Winter Cairngorms

In winter the mountains change totally. Snow, cold, and limited daylight. A fantastic time to walk in the mountains, but your kit has to be more robust.

If you look through and need to discuss something (or everything!) in more detail regarding walking in winter, don’t hesitate to get in touch! You might also read it and think you have to spend lots of money but please check the trip details as on some trips the gear is included or we can offer a hire service.

It’s well worth printing off a copy and bringing it with you to check you have everything each morning.

If you have any of the ‘Desirable’ items then please bring them, though they are not essential for you to own. It is normally possible for you to rent ice axes and crampons near where we’ll be running the walking trip.

Please note: this kit list is for mountain walks in winter, rather than for all winter walks. It applies to trips in Scotland, the Lake District and Snowdonia in winter, and not for things like Wye Valley etc that also occur in the winter months. For lowland residential trips in winter please see the Day Walks and Residential Weekends page.




with a volume of around 45 litres.

Waterproof Jacket and Trousers

with a Goretex/eVent or similar waterproof layer. Cheap plastic waterproofs are not acceptable for winter mountain walking.

Thermal baselayer

made from merino wool, synthetic fibre or bamboo, and rated to keep you warm. A top is definitely needed, and you may also want thermal leggings.

Warm layers

these keep you warm, and you should have two layers, a thin and thick fleece, or a thin fleece and an insulated jacket filled with primaloft/down.

Walking trousers

a pair of trousers you would usually walk in – robust and light-weight, and not jeans.


waterproof ‘sleeves’ that close the gap between trousers and boots and stop snow/water/dirt getting into the top of your boots.


warm waterproof gloves are essential, and you may also want a thin pair of gloves to wear underneath them/on their own if it’s a warm day.


something to keep your neck warm; a scarf will also do.


thick woolly hat without bobbles (they make helmet fitting difficult)

Sunglasses and suncream

for glare from the snow.


ideally over 80 lumens and with spare batteries.


several pairs of thick warm walking socks.


bring your usual summer walking boots in case there’s little or no snow, but it’s likely we’ll need more robust mountain boots for winter walking. If you have some, bring them. They’ll be ‘B’ rated – either B1s, B2s or B3s. If in doubt and you want to buy some, please contact us before you get boots as they can be quite expensive and we want you to get it right! It might also be possible for you to rent some winter boots from somewhere near our walking location.

For a description of what we mean by B-rated boots, please see our blog here.

Personal first aid kit

your own medication plus some blister plasters/painkillers/plasters/lip salve that you think you may need. The leader will carry a comprehensive first aid kit.

Survival bag

just in case.

Waterproof case for mobile phone

if you want to take your phone with you.


vital for visibility in the snow and wind


make sure they are suitable for your boots

Ice Axe
Climbing Helmet


Map and Compass

purely for your interest should you want to follow where we’re walking.

Flask for hot drinks
Walking poles