Because you cannot improvise when you go snowshoeing, Vincent, head of "Nordic" products at Quechua, gives you advice on how to choose your equipment for your next trip out in the snow.
Choosing the right pair of snowshoes
Manufacturers design different shapes and sizes of snowshoes so they can fit the different sizes of hikers. The way a snowshoe floats, i.e. its ability to remain on the surface of the snow, depends on the weight of the walker (plus the weight of his backpack). Women or smaller hikers will be able to choose narrower snowshoes, whereas tall walkers will need wider snowshoes.
Together with the snowshoes you will need a pair of poles with large straps, so as to balance more easily.
What clothing should you wear?
Snowshoeing is an activity where you can quickly get too hot. Therefore there is no point in wearing clothing which is too warm. On the other hand, it is better to wear several layers so you can change how warm you are during exercise: remove a garment when it is hot and put it back on when it is colder.
You can use the "3 layer system":
Near the body, wear a technical under garment in wool for example.
Over this wear a warm polar fleece layer with a zip (easier to put on and take off).
Finally, wear a layer of waterproof protection, which should be breathable and ventilated if possible. But, this should not have an additional lining: too much warmth will make you sweat more and when you stop you will be cold.
Finally, do not forget that 8% of heat is lost through the extremities. Take a pair of gloves and a hat.
What should you put in your backpack?
First of all remember to take a backpack large enough to be able to hold the clothing that you might take off while you're out.
Then, take something to drink: water or a hot drink in a flask.
Finally, take a snack or a few cereal bars, depending on the duration and intensity of your hike.
Never forget safety
In addition, do not forget traditional tubes of sunscreen, sunglasses, map and compass or GPS, and other safety items. To be as safe as possible while hiking in large tracts of snow it is always better take an avalanche transceiver, a shovel and a probe with you. These three elements will help you to be found if you are caught in an avalanche, or to look for a victim.
If you have never used a transceiver ask a mountain professional: they can teach you how to use it.