If there’s any season that calls for the everyday use of technical outdoor gear, it’s winter. Winter is cold, windy and wet. It forces you into the extreme conditions you might encounter on the flanks of high peaks — when you’re walking around your neighborhood. In the backcountry, outfitting yourself with the appropriate cold-weather apparel and equipment is vital to survival. When your exposure to the elements lasts only as long as it takes to walk from your home to your car, matters seem far less dire. But that doesn’t mean you should go unprepared.
All of the gear made to take on freezing conditions in the wilderness will also avail those who live in cities. Sure, highly specific items like ice axes and avalanche beacons might not be of much use, but down jackets designed for climbing and slippers created for camping will. Outdoor gear is highly functional and versatile by design — its use isn’t predicated on setting, and living in a city shouldn’t mean hindering yourself by not taking advantage of that.
Insulated Water Bottle: Yeti Rambler 26oz
An insulated water bottle will keep water cold in the summer but it can do the opposite in winter, and that makes it perfect for transporting your hot beverage of choice from home to the office, or wherever your destination is.
These aren’t quite the same as the steel claws that mountaineers use to walk on glaciers, but they’ll provide enough traction for walking on frozen sidewalks in the winter.
Baselayers: Patagonia Capilene Air Bottoms
You wear long johns to keep you warm on ski slopes, so why not on your commute to and from work? Your boss keeps the thermostat set too low anyway, and besides, layer them underneath a pair of chinos or jeans and nobody will know the difference.
Down Jacket: Super/DS StretchDown Hooded Jacket
Lightweight, packable and durable are qualities to admire in any jacket, regardless of where you live. Down jackets made for adventuring dial these traits to the max, and none have balanced them as well as Mountain Hardwear’s Super/DS StretchDown.
Snow Shovel: DMOS Stealth Packable Shovel
When the plow truck locks your car into a frozen tomb on the side of the street, you’ll need a tool to get it back out. The Stealth Shovel is burlier than anything you’ll find at the hardware store but is still car- and closet-friendly.
Camp Slippers: Teva Ember Moc
For a pair of indoor shoes that can function outside too — whether it’s to walk out and collect the paper or make a trip to the corner store for breakfast supplies — look to Teva’s Ember Moc. They’re designed for base camp comfort with a sleeping bag-like upper and a grippy rubber sole that can handle snow and dirt.
Ultralight Mittens: Rab Xenon Mitt
These ultralight mittens are stuffed with the same insulation that’s in some of the best synthetic jackets. They may have been designed for mountain use, but they’re perfect for bike commuting, and they pack down small enough to fit in your coat pocket.
Headlamp: BioLite HeadLamp 330
Winter means shorter days, but that shouldn’t impact your training regimen. The same companies that make headlamps for camping and hiking also make lights for running, so you don’t lose any momentum, even when the sun goes down at 4:30 pm.
Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.