What To Wear In The Backcountry – With Miikka Hast

Sage advice from the Finnish freerider

Portrait by David Birri

Miikka Hast is not your average Scandi park rat. Having switched from freestyle to freeriding, the 34–year-old Finn has spent the past few years hunting out some of the most insane lines on the planet. Hiking deep powder in Japan, fighting blizzards in Northern Norway or just dropping cliffs in his back yard, he has beaten a trail for the likes of Antti Autti by showing that icy transition riders can master the backcountry, combining style with big mountain gnar and an appetite for adventure.

A stalwart member of the Protest team, we caught up with Miikka to learn more about his choice of gear when heading out in search of fresh turns.


You’re probably pretty picky about the outerwear you take into the backcountry – no rolled up jeans, right?

Yeah, when you’re riding in challenging weather conditions, clothing is very important. Basically, it comes down to two things: the shell to keep the cold, wind, and moisture outside, and layering to keep you warm and dry inside. It’s not always easy, especially when you’re hiking all day.

Layering is really the key. You have to wear as little as possible when hiking to let the sweat out. Then, when you switch into riding mode or you’re waiting around for a while, you need to have some extra layers to keep warm.

I basically take the same combination out every day I’m in the backcountry, since you never know how the conditions might change during the day. I wear a technical first layer and a micro fleece shirt, which I then cover with a jacket and pants that are tough and waterproof but lightweight. Plus, I always keep a packable down jacket in the bag for extra warmth.

Miikka shares a line with Sten Smolla / Photo: David Birri

What features does a jacket need to have?

It needs to be made of a good, breathable shell material so moisture can’t get in but sweat can evaporate out; it needs to be lightweight and quick drying; plus, it needs to have a big hood for shelter, pit zips, a powder skirt, and good cuffs to keep the snow out.

And your pants? 

It’s a similar story. They need to be water and wind proof, and breathability is essential. I usually want my pants to have a little insulation for warmth, since it’s harder to add layers to your legs when you’re out in the mountains wearing boots. Feature wise, I look for ventilation zips and snow gaiters – and if the material is a little stretchy, that’s a nice extra.

What are your favorite items from the Protest outerwear range this year? 

I like the James Jacket and Miikka 15 Pants. They are simple, but have all the features I need and I really like the fit. For layering, I use the System Packable Down Jacket, Perfect Micro Fleece, Joaqin Thermo Shirt and Marco Thermo Pants. This is the set I basically wear in all conditions.

Photo: Jani Karppa


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