Hiking in winter is a great way to stay active and healthy in colder months when you just feel to wrap yourself up in a blanket. But to help you enjoy the winter and make you feel comfortable outside during your hike, in this article we have gathered all the winter hiking tips for you. So, read this article to know how to stay safe and warm in the trail and become a pro in winter hiking.
Definitive Winter Hiking Tips
Key things to remember:
- Days in winter are shorter, so you have to start hiking as early as possible to avoid being out in dark.
- Winter hiking takes a longer time as you have to move slowly and encounter more obstacles like snow, etc. As a result, you have to plan accordingly.
1. Choose trails with uphill:
Climbing uphill will get your heart pumping and increase your body circulation and raise your body temperature. So, it will keep you warm and cozy!
2. Follow the sun:
In winter hiking, you have to hike in the sunniest part of the day, when the sun is the highest and warmest. But in the case of summer, it’s the opposite, you have to avoid the sunniest part of the day. Isn’t it quite funny?
You have to keep in mind that as soon as the sun drops behind the mountains, the trail will become shade and temperature will drop. So, always bring extra layers with you to keep you warm.
3. What should you wear?
Wearing the clothes of the wrong materials in winter hiking can leave you wet and cold. Always wear in layers, so that you can shed a layer if it gets too sweaty and add if you feel cold!
Try avoiding cotton, they are not suitable for winter hiking, as they can leave you wet and cold. Use synthetic clothes as they dry quickly and wick moistures. Consider wearing a waterproof jacket, to keep yourself dry.
While hiking in winter, a good pair of boots is a must! You can find a lot of hiking boots, usually made for winter seasons in the market.
Hiking in winter means, you will encounter snows and ice, you will need more traction in your footwear to prevent yourself from slipping. You can use crampons, microspikes, or snowshoes for this.
Don’t forget your socks! Avoid normal socks and wear hiking socks and don’t forget to bring an extra pair.
Always wear lightweight, waterproof gloves, it will keep your hands warm.
Wearing a hat is important in winter hiking. It will prevent heat from escaping through your head.
To keep your nose and cheeks warm, try wearing a face mask.
To protect your eyes from sun and wind, wear goggles or sunglasses.
4. Lip balms:
Lip balms will protect your lips from being chapped and heal it faster.
While hiking in winter, you will need to eat a lot as your body will be burning more calories to stay warm than summer hiking. Bring high protein snacks, it will provide you with more energy.
Bring snacks that you can eat while hiking without stopping, as stopping for eating can leave you cold and your muscles will have a hard time to warm up again.
6. Always stay hydrated:
Always stay hydrated and drink as much clean water as you can. Try to drink a half or a liter in an hour. If you don’t have any water filter, buy best lifestraw water purifier.
7. Keep the water warm:
To keep your water warm, you can bring a big thermos with. One of the plus points of the thermos is that you can keep hot cocoa, tea, coffee, or even soap broth in them for quick sips to warm you up.
8. Avoid alcohol:
Always avoid alcohol while hiking in the cold temperature, as it reduces body temperature. Even you should not drink alcohol at all, as it causes many diseases including cancers, high blood pressure, liver disease, which can make you suicidal and lead to ultimate death.
9. Trekking poles:
To keep balance and to keep yourself stable in snow and ice while hiking in winter, use trekking poles. They will keep you from slipping. They are durable, compact, and easy to use.
10. Ice Axe:
Learn to use an ice axe. It can help you by providing support while ascending, help you cut snow, and prevent you from falling while descending.
Sun goes down quickly in the winter and especially in mountain areas. If you don’t want to end your adventure after the sun goes down, then you need to prepare yourself for the dark. Always bring a headlamp with extra batteries with yourself.
12. Tech devices:
Tech devices malfunctions in cold temperatures, so always carry extra batteries with you and try to keep the devices warm. You can keep them in your pockets to keep them warm.
13. Preventing frostbite:
Frostbite is the freezing of the tissue, causing the area to become numb and skin becomes cold and pale. To avoid frostbite cover up the exposed area. If your skin is affected, then take time to warm it. And after returning from the hike, don’t forget to visit a physician and get proper treatment.
14. Preventing Hypothermia:
Hypothermia is caused when your body temperature drops below normal. It can cause you shivering, slow thinking, and clumsiness. To treat hypothermia, the first thing that needs to be done is to change the environment. If you are outdoor, then go indoor, find what caused it. Wear dry clothes, stay warm and well insulated.
Prevention is better than cure. So, to prevent frostbite or hypothermia, always stay warm, hydrated, and eat a lot of food.
15. Be aware of nature:
Snow and ice can be dangerous. Always watch for overhangs snows, which could shed and cause snow slides and avalanches.
Enjoy your hike and enjoy nature. Don’t worry too much, you will be fine! Once you hit the trails, it will be worth the effort, trust us! And don’t forget to share your thoughts and opinions on winter hiking tips with us!