As the winter is nearing, most of the travel enthusiasts are already getting ready to hit the roads and reach their most desirable destinations. Hiking in cold weather has a different level of joy altogether. No other season can beat the thrill one experiences while hiking in cold weather conditions.
But when nature decides to show her chilly side, you must and have to keep yourself warm during the hike. And we are here to help you by getting it right this winter. We break down the list of essentials and tips for what to wear and what to eat into three possible cold weather hiking situations.
Hiking in cold weather: During cool and calm conditions
This is an adequate cold weather condition for a better and safe hike. But that doesn’t mean that you do not need any safety equipment and gear for a hike during this season. You can get away with minimal things however, everything that is required is supposed to be in your backpack. So, what is the bare minimum for a hike during cool and calm conditions?
- Pack all your essentials that are required for the cold-weather hike. Carry multiple layers of apparel to keep yourself warm. These apparels should be easy to put on and off like, Long sleeve base layers Long sleeve mid-layer shirt Long pants Comfortable jacket
Since we are talking mostly about calmer situations, it is not required to carry water-resistant materials for hiking in cold weather. But a few to keep is no harm!
- Two pairs of socks to add up to the list. Socks help to absorb the moisture and prevent skin blisters in your ankles and lower legs.
Also, it is totally normal that the cold temperature would make your body work out more. Just remember, to not overdo it. Try to be minimal and avoid eating heavy and hard to digest food.
For cold and windy conditions
It is definitely cold outside! But during windy conditions, the extent of survival increases. You feel many a thing happening in your body like difficulty in hearing, breathing, etc. But if you are a die-hard hiker, you know that keeping yourself extra protected is the key to enjoy the wind and survive better.
Including the essentials which are listed above, also carry few other apparels which might be required anytime during a hike in a windy situation.
- A hat that covers outer layers of your body A scarf around your neck A shell Jacket with a hood which can be snugged down tight over your head and ears Gloves that can remain waterproof. Should be thick enough to handle your body weight when you need your hands to be a support
During situations like these, only the upper portion of your body is mostly exposed to the wind. And in cases like these, you need to cover your nose and ears carefully. So, get on with protecting these important parts of your body with apparel in your backpack.
Also, in situations where the wind is blowing, you can never guarantee the clearance of paths. There can also be adverse situations which might not be of much help. And to prepare for a situation like these, carry extra food. Eat at regular intervals and keep your body warm.
Try to work out a bit by not overstressing yourself. Keep the oxygen flow in your body going. For best and easy results, bring food like nuts, nut butter, cheese, chocolate and a few other snacks to eat.
For extreme cold, wet and windy conditions
This is the weather that is mostly avoided by hikers unlike, the ones who have a craze to experiment in extreme conditions. This is that time of hike where you not only have to be protected from the cold but also, need protection against rain. Imagine, hiking in the cold and rainy conditions is such an extreme combination.
You need every essential that you can think of while going for a hike,
- Extra hiking clothing Extra food and water Sunglasses Knife Firestarter Matchbox First aid Flashlight Map Compass
Weather conditions like these require you to stay warmer and carry apparel which will keep you warm like a hat, waterproof gloves, jackets, etc. Since this weather has rained, too, you also need to keep yourself waterproof.
To keep yourself warm, carry a jacket with a hood which can cover your head and ears while to protect yourself from the rains, carry a raincoat or an umbrella. You also must carry everything extra, so that in case of an emergency, you can change into something useful.
Irrespective of the duration of your hike, either a day hike or a week-long hike, carry everything properly including apparel, vests, long underwear, nutritious foods, drinks, sleeping bags, water bottles, hiking pants, merino wool, camping gear, etc. Carry high-fat foods like nuts, cut back on salty foods which will make you ingest more water. Since your body will want to adjust its temperature, you will be hungrier than usual. Therefore, don’t bring cold and crunchy food. Fill a double-walled insulated bottle with warm water and avoid using plastic bottles.
Hiking in cold weather is fun but requires some preparation
Here are ten more hiking tips that can help you for hiking in cold weather.
- Read proper weather forecasts before heading out. Go through your gears and look for any changes or maintenance, if required. Don’t get wet and try to maintain your temperature to the maximum.
- Stay safe from hypothermia. It can really be dangerous so, carry every essential to keep yourself safe from cold and rains. Maintain your body heat using hiking tips. Cold conditions are associated with shorter day lengths.
- Carry proper essentials for the night. Don’t sit on wet surfaces. Use a cloth or proper insulation to sit and take breaks. Constant movement with limited breaks is a good idea.
- The more you move, the better it is. Maintain a good mood. Irrespective of the cold, look at the brighter side. Add a pair of traction cleats to enjoy your hike during cold weather.
Following the above steps, you can rest assured of your onward journey. The more equipment you carry, the heavier your luggage will be. So, keep only the essentials and drop the ones which are not. However, keep everything extra to use them in case of any emergency.