Hiking is a simple year-round activity for many, but it can become more difficult to hike in winter due to low temperatures and potentially dangerous conditions on the trails. However, winter hiking in a fiery white landscape can be a pure joy with the right mindset and some precautions. It’s a great way to remain active and healthy during the cloudy months when you could feel inclined to couch in front of your TV. Here are some tips for winter hiking to make your frosty adventures successful and comfortable.
1. Invest in the right winter hiking gear
Invest in quality fabrics such as down and Merino if you are determined to hike in chilly temperatures. This gear will help regulate your body temperature and last longer than standard cold-weather gear. Other essentials for the trail include a lightweight hiking backpack, waterproof hiking boots, and a quality jacket from Kryptek. Hiking poles, crampons, and snowshoes can also make a world of difference when it comes to your security and comfort.
2. Stay hydrated
It’s tempting not to drink as much water during winter or only drink hot coffee and chocolate. However, you will still sweat under all those layers, and your body requires water and electrolytes.
Make sure to take a sip of water whenever you stop and follow these essential hydration tips. Stop your water from freezing by keeping it close to your body, putting your bottle of water inside a woolen sock, or mixing it with some sports drinks. You can also prevent the water from freezing by insulating your bottles or choosing containers with wide mouths. If you are going for a multiday trip, you might need to bring a lightweight, portable stove, which can help you melt snow for drinking water.
3. Frequently check the weather forecast
Conditions change quickly in the mountains during winter, meaning it’s common for the forecast to switch daily or hourly. This means you should always be prepared for the worst conditions, including getting stuck in a blizzard. Avoid hiking when there are strong winds, low visibility, and the possibility of heavy snowfall. By doing so, you will always be on the safe side when hiking in the snow.
4. Carry backup battery power
Smartphones, GPS, and other devices’ batteries tend to drain faster in lukewarm temperatures, so carry extra batteries or an additional battery pack to be on the safe side. There are also things you can do to save your phone’s battery life in the backcountry, such as using airplane mode and not exposing your phone to extreme temperatures.
5. Ensure your feet are always warm
It’s important to keep your feet warm while hiking in the snow. Be sure to bring a few pairs of hiking socks made of wool, which keeps moisture away from your skin when your skin becomes wet.
Wear above-the-ankle hiking boots to keep the snow from your feet whenever you are hiking. You can also invest in a pair of gaiters, which prevent your feet from drowning in the snow. Make sure to wear comfortable boots since you will be spending lots of time with them during your winter hikes.
6. Always hike with a partner
Getting stranded in the mountains alone can put you in a dangerous situation if something goes wrong. Hiking with a partner is always a great idea, particularly during winter. An experienced hike mate can help avoid the most common hiking mistakes, such as missing a signboard or getting caught in fading daylight.
It’s also important to notify others back at the home of your whereabouts in case anything goes wrong. Leave them with the details of where you are going, what time you expect to return, and who to contact in case you fail to return within a certain period of time.
7. Be prepared to turn back
Winter weather can sometimes be too intense to hike safely in the mountains. If the weather worsens, you get exhausted, or you don’t have the right gear, don’t hesitate to cut your hike short. It might seem stupid to turn back but remember that it’s potentially dangerous to continue without the right gear in harsh winter conditions.
8. Start and finish early
It might seem obvious, but hiking in winter takes longer than in summer. Whether your path is slippery due to frost or entirely covered in snow, you should be realistic when planning your time.
Unlike summer seasons, you wank to hike with the sun to avoid getting stuck out during nightfall. Start your hike early and finish it early, especially if you are winter hiking for the first time. Choose a route you are familiar with so you are confident with navigation.
Hiking in winter on snow-covered mountains can be an exciting experience. The trails are quiet and serene, and the winter offers a fresh and unique atmosphere. However, cold weather and snow can add another level of difficulty to your hiking, so you must be properly prepared to stay safe. Fortunately, these tips can make your planning process easier and your hike somewhat warmer and more comfortable.