Roundup: Winter Gear Guide for 2024

Close up portrait of woman traveling outside in winter. Backpacker wearing warm sporty winter clothing, standing under snowy branches.

Ready for winter? We are!

Here are 15 new, nifty and essential gear items to get you outside and adventuring in Canada’s colder months. Each item has been tested, reviewed and hand-picked by Explore’s editors.

Columbia Facet 75 Alpha OutDry Shoe

Built with waterproof-breathable OutDry, the all-new Facet 75 may be the best wet-weather shoes we’ve tested this year. Along with the waterproof construction, a mesh and knit collar seals-out dirt and mud. Elasticized laces lock quickly and snug tight and a rear grab-strap means they pull-on easy. Columbia’s Techlite PLUSH offers the highest level of cushioning in their footwear lines—you’ll glide over rocks and uneven terrain in comfort. And the Navic Fit System with a TPU heel clip keeps your tootsies from slipping around in-shoe. We love these shoes for their versatility. They’re built with trail-running DNA to make easy work of non-technical hiking trails. But they’re comfortable and stylish enough for everyday winter wear—from dog walks to park days, to rainy commutes and more.

Cost: $220

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MEC Merino T2 Base Layers

MEC’s T2 base layers are warmer than the comparable T1. Made from a merino wool and polyester blend, cold weather beware—these base layers provide warmth and softness for next-to-skin comfort. The hooded long sleeve has a chin guard for better neck protection, thumb loops for ideal fit during athletic winter sports and a slim fit to make layering easy. The midweight bottoms also keep you warm, dry and comfortable when you’re working up a sweat on the slopes or setting up your tent in the snow.

Women’s Hooded Long Sleeve | Men’s Hooded Long Sleeve| Cost: $119.95

Women’s Bottoms | Men’s Bottoms| Cost: $99.95

MEC Provincial Thermal Long Sleeve

Zip up into this cozy long sleeve for chilly winter adventures. The recycled polyester is warm, soft and sweat wicking. Fitting close to the body, it moves with you, while offering optimal comfort. Cyclists will love the dropped hem for lower back coverage and the silicone band to prevent slipping. Three spacious drop-in pockets on the back allow you to carry extra fuel, water and a sweat-wicking bandana with ease.

Men’s | Women’s | Cost: $119.95

Fjallraven Kiruna Padded Parka

This long, comfortable, durable parka is water- and wind-resistant while being breathable and adaptable. I love the fleece-lined hand pockets with both buttons and zippers. With 100 per cent recycled polyester synthetic G-Loft Supreme padding, you’ll feel warm and cozy even in damp, cool and blistery conditions. The exterior fabric of the jacket is a matte texture, rather than the slippery material you’d expect find on a waterproof jacket. One chest pocket, one interior pocket, four adjustable waist buttons and adjustable cuffs on the long sleeves make this a versatile pick for winter adventures in 0 to -10 C.

Cost: $435

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Icebreaker Waypoint Mittens

Looking for a versatile mitten for when the weather turns chilly? These thin, unisex mittens are made from 100 per cent merino wool. Breathable, soft and roomy, the mittens aren’t made for extreme cold, but offer subtle warmth in mild winter conditions. Pair them with the mittens below for better protection in snow and extreme cold.

Cost: $55

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Columbia WhirlBird™ II Mittens

These comfortable, burly mittens will take you from the ski slopes to building snow forts with your kids and venturing deep into the backcountry on cross-country skis or snowshoes. With touch screen-compatible thumbs, a nose wipe, pull tab and removeable leash, these gloves are practical and versatile. Thanks to the high-loft synthetic down, Omni-Heat™ thermal reflective lining and a water-repellent goat leather palm, your hands will stay warm and dry.

Cost: $75

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Fjallraven Ovik Path Knit W

Bundle up in this jacquard-knitted sweater. The classic Nordic design fits in with the mountain crowd, while the traceable wool guarantees high levels of animal welfare, so you can feel good about what you’re wearing. It wicks away moisture from your base layers while warming you up, even when conditions are damp and snowy. This works best as an insulating mid layer or worn alone at the ski hill’s après.

