What I love most about this crazy life is the adventure of it.
Camera Bag - Gregory Stout 65
The alarm goes off at 4am, and in the famous words of Bruce Buffer - Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit's Tiiiiiiiiiiiiiime!!! You live and breathe this photography mantra — frozen fingers and smashed gear attest to it — but it wouldn’t be possible without the right high-tech backpack. You need a high-functioning DSLR camera bag to organize and protect your equipment.
Jacket - Fission SV Jacket / Arc'teryx
Nothing I love more than my jacket, not only does it keep you warm and dry but can also be used as a toboggan for sliding down mountains. Make sure it incorporates Gore-Tex for increased durability and flexibility, ultimately providing an impenetrable barrier to the elements.
Snow Boots - The North Face Chilkat II
Your boots should have waterproof outer shells such as oiled leather or plastic. Even though fabric and leather boots may have Gore-tex linings, the outer layers will absorb water which will eventually freeze, placing a block of ice next to your foot. Nothing worse when the magic happens and you're dancing around like an audition at So You Think You Can Dance.
Pants - The North Face
We ask a great deal from our hiking/ski pants. We require them to protect from wind, cold, snow, and abrasion. We need them to be comfortable, fashionable, and durable. I use a combination of hiking pants and ski pants for those extreme winter conditions.
Clothing & Personal Care
Insulated Jacket - Arc'teryx Cerium LT Hoody
This is a must - an extra layer you can keep in your pocket or your pack when you’re moving light and fast, and you don’t know what kind of conditions you’re going to get yourself into. It also serves as an extra layer to lie on on those really cold nights in your sleeping bag, using the hood to keep yourself warm.
Thermals - IceBreaker
Bring enough for the whole trip unless you have the option to do laundry or like me you don't
mind getting your hobo on! Any brand of thermals will be fine, just talk to the people at Frontier.
Fleece Sweater - The North Face
It's important to dress in layers for better comfort in changing temperatures. Each of these garments adds a light layer of warmth for just that purpose.
Balaclava - Outdoor Designs
This is the most important item you will ever pack. This one item can be used for keeping your head warm, as a lens wipe, a bandage, a trail marker, and so much more. Don't forget it.
Gloves - Outdoor Designs
If you don't want to end up with the nickname Stumpy make sure you pack a good pair of ski gloves. Shooting in freezing conditions you'll need to keep your hands warm to operate all those tricky buttons on your camera.
Gaiters - Outdoor Designs
They look a little goofy, but they keep your pant legs from getting excessively muddy, and keep snow from getting in your boots while traversing hiking. They'll also make your $400 set of boots last a lot longer.
Snow Shoes - Tubbs Flex Alps
If you've ever walked on fresh snow you'll know how important a pair of these bad boys are, potholing in snow can be one of the most frustrating and dangerous parts of winter shooting, your boots fill up with snow and it makes it almost impossible to get to those sweet compositions.
Regardless of how well a bathhouse is maintained, if a campground is busy, they may run out of toilet paper before the next servicing. Last thing you want to be doing is recycling toilet paper from the bin out of desperation. Make sure you hike all waste out with you.
If you plan on camping in an area that will have a lot of sun exposure, make sure you
have this for everyone in your group, unless you want to end up looking like this muppet.
Sunglasses - Von Zipper
Most of us associate sunglasses with warm weather, hanging out at the beach, and other fun summertime activities, and while sunglasses are important for preventing UV damage to our eyes, most of us make the mistake of forgetting to wear our favorite shades during the cold, and sometimes snowy, winter months.
This is good for both hot and cold weather exposure to protect your lips and keep you supple for those unexpected encounters at the bar.
Spork - LMF Titanium Spork
The Spork Titanium is made of titanium, one of the toughest alloys on the planet and won't break like all that plastic rubbish. It's high biocompatibility means that it is non-toxic.
Stove - MSR Whisperlite
Temperatures in the mountains range from summer conditions to way below freezing. You'll be using a stove to melt snow for water, boiling water and making very simple meals. You’re often cooking in exposed places where wind and cold can affect performance. A stove that is fast, compact and lightweight is extremely important. The MSR Whisperlite takes almost any fuel but we find ShellLite the best and the bottles can be refilled anywhere.
Pot/Cup - Optimus Terra Weekend Aluminum Cook Set
Made of hard-anodized aluminum, the Terra Weekend consists of a 0.95L pot with a lid that doubles as a fry pan and coffee cup. Weighing just 7.8oz, the Terra Weekend packs down to 5.2" x 4.8". Having tested many pots in all conditions this is a great unit to melt snow, boil water, brew coffee and cook food and the fins make for a faster boil or cook.
Fire Starter - Exotac Polystriker XL
Forget about matches and lighters, they always fail when you need them most. Get yourself a good Fire Starter and you'll always be the life of the party. The striking handle and tool are connected by a lanyard to ensure both parts are present and accounted for at all times. The striking tool securely snaps into the handle when not in use. Simply push the tool out from the cut-out in the back of the handle and you're ready to rock.
First Aid / Emergency Kit
PLB - Personal Locator Beacon
Not a cheap item but when the shit goes down you'll be glad you made the investment.
Small and mighty, the ResQLink™ Personal Locator Beacon (or PLB) is a full-powered,
GPS-enabled rescue beacon designed for the backcountry adventurer.
First Aid Kit - AIDE Void
You certainly won't be performing surgery with this kit but perfect for minor bodily damage so never leave home without one. The Void is one of the smallest, lightest first aid kits on the market, and is a great addition to a larger field kit, or just as an everyday kit for your trekking pack.
Wipes - Trek & Travel
If you suffer from crusty butt like me then a sweet soothing wipe around the nether regions will keep you fresh and chafe free on the trails. Make sure you Pack It Out, and I mean everything!
You'd be surprised, duct tape can be used to fix everything in some form or fashion. Swimming costume for the hot tubs, tripod repairs, filter holders and perfect for the mouthy shooter screaming 'Nailed It' when the magic happens.
This list has been created for anyone new to alpine photography. Not only does it list what you’ll need to survive in the backcountry, it gives a brief explanation of what it is, why it’s necessary to take, along with helpful tips and links. While it’s pretty comprehensive, you might find there are a few extra things you'll need to pack for your personal interests/needs. And it doesn’t include camera gear, if you haven’t got this sorted then you’re certainly not ready for backcountry photography.
The list below is what Timothy Poulton uses and recommends, you can possibly find more economical ways of completing this kit with cheaper brands.
Always check with Frontier to make sure it’s rated for alpine conditions.
Tent - Sierra Designs Convert 2
I’ve been using the Sierra Designs brand for a number of years and find them to withstand all conditions and to be very lightweight. Make sure you have all the parts to your tent before you leave, so there are no surprises when you set up camp. Make sure you have set up your tent several times before setting off.
Snow Shovel - Black Diamond Deploy 3
Crucial tool for any serious backcountry photographer. Perfect for preparing campsites, building windbreaks, kitchens, bars and digging out friends in need.
Knife/Multi Tool - Limited Edition Ironwood Gold Leatherman
I bring a very small pocket knife with me when I'm shooting. It's convenient because it combines several tools in one. Opening beer, hacking off limbs and of course fighting off bears.
Comprehensive Winter Gear Check List
Sleeping Bag - Sierra Designs Zissou
Probably the most important part of your kit. A one piece unit that serves as your bedding. Consider where you will be camping, and use one that is rated for the lowest temperature you will be camping in. Best used fully naked to get the optimum effect from the duck or goose down.
Pillow - Sea to Summit
For a better night's sleep, it's good to use something to support your head and I recommend this inflatable Sea to Summit pillow that packs down to the size of an apple and is the weight of a pair of undies. Of course, if you forget a pillow, you can always just stuff some clothing into your sleeping bag's stuff sac. It won't be like home, but it's better than nothing.
Sleeping Pad - Therm-A-Rest Neo All Season
You should use some type of sleeping pad under your sleeping bag. It serves as insulation between you and the ground, and gives you some comfort from the hard ground. The Therm-A-Rest is a premium option, but you could go with the Sea To Summit if you're on a budget.
Headlamp - Petzel Tikka RXP
These come in all shapes and sizes, either take batteries or are rechargeable. Find the one that suits you best, and be sure to have enough batteries for the duration of your trip. Always good to pack a spare just in-case you or a friend lose one, you don't want to get caught hiking back in the dark after a night of astro.
Water Bottle - Nalgene Wide Mouth Glow In The Dark
If you plan to hike during your trip, don't forget something to carry water to drink. No matter what the weather or temperature, you need to stay hydrated. Can also be used as a hot water bottle for those really cold nights and when nature calls and it’s too cold to get out of your sleeping bag (sorry ladies, men only).
Rope - BlueWater Assultline
Bring plenty of this, as it can be used as guy wires for tents, clothes lines, or to tie down tarps. Perfect for keeping your food out of critter's reach and restraining compstompers that get in your frame.