 🙂