sierras snowshoe & snow camp
Wahoo! We're so pumped you're registered for this adventure, snowshoeing and snow camping on the edge of Tahoe National Forest. You'll find most of the info you need to prepare for your trip on this page.
We'll email you the week before the trip with final details about our meeting spot, carpools, and bios from the other rad ladies who'll be joining you.
We'll pitch our tents adjacent to our little private cabin for the weekend. This is basically your easiest introduction to snow camping: you'll sleep outdoors, but have a nice indoor spot to cook, eat, and hang out in the evenings. The cabin has no electricity, and we'll bring small propane canisters to warm it.
There's a pit toilet a brief walk away, so you won't need to poop or pee outdoors...unless you want to.
Dinner on Day One, breakfast/lunch/dinner on Day Two, and breakfast on Day Three will be provided. The group will share in cooking and cleanup responsibilities.
We’ll eat tasty hot meals for breakfast and dinner. Each Maven will create her own ‘snack bag’ at the start of the trip, with PB&Js, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, jerky, granola bars, etc. To keep our energy up, we’ll snack throughout the day on trail, rather than having a single lunch meal. We’ll have more than enough snacks for you (think: bars, nuts, dried fruit, jerky for meat eaters) but if you’ve got any favorite trail treats, feel free to bring them.
We'll stop for lunch en route to the mountains on the first day of the trip. Please bring cash for that meal!
On Day One, we'll snowshoe about a mile to our cabin on rolling terrain with fully loaded packs on. After arriving, we can explore the area with our packs off. Total distance: 1-3 miles.
On Day Two, we'll explore on the nearby Pioneer Trail on snowshoes, and with packs off. Total distance: 5-6 miles.
On Day Three, we'll snowshoe from our cabin back to our cars. Total distance: 1 mile.
Each Trail Maven should plan on bringing:
- Sunscreen/sunglasses/lip balm
- Waterproof boots (snow boots or high-ankle waterproof hiking boots)
- Health insurance card & ID
- Feminine hygiene products as needed
- Toothbrush/mini toothpaste/floss
- Personal medications
- Glasses/contacts with solution
- A pen
- (Trail Mavens alumnae only): previous Field Notes
- Optional but recommended: lightweight backpacking pillow, earplugs, comfy lightweight shoes or slippersocks for hanging out in our cabin, camera, gaiters if your snow pants don't have them built in
- Sleeping bag rated at 20° or colder
- Sleeping pad with r-value >5 (or a compact inflatable pad + foam pad to go beneath)
- Headlamp with fresh batteries and/or spares
- 65L backpack (or larger) with rain cover
- Sleeping bag liner (if borrowing Trail Mavens sleeping bag); we recommend thick, fleecy liners for this trip
- Personal clothing (see below)
- Collapsible day pack to carry while snowshoeing on Sunday
- Water bottles and/or hydration bladder with a minimum 2L capacity (we recommend a bladder for hiking during the day, and a Nalgene for drinking at camp and using as a hot water bottle at night.
Bolded items provided for any women who does not have her own.
SHARED ITEMS, PROVIDED BY TRAIL MAVENS: Snowshoes, poles, food, stoves, fuel, cookware, utensils, water purifier, and basic First Aid.
WHAT TO LEAVE BEHIND: Toiletries and personal effects other than a toothbrush, toothpaste, a small sunscreen bottle, and personal medication.
This trip is a great opportunity to practice your minimalist packing skills! In all cases, please avoid cotton (i.e. no cotton socks, no cotton sweatshirts/sweatpants). We recommend the following:
- One wool/synthetic base layer [example]
- One 'relaxing in our cabin & sleeping' shirt (the one exception to the cotton rule!)
- Two synthetic long-sleeved shirts [example]
- One or two pairs leggings or long underwear
- One pair warm long pants (we love fleece pants) [example]
- One synthetic long-sleeved wool or fleece mid-layer, ideally with hood [example]
- One down puffy jacket or similar, ideally with hood [example]
- Waterproof jacket [example] or snow jacket / snow pants, ideally with built-in gaiters [example]
- Warm hat [example] and liner beanie (optional) [example]
- Warm waterproof gloves [example]
UNDIES & BASE LAYERS
- Three pairs thick wool/synthetic socks
- One or two pairs underwear
- One or two sportsbras
Click here for the mountain weather forecast as we approach our trip! For those not from Northern California, note that the Sierras can fluctuate from below-freezing to relatively warm and sunny in the winter.
Leave No Trace
Trail Mavens is committed to following and teaching Leave No Trace principles. To get you started, watch this video on Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics from the National Parks Service. We'll cover this material again on our trip!
Trail Mavens often enjoy wine or whiskey together in the evenings. Participation in drinking is welcome but of course not mandatory. We ask that Trail Mavens leave recreational drugs at home. If you’re a smoker, please be respectful and partake in a manner that doesn’t bother other group members, and adheres to Leave No Trace principles.
This is an internet-free weekend! If you’d like to share your pics on social media, go for it, but only after we get back home. Then, feel free to go crazy tagging @trailmavens on Instagram or Twitter.
Trail Mavens provides its adventurers with $800-1000 of fantastic backpacking gear. Here are a couple tips on how to keep gear in fantastic condition:
Your tent is your home for the weekend, so you want to keep it clean and tidy! Keep the door zipped shut unless you’re getting in or out. Consume only water inside your tent to keep it scent-free, and store anything smelly, including toiletries, in our cabin. High-end tent fabric is very delicate; keep shoes and anything else dirty or sharp outside.
Set up your sleeping bag inside your tent to keep both your bag and your tent clean.
Our pads are inflatable, meaning they’re a) quite comfortable and b) can pop if they meet something sharp. Be sure to unpack, inflate, deflate, and pack your pad away from anything pokey.
Make sure to remove all food, trash, and scented items from your pack as soon as we arrive at our cabin.
95% of snowshoeing is just like walking. If you want to get a head start on your learning curve, check out this two minute video on snowshoe best practices: