Hiking comes with a wide range of benefits, therefore it comes as no surprise that more and more people decide to dedicate their spare time to this exciting outdoor activity. While the majority of beginners think of hiking as a thrilling adventure reserved for warm months only, those who’ve been going for vigorous walks for years know that this amazing hobby can be every bit as fun even when the weather is cold. As long as you are well-prepared, of course.
The great thing is that a standard gear for a warm-weather hike can be easily optimized, letting you face lower temperatures and stronger winds without any additional hassle. Before you get back to your favorite trails, check out the best tips on what to prepare for a safe and warm hike in cold weather.
Dress In Layers
When you ask people about their idea of clothes to keep you warm in the winter months, the great bulk of them would probably say parka, but experienced hikers would never agree. Even though specially designed for cold weather, it is the last thing you want to wear on the trail as sooner or later you will get too hot without the possibility to put your parka off.
The first and foremost rule for anyone ready for a long walk when it’s cold is to dress in layers – the more, the better! Wittiness aside, you do need several layers in order to be able to peel them off or put on depending on the weather conditions and developments on the trail. One of the best options money can buy comes in the form of baja hoodies, which can be perfectly incorporated in your multi-layer concept. Also called drug rugs, they can be worn just over your base layer or as the top layer to complete the combination.
By the way, make sure your first (base) layer is made of wicking fabric, so it is able to pull your sweat away from the skin or otherwise, you will be at serious risk of hypothermia. When excessive moisture caused by overheating can’t find the proper way to escape, it freezes and as a result, your body can’t produce enough heat as fast as it needs, making body temperature fall below 95 F.
Wear A Hat
As incredible as it may seem, a simple hat can save your day and health during hiking in the colder months. A multitude of tiny capillaries that carry oxygen to our brains are extremely sensitive to the cold, which prevent them from doing their job. By wearing a hat you keep your head warm and fully-functional, avoiding terrible headaches often triggered by the narrowed oxygen-carrying capillaries. In addition to that, by covering your head you also save precious energy as the aforementioned smart transporters consume one-third of the body’s energy.
Keep Feet Warm
No doubts, you own a pair of special waterproof boots, but why not to add an extra layer to your gear? Did you know that many seasoned hikers wear oven bags under their socks to prevent sweat from making socks and boots completely dump on the inside? Well, you can follow their example and see if this method will work for you, all the more so, it is one of the cheapest ways to keep your feet warm and dry.
Additionally, if you sleep in a camp, do not forget to put your boots into a stuff sack and store in your sleeping bag – if you follow this advice, you will never have to slip into frozen footwear in the morning
Use Your Thermos
Do not underestimate the importance of hot drinks (even if it’s water), which are one of the best ways to warm up and get a charge of energy for your next part of the journey. Fortunately, today you have a vast choice of thermos bottles available in all sizes and colors. It doesn’t matter whether you like to drink green or herbal tea, black coffee or latte, do not forget to bring your hot fave. The same goes for water, you need to boil it at home and simply pure in your thermos bottle or flask. Alternatively, you can take advantage of a foam sleeve that is good at preventing the water from freezing in a flask. Another way to do it is by keeping your water bottle on the inside of your coat, just make sure it is properly sealed to avoid unpleasant surprises.
As you can see, modifying your gear for a hike in cold weather is not complicated at all. Master the art of layering, bring along great company, and enjoy your favorite outdoor activity!