The colder months present problems for those looking to pack light for hiking as, of course, you’re going to need more layers and stouter boots.
If you’re staying in one place then it makes sense to throw everything into a big bag so can adjust your kit depending on how cold it is outside. Here are three items for all seasons
Osprey Rolling Transporter 90
Normally I advise only carry-on baggage but sometimes you need more space, particularly if you need to pack all-season equipment. Osprey offers a guarantee where they will repair or replace equipment should it fail. Even better they claim that their Rolling Transporter duffel is “adventureproof” on wheels. It’s certainly made from tough TPU laminated nylon and the extra-large polyurethane wheels promise a smooth ride over rough terrain.
There’s panel zip access to the main compartment so it can be packed like a suitcase and internal compression straps stop your stuff moving around. Dual mesh pockets on the inner front panel keep items organised and there’s an easy access pocket on the top to stash your passport and tickets.
This is where you’ll find the retractable handle which allows you to pull the barrel-shaped bag vertically, squeezing through narrow doors. It’s a big bag but there are also hefty grab handles on all four sides so you can use it as a conventional duffel and it’s relatively light. They also do a version which can be taken as cabin baggage.
Weight: 3.53 kg
Dimensions (cm): 80 (l) x 44 (w) x 35 (d)
Vaude Men’s Kabru Light II Jacket
I’m a big fan of German manufacturer Vaude’s products as they specialise in high-quality lightweight hiking gear. Everyone seems to be wearing quilted down jackets these days, but this one, stuffed with duck feather and down, has stretchy fleece inserts in the armpits for freedom of movement. It’s also extremely light at 290g and packs down into one of its side pockets.
It’s probably better used as a warm mid-layer as it’s slim fitting and quite short so you may struggle to get it over your fleece. That said it’s the perfect emergency gear to carry as a lightweight outer layer and the finish is water repellent to survive those snow showers. Best of all, it’s really warm, amazing as when packed it’s no larger than a small loaf of bread. It’s also stylish enough to wear around town.
Length (in size medium): 74 cm
Merrel Moab FST 2 Mid GTX Goretex Boots
The weight of boots is particularly important when you consider how many steps you take during the day. These are particularly light, perfect for all day hiking, and their breathable Goretex lining means they keep out the water or snow. The Vibram soles give them excellent grip on difficult terrain, helped by their 5mm tread depth, and the heels have air cushions to absorb shock.
Merrell prides itself on it’s “out of the box fit” and I must say they felt comfortable as soon as I put them on. In the old days you used to have to wear boots in gradually but these delivered blister free performance on their first outing. They’re also a bit of a fashion statement, in two-tone black and grey, which makes them suitable for both on and off the mountains. Perfect for those treks through snow after a session of après-ski when balance and grip are especially important.