Hiking In Winter

Written by: OUTDOOR

Things You Need To Know When Hiking In Winter

Winter may be just around the corner, and that means switching from summer hiking clothing to warm, insulated clothing for winter hiking. By now you may have realized that winter hikers may need different equipment than those who hike in summer, such as snowshoes.

It is always best to be over prepared, but if you want to experience the unexpected thrill of a snowstorm, knowing the conditions will help you know what to pack for your hike. Check the weather for the latest information on snow and ice conditions in your region, as well as weather forecasts. 

You need more heat

Hiking in winter burns much more calories than hiking in summer, as the body produces more heat than when standing still. Because the body burns more to stay warm, it needs twice as many calories as it normally does in winter when hiking. The cold affects the body differently to hear. For winter hikes, you should take your time when the sun is at its highest and it is warm 

Keep your ambitions realistic

You may enjoy camping and backpacking in the summer but the the winter is a far different prospect. You will need to take into consideration all the different conditions you are likely to run into . There will be ice and snow, there may be obstacles that prevent you from passing easily. You may find yourself hiking in deep snow which can be hard work and impede your progress. Set realistic targets for each day. 

Keep your ambitions realistic

Buddy up

Bringing a friend is a smart mover. Hopefully nothing bad will befall you on your hike but travelling in pairs is good for safety, morale and sharing the experience with. Let other friends and family know where you are headed too and if possible where you plan to reach at the end of each day in case you lose communication or an accident happens. 

Buy proper equipment

Don’t skimp on this area. It is important to find the proper gear for winter hiking. Spend the money and buy decent, high quality equipment like Salomon winter hiking boots rather than try to get by with inappropriate gear. Cheap equipment may seem appealing when you are buying it but will be less enjoyable when it breaks or leaks while out in cold temperatures. 

Staying hydrated

It should be a no-brainer how important hydration is while hiking, but winter hikers sometimes forget how much sweat they release. There is a second factor that is important for those who wear winter hiking gear on a trekking trip and need to consider whether it works for them and is the right equipment.

Since hikers are more exposed to the elements during their hikes in winter, the layering of winter hiking clothing has to do with the heat storage and dryness of the body

Also make hot drinks. Bringing a thermos full of hot coffee or making cocoa on a portable stove can instantly raise morale and give you the energy to crack on with your hike in winter conditions. 

Traversing deep snow

The traction aid you bring along on your hike will probably differ depending on whether you are hiking with others who have already done the walk or pack for it.

If you walk through deep snow, hike through snowy passes in winter or cross a river in really cold weather, the body heat is maintained by the hiking pants and the feet are isolated. If you are hiking in colder weather or planning to layer up, make sure you have extra hiking socks with you to accommodate them. Also for hiking or cross-country skiing in winter or when the path becomes treacherous, you need crampons-suitable shoes. There are many ways to provide the wind and waterproof protection that is required by hikers and/or backpackers in cold weather. 

Proper insulation

If you are hiking on a winter’s day, it is important to bring extra insulation, including sleeping bags to prevent hypothermia and to stay warm. 

Be the early bird

Sunlight hours are shorter and less in the winter months so be prepared to wake up early and head off to maximise the length of your hike. 

Summary

The more you buy the right winter hiking equipment, the easier it is to comfortably stay active outside in winter.

If you are prepared and plan your hike carefully, you should have no problems to be on the trail in winter. plan ahead and do some research a few weeks in advance for the area that you are choosing to hike through and explore.

Last modified: December 20, 2020