Cost: $230

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Coleman Quad Chair

Welcome cold weather adventures with a comfortable, smartly outfitted camp chair. This Coleman camp chair is regular height with a standard mesh cupholder, but what makes it stand out is the armrest with a built-in cooler and the deep side pocket for storing a book, sunglasses, phone or blanket. The cooler can be accessed with a dual zipper, and the side pocket features a mesh compartment. The fully cushioned seat and back retain more warmth on winter afternoons than the thinner competition. With sturdy legs that fold out effortlessly and a carry bag to cinch it all into, you can’t go wrong with the price or useability of this adjustable camp chair.

Cost: $44.99

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MEC Provincial Thermal Bib Tights

Cyclers, no need to stash your bike away until summer returns. Bundle up with these comfortable, practical and (let’s be honest) super stylish bib tights. You’ll be covering up the overalls with a jacket, anyways.

Women’s | Men’s | Cost: $169.95

Helly Hansen Odin Stretch Hooded Insulator 2.0

Another item of technical gear that can also see daily use is the Odin Stretch Hooded Insulator 2.0—new for 2023. With two-way stretch and 60 grams of Primaloft Gold, it’s warm, breathable and adaptable to most levels of activity. A raglan sleeve and articulated elbows add to your freedom of movement. Zip it up tight to the chin guard and cinch in the insulated hood when a rain shower hits—the PFC-free DWR sheds soakers and both the Primaloft and 100 per cent recycled ripstop face fabric dries quickly. This piece works on its own as a mild-weather insulator and works equally well as a mid-layer when the alpine calls. Plus, you can wear it with a clear conscience knowing it is bluesign® certified for its friendlier DWR and recycled content throughout.

Cost: $320

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Fjallraven Abisko Hike Backpack 35

The ease of access, comfort and durability of this backpack make it the perfect one for our winter gear roundup. With a volume of 35 litres and nine (nine!) pockets, this backpack is ideal for day treks and overnight adventures. Made from 210D ripstop recycled nylon, it features an adjustable back panel with ventilating air mesh, shoulder straps and a hip belt, and attachments for hiking poles or ice axes. You can access the main compartment two ways: open the top lid and bungee cord or unzip the vertical zipper.

Cost: $230

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DUER Fireside Denim Mid Rise Slim Straight

When I heard about fleece-lined jeans, I had to try them. I’ve seen too many newbie skiers outfitted in blue cotton jeans on the slopes and felt a mild sense of judgement to pass up the chance to try jeans that might not be a bad option for outdoor adventures. I was pleasantly surprised by the fit, comfort and durability of these DWR-treated jeans made by Vancouver-based performance apparel brand DUER. You still won’t see me wearing anything but ski pants on the slopes, but for winter walks and casual adventures, these jeans are awesome.

Cost: $179

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Arcade Adventure Stretch Belts

Everyone needs a good, durable belt to hold up their weekend warrior adventure pants. These machine-washable belts feature performance stretch and a three-piece patented A2 buckle that feeds and releases effortlessly, while fitting comfortably and staying snug against your hips. Outdoor adventurers will love the “Out of Range” design, featuring mountain ranges and trees.

Cost: $44

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Packtalk Outdoor

Don’t get left behind on the ski slopes. Now you can easily talk to your friends and family and share your excitement as you carve down the mountain—hands-free, without internet or cellular connection. Packtalk Outdoor is the world’s best sports communicator, offering the smoothest communication experience on the market. Connect via Bluetooth to your phone and make and answer calls or stream music, all while your phone stays in your pocket. Enjoy high-definition sound engineered by JBL for the ultimate audio experience. Versatile mounting options allow installation on any helmet or outdoor gear. It is durable and IP67 waterproof.

Cost: $329.95

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Coldture Plunge Pool

The Barrel Cold Plunge Tub Bundle is ideal for individuals, couples and families seeking a compact and water efficient tub while desiring a clean and consistent cold tub experience. This comprehensive set, comprising the tub and Chiller, is capable of cooling water to 3 C, ensuring a deep chill. The Chiller is constructed using industrial grade components, ensuring its durability even under rigorous use. Learn more about Coldture on our podcast here.

Cost: $5,779

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