HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST HIKING GEAR FOR CAMPING IN WINTER

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Travelling around Australia and the world means I am able to see and do many things I never thought imaginable or possible. And as an avid hiker, I’ve been able to climb, walk and trudge up many mountainsides over the last few years. Most recently I’ve been doing some serious hiking in Australia; the Blue Mountains in New South Wales and Cradle Mountain Summit in Tasmania, to name just a couple.

As it’s currently winter in Australia, I’ve hiked through various conditions including snow, rain, mist, sleet, flurries, sunshine, thick cloud and wind. I have been completely appreciative of having the foresight to wear the proper gear - fashionistas listen up, hiking in leggings, a strappy sports top and a tight jacket won’t cut it.

Hiking in winter means business; the business of wearing the correct gear. I’m talking thermal socks, waterproof pants, down vests and wool beanies. A couple of months ago I acquired a Duck Down Vest from Kathmandu, see here. Duck down offers the most comfortable insulation and provides high warmth to weight ratio, absolutely essential when hiking in the middle of winter.

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I chose the vest because it was lightweight but also allows freedom of movement in my arms whilst keeping my chest and back warm. It features a travel stuff sac, which is easily packed down and fits snugly in my backpack, and it’s wind and water-resistant, something that came extremely handy at the top of Cradle Mountain Summit!

The high neck warming collar, full zip at the front, two front zipped fleece-lined pockets are a godsend in keeping my neck, chest and hands warm. Surprisingly, the slight drop at the back of the vest gave me extra coverage, which made a world of difference when trudging through the snow.

To ensure you’re dressed properly for a winter hike in Australia, I’ve pulled together a list of essentials. I am by no means an expert, so I’d love to hear any other suggestions!

• Wool beanie • Wool scarf • Fleece or wool neck warmer • Cotton long sleeved top • Thermal top (not essential for hiking but essential for the evenings if you plan on camping whilst hiking) • Insulated vest, like this one from Kathmandu • Waterproof and windproof jacket • Waterproof long pants • Thermal socks • Hiking books or Nike sneakers