Example winter bivouac packing list
New to this type of packing or simply looking for a list to help you refresh your memory? You’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled an example of a packing list to go on a tent based trip in wintery conditions. This list assumes you are joining a guided trek so we’ve omitted some things such as map/compass/gps or other technical gear that would typically be carried by your guide. As such, please keep in mind that this list lacks a section on navigation, remote area communication and other technical gear such as a randonnee rope.
Your gear is potentially more important for your well-being than anything else. Please make sure to bring the best you can. It’s the basis of your safety and comfort. Visit your local specialist outdoor retailer for face to face advice to fit your needs. We don’t recommend making purchases in non-specialized shops.
Getting a full set of quality hiking gear will certainly lighten the wallet… but on the other hand, good items will last you many years and you don’t need to but them again often as they’re built to last and most packing lists share nearly all the basic items. You’re not wasting money. You’re investing in a lifetime of healthy outdoors adventure!
Please feel free to contact us with any questions you might have.
Below we’ve added an example packlist + a detailed explanation of what we mean with each item. You can download a convenient & clean tick box list text file to print. This only lists items without detailed explanations.
Example list + explanations
- Credit/debit cards
- ID / pasport
- Insurance papers / card
- Phone + charger
- Boarding pass
- Backpack (60 – 80l)
- Dry bags for inside your backpack. Rain covers not advised since they don’t work well with wind.
- Shoes type B or up
- Walking poles are recommended
- Two pairs of gloves. It’s good to have one waterproof pair.
- Scarf type buff
- Warm hat/cap + spare cap in case one gets wet.
- Nalgene bottles (big 1.5l one or two 1l ones). We recommend these because they don’t break and can be filled with hot water to use as a flask in your sleeping bag.
- Head torch + spare batteries
Sleeping – DO NOT GO CHEAP HERE!
- Sleeping bag with comfort temp below freezing
- High quality inflatable sleeping pad + repair kit
- Tent (can be shared, ask us about this)
- Small pillow or pillow sleeve to fill with clothes you take off for the night.
- Long trekking pants (stretchy and quick drying) – no cotton
- One pair of undies per 2 days
- One pair of good hiking socks per 2 days
- Long underwear, pants and top to use as a dry sleeping layer
- T-shirts or base layer, 2 recommended. Merino is advised.
- Technical mid layer type fleece or synthetic down to use on the move
- Warm jacket type down or synthetic down to keep warm while static
- Hardshell (water- and windproof) jacket + pants. Don’t cut corners here! “Water resistant” does not mean waterproof. You need to be 100% certain your shell jacket and pants are waterproof!
- Windproof/breathable layer is also recommended
Cooking system (will be shared, ask us about this)
- Gas burner with thread. We’ll provide gas in most cases. Ask us if uncertain.
- Spork + knife. We recommend a long dessert spoon to eat dry bags.
- Lighter or firesteel
- Pot +- 1l (to be shared)
- Thermos style flask
- Small quick drying towel
- toothbrush + paste
- toilet paper
- Extra’s if needed for the ladies among us
- Bivy bag (optional)
- Battery pack for phone or a book in case you want to “zone out” for a bit.
- Booties or slippers
- Sporttape, disinfectant, band aids
- Elastic bandage
- Medication for gastrointestinal issues and pain killers type Paracetamol / Ibuprofen
- Space blanket
- Petroleum oil or other thick lube
- Anti-inflammatory cream
Car / hostel package
Make a package with comfortable city clothes that you will want to wear while traveling. We can leave this in a van or in a ho(s)tel. A second pair of shoes might fit well here.
Simply put, everything you need to be able to pay or withdraw cash, identify yourself, get past customs… Your wallet!
It’s important to bring your insurance papers and know where they are. Chances are if you need them, you won’t want to spend ages searching for them or somebody else might need to find them for you.
A phone + a charger. Note! Inform yourself about the type of outlet in your destination country. You might need a different type. Being desperate with a nearly drained battery is not the time to find out.
Boarding passes, tickets… Any documents you need to get to your destination via transport and check into any services.
Make sure your backpack is not only big enough to fit all your items inside, but also fits your body well. A badly fitting backpack will cause problems while a good one will allow you to carry significant loads with relative comfort. You want to keep as much as possible inside the pack to keep it dry, prevent it from blowing off or being damaged by foliage or rocks.
Rain covers tend to just blow off or be extremely noisy in strong winds. It’s better to use smaller waterproof bags inside the backpack.
You need boots suitable to the terrain and the climate. Carrying heavier loads requires sturdier boots to support and protect your feet and ankles. Seek specialist advice in your local outdoor shop.
Walking poles – although often considered “not cool” – are essential when carrying loads on rough terrain. They help you stabilize your body which significantly improves your balance and will make you a lot less tired since you’re arms can help your core muscles control the added weight in motion.
We prefer unbreakable bottles over bladder type containers. Bladders break more often than people suspect and are more difficult to refill & refit on the go. When cold, an unbreakable bottle can be filled with hot water for warmth in your bed or sleeping bag. It’s the best thing ever!
As always, your local specialist outdoor shop is the best place for good advice. We notice that people often buy good sleeping bags, but try to save money with a cheap sleeping mat. The mat is what insulates you from the ground and is extremely important. The best sleeping bag isn’t going to keep you warm if you’re lying straight onto a sharp and cold surface!
Sleeping is where you recover from the day’s challenges and hopefully rest enough to enjoy the next one. Don’t cut any corners here!
Quick drying and anti-bacterial are key. Avoid cotton since it is very difficult to dry in anything but the best conditions. Merino wool is famous for its anti-bacterial (and thus anti-odor) qualities. Synthetic materials are quick drying but develop odors quickly. Some manufacturers provide garments which are a mix of merino and synthetic fibers.
A fleece type pull-over will work while on the move and synthetic filled jackets are very comfortable too. They are warm, breathable and quick drying.
For sitting still for an extended break or for the evening, you need a high fill (synthetic) down jacket.
We can’t stress enough how important it is to have a good shell type jacket and trousers that are water proof. Some garments are labeled water resistent, which can survive a shower on a city street, but not the outdoors!
Don’t bring ski-jackets as they are warm and don’t allow you to layer. Ask your local outdoor retailer about 2.5 or 3-layer hardshell jackets for hiking.
In most cases we will make use of gas burners with a screw on thread. This is more or less the universal system for most modern gas burners. Unless mentioned we will never use Campinggaz type connectors (the blue bottles). Only in very remote or very cold settings will we use fuel burners. When in doubt, simply ask us. Don’t have a burner? No stress, good chance plenty of others do so you can share.
Keywords here are small and packable. Pharmacies will often have toothpaste samples which should last a week. No need to bring a huge tube!
Sunscreen is important, even in winter! People that suffer dry skin or cracked lips easily can bring moisturizer. Lip balm containing sunscreen can help protect from burned and cracked lips.
A bivy bag is basically a lightweight wind- and waterproof bag in which you can find shelter if you become immobile in poor weather. It’s a lightweight item that can be a lifesaver in bad conditions.
Please bring any medication you might require in ample quanitites and talk to us about their use.
You don’t need to bring a huge first aid kit, but provide enough of the common ailment fixers such as pain killers, elastic bandages or band aids so you are certain there’s enough in the team to apply to yourself.