By Derek Adams
Grivel Air Tech Crampons
Although an essential prerequisite to ice trekking, walking boots alone are not going to offer much purchase when it's as slippery as a wet bar of soap. Strap a pair of these trek-friendly walking crampons over the soles of your boots and you won't end up in a mishaps compilation on YouTube.
The 12-point Air Tech's shorter spikes are ideal for walking on semi-rigid ice and snow yet offer ample grip when faced with tricky hard-packed ice shelfs. Available in three different bindings – New Classic (strap on), Newmatic (semi step-in) and the intriguingly-named Crampomatic (step in) – they're easy to fit and remove without the need for any tools. Best not test them out on your new oak flooring, mind.
£120 | Needle Sports
Terra Nova Polar Storm 2
Brit-based Terra Nova specialises in four-season tents for expeditions, arctic adventures and long-haul backpacking. This new two-person, four-season model weighs just 5lbs and is ideal for even the most extreme wintry environments. Its flysheet sports an electrostatic head of 6,000mm which is about as water proof as it gets, while its slim tunnel profile is less likely to be rattled in a fierce gale.
It comes with a decent sized porch to store your gear and ample room inside for one – or two if you're prepared to get up close and personal. It's very quick to erect, too, which is a Godsend when the rain's pelting down, the temperature's plummeted and your cramped fingers resemble a fistful of frozen prawns.
£400 | Terra Nova
Scarpa Manta Pro GTX
Comfort, strength, support and grip are the main prerequisites of a good trekking boot, like this handsome pair from Scarpa. The new Manta Pro GTX are designed for winter mountaineering, long-distance walking and moderate ice treks. Their aggressively treaded Pentax Precision XT rubber soles are just the ticket for scrambling over rocky terrain, while the boots' durable construction provides excellent ankle support.
Highly breathable Gore-Tex lining, meanwhile, keeps even the most savage weather at bay. Just be sure to wear them in every day for at least a week before setting off or you'll come to know first hand what it feels like to walk with blistered heels. Also available in turquoise for women.
£300 | Scarpa
UK-based physiotherapist Heather Rhodes and her company Pacerpoles have developed a selection of walking poles that make a noticeable difference when it comes to epic cross-country trekking. After a great deal of research into how our bodies, arms and wrists react when walking, Rhodes eventually alighted on a unique design that involves both left- and right-specific handles fitted to very lightweight but extremely strong, adjustable carbon fibre poles. Pacerpoles come with rubberised 'Street Feet' for day-to-day training and a pair of 'snowbaskets' for those occasional off-piste moments.
£87 | Pacerpole
The North Face Dark Star
Now you've reached basecamp, pitched tent and quaffed a timely nightcap, you're going to need something warm and cosy to wriggle in to. The North Face Dark Star's Climashield Prism fill provides warmth and protection against even the most mind-numbingly cold nights. In fact it'll keep all your extremities – including the tootsies – snug as a bug in temperatures as low as -29˚C. And that's almost as cold as your grandmother's country cottage.
£310 | The North Face
Mountain Equipment Changabang
Wrap the body in a few fleecy base layers then slip into this lightweight (645g), fully waterproof and breathable, three-layer Gortex storm jacket and rest assured that no amount of rain, snow or wind will spoil the trip. The Changabang – named after a mountain in the Garhwal Himalaya – comes with a helmet-compatible mountain hood, durable zips throughout (including two under the armpits), a removable internal snow skirt to prevent the chilly white stuff from working its way up from below and four large pockets for your GPS, phone and portable gaming console. Wear it casually too, to impress your friends in overkill fashion next time there's some drizzle in the air.
£400 | Mountain Equipment
Julbo Explorer Spectron 4
Aside from falling down a 45m crevasse or freezing to death – two admittedly unwelcome risks of ice trekking – there's nothing worse than headache-inducing ice glare to spoil the fun. These mountain glasses come with removable side shields that protect the eyes from both glare and fierce Alpine winds. The high-tech, wide-angle Spectron 4 polycarbonate lenses not only provide protection against UVA, B and C rays, but they're also water-repellent (yes, water simply falls off), fog free and anti reflective. Perfect, then, for a week on the snow fields – or even a sunny day at the beach.
£63 | Urban Rock
Garmin GPSMAP 64
There's no point setting off on an icy trek if you haven't a clue where you're going. Garmin still rules the roost when it comes to portable topographical GPS units. The pocket-sized GPSMAP 64 comes preloaded with a full compliment of outdoor-optimised navigation features along with Garmin's TOPO UK & Ireland Light recreational maps for turn-by-turn routing on road, trail and path networks.
There's also a Worldwide basemap on board, though more finely detailed terrain maps of Europe and some US trails are also available via the Garmin website. The GPSMAP 64 features a high-sensitivity GPS receiver, a 2.6” colour screen, 3.5GB of internal memory expandable via a microSD card slot and a battery that lasts for up to 16 hours.
£270 | Garmin