I'll be "backpacking" -- to imply traveling from country to country, but also hiking and camping in the backcountry -- various parts of Europe in winter for 3 months.

I've camped and hiked before, but never in such cold conditions -- ranging from the Mediterranean to well above the Arctic Circle -- and I don't know if the layers I'm bringing will be sufficient. I want to assume that if my clothing or gear has issues, that I won't be able to drop by an outdoor store and buy something, which may be the case if I'm camping for a few days. (I won't be camping above the arctic circle though as I find it may be too dangerous; I'll be staying in cabins)

I have:

  • 4 boxer briefs (some synthetic, some wool)
  • 4 socks (2 lightweight wool, 1 mid weight wool, 1 expedition weight wool)
  • 2 light weight wool bottom (one dedicated for sleeping), 1 midweight wool bottom
  • 2 lightweight wool long sleeves (one dedicated for sleeping), 2 midweight long sleeves
  • 2 mid layers (one is hooded)
  • 2 insulating layers (synthetic down w/ hood; fleece jacket w/ no hood)
  • 1 soft shell
  • 1 hard shell

Are there any layers that I should add or cut back? I want to strike a balance between packing light and carrying redundancies.

1 Answer 1


I believe that you should prepare with some additional first layers, bringing more socks is not a bad idea since you will be walking quite a bit (I assume). Otherwise I would focus some on bringing a little extra protection, in form of a scarf, fleece cap and a pair of gloves. Winter is a unforgiving time of year and you need to plan your clothing with outmost care. If there is any chance that your gear might be insufficiently warm, bring some more.

PS. A hand warmer - one of those that you boil to reset - are a godsend!

  • 2
    A cap is a must-have in the winter. On a longer trip, I take 2, because there's a risk of cap falling when putting on in strong wind etc., and without a cap you have a real problem. Commented Aug 20, 2013 at 6:14

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