Winter hiking is a great travel experience. Many prefer traveling by bus or car but there is something about traveling by foot that no vehicles can come close to. Moreover, hiking in winter hits a different level of adventure. As the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, many people choose to stay under their blankets. But, there are others who choose to walk on the blanket of snow instead. Hiking in winter is a great way to stay active and while COVID has kept us indoors most of the year, it might just be your escape out of the cabin fever.
Make sure you carry a big thermos, with your favorite warm beverage in it. Hot cocoa, cider, tea, or even soup is great for a quick sip between your hikes. You're better off without alcohol, as it'll reduce your body temperature. If you're carrying a water bottle instead, wrap it in some wool socks or in a beanie in your backpack to help insulate it.
There is a saying in the context of hiking, "The more the merrier". Experiencing snow while hiking is always better when you have someone. If it's your first time hiking, you might want someone beside you to share the memories with. Also, if something happens, you got two heads up.
Daylight hours are shorter in winter, so you might want to start early to avoid being out in the dark. Time your hike for when the sun is highest in the sky and the warmest. As soon as the sun drops behind, you might want to drop with it too as the temperatures can reduce significantly. So plan accordingly.
It is winter and you are about to walk on snow, so you might want to dress in layers of warm clothes. Avoid cotton (it holds moisture and will make you cold when wet). Stick to wool or synthetics for your base layer. Make sure to wrap yourself with fleece wear before layering up with a waterproof breathable jacket. Thermals under synthetic walking trousers on your legs may be a good option. If the weather suggests rain or light snow, you might want to layer up with a waterproof over trousers as well. Make sure you wear a pair of warm gloves, a balaclava, and a good quality hat to keep you warm.
What you wear on your feet is of utmost importance. You will need to wear either crampons or snowshoes to go with the snow. Crampons should only be used on hard-packed snow or ice. Winter hiking boots are used in situations where snow is not heavily packed down. Wearing the right sock for winter hiking is important as well. Wool, preferably Merino wool would probably be a good choice. Make sure you have sufficient room in your boots to move your toes around.
The uphill sections of your winter hikes will get your heart pumping. This helps to increase your blood circulation which in turn raises your internal body temperature.
Wanna find winter hiking trails near you? Check out these blogs.
7 Of The Best Winter Hiking Trails In The US
Your body will need more calories than it usually does while hiking as your calories burn more to keep you warm. Make sure you carry snacks that are high in protein and carbs to give you energy. Don’t stop for a long time as your muscles will have a harder time warming up again.
Make sure you have everything you need for the hike. Always pack more water and food than you think you'll need because you get tired easily in winter. Take a head torch, flare(s), first aid kit, pocket knife, and compass with you.
After reading this article, I hope you feel comfortable and confident to go out and enjoy the outdoors. Also, do keep in mind, if you feel thirsty on the trail, you're already dehydrated. You should always take frequent stops to hydrate yourself.