Winter might not seem like the ideal time to go on a hike, however beautiful views and isolated trails are some great perks of winter hiking.
The winter season is known for cold conditions, therefore it is crucial that you prepare properly for a winter hike. Depending on your location, winter conditions can vary from mild temperatures to snow and ice. No matter where you are, always check the weather to know what to expect. If you are in an area that is very snowy, a winter hike will most definitely require snowshoes for easy travel in deep snow.
The gear on this list is recommended based on cold and wet conditions, weather that is typically seen in the winter months. Depending on very low temperatures, more advanced gear might be needed. Generally however the six items below are necessary for a warm and safe winter hiking experience.
A waterproof jacket and waterproof pants are recommended for a winter hike. Snow and sleet are possible, so it is best to be prepared. Even in warmer climates, winter months are wet too. When exposed to mild temperatures and cool rain, hypothermia is still possible. Therefore waterproof attire is crucial for winter hiking, regardless if you’re in the snow or not.
Waterproof boots are recommended during a winter hike to keep the feet and ankle warm and supported. A waterproof boot is also crucial when wearing most snowshoes. When purchasing boots, always consider what kind of hiking socks you will wear. During winter hiking, a medium-weight wool sock will keep the foot warm and wick moisture away.
During the winter months, trails are commonly muddy, icy or snowy. To improve circulation, help with balance and increase momentum, consider using trekking poles during winter hiking.
An insulating jacket, either down or synthetic fill, will keep you warm when temperatures drop. Although an insulating jacket may seem too warm to wear during hiking, it is still necessary during breaks.
To keep your head warm while hiking and during breaks, a hat or beanie should be worn while winter hiking. A hat made of fleece or wool is not only insulating but also wicks moisture away, especially sweat.
Have fun on your winter hikes, but be prepared and keep yourself safe and protected from any extreme climates and weather.