The key to successful winter photography? Be warm and dry. Properly outfitted, you’ll be able to focus on your subject, not your personal comfort. Here are some suggested options to cover the basics.
Patagonia’s warmest baselayer, Capilene Air is a combination of merino wool and recycled polyester knit in a seamless 3D structure that’s soft against your skin, lightweight and enhances airflow. This unique fabric dries quickly and resists odors, and is offered in bottoms as well as crew and hoodie tops for both men and women. List price: $129 (bottoms and crew top); $149 (hoodie top). Contact: Patagonia, patagonia.com.
The Bergtagen Eco-Shell jacket from Fjällräven is a waterproof shell designed for flexibility and waterproof protection. The polyester jacket features water-resistant zippers with pulls that are easy to use when wearing gloves, ventilation access at the sides and mesh-lined chest pockets for storing accessories close at hand. There’s also an adjustable hood that’s large enough to accommodate additional head gear underneath and Velcro enclosures at the ends of the sleeves for a snug fit over your gloves. Available in men’s and women’s sizes. List price: $550. Contact: Fjällräven, fjallraven.us.
Made for snowboarding but no less useful for backcountry photography, Burton’s [ak] GORE-TEX Cyclic pants are a waterproof shell worn over your insulating underlayers. Seams taped with GORE-SEAM and water-resistant zippers keep snow and water out. There’s also a zippered cargo pocket for stashing a headlamp or other small accessory. List price: $339. Contact: Burton, burton.com.
Touchscreen-Friendly Glove System
Pair The Heat Company’s Polartec Liner and Shell for the ultimate cold-weather protection for your hands and the flexibility to easily operate your camera controls. The Polartec Liner has touchscreen-compatible tips on the thumb, index and middle fingers and an integrated pocket for use with the company’s handwarmers. Wear them under the Shell for even more protection—its mitten and thumb can be folded down to uncover the Liner when you’re actively photographing. List prices: $45 (Polartec Liner); $148 (Shell). Handwarmers are $2.27 per pair, or less if purchased in quantity. Contact: The Heat Company, theheatcompany.com.
Hood With Built-In Gaiter
Keep your head, ears and face cozy with The North Face TNF Fleece Hood. Made from recycled fleece, it features a cinch adjustment at the neck and an integrated gaiter that can be worn up to cover your face or down around your neck. Two sizes are available for both men and women. List price: $35. Contact: The North Face, thenorthface.com.
Lightweight, Insulated Waterproof Boot
Danner’s Raptor 650 boots are part of its new Winterized Collection. Available in both men’s and women’s styles, they feature Primaloft Gold insulation to keep you warm, Danner Dry waterproof lining to keep water out while allowing moisture to escape, and a custom Vibram Escape outsole for solid grip in wet conditions. Both men’s and women’s models are 8 inches high to help keep rain and snow out and feature a three-layer removable footbed for comfort and cushioning. They’re also lightweight at 48 ounces (per pair) for the men’s version and 40 ounces for the women’s. List price: $240. Contact: Danner, danner.com.
Extreme Conditions Boot
If you’re headed somewhere below zero, LOWA’s Tibet Superwarm GTX boots for men and women are designed to withstand serious ice with Vibram’s Arctic Grip outsole. With GORE-TEX Duratherm and Primaloft insulation, they’re designed to provide the ultimate protection against wet and frigid conditions. Waterproof yet breathable, these hefty boots weigh in at 4 pounds per pair, with ultra-durable leather uppers. List price: $435. Contact: LOWA, lowaboots.com.
Gaiters provide an extra layer of protection against snow and debris entering your boot that you’ll be glad to have if you find yourself marching through deep powder. Crocodile Gaiters from Outdoor Research provide waterproof, windproof below-the-knee coverage that secures with a buckled top closure and a webbed instep strap to keep them from riding up. Available in men’s and women’s sizes. List price: $85. Contact: Outdoor Research, outdoorresearch.com.
With winter’s shorter days and longer nights, it’s wise to have a headlamp handy when you need extra illumination on and off trail. Petzl’s REACTIK+headlamp can analyze ambient light to automatically adjust its 300 lumens of output for the circumstances. It includes a rechargeable battery pack that can be replaced with standard batteries in a pinch, and its performance characteristics are customizable via a free smartphone app available for iPhone and Android devices. It also offers a red lighting mode to preserve night vision. List price: $109. Contact: Petzl, petzl.com.