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It may seem counterintuitive, but wintertime is arguably one of the best times of year to explore Colorado’s high country. Hear us out: The crowds are considerably smaller than in warmer months, the views of snowcapped peaks and winter wonderlands are unbeatable, and even on the coldest days, you’ll likely be treated to sunshine.
To make sure you’re ready to venture out in the snow, we’ve selected some of the best high-tech winter hiking gear around—much of which is made by brands in and around the Centennial State. Now, all you need to do is lace up your boots, pick a trail, and get outside.
For those super chilly mornings on the trail, DÆHLIE’s Wool Pant has you covered—literally. These comfortable, stretchy pants feature a soft-shell merino wool interior with a woolstretch insert on the backside for an added layer of warmth and protection. The exterior is made up of the company’s Bionic Finish Eco, which is a durable, eco-friendly, and waterproof material that will stand up to whatever Colorado’s ever-changing weather throws at you. Offering superior protection without the bulk, these wool pants are highly breathable and can be comfortably worn alone down to 30-degree temps, and feature a relaxed fit, which means you can add a baselayer underneath when the temperature really starts to drop. $195
Based in Steamboat Springs, Big Agnes has become a leading designer and producer of outdoor gear and apparel. The company’s down sweaters are an ideal outer layer for mild winter days, or an excellent mid layer for colder mornings and late evening descents. The Tiago and Chilton highlight a 700-fill power DownTek™ insulation and a lightweight rip-stop shell fabric which, when combined, create a highly functional, durable warmth-to-weight ratio. When not in use, this jacket compresses down to take up minimal room in your pack. $179.95
A hardworking pair of waterproof boots are a must for wintertime exploration, and La Sportiva’s Nucleo High GTX have become a staple on Colorado trails. Available in men’s and women’s sizing, these boots are lightweight and feature a tough Nubuck leather upper and waterproof Gore-Tex® Surround™ Technology to help maintain a high level of breathability while still keeping your feet warm and dry. A Vibram® Nano sole provides grippy, dependable traction, even in wet conditions. These boots are perfect for day hikes in conditions and offer an easy, relatively fast break-in period. $199
You’ll have plenty of room to stash your trekking poles, snacks, extra layers, and safety kits in Osprey’s Manta 24 day pack. A new offering from the longtime pack company, the Manta 24 includes at 2.5-liter water reservoir, a highly ventilated AirSpeed backpanel that is easy to tailor to your fit, stow-and-go trekking pole compartment, and best of all, an integrated raincover, so you won’t need to worry about a soggy pack or wet belongings, even if you’re stuck in rain or snow. $160
Any cold weather aficionado knows that it’s all about the layers, and Smartwool—an iconic Colorado company—makes some of the best on the market. Smartwool’s Merino 150 Long Sleeve is quick drying and breathable, and available in both men’s and women’s styles. Plus, the brand’s Core Spun technology, which features a merino wool wrapped nylon core, helps keep your body temperature regulated during all levels of activity, and moisture at bay. $80
Nothing ruins a hike quicker than developing a blister on your most important asset—your feet. To avoid this dreaded ailment, Point6’s 37.5 Hiking Peak Medium Crew Socks provides cushioning around the entire foot and lower leg, as well as quick-drying technology to make sure that your feet stay dry. Bonus: These socks stay put (no bunching or slipping here). $27.95
Be prepared for whatever weather you may encounter on the trail with a reliable shell, like Fjallraven’s Keb Eco-Shell Jacket (available for both men and women). This jacket works well on it’s own, or comfortably fits over your favorite puffy or down layer. Ventilation openings on both sides help regulate body temperature without the need to add or remove layers as you hike to maintain comfort. It’s waterproof, breathable, and made from a sustainably minded recycled polyester. $500
Whether you’re adventuring along mellow Front Range trails or heading into the backcountry, it’s always best to have a pair of crampons or microspikes ready. Kahtoola’s MICROspikes provide the traction and stability you need to safely navigate icy and snowy terrain, so you can power through even the toughest sections of trail. $69.95
Keep your hands warm and protected with Flylow’s Unicorn Mitt. This high-performing glove is crafted from high-end leather and is pre-treated for waterproofing, so you won’t need to worry about your digits getting damp. The interior is also waterproof and made of tough Cordura fabric leftover from Fylow’s pant production (plus one for upcycling!). $60