Less determined and experienced hikers might look at the temperature drop, the snow-covered roads, or the frosty windows and believe it’s the time of year to hang up their hiking boots for now. But, adventurers such as yourself know there’s no such thing as an off-season, and with a change in weather comes brand new places to explore.
Winter hiking, though, can be a little trickier than any other time of the year. You’ll encounter cold weather, slippery slopes, and deceptive steps that could end in disaster. If you can’t wait for the weather to change back, though, here’s what you need for a comfortable winter hiking adventure.
While summer hikes allow you to get your legs and arms out, winter is the complete opposite. You need clothes that will keep you warm but also won’t overheat you. Breathable but insulated clothing is a must, and layering these garments helps you cool down or warm up if you need it.
Perhaps more importantly, though, is footwear. No matter where you’re hiking, you’ll need insulated and waterproof boots, and if you’re trekking through sloppy, slushy trails, proper traction will be a lifesaver. You can find lots of stable and secure footwear recommended by Outdoorcommand if you’re unsure where to find the best products.
Which Way Next?
As much as clothing is essential during your winter hike, so too are the vital accessories you must pack with you. This includes a map, compass, whistle, and First Aid Kit regardless of whether you’re traveling alone or in a group.
These are the essentials you need with any hike, but in winter, even well-known trails can look unrecognizable, so leave your ego back at home and take them even if you don’t think you need them. Hint: you do.
You Will Survive
If you plan to be out in the wilderness for longer than a day, then you’ll need all the necessary survival gear to get you through the trip. A winter tent and sleeping bag are of course crucial, but so too is enough food, water, and cooking equipment to feed you and your party for the duration.
There might come the point where you’re unable to make it to your destination for the night, so planning for this and bringing shelter along with a tent to settle down for the night is also useful as it will keep you protected from the elements while setting everything up.
Perhaps most importantly, though, is having the wisdom to realize when your trip is a lost cause. It could happen because of the weather, or the area is not as you had anticipated. When hiking in winter, there’s no point in pushing on if you’re not sure what’s around the next corner. Having this attitude can save you and your party from severe problems, and while it’s disappointing, you can always try again next week.
The Wins of Winter
Just because the weather has turned its back on you and seemingly does everything it can to stop you from getting out and enjoying the wonderful adventures on offer doesn’t mean you should let it win. As long as you’re prepared for everything you could encounter during your winter hike, you’ll have no problems scratching that itch.