Tips for a Successful Winter Hike

13 Dec
Here are a few tips and tricks to help make your winter hiking experience a bit more enjoyable. Staying warm, dry, hydrated and energetic are all important to having a safe and pleasant hike.

Tip 1
Dress in layers. Choose a number of clothing articles you can take off and put back on independently. Long johns make a great addition under your pants, a pair of waterproof pants are a lifesaver for those snowy hikes.  A tank-top or fitted t-shirt makes a great base layer, followed by a long sleeve or turtleneck, then a light jacket topped with a heavy jacket or a jacket topped with a windbreaker will all help you keep your body temp up and your skin warm and dry.

Tip 2

Remember to cover your head. A balaclava  is perfect for keeping nose and ears protected from wind, snow and rain. A beanie or other insulated hat prevents heat loss from the head, which is a danger during longer winter hikes and key to staying warm. And don’t forget a good pair of gloves or mittens.

Tip 3
If you opt to carry a backpack, make sure it is one that fits comfortably and is breathable to help prevent sweat which can cause a drop in body heat. A backpack that is large enough to carry a thermos, canteen, excess clothing as you shed it along the winter hike, food, extra vapor barrier socks, extra gloves, and assorted odds and ends will help ensure that you are prepared for the unexpected.

Tip 4
Choose a pair of cold weather hiking boots and warm breathable socks. Choose an insulated, water proof boot that is not made from leather but is instead made of a plastic and rubber combination. Leather freezes in winter weather, while plastic and rubber will not. Hiking can be difficult when your feet are ice blocks. You can make your already broken in leather boots work by waterproofing them with spray-on chemicals, but you might want to add plastic gaiters to add moisture resistance to your footwear. Dress your foot in vapor barrier socks to prevent excessive sweating that makes the inside of your boot slippery and uncomfortable. Dry feet are happy feet!

Tip 5
Bring food and water. Remember that during a winter hike your body burns more calories and requires more nourishment and water than it might during a summer hike. After all, your body is not only exerting energy to get your body from point A to point B, but it is also working hard to keep your body warm. Bring plenty of food and plan on stopping frequently and replenishing your energy by eating moderately sized snacks. Plan on bringing along a gallon of drinking water; depending on the length of your hike, you might even drink more than that. If you keep a canteen in addition to the water supply in your backpack, carry the canteen upside down; water freezes from the top down. Keeping your canteen close to your body may help it not to start freezing, starting with warm water will help too.

Tip 6
Be cautious of cliffs and terrain. A blanket of snow can hide a potentially dangerous situation. And finally don’t hike alone and tell someone who is not going with you where you will be and when you plan to leave and return.

Most of all Have Fun!


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4 responses to “Tips for a Successful Winter Hike

  1. Matthew Enslow

    December 20, 2010 at 8:32 am

    Thanks so very much for taking your time to create this very useful article. I have learned a lot, Thanks!! I have yet to try winter hiking but it sounds like a blast. I will return in the near future 🙂

  2. Charlene

    December 20, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    I’m glad I found your blog, your posts are very informative !

  3. Angelina Frost

    December 25, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    Informative, nice post! and Merry Christmas! Looks like fun!

  4. Richard Ashmore

    February 8, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I’ve truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!


